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'Pony Express' coaster to debut at Knott's Memorial Day 2008

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Published: November 6, 2007 at 10:34 AM

Well, now we know what all that construction in Ghost Town was for. Knott's Berry Farm confirmed today that it will debut a horse-ride-themed roller coaster, Pony Express, on Memorial Day weekend next spring.

The Zamperla design places riders on one of 16 "horses," which launch from zero to 38 mph in three seconds. The old west-themed coaster will take riders through a series of banked turns and hills over a 1,300-foot track.

Since you're riding a horse, don't expect inversions and other high-tech elements. But the theming on this one seems strong and it certainly sounds like a unique experience, one that should fit in well in this part of Knott's.

  • More: What's new or under construction for 2008 at top theme parks

  • Readers' Opinions

    From Eric Malone on November 7, 2007 at 5:32 AM
    I don't know about this one. When I think coasters, I don't think horses, and vice-versa. Will this one be any good? Guess we'll find out. Personally, a horse-themed ride, no matter how fast it launches, doesn't seem very.. interesting.
    From Leslie Sebby on November 7, 2007 at 9:11 AM
    Several years ago Knotts had a ride where people rode on horses. I think it was called "Steeplechase" or something similar. It was in the boardwalk part where everything had a 1920's theme. I thought it got taken down for safety reasons. I wonder if Knotts is just recycling that ride, but with an old west twist.
    From Robert Niles on November 7, 2007 at 10:16 AM
    Zamperla has been aggressively blending flat and track rides with roller coasters in recent years. (Such as the Survivor ride at Great America in San Jose.) So I'm envisioning this as a mash-up of a coaster with a track ride. Think Legoland's Royal Joust, on steroids.
    From Ted Heumann on November 7, 2007 at 11:04 AM
    It's about time that Knotts started remembering that they are a theme park and not a traveling carnival *cough* Cedar Point *Cough*.
    How can you be "America's 1st Theme Park" when all you have is unthemed painted steel coasters (unless orange is a theme?)?
    I USED to like Knotts before they decided that they wanted to be more like Magic Mountain and less like Disneyland. They USED to be a VERY unique theme park, with unusual attractions, like Kingdom of the Dinosaurs/Knott's Berry Tales, The Wacky Soapbox racers, the Haunted Shack, the Parachute ride, Mystery Lodge, an authentic reproduction of Independence Hall (which are both still there) and the ambiance of an authentic Ghost Town (whose sight-lines have been ruined by the previously mentioned UGLY coasters).
    One can only hope that some sanity will prevail at Knott's in the future. They can't be doing well, since they were offering DEEP discounts throughout the summer. Not something that you do during your high season if you are getting attendance.
    From Lynn Perry on November 7, 2007 at 11:22 AM
    This sounds like a "modern day" Steeplechase. Originally, Steeplechase was a ride at Coney Island when there were zero safety guidelines and you literally had to hold on for your life. I'm guessing this new take on a fast paced horse riding ride will actually consist of a safety seat on something that looks like a horse.
    From David Kirby on November 7, 2007 at 11:24 AM
    One of these rides has actually already been built. I believe it's in Europe somewhere but I'll have to double check that when I get a chance.
    From Adrienne McDonald on November 7, 2007 at 3:26 PM
    I believe the Steeplechase in England is at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I know there's a Steeplechase over there somewhere. Too bad they didn't do a horse theme 'booster bike' type coaster with horses rather than bikes. That wudda been kewl.
    From rafael g on November 7, 2007 at 5:39 PM
    knotts does not have that much land left, where are they building everything? i know they have some parking spaces accross the street.
    From Larry Zimmerman on November 7, 2007 at 7:12 PM
    If I were a liability lawyer, I'd have my business cards in a stack at the end of the queue.
    From Chris P. on November 7, 2007 at 7:43 PM
    Ummmm...people...this isn't a Steeplechase. This is a Zamperla MotoCoaster with horses instead of motor bikes
    From Kevin Palmer on November 7, 2007 at 8:08 PM
    This sounds like a boosterbike, just by Zamperla and with horse-themed cars instead.
    From Rob P on November 9, 2007 at 2:53 AM
    Seems like a lot of negativity out there.

    I think that the "horse" theming is very much in keeping with Knotts and I wish it well.

    I like to ride the odd coaster or two but theme parks aren't just about thrill rides are they ?

    I agree with the contributor who said that they thought the sightlines at Knotts had been compromised by ugly steel coasters. I liked to go there and immerse myself in it's Western theming.

    They are obviously reacting to falling attendances by reducing high peak admission prices but I don't subscribe to this " kick-em-while -they're down" attitide.

    I want Knotts to be there for me when I want to visit and I, for one, wish them every success with any initiative to keep their Park alive.

    From Claudine Deshaies on November 8, 2007 at 4:28 PM
    I was really trying to get an idea what the coaster would look like from that article, but couldn't. Thanks to the person that mentioned the Moto Coaster. I looked it up on YouTube and now it all makes sense.
    Not a thrill ride, but looks like fun!

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