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Knott's Berry Farm - Afternoon in the Park


Matt SR
Staff member
Social Media Team
I had the chance to swing by Knott's at the end of April while I was in town for a week-long conference. I was interested to make it back to Knott's after having not visited the park for 12 years (Sierra Sidewinder's opening season), as not only have there been new additions to the park, but new perspective from myself, compared to my teenage self that visited the park looking for the tallest/fastest attractions the park had to offer.


In earnest, I felt let down by Knott's when I first visited in 2007. Everything just felt, less than expected. Xcelerator felt slower. Silver Bullet felt less forceful. Ghostrider felt rougher. And I partly blame this on where I was in my "coaster riding career", still only having visited a handful of parks at that point with a coaster credit count in the 50-60s. But after having ridden and visited a good deal more parks, I felt ready to visit Knott's to enjoy it "as it was" - a smaller, family-oriented theme park with some still-solid thrills.

So gameplan for attack, as I only had a few hours in the park; I wanted to first prioritize new ride additions for credit count, move on to Ghostrider to experience the new GCI conversion, and ride additional rides as possible to backfill.

I was surprised to find a pretty sizable crowd when I visited, not realizing my week overlapped with a number of local school's spring breaks. The park was also celebrating the end of its Boisonberry Festival, which features fun berry-themed foods throughout the park. None the less, I arrived a few hours after opening, and hurried towards the back of the park to beat the crowd to Hangtime.

This was my first Gerstlauer Infinity coaster, and I (like probably many) expected a very comparable Eurofighter experience. But I was pleasantly surprised to find Hangtime had a far larger stance and presence than typical Eurofighters. This is in part thanks to Knott's redesigning this back midway to have a new beach theme (versus the previous Boomerang, Perilous Plunge, and Top Spin high thrill attractions scattered across), which helps pull the entire "Boardwalk" together; HangTime being the star attraction above all.
The Ride Experience
The hangtime is pun-ily real on this roller coaster. In a good way I guess? Lots of time spent slowly inverting, with a variety of inversions packed in for a fun, free-floating ride. I was surprised at airtime moments that were also packed in. Overall, I felt there is more variety here than on an Eurofighter, and am on the Gerstlauer Infinity band wagon - a great fit for many more American parks. Pretty good capacity, amazing lighting package, and a reasonable staple coaster for any park interested. Really wish I would've gotten to see this thing run at night with it's light package too!

Pony Express
I approached this coaster with great trepidation. It is awkwardly squeezed in between a show building and the nearby river rapids ride, marketed as a family coaster without much of a layout. It also has some serious capacity issues, between the virtually-required single train operation (they were running two trains, TBF) and back-bar loading that takes longer than your normal restraints (same as on Zamperla Disco's). But, overall was pleasantly surprised by this one.
The Ride Experience
It's surprising how much zip this hydrualic launch has! Top speed of 38 MPH, but was definitely forceful all things considered. And while the layout is quite simple, there was some fun lateral g's and even a hint of airtime along the way. Indeed a family coaster, but far more zing than I expected.

Coast Rider

To round out my new roller coaster credits, I had to hop aboard this wild mouse coaster. I have a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to these models. I get that they’re cheap, attractive, and can fit in nicely in a small footprint. But I have always experienced wild mouses to be clunky, not so capacity efficient, and really question their cost effectiveness versus other rides you could plug in.
The Ride Experience
Just the same as every other Mac wild mouse you’ve written, maybe a little smoother given the newer model year versus others. Overall, I think this roller coaster’s greatest attribute is being plugged into a broader boardwalks team, so it blends nicely to the aesthetic of other flight rides and hang time nearby. This is all to say, it is just as good as every other wild mouse you have written. No more, no les. Overall, I think this roller coaster’s greatest attribute is being plugged into a broader boardwalks team, so it blends nicely to the aesthetic of other flight rides and hang time nearby. This is all to say, it is just as good as every other wild mouse you have written. No more, no less.

To now go into the funky great territory of coastal credit I’ve already written that has been virtually 100% modified, I was really excited to hop aboard ghost rider. Let’s just say my first ride on this coaster was less than ideal: rough, clunky, a lot of meandering without much force. It was basically standard CCI affair with PTC trains. So, I was interested to see what is a unique move in today’s industry; not aren’t seeing, but doing a large re-track and millennium flyer application.
The Ride Exerience
I have been the first person to celebrate RMC success in the industry. They have been breathing absolute new life into roller coasters that would’ve otherwise, in my opinion, been torn down within five years. That being said, what ghostwriter and do you see I have been able to accomplish is simply astounding. This horribly rough roller coaster has been transformed into a fun and novel wooden coaster, thanks and very large part to the millennium flyer trains smoothness versus the older train design. So this really makes me now wonder if too many wooden coasters got the RMC axe before being given a second “wooden” coaster chance.

The ride itself was fantastic. GCI was very wise to not modify the layout too much, and rather focus on smoothness. Ghostrider has always had a fun layout, just held back by bad train design.

Silver Bullet
Another roller coaster I was really keen to hop aboard was this, the least popular B&M Invert out there. I very fondly remember following the construction of this roller coaster, as on-paper, it has a great run of show for inversions and element design. It’s ultimate downfall was a low top speed, which made the rest of the ride feel sluggish and slow. I was able to ride it twice before, in the very front and middle, all of which gave a very mediocre ride. BUT, I had the sneaking suspicion that this coaster could have a sweet spot… in the very back. Hydra at Dorney Park, a similar B&M who’s eyes were far larger than it’s low top speed stomach, can equally feel sluggish in riding, but gives a pretty good ride if ridden in the very back. So, with this new game plan, I hopped aboard.
The Ride Experience
So I was right - this is a good roller coaster, if you ride it in a very specific place. The elements were snappy, some good floats of negative g-force in the inversions, and all round a pretty good ride. It’s just a shame that you can’t experience this across the rest of the train.

Another point on Silver Bullet; it’s color scheme makes A LOT more sense now. At the time of building, it had a weird two-tone (yellow/red track) and teal coaster which, all together, looked like a hot mess of pastel. But now that other rides have been added in to the park’s skyline (Hangtime, Coast Rider, WindSeeker for a time), it’s helps round out the SB color scheme as part of the Latin color complement - lots of bright pastel colors and juxtaposition. I have to say, the park looked A LOT better with a few more rides added to the horizon.

At this point in the day, I only had one ride left before needing to head out. Sadly, Xcelerator was operating at 1 train operation through the entire day, making a ride virtually impossible given the long wait. So instead, I focused on another ride that has received some TLC since I last rode it, and the OG of Knott’s…

Calico Mine Ride
I forgot how hilariously awesome this ride is! The original ride that started Knott’s down the path of being a theme park with attractions, it maintains it’s quintessential charm of horribly dated animatronics acting out mining scenes as riders travel through. The recent updates to the ride included installing better audio and lighting effect (while still maintaining the horrible recordings :p ), and revamping the TNT explosion sequence at the end to include fog effect and lighting projection. Lots of commonality with Fire in the Hole/Blazing Fury, minus the roller coaster bits.

Still a novel ride with MASSIVE capacity. They still maintain a very open mine cart seating arrangement too, which adds further to the charm, vs. needing to have lapbars etc.

A few other photos from around the park:
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All in, it was a fun day at a much improved park!


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Slut for Spinners
Ok, but actually how did you fit your tall ass on Coast Rider with those damn shin shackles?


Matt SR
Staff member
Social Media Team
Ok, but actually how did you fit your tall ass on Coast Rider with those damn shin shackles?
Very, very carefully. I'm not saying Wild Mouses are a good add, especially with Gerstlauer Infinity coaster now being a thing. :p