San Diego - ?'s on going to Knotts and MM

Thursday, January 13, 2005 8:44 PM
I will be travelling to San Diego in April and wanted to get a head start on some plans. Due to a short trip, I will probably be going to only one park, either Knott's or Magic Mt., and wanted to know some basics. I know I can look up maps, etc. because I have. What I'd like is some personal experiences on drive times between San Diego and Knotts/MM? This includes the roads (highway, rural, etc.).

I am also not sure what park I will go to if I just go to one, Knott's is closer distance wise, but I'd like to go the Mountain just for "X." I have been hearing some good/some bad reports these days, however I have always wanted to go. Knott's looks great and has great rides, however they don't seem to have as much "new stuff for me" (I've ridden Storm Runner, big inverts, etc.). Magic Mountain would have the most "new thrills" (4D, Superman, Giovanola Hyper, massive stand-up, Schwarz)!

Anythoughts/opinions would be appreciated. Thanks

*** Edited 1/14/2005 1:45:38 AM UTC by Willh51*** *** Edited 1/14/2005 1:46:00 AM UTC by Willh51***

Thursday, January 13, 2005 9:22 PM
I actually prefer the thrills at Knott's to be totally honest with you. I was underwhelmed by the rides at the Mountain, especially Riddlers and Goliath, which get such good reviews by everyone else.

Knott's on the other hand, is my favorite park, bar none. Call me a fan boy, because thats what I am. There might not be a lot of thrill rides there. Sure, your coaster count isnt going to get the boost it would if you go to the Mountain, but I think you'll have more fun at Knott's. Besides the great atmosphere and the far superior customer service (at least up against MM), there are some great flat rides, decent coasters, and also some wonderful shows.

With the addition of Riptide and Silver Bullet (which I have yet to ride) this park is a serious contender in the SoCal market. There arent many thrill rides that beat Riptide. Xcelerator, is in my opinion much better than Dragster (I havent ridden Stormrunner). Montezuma's Revenge is just plain fun. Supreme Scream is one of the better drop towers I've been on. Let's not forget Perilous Plunge. And then there is the airtime goodness that is Ghostrider.

Then there is the stuff that is all about atmosphere that cannot be missed like a train ride where you get robbed halfway through, a flume ride with awesome lumberjack themeing, a mine ride with animitronics dating before Disney, and a fully themed Western ghost town.

Anyways, I think you will see a lot of people say Knotts over Magic Mountain. I'm just a fan boy. Take it from the non-fan boys who will probably say the same thing.

Oh and the drive from San Diego up to Buena Park can be anywhere from just over an hour to two hours depending on traffic. When I went down to San Diego it took me two and a half hours to get down there because I was stupid and drove down on a Saturday morning, and it took about an hour to get back, and that was even with the INS stop.

Hope this helps.

Thursday, January 13, 2005 9:56 PM
Listen to what Kick is saying my friend...

There is a small chance you will leave SFMM in a good mood. However, it is hard not to leave Knott's in a good mood.

Kick forgot to tell you to get some chicken...!

Thursday, January 13, 2005 9:59 PM
Crap, forgot about the chicken! The great Mrs. Knott's Fried Chicken, and the awesome biscuits with boysenberry jelly and the boysenberry punch!
Thursday, January 13, 2005 9:59 PM
Not to mention the fact that MM is at good hour to hour and a half more from SD.
Thursday, January 13, 2005 10:24 PM
Cool, you guys have almost sealed a Knott's visit for me. I totally forgot about Monte and Perilous Plunge, it's been a long day! So I gather Knott's is an hour to and hour and a half and Magic Mt. is close to three from San Diego? Thanks for the responses.
Thursday, January 13, 2005 10:30 PM
Depending upon where you're staying, Knotts is about 90 to 110 miles. If you avoid the rush hours, it's about a 90 minute drive. During the rush hours is another story altogether. You can easily double your travel time.
Friday, January 14, 2005 12:03 AM
Honestly...regardless of my or anyone's feelings about SFMM -- where I'm sure you'd have fun -- if you'll be in San Diego I'd forget about going to Valencia. Even though SFMM is only 60 miles north of Knotts that itself could be a 2+ hour drive depending on traffic conditions, not to mention the drive to San Diego south of Knotts.

Until recently I did a lot of driving between LA and San Diego and got to know the traffic patterns pretty well. The problem is that you probably won't be able to avoid hitting one of two rush hours: the I-5 corridor from San Diego to Carlsbad and the I-5 corridor in Orango Country from Mission Viejo to the 90 Freeway.

If you want to make Knotts at park opening [10am] plan on leaving San Diego no later than 7am. A much better idea, if you can afford it, would be to make the drive the night before and get an inexpensive motel. There are numerous choices near the park.

That being said, if you want to visit SFMM instead then I would definitely recommend making the drive up to Valencia at night and getting a hotel. To be at SFMM at opening [10am] you'd have to leave San Diego ridiculously early.

As for a park vs park comparisson yeah, SFMM has the most coasters. As to which has better quality I think that's up to each individual. If you're a flat ride junkie Knotts wins that contest hands down. If you're a dark ride junkie again its Knotts for two reasons: 1] Timber Mtn Log Flume and Calico Mine Train, and B] SFMM has no dark rides. Which ever park you choose you'll have a good time.

Lastly, directions from San Diego to both parks:

Knotts: I-5 north to the 91 Freeway west, exit Beach Blvd.

SFMM: I-5 north all the way to Valencia, exit Magic Mountain Parkway.

*** Edited 1/14/2005 8:27:22 PM UTC by Mamoosh***

Friday, January 14, 2005 1:55 AM
I think that Magic Mountain is worth it for X, Goliath and Riddler's Revenge not to mention the many others. I've only been there once a few years ago and had a blast. I guess your decision will come down to atmosphere or rides. While I appreciate atmosphere, I will always run to the rides.
Friday, January 14, 2005 10:49 AM
See, I think Knotts is worth it for Ghostrider, Silver Bullet, and Xcelerator. But it doesn't matter...different people will have different likes.

That's why I didn't get into an argument/debate over which park had the better quality coasters. I'm leaving it up to Will to do his research, find out what both parks offer, find out how long the drive to each will be, and then make his own informed decision. And I tried to give him the most accurate UNBIASED info I possibly could.

Friday, January 14, 2005 11:16 AM
Moosh gets one spanking for failing to include the ANTON is his list of "reasons to ride at Knotts"....:(

Monte, back seat, 'nuff said! :)

Friday, January 14, 2005 11:49 AM
Personally, I would go to SFMM myself, I know I will probably get hounded for saying that but I was so not impressed with Knotts, the only thing that saved it was Xcelerator and the chicken (good call Bob).
Friday, January 14, 2005 12:39 PM
Hmmm.......where's the 90 freeway?? I haven't traveled on that one. Did you mean the 91? ;)
Friday, January 14, 2005 1:24 PM
BTW, I am heading to San Diego tomorrow am for a business trip ( a refreshing change from the current -15 wind chil here in Nebraska right now) and have managed to have tomorrow and part of Sunday as a free day.

Should I try to hit both parks, one in the afternoon-evening, and the other Sunday morning-afternoon, or just hit one park...opinions???


Friday, January 14, 2005 1:42 PM
I depends. If your not in the area very often, I'd try to hit both parks. I'm not a big fan of SFGadv, but I included the park in my east coast plans anyway, and I'm glad I did. Not only had the park improved somewhat, but if I had listened to everyone telling how much the park sucked, I would have missed out on a new #1 coaster, as well as a few little quirks the park had that I actually appreciated.

It really depends on what you consider a good time, and how patient a person you are...;)

Friday, January 14, 2005 1:47 PM
Thanks for the response. I would love to go to both, but as it stands one will probably be it for me. I won't be able to get a hotel the night before at one of the parks, although I'd love to, due to other arraingements, however I can handle a 7ish start, but MM seems like I'd have to leave at five and I don't think an almost four hour drive is worth it. Do you guys think it would be better to leave a little later for Knotts to avoid rush hour? What are typically the worst times to hit traffic in those areas? Also, (and I don't want to stray into TOS territory or anything) does Knott's have "Dorney" type crowds where the longest line is .5 hrs or "Great Adventure" type crowds where the shortest line is an hour? It'll be April when I go, but I don't want to get there and find hours of lines for all rides. I'll try to do a weekday or sunday as well.

I agree about SfGadv, the lines were hell on some rides, but I had a great time at the park. Nitro is second after S:ROS on my list now, Chiller, Superman, and Medusa all rocked, and the park had some nice theming I didn't know was there.

*** Edited 1/14/2005 6:49:16 PM UTC by Willh51*** *** Edited 1/14/2005 6:51:04 PM UTC by Willh51***

Friday, January 14, 2005 2:11 PM
Willhi, I love Knott's -- though X is a one-of-a-kind coaster and I think others like Deja-vu (love the second row -- which is the same front-view as the front row, only wider out and less popular) and Goliath will all give you great rides even if many of the knocks at Six Flags in general are valid.

Back in June was my first time in SoCal in a few years and we stayed at the Radisson in the park (well, right next to it) for a bit over a week and just used that as a pivot point South (Legoland -- a park that's obviously closer to you in San Diego), North (Magic Mountain) and Central (Disneyland, DCA). We got Cedar Fair annual passes because we figured we'd be there quite a bit since it's a 5 minute walk from the hotel. I'm not sure how April was but in June the park pattern became very predictable. Xcellerator was closed and SB wasn't open yet so it was a mad rush to Ghost Rider in the morning. On weekdays the place was taken over by school groups so it was actually more crowded than I figured it would be so early in June -- yet by early evening -- poof -- they were gone and we practically had the park to ourselves.

Now with SB staring folks in the face as they come in I'm guessing that the crowds are following different patterns.

Friday, January 14, 2005 2:13 PM
Knott's is never really that bad crowd-wise, except during haunt or special events. The longest I've ever waited for any ride was a 90 minute wait for Ghostrider on a Saturday afternoon.

I'd expect a moderatly long wait for Silver Bullet (45min or so) if your going on a weekend, the rest of the park should be a breeze.

If given a one park choice, I'd go with Knott's hand down. My one BIG problem with the park is some of their really stupid and inconsistant policies and safety precedures. I understand them, but that doesn't mean I have to like them. That said, I can't imagine you won't have a good time. *** Edited 1/14/2005 7:14:36 PM UTC by DWeaver***

Friday, January 14, 2005 3:29 PM
Hmmm.......where's the 90 freeway??'re right. It's the 91 Freeway, not the 90. FYI, there *is* a 90 Freeway in Los goes from the 405 to Marina del Rey. I travel it daily [which explains why I made the error] ;)


Friday, January 14, 2005 3:45 PM
When I was in L.A. last year I went out to MM over Knotts. I was so excited to ride X and Riddlers...

I'm still kicking myself in the butt for not going to Knotts instead. Hands down it was the worst park experience I've ever had, both ride wait times and major dissapoinment with the rides themselves. (that being X, but hey-just my opinion that it happens to be one of the worst coasters ever) We were there for roughly ten hours and we rode SIX rollercoasters.

Keep that in mind. Just because they have more coasters doesn't mean that you'll get the chance to ride them. Half of them were down, and the other half took 1 1/2-3 hours just to get on.

If I could do it over again I'd def. pick Knotts for the simple fact that I've never heard one bad review of the park itself, or its rides.


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