Knott's announces Calico Mine Train refurbishment

Posted Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:54 AM | Contributed by Brian Noble

[The following is an excerpt of a press release. -J]

Knott’s Berry Farm is proud to announce two major projects for 2014 that continue reinvestment in the park’s rich history and heritage. Camp Snoopy celebrates its 30th Anniversary with the revitalization of the entire land of High Sierra fun. The classic Calico Mine Ride, Knott’s first major attraction and theme park industry icon, will undergo an all-encompassing refurbishment complete with new state-of-the-art animatronic figures and enhanced scenery. Camp Snoopy’s area beautification and the revitalized Calico Mine Ride are slated to open early summer of 2014.

“Camp Snoopy and Calico Mine Ride have delighted guests for decades and are classics that families come back time and again to experience together” said Raffi Kaprelyan, Knott's Berry Farm’s vice president and general manager.

“The revitalization of these areas will once again demonstrate our commitment to Knott’s heritage and will preserve these experiences for a new generation of guests to enjoy.”

Camp Snoopy, home of the beloved PEANUTS Gang, has welcomed the young and the young at heart since its grand opening on July 1, 1983. In honor of the land’s 30th anniversary, the High Sierra mountains camp theming will be enhanced throughout. Thirty years ago the five-acre nature wonderland was created by the Knott family to be a carefree place where nature, adventure and imagination come to life, and in 2014 it will undergo a number of exciting updates including new rides and restoration of the entire area with the original inspiration in mind.

Additionally in 2014, Knott’s beloved Calico Mine Ride will undergo complete refurbishment.

The Calico Mine Ride, Knott’s first major ride, opened in Ghost Town in November 1960 and was quickly recognized as one of the world’s most immersive “dark rides.” The beloved attraction designed by industry pioneer- Bud Hurlbut, carries riders aboard ore cars, on a realistic adventure through dimly lit tunnels of a working gold mine. The winding journey takes passengers to underground lakes, waterfalls, caverns filled with thousands of mysterious formations, chambers filled with steaming, bubbling pots and geysers. At several points in the trip, riders find themselves along the rim of a sixty five foot deep and ninety foot wide scene filled with dozens of animated miners trying to strike it rich.

The Calico Mine Train attraction stands 7 stories tall. Every year over 1 million guests take part in the eight minute journey. The mountain required over 275 tons of steel to complete and was the first attraction with a “hidden" themed queue that snakes upward to the loading station, out of sight of onlookers. The design preserves the impressive forced perspective of the mountain range, based on the sites in the authentic ghost town at Calico in California’s Mojave Desert.

In January 2014 the attraction will close for a comprehensive restoration by Knott’s Berry Farm’s design and production team. The project will be another partnership with Garner Holt Productions, Inc., (GHP) the team that brought award winning new enhancements to the Timber Mountain Log Ride in 2013 with lifelike animatronics and stunning show scenes.

“It is our company’s top priority to preserve and enhance the original story of a working gold mine deep in the heart of the Old West” said Garner Holt, GHP’s founder and president.

“The Calico Mine Ride will be filled with lifelike sounds and motion, while maintaining the uniquely authentic feel of the attraction as designed by Knott’s and industry legend Bud Hurlbut.” The renovation of the iconic attraction includes the addition of over 50 new state-of-the-art animatronic figures, all new audio and theme lighting system, and special effects that will capture the imagination of would-be miners as they journey deep into the winding caverns of the attraction.

In 1954, Knott’s Berry Farm founder, Walter Knott, delivered an open letter to his employees in which he wrote “You know, we never fully enjoy the things we have until we share them with those we love.” Next summer, Knott’s invites the world to come back to Camp Snoopy and Ghost Town to enjoy these new adventures together.

Read the entire press release from Knott's Berry Farm (PDF).

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Thursday, November 21, 2013 11:35 AM
OhioStater's avatar

Dear Garner Holt,

Please come to Cedar Point.

Pretty please.



Thursday, November 21, 2013 3:15 PM
janfrederick's avatar

If it is the same quality that we see in Timber Mountain, it will be a home run. We ride Timber Mountain at least twice whenever we go.

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Thursday, November 21, 2013 6:11 PM
Vater's avatar

I was really impressed with Calico Mine Ride and Timber Mountain Log Ride when I was at Knott's last month. The log ride instantly became one of my favorites, right up there with Dudley Doo Right's Ripsaw Falls. Had no idea it was refurbished this year, but it doesn't surprise me, as one of the things I was most impressed with was the quality of the animatronic figures.

While Calico was entertaining, it could definitely benefit from the same type of improvements.

Friday, November 22, 2013 12:35 PM
janfrederick's avatar

FYI, for anyone visiting Knott's, consider a side trip to Castle Park. It was designed by Bud. Although the park wasn't in the best of shape the last time we visited, you can't beat the mini golf. Think Calico/Timber Mountain with mini golf.

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Friday, November 22, 2013 4:34 PM
rollergator's avatar

^That's funny, Jill and I went during SpringCon a few years ago, and the park looked fabulous....EXCEPT for the mini-golf. Did hear a few whispers that the courses were due for a rehab, so I'm thinking that may have happened. The only real downer for us was that the new Sally interactive was down during our visit...but overall, Castle park is a real gem.

As for the Calico Mine Train, my first thought was that many of the scenes are somewhat hard to see until the train went past the precise SPOT where you could see the themed elements. In some ways, the opposite of Knoebels' Black Diamond, where all the scenery is easy-to-see. Sounds like Garner Holt may be the West Coast version of JMM Studios. :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013 1:19 PM

just don't change the name of the Glory Hole


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