When Knott's Berry Farm almost became a Disney park

August 11, 2016, 9:45 PM

If you liked the YouTube video on Disneyland's canceled Westcot project we linked last month, here's the follow-up - on the time that Disney almost bought Knott's Berry Farm and turned it into Disney's America.

What do you think? Did the Knott family make the right decision to sell to Cedar Fair and not to Disney?

Replies (9)

August 11, 2016, 11:45 PM

I feel like Knott's lost some of its charm after it was sold, but Cedar Fair kept the majority of the general aspect of Knott's. Even though Cedar Fair ended up changing Knott's more than Disney would have changed it in the original plans, I feel Disney would have renovated it further and further and made it more Disney-esque. I'm glad Disney never bought it though, I love how easy it is to Park Hop from DL to DCA due to proximity.

Edited: August 12, 2016, 11:05 AM

I felt the Knott family made the right choice to preserve the character of the park and preserve the family's legacy. Unfortunately, it also shows Cedar Fair's lack of resources since the park isn't in the best shape for many years after their ownership. Even today, many attractions haven't been upgraded. They made a poor decision to add the tall tower swinging chair ride that was later dismantled. Iron Reef was a good choice to replace a previously closed Dinosaur attraction, but reliability was poor and somehow LEGOLAND gotten a better version of the same ride system for its Ninja ride that opened a year later. The chicken restaurant was upgraded, but none of the nearby stores in the marketplace was upgraded. Overall, the park still needs much improvement. It needs to mimic Universal Studios by having a year round haunt attraction either as a ride or walk through. Overhauling aging attractions needs to be on its priority list (too numerous to list). I do love it's boysenberry festival and holiday ice shows.

August 13, 2016, 11:28 AM

Knott's has more expansion and improvements coming. I think you'll like it.

Edited: August 13, 2016, 3:04 PM

If you asked me this question in the 2000s, I would have said the Knott family should have sold to Disney. Now, however, I have much more confidence that the current Cedar Fair management knows Knott's is not Cedar Point west and intends to make it the greatest regional theme park in the country. In fact, I was just there a couple days ago with a couple friends from Florida who are visiting California for the first time, and they thought a lot of the park's themed attractions were only a small step below the average Disney E-ticket. The improvements made over the last several years are extremely impressive, and seeing the direction Disney is going I don't feel they would remain committed enough to the Disney's America idea to avoid ruining the uniqueness of the park. I also feel that, for a number of reasons, Disney California Adventure (in its current iteration) is a much better second park for the Disneyland Resort, and had Knott's been purchased by Disney that park would not likely exist.

August 13, 2016, 4:36 PM

I overall would rather have seen it been sold to Herschend. Althougth I defenitly think that Cedar Fair was the best choice for a middle park from Disney and SFMM. Herschend is the company that does awesome theming, food, and shows, but they do all that while still adding major additions and awesome coaster *cough* Outlaw Run *cough* every year in every park

August 13, 2016, 6:21 PM

I still think that Disney should have kept the Queen Mary and built DisneySea for its second gate, but that's just because I want a version of Tokyo DisneySea close enough to me that I can drive to it.

Love what CF has done with Knott's the past four years, though I'm disappointed that they're taking a year off next year to work on the water park, instead (since I don't care about water parks).

August 13, 2016, 8:14 PM

AJ, you say often that you've never been to Florida. And your friends from Florida just made their first trip to California. Did you all live in another place at some time, such as being classmates elsewhere? What was your local park back in the day before you moved to California? I guess my local park was King's Island, though it was about 3 hours away.

Anyway, as to Disney's Knott's Berry Farm...if that would mean no California Adventure, I'm glad they didn't sell to the mouse. However, Disney would probably have still used that land for something...eventually. Maybe expand Disneyland and add another on-site hotel? I have no idea.

I don't think it makes any sense for Disney or Universal to have two parks in the same city or region unless they are sister parks like UOR and DLR. That's how it must be done in this day and age, I believe.

Here's to hoping Knott's gets the upgrades and financial infusion it deserves! I've only been one time, and only remember Snoopy and Ghost Rider. And that other generic looping coaster that goes forwards and then backwards.

Edited: August 13, 2016, 9:47 PM

Gabriel, I have lived in Orange County, CA for my entire life. However, I have a lot of friends from all over the country and even from international destinations. For a few years, I did organized theme park tours with a group called Theme Park Review. These tours consisted of a group of 50-100 enthusiasts traveling around a region of the country for a week or two and visiting all the parks in that region. By doing several of these tours, I've managed to visit every major park on the East Coast and a majority of those in the Deep South and MidWest. On these tours, I met numerous people, and some of us have remained in regular contact through Facebook or other means. As I particularly enjoy visiting my local parks with first time visitors, in the event that any of my friends come out to California I make a point to visit the parks with them and show them around (provided I can go, of course). It can give a new perspective on a park I've visited numerous times over 20+ years, and sometimes I'm reminded of things I've previously overlooked.

August 14, 2016, 7:57 AM

Though hindsight is 20/20, I think Knotts has the market of the "best of both worlds" parks. It has some of the theming and dark rides like Disney or Universal, but is not afraid of a good ol roller coaster like Six Flags

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