We had a little bit of difficulty getting into the park because the gate attendants would not accept our Dorney Park passes for admission to the park, and instructed us to go to guest relations. Guest relations look at our passes and gave us a single day admission pass to the park, which we used to enter. It was a little strange, but we were beginning to worry as to whether Knott’s would honor our DP passes (We used them earlier this summer at Cedar Point without any trouble). Once in the park, we headed straight to Ghostrider. This was easily a top 5 wooden coaster in my book, despite being a little rough around the edges. The line was a little long at 40 minutes, but at least the coaster was running at full capacity (2 trains). It’s a shame that can’t be increased, because I’ve heard lines can really get out of control, especially during the Haunt. We began walking around the park taking in the atmosphere. This park has got to have the largest western themed section of any park in the world with about ¾ of the park getting the old west treatment. We walked all the way around to Xcellerator to find a surprisingly short line (10 minutes). We hopped on a blasted off. After riding Dragster earlier this year I was eager to compare it with the first Intamin rocketcoaster. I was impressed with the power of the launch, and the major difference between the 2 is that Dragsters launch is longer, but the acceleration felt about the same. It was a little surprising to see that Xcellerator launches right out of the station, instead of having a separate launch area like Dragster. I would have to agree with many that the two big wide turns are pretty silly, but don’t really detract from the experience. I would have to rank this ahead of Hypersonic XLC and right behind Dragster in my list of favorite launching coasters.
We were going to ride Supreme Scream, but only the downward thrusting towers were running, and I prefer the upward thrusting S&S towers. So we went over to one of the newest attractions, La Revolucion. This is an interesting little flat ride that starts slow, but when it gets going, it is very thrilling. We then took a ride on Montezooma’s Revenge, which turned out to be quite a ride. It was one of the first launching coasters on the planet, and will still pin you back in your seat. I was quite impressed with this little piece of coaster history. Jaguar, which goes right through Montezooma’s loop is a decent little family coaster, but nothing to go out of your way for with low speed dips and turns. We then hopped on the Calico Mine Ride, which was a real mine train! I had never been on an actual mine train before, and the script was kinda cute. We then went back around the park to take a ride on Boomerang, which is a nicely painted and maintained Vekoma boomerang shuttle. As with most Vekomas it was rough, but not as rough as some of the others I’ve been on. We took another spin on Xcellerator, and made one giant mistake…
I though Kingdom of the Dinosaurs looked pretty cool, and decided to get in line. It looked like your standard continuously loading dark ride, but a number of cars were not on the track, and instead of continuously loading, they had 3 sets of cars, two of which were loaded to minimize waiting while on the ride. The attraction itself was decent, but the way the attraction was loaded and run was irritating. After waiting nearly 45 minutes to get through the attraction, it was time to head back to the airport.
We really liked Knott’s, and wish we had made a little more time for the park. They have a good collection of rides for everyone in the family, and some really thrilling rides in Xcellerator and Ghostrider. With Silver Bullet coming in December 2004, Knott’s will be even better. The themeing in the park is really nice, but I was a little surprised by the amount of western themeing, and perhaps they should consider re-themeing some areas to diversify the themes.
Looking back on the 10 days in Southern California, it turned out to be a great trip. Even with the frustration at Magic Mountain, Southern California is quite a destination for theme park fans. The diversity of theme parks in Southern California is better than Central Florida, but the quality of the experience is off just a bit. It’s really hard to compare the theme parks in Southern California because they do all cater to different types of people, but all five parks have work to do to get better.
And Knott's has an EXCELLENT deal in January, 2004 (Jan 5th thru Feb 1st)... $12.95 per person, plus a can of food per person as a donation to the local food bank....
An excellent deal!!!!!
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Hollywood