Knott's Berry Farm honors its history in reopening the refurbished Calico Mine Ride and Camp Snoopy
Published: June 12, 2014 at 1:00 PM
Bud Hurlbut in 1960. Photo courtesy Knott's
But even masterpieces need a little TLC now and then. Last year, Knott's owner Cedar Fair brought in Garner Holt Productions to refurbish Hurlbut's Timber Mountain Log Ride with modern animatronics and lighting. The work breathed new life into the experience, allowing young (and new) theme park fans to better understand why a previous generation fell in love with the Log Ride.
This year, Knott's turned its attention down the pathway in Calico Square, bringing back Garner Holt Productions to refurbish Hurlbut's original masterpiece, the 1960 Calico Mine Ride.
The Calico Mine Ride in the 1960s. Photo courtesy Knott's
The Calico Mine Ride elevated "dark rides" beyond flat tracks in boxy rooms filled with painted cutouts. Hurlbut built a mountain for his Mine Ride, then sent ore-car trains deep within it, where they would see and hear three-dimensional, life-sized miners working in a practical, three-dimensional "underground" space. As Garner Holt said during today's reopening ceremony, kids then really did believe they were going through an authentic mine — Hurlbut's work was so convincing.
The latest refurbishment should rekindle that sense of awe. No, there's no movie-franchise IP here. But with state-of-the-art animatronics, clear new audio, fresh lighting, and even some nifty special effects enlivening an already-engaging setting, Knott's Calico Mine Ride should regain its old — and rightful — position as one of the world's leading dark rides.
Let's take a ride:
Knott's also today honored another of its past innovations upon the 30th anniversary of the opening of Camp Snoopy, the first themed children's land in a theme park. Cedar Fair has shown its TLC for this land over the past months, too, with new decor, surfacing, and fresh landscaping throughout, plus three new kiddie rides for families to enjoy. Here are some video highlights from this morning's opening ceremony, as well as shots of the new attractions in the land:
In addition to the area improvements, here is what's new in Camp Snoopy:
- A new shade structure over the Peanuts Theater
- Removed GR8 SK8 for a larger character meet-and-greet area
- Refurbished Grizzly Creek Lodge restaurant
- Additional Peanuts characters on the Grand Sierra Railroad
- Replaced the old Speedway ride with Linus Launcher
- Replaced the Snoopy bounce house with Charlie Brown's Kite Flyer
- Replaced Log Peeler with Pig Pen's Mud Buggies
I especially liked the "flipbook"-style effect on the top panels of the new Kite Flyer waveswigner ride, which animate the "kite-eating tree" at work. It's a little touch — one that many visitors won't notice — but that's the type of extra detail that long has distinguished the leading parks in the industry.
And that's not all. In his remarks at the reopening of Camp Snoopy, Knott's Vice President and General Manager Raffi Kaprelyan promised "more interactive and cutting-edge fun in 2015" in the park's Boardwalk, the site of three new family rides last year, as well as one underutilized old dark ride building that's just begging for a new attraction. Could that be the site of Kaprelyan's promise?