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Knott's Announces 75th Anniversary Plans, Including Great Coasters International Rebuild for Ghostrider

November 3, 2015, 4:33 PM · Knott's Berry Farm today revealed more details about the Ghost Town renovations for its upcoming 75th anniversary.

The previously announced rebuild of the park's iconic Ghostrider roller coaster will be done by Great Coasters International, the wooden coaster specialists that built Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Thunderhead at Dollywood, and Prowler at Worlds of Fun. GCI will retrack the entire 4,533-foot coaster, eliminating the mid-course brake run and installing Millennium Flyer trains.

Millennium Flyer train
Rendering of the new Millennium Flyer train

Knott's next summer also will add interactive entertainment to the streets of Ghost Town.


Ghost Town Alive! will allow guests young and young at heart to live the west through inventive new ways to interact with characters and environments as each day, a different story will unfold throughout all of Ghost Town. From pledging one’s allegiance to notorious bandits, to saving the day alongside courageous cowboys, guests play an active role in shaping the events of the day. Every evening, the day’s story culminates with a town wide celebration of 75 years of Calico....

Select peek-ins will be transformed into authentic working establishments, and guests will be welcomed to step inside. At the Barber Shop, guests can walk in and meet Calico’s trusted barber who’s rife with town gossip. In the Sheriff’s office, guests can try their luck at a game of cards with the sneaky Sheriff and other Calico townsfolk. Here, guests can also decide whether they join the lawmen to hunt down the bandits or choose the criminal life and end up with their face on a handmade wanted poster. In the heart of Ghost Town, the Barn will close on April 4, and when it reopens for Ghost Town Alive!, it will have been transformed into a working horse stable where guests can visit with Calico’s friendly equestrian team.

Finally, the park will close Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant on January 4 for an extensive refurbishment, including the replacement of all furniture, flooring, lighting, and decor. The project will preserve the original "tea room," while splitting the main dining room into two new dining areas. In addition, Knott's will add an outdoor dining patio to the restaurant and replace the Garden Room will a full-service bar. The new restaurant will open sometime in the spring, although the take-away window will remain open during the renovations.

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Replies (10)

November 3, 2015 at 6:04 PM · All sounds good. More moving in the right direction. Good to see the new people in charge doing things like this.
November 3, 2015 at 6:41 PM · Given that next year will be dominated by Harry Potter in Southern California and therefore opening a major new attraction may backfire, I think Knott's has gone with the perfect addition for 2016. Ghost Town is really where the theme park began and this refurbishment should make it better than ever. In addition, GhostRider was a top ten wood coaster when it opened and after this refurbishment it may be California's best wooden coaster again. Assuming everything lives up to what is promised, Knott's should be even better next year and definitely worth a day for any theme park fans planning So Cal trips.
November 3, 2015 at 6:46 PM · Don't forget the refurbishment of the Calico Saloon, the construction of a new stage where the Screamin' Swing was formerly located (and before that, the beloved Haunted Shack), and the creation of a new park area where the stage is currently located.

Admittedly, the big news is the details of the Ghost Rider refurbishment and the new interactive entertainment coming to Ghost Town. If anyone has been to Knott's during the holiday season (Knott's Merry Farm) or, to a limited extent, the summer or even ridden the steam engine train, the live actors portraying period characters is what Knott's does really well.

Lots of longtime fans were probably hoping for a return of the Haunted Shack attraction, and it's too bad Knott's couldn't find a way to bring that back.

I'm curious to see if the new interactive entertainment will last throughout the year, and what extras Knott's might bring during the summer and holidays, their two busiest seasons.

November 3, 2015 at 9:22 PM · All great news. Especially excited by the restaurant renovation. The food is good yet the place just felt rundown. There's definitely a way to celebrate what started it all and refresh the space so it feels fresh, clean and still classic and charming.
November 3, 2015 at 9:39 PM · I'm disappointed they aren't updating the surrounding stores and fast food dining areas next to the chicken restaurant. They are so old and unappealing. The whole Knott's complex has many problem areas. Another major problem is getting to the parking lot. The access point from the underpass should have been retired long ago. Drivers should go direct to the east Beach Blvd lot.
November 4, 2015 at 12:11 AM · Does that mean a ride on Ghost Rider will no longer be a trip through the torture chamber? My bones are still sore from the last time...
November 4, 2015 at 8:57 AM · I have to ask, why change the name? I don't see anything wrong with the name "Ghost Town." And is there really going to be a new storyline everyday, or is there going to be a cycle of stories through each days? For example is there a story for each day of the week? If it is literally a new story every single day, then they might eventually run out of ideas. Aside from those two nitpicks, this all sounds awesome. Definitely making me put Knott's on my bucket list.
November 4, 2015 at 6:50 PM · Just bought a 2016 pass based on this info. Hope not too much is closed...
November 5, 2015 at 1:58 PM · Way to go, Knotts! Keep up the good work. Now, let's bring back the Haunted Shack.
November 5, 2015 at 8:39 PM · Knotts raises the bar once again. I can't wait to return.

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