Knott's Berry Farm
WEATHER: Comfortable, high 60s, sunny.
ABOUT ME: Male, age 37. Coaster rider since 1977 and fanatic since 1986. I have more than 330 adult coasters on my "track record". I generally prefer wooden coasters to steel because airtime is one of my big criteria. Also, I don't mind a little headbanging on coasters.
RATING SYSTEM: I subscribe to the ubiquitous Griswold scale, which rates coasters and parks on a scale from -3 to +5. Zero indicates a mildly positive rating.
Montezooma's Revenge (1978 Schwarzkopf shuttle loop) +1
I was so looking forward to this ride, since I haven't been on ANY Schwarzkopf shuttles since SFGAM Tidal Wave in 1986 and SFAW Greezed Lightnin' in 1990. The ride's launch was smooth and rapid, the G's heading into the loop supreme, and the floatage on the spikes enjoyable, just as I expected.
Boomerang (1990 Vekoma boomerang) +1
I always ride these, even though they're virtually all the same. I like 'em! For those of you unfamiliar with this style of coaster and its dozen or so siblings, this is the modern "shuttle loop"coaster. Instead of a launch system like Schwarzkopf shuttle loops employed, Vekoma Boomerangs merely ratchet the 7-car train backwards up a large incline and let you go. After flying through the station, you go through a 2-inversion cobra roll element (which of course changes your direction of travel) and a vertical loop, at which point you are ratcheted forwards up a lift hill the same height as the one you started out on, and which is in fact on the same support structure. You then are released and go through all the elements backwards.
Ghostrider (1998 C.C.I. double out and back woodie) +4
After hearing so much about this ride, which was barely open when I last visited SoCal in Dec. 1998, reading favorable comparisons of it to Boulder Dash (which I had just ridden the previous August) and seeing footage of it on various shows and Robb Alvey's 2000 highlights tape, I was ready to experience it as much as anyone. Well, Knott's has a monster on its hands. This ride was beyond wonderful. It grabs you and doesn't let go of you from the drop out of the station to the final brake run. The view from the lift hill is great; the first drop is sudden and air-filled; the following hills, twists, and drops are violent; the laterals are sudden and unexpected; and the ejector air on the first drop of the second out and back ("The Drop") is even more surprising than a back-seat ride on the Kennywood Jack Rabbit's double-dip. I was astounded how far I flew out of my seat (I had my requisite several clicks' worth of extra space between my legs and the ratcheting lap bar). The second half of the ride involves and lot of track that is buried inside the superstructure of the ride, and there is so much wood around you it is dark even in the middle of the day! It is also somewhat claustrophobic and tunnel-like. You get thrown both left and right, and are constantly getting additional pops of air time throughout. Very smooth. I saved this ride for last, and ended up spending most of the rest of my day riding this over and over and over.
Supreme Scream (2000 S & S free fall) +2
A decent-sized S & S tower with two drop towers and one launch tower. The visuals of Anaheim, Buena Park and the L.A. basin in general are quite good from the top of this ride.
THE PARK: +3
I am really amazed how much is packed into this relatively small amusement park. What saddens me is how difficult it's going to be to add anything to compete with the other area park, Six Flags Magic Mountain. I got a kick out of the fact that an entire themed area of the park (outside of the gates!) is devoted to shops and keepsakes. The crafts and knickknacks are absolutely amazing and it would be easy to blow a fortune on all the cool, unique items for sale in the various shops. I wish there had been more time to explore the place, but with only six or seven hours at the park I spent most of my time on the rides or taking pictures. There are some cool themed areas, and the geode stand was fun to visit, even if the geodes were ridiculously priced.
After hearing so many great things about the food at Knott's, I was not disappointed. The main restaurant (accessible from outside the park) was much too busy, so I managed to get some of Mrs. Knott's famous fried chicken and mashed potatoes from a food stand near the middle of the park. It was unbelievable, to say the least, and reasonably priced, as were the other tasty morsels I ate during my day at Knott's.
The park is beautifully maintained, with lots of very large trees. They obviously have not reconfigured the park much and as a result it looks much more substantial than many other parks. Crowds were nonexistent and well-behaved (line jumping was not at all evident, except for people cutting through the handicap entrance at Ghostrider, which was a walk-on anyway). As it was at Six Flags Magic Mountain, those silly Californians looked at me like I was crazy wearing shorts and a T-shirt (it was in the 60s, after all). They were all dressed in long pants, sweaters, jackets, and gloves. I guess that's the difference between Minnesota and SoCal, though...