TR: Knott's - April 9th, 2005

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Hey everyone!

So this weekend we were at Knott's with Bethany and Dallas. Before I get into my trip report, here is a little disclaimer:

Over the past 3 years I've been talking about how the overall service of Knott's has been on a rapid decline. Every time Robb or I would post something we would get flamed for my opinions of how "wrong" we were about how the park is being run.

So, in an effort to not sound like I am 'whining' and to be able to come out of the park with a better report, I've realized that I have to lower my expectations of the park. So, in years past what I would expect and get from Knott's would be the following:

- Fast, efficient park operations.
- Friendly, caring staff.
- Rides opening with the park with limited downtime.
- Well behaved, mannerful crowds
- A good selection of rides that everyone in our family could ride.
- A nice, "hassle free" family oriented "theme" park.

Today, going into the park, I have lowered those expectations to the following:

- Slower, less efficient park operations.
- The occasional friendly, caring staff member.
- Rides not opening on time and several rides broken for whatever reason.
- Unruly crowds.
- Thrill ride after thrill ride with many older rides either closed or with taller height restrictions creating a "Teenage Amusement Park" feel and less of a "Family Theme Park" feel.
- But yet, still a selection of good quality rides, just fewer that my family can ride together.

So going in with that in mind, our day was actually pretty good. I got exactly what I expected, nothing more, and nothing less.

We got to the park about 10 minutes after opening and went straight over to XLR8R to see if Dallas would be tall enough. He still has at least another inch to go, but he didn't mind too much if the rest of us rode, so we took turns hanging out with Dallas. There wasn't anyone guarding the front of the queue like there normally is telling us that Dallas couldn't wait in the line with us, so he was actually very excited just to see the station on watch the ride go close up.

XLR8R, IMO is still a top caliber ride. The launch is better than TTD and Storm Runner, and the drop out of the top had reminds me a LOT of Expedition GeForce. Overall, Storm Runner holds my vote as the best Intamin rocket coaster, but this ride gets top nods also!

We wandered around the Roaring 20's area (or whatever they are calling it these days) to see Riptide broken down, Kingdom of the Dinosaurs now permanently closed, and Supreme Scream running only one tower.

We decided we'd check the line for Revolution since it was still early and the crowds didn't seem to make it back to that area yet. It was welcoming to see that the wait only a two cycle wait...but we forgot that this wasn't the 'old days' of Knott's and it wouldn't be until 25 minutes later that we would get off the ride. Why....WHY does it take them 10 minutes to load and unload?!?! It's a good ride, but the load/unload times are just insane.

Next up was Montezuma’s...again, only a two train wait, but it took 20 minutes because the ride ops would stand around and talk, disappear into the break room, wait until the very last minute to check lap bars and do it as though they were in Matrix Bullet Time. Again, GREAT ride, but a painful experience to get on it.

We decided we would walk over and check out the Screamin' Swing since that only had a 48" height restriction and it was one of the few rides in the park that Dallas could actually ride. We paid our $20 so we could all ride and the kids LOVED it! I mean, it IS a good ride, it's just not worth paying for it each time. IMO it's a PERFECT "county fair" type of ride, but not a ride that belongs in a full-sized amusement park. It's not thrilling enough (like a Skycoaster) to be an upcharge, and it's too low capacity to be free. I guess this is why parks like Thorpe Park are getting the high capacity, non-upcharge version.

We checked the line for GhostRider had posted a wait time of 90 minutes, Silver Bullet was about 45 minutes and since Dallas couldn't ride that, and none of us feel it's worthy of waiting, we decided we would head out of the park for lunch.

By this point, we had only been in the park about two hours, and because of the poor, or I should say "typical" operations, we only managed to get on 4 rides, each of which didn't really have that big of a line.

We were all hungry so time for food across the street.

Off to Claim Jumper we go! I actually tried new food there....AND LIKED IT!!!!!

We needed to kill a couple of hours so we opted to head down to "Lucky Strike Bowling" over at The Block in Orange County since we'd heard so much about this place. Overall, it was a nice bowling alley, but we had one experience that made us never want to return again.

Our lane was next to this kid and his dad. When we first showed up, the dad was there and sat a pizza and a drink down on the table. We didn't think anything of it, but we had realized about 20 minutes into playing that the dad had completely disappeared!!! And on top of it, the kid was completely unruly as he was sitting on the ball machine, sliding around all over the place, and kept taking Dallas' ball! WTF?!?! We finally went to the front desk and said there was this unruly kid, completely unattended by an adult. We were told "Oh, that's the manager's son....the manager can see him from the office and will come out if he's doing anything wrong." We told him what the kid was up to and we were then told " it gets worse...let us know."

I wish I would have known that "Babysitting" was part of the $47 we paid to bowl. Had I known, we would have taken our money elsewhere, which is indeed what we will be doing next time. Be sure to check out the photos of the kid on the update! =)

Anyway, we wandered around The Block a bit since none of us had ever been there before. It's a really nice place just down the road from Downtown Disney. There's a Dave & Busters there, the bowling alley of bad management, a skate park, and lots of shops and things to do. Highly recommended if you're looking to kill a couple hours away from a busy So Cal amusement park!

We headed back to Knott's to find it even busier than when we left. But we did manage to get on Jaguar (why, oh, WHY do they have that stupid sweater rule?!?!?) and then the kids wanted to ride the Swing one more time.

We finally left and overall had an 'ok' time at Knott's. The park does have a good selection of rides in their current offering, but it's depressing to see them taking away or modifying so many height restrictions making it less of a "family" ride. At one point, a child of 42" could go on almost ALL of the "full sized" rides they had to offer (Soap Box Racers, Parachutes, Jaguar, Wipeout, Big Foot Rapids, etc, etc.) Today, there are very few 42" rides outside of Camp Snoopy, and they keep removing the 'family' rides. Haunted Shack, Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, etc, etc...Even 48" rides are few and far between now.

It's really kind of a shame, but this is the direction the park has chosen to go in. Oh, well.

Robb has posted photos from our trip. I'm not going to post the link here because I don't want to upset anyone.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

eightdotthree's avatar
Why would posting a link to photos upset anyone?
Robb has been told not to post links to our site on this board and out of respect for the owners wishes, we will not do so.

*** Edited 4/11/2005 5:15:50 PM UTC by SharkTums***

What happened to Elissacrophobia? :-O
Knott's seems to be unusual even for CF parks in its raise-the-stick mentality. For example, their scrambler is 48" straight, compared to CP's 36" w/chaperone. My kids, who *love love love* the CP scrambler (even with it's aborted ride cycle) were quite disappointed to be relegated to the log peeler.

On the other hand, it seems as though this is not just a Knott's phenomenon. Another TR bemoaned the increases in PKI's height limits.

When the revolution comes, the risk-management lawyers will be first against the wall.

I hear you and feel for you on the shifting height requirements.

Da Midget is hardly a Midget any more...but the local Enterprise was her favorite spin-and-spue in '03--then they jumped the height requirement by half a foot for '04. Not a good time...and not the first time it's happened at a CF park, either.


NOTE: Severe fecal impaction may render the above words highly debatable.

Da Midget is hardly a Midget any more...but the local Enterprise was her favorite spin-and-spue in '03--then they jumped the height requirement by half a foot for '04. Not a good time...and not the first time it's happened at a CF park, either.

Interesting. I didn't realize things like that were going on at other Cedar Fair parks also.

Knott's really has done a great job of converting itself from a "family" park to an "adult" park with a nice kids area. It's not the direction I personally would have wanted, but it's what they seem to be after and they have suceeded.

Going to the park today, a child of 42" can only ride the following rides that are outside of Camp Snoopy:

Calico Mine Train
Timber Mountain Log Ride
Dragon Swing
Tea Cups
Sky Cabin
Bumper Cars

In less than ten years Knott's has either raised the height restrictions of several rides, or have removed family rides all together. Previous to all the changes, a child of 42" could ride all the above rides AND the following attractions:

Wacky Soap Box Racers
Big Foot Rapids
Parachute Sky Jump
Kingdom of the Dinosaurs
Falling Star
Gasoline Alley
Greased Lighting

And not to forget the removal of other family friendly attractions like Haunted Shack.

While they have added a number of kid-friendly attractions in Camp Snoopy, which is GOOD, by doing so they have also created very segregated sections of the park where it's fairly difficult to take a kid into the 'adult' area and find much for them to do. And most of the rides in Camp Snoopy you can't ride 'together', you have to watch your child ride.

So they've gone from a park where a family could ride the majority of the park's offerings together, to a park that forces families with small kids to stay in one location or split your family up.

It's like I said in the trip report, it's a shame the park had decided to go in this direction, but what are you going to do, really? There's always Disneyland right down the street. :P

Perhaps they're ceding the dark ride and family experience thing to the Mouse. I dunno. I suppose you can only do so much with a park that's even smaller than VF.

There's at least 5 VF rides with creeping height restrictions since I've been taking Da Babies (Scrambler, Enterprise, Northern Lights, Flying Trapeze, Wheel of Fortune) and this isn't even a park with much ride turnover. To their credit, they have at least added a family coaster.

As for Da Midget? She fought back the only way she could...growing an outrageous inch and a half in two month's time. Take that, pole boy! And much Happy Dancing ensued.


NOTE: Severe fecal impaction may render the above words highly debatable.

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