Planning trip to CA...need your opinion.


Me and a couple friends are planning to head out to California in the spring for a conference. We have already planned to spend a day at Disney, and were thinking about adding another day to go to either Magic Mountain or Knotts Berry Farm.

I was wondering if anybody could tell us which is more worth our money.


In The Middle of the Ohio Triangle
Lord Gonchar's avatar
When I was forced to choose between LA parks because of limited time we skipped Disney and went to SFMM and KBF.

So I guess I'm no help here. :)

If you're a Disney fan, allow two days for Disneyland and DCA. If you're not a Disney fan, you'll best get your coaster fix at SFMM and Knott's. Keep in mind that Disney and Knott's are a few miles from each other while SFMM is about 90 minutes to the north. Just some food for thought.
Kick The Sky's avatar
I will echo some of the things said above. If you are a coaster whore, go to Tragic Mountain. If you are more of a theme park person and expect decent service, either do two days at Disney or do a day at Disney and one at Knott's, which is only a few miles from Disney.

As for the distance to Tragic Mountain, it's only taken me an hour to get there from Disneyland, and that was during morning rush hour. It is extremely easy to get to. Just hop on I-5 and shoot it right up to the park.

Certain victory.

Be prepared for crazy traffic. I think our drive from Costa Mesa (10 minutes south of Disneyland) to SFMM took about 90 minutes after morning rush hour. Some people told me it'd take an hour, others told me two. The L.A. area is like that- never expect to get anywhere in a specific amount of time.
matt.'s avatar
If you're really strongly set on going to Disneyland don't compromise on that. It may not be everyone's cup of tea here but I had one of the greatest park experiences of my life at Disneyland when I went.

The only visit I've ever had to SFMM I actually had a very, very good time so I don't think I'm much of an authority on either Knotts are SFMM as they stand currently.

eightdotthree's avatar
My girlfriend and I will be in Cali in November, we decided on going to Disney for two days, Knotts for one and Universal for one, skipping Magic Mountain all together. As cool as some of the coasters there look we didn't want to risk having one of the "those" days.

We are going to visit Belmont Park when we are in San Diego as well.

Belmont is very close to Sea World so you may want to make a day out of those two parks.

I agree with the Disneyland comments- it's a wonderful place. We even enjoyed ourselves at DCA, which isn't as bad as people make it out to be.

I think it also depends on what you are looking for. SFMM has all the big bad thrill sensations, while Knotts has a bit more of a feel-good atmosphere to it and the few coasters they have are also fun enough (I heard Ghostrider was getting rough in spots though)

The morning rush hour normally cloggs the I-5 from Valencia toward downtown, so you should be fine going up to the mountain in the morning and returning later - but yeah, traffic in L.A. is a science of chaos and complexity.

airtime for everyone
If Disney is in the cards, get a two-day parkhopper and be done with it. You won't be bored. Come back later for the others.

Knott's is a nice park. Unlike many CF parks, it hasn't completely lost its character and atmosphere. Ghostrider is a great wood coaster (at least it was when we rode it) and Montezuma's Revenge is loads of fun. I imagine Xcelerator (down when we went) and Silver Bullet (under construction) are good as well. Plus it's close to Disney so you can spend three days at great amusement parks while not doing a lot of driving.
I would defiantly do SFMM, because I love that park, Tatsu is reason enough for me to go, but on my last trip there when I went to a festival in Coachella it tooks us 4 hours to get from SFMM to our hotel in San Berdinano(cant spell it) which was a ways from Knotts but its not a certainty how long it will take. Also Goliath, BTR, Riddlers, Colossus, and Superman the Escape(even though subpar expectations) are all tight rides, and if you are lucky enough to hit MM on a slow day they give double rides on Superman.

Bolliger/Mabillard for President in '08 NOT Dinn/Summers

I agree on the two days at Disney. That is if you like parks like Disney (which I do). We were there 2-3/4 days and still could have stayed longer (and there were NO queues). We just had a blast.

We did Knott's one day and SFMM the day after. While we liked the coasters at Knott's (pretty much all of them), we didn't care too much for the park. We were expecting great things from Knott's, so that may have something to do with it. Weird expectations I guess.

SFMM was the total opposite. We expected to hate it. But, we loved it. To us at least, the park seemed cleaner than Knott's. Plus, were were "miraculously" able to get on every single coaster in the park (sans Flashback for obvious reasons). Although some of their coasters are REALLY rough :cough:Viper:cough:, we had a great day overall. Based on our experience alone, I'd totally recommend SFMM. By the way, it took us 45 minutes to get there in the morning from WeHo (West Hollywood). We took the carpool lane all the way there and never stopped for traffic. We got there 1.5 hours before park opening because of that. ha ha ha!!

If you're in the Disney area and limited on time/days, you might want to just stick it out there and do Disney and Knott's. If you've got some flexibility, I'd highly recommend SFMM over Knott's. Tatsu and X alone is worth it like others have said.

For your reading pleasure, here are my TRs from when we made the trek out there.

DL Day One
California Adventure
DL Day Three
Magic Mountain

I also agree with 2 days at DIsney over even visiting another park. You can do a suicidal 1 day there and get a lot done, but 2 days is WAY better.

Whatever you do, don't go to Disney first. Go to SFMM or Knotts first, THEN do Disney. Trust me :)

About SFMM vs. Knotts. Knotts is a better park. SFMM has a neater collection of coasters. It's a tough call.

Real Cbuzz quote of the day - "The classes i take in collage are so mor adcanced then u could imagen. Dont talk about my emglihs" - Adamforce
Kick The Sky's avatar

Peabody said:
Whatever you do, don't go to Disney first. Go to SFMM or Knotts first, THEN do Disney. Trust me :)

Totally concur on that one. Last time I was out there was for Winter Solace last year and we did three days at Disneyland before Solace. Normally, we LOVE Knotts, but we could not help but feel disappointed the entire time we were there because it wasn't Disney.

Certain victory.

eightdotthree said:
skipping Magic Mountain all together. As cool as some of the coasters there look we didn't want to risk having one of the "those" days.

That's a shame.

The horror stories you always hear from Magic Mountain are usually during the months of May - September, during the park's summer daily operating schedule, where the park is unable to handle large crowds and things get way too out of hand.

The best times to visit Magic Mountain are between the months of November and February. Never any queue waits longer than 10 minutes, the park is usually deserted, and for some bizarre reason, they often run rides at near-full capacity (WHY don't they do this during the summer time?!).

If I were you, I'd ditch Knott's from your plans. Knott's tends to put many of their major rides in rehab during the time after Halloween Haunt -- which means you may find yourself at the park with GhostRider and Xcelerator closed.

However, if you were visiting during the Spring or Summer time, I would tell you to stick to your current plan.

*** Edited 10/3/2007 10:43:46 PM UTC by kRaXLeRidAh***

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
Two-day hopper for Disney. Squeeze in some Knott's time if you can. :)

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

ShiveringTim's avatar
This is a tough question. I've been taking annual trips out to LA for the past 4-5 years now and they're always anchored around two days at Disneyland and DCA and 1.5 days at Knott's (Winter Coaster Solace). The rest of the time is a wild card - one year might be SFMM, the other might be San Diego, another might be Universal - it all depends on the new attractions at each. Although, after the trip this year SFMM might be a permanent addition to the next trip. They've really turned things around up there and Tatsu is something that shouldn't be missed.

Scott - Proud Member of The Out-Of-Town Coaster Weirdos

Peabody said:

Whatever you do, don't go to Disney first. Go to SFMM or Knotts first, THEN do Disney. Trust me

Absolutely. We did Disneyland first. Big mistake.

^ We did the same. Hindsight is always 20:20 though. ha ha!!

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