On Thursday, April 18th, Theme Park Adventure attended a media hard hat tour at Knott’s Berry Farm that took us through the brand new Boardwalk section of the theme park, which is under heavy construction and refurbishment. As Cedar Fair and Knott’s (both under relatively new management) move forward with a multi-million dollar plan to re-imagine California’s oldest theme park, there is much excitement in the air among not just fans, but employees of the park as well. Anxious to show off what’s happening, Knott’s gathered members of the media in the Wilderness Dance Hall and began the morning with a slideshow presentation.
After some brief words by Knott’s Berry Farm’s General Manager, Raffi Kaprelyan, the presentation was turned over to Jeff Gahagan, the Director of Construction & Facilities Maintenance at the park. Jeff led the media through a series of facts and figures about the new Boardwalk area, citing the new attractions that are currently being placed there; three new rides in total:
Pacific Scrambler is a returning attraction at Knott’s, which the company has had in mothballs for quite some time since the installation of their Pony Express family coaster in 2008. This attraction is exactly what its title implies, and has been in different locations at Knott’s Berry Farm since 1989, and has gone by the names Whirlpool, Headspin, and Wilderness Scrambler. It’s a very popular flat ride, that will be perfect (and once again, very close to its original location at Knott’s) for the new Boardwalk area and is sure to be a hit with guests of all ages. As the center core of the attraction spins, so do individual arms holding multiple seats, bringing guests very close to one another – for some close calls and laugh-inducing centrifugal forces as people are “scrambled” back and forth.
Surfside Glider is new to the attraction roster at Knott’s Berry Farm, and is another midway flat ride. This particular ride, known in the amusement industry as “Flying Scooters” or “Flyers”, has been around since the 1940s. It’s perhaps the original iteration of the “Dumbo” type ride system, wherein riders have some control over their individual vehicle. As the center core of the ride spins, and each Glider vehicle swings outward due to centrifugal force, guests control a rudder on each vehicle, causing them to move slightly, side-to-side (as opposed to up and down, which was introduced in rides the following decade). It’s a fun family attraction that will be heavy on nostalgia for some older guests at Knott’s Berry Farm. Many of these rides exist around the country, and they are all very popular with park visitors nationwide.
Coast Rider an obvious riff off of its much larger wooden cousin across the park, GhostRider, is the Boardwalk’s new roller coaster at Knott’s Berry Farm. This wild mouse coaster will ascend 52 feet before dropping into a series of hairpin turns and spinning thrills over 1,339 feet of track. Mouse coasters have been around for decades, and are highly popular ride systems that take up a relatively small footprint for being roller coasters. Rather than trains such as you find on Xcelerator or Boomerang nearby at Knott’s, Coast Rider will feature individual ride vehicles. This is the newest addition to the Knott’s Berry Farm arsenal of roller coasters, and while it is considered a family coaster, this ride will appeal to guests of all ages.
What Theme Park Adventure is most excited about when it comes to the creation of the new Boardwalk at Knott’s, is that for the first time in a very long time, this area of the park is going to be beautiful, with carefully planned area development and specific show lighting for when the sun goes down. Long gone is the asphalt jungle that the Boardwalk area once was; guests will soon be able to stroll under string lights, past landscaped planters and truly take in the fun and theming of the newly redeveloped area of Knott’s Berry Farm!
With all of the new changes taking place under the new Cedar Fair and Knott’s Berry Farm management teams, we are so very excited and happy for the park and its staff. This type of love and attention has been a long time coming. Now that it’s almost here, we can’t wait to spend many summer nights under the stars on the Boardwalk at Knott’s!
– Rick West