Knott's Berry Farm announces major changes for Camp Snoopy, Calico Mine Ride

November 19, 2013, 10:33 AM · Knott's Berry Farm today announced that it will revamp two of its iconic attractions for 2014, following a successful refurbishment of its Timber Mountain Log Ride earlier this year.

Calico Mine Ride

Knott's owner Cedar Fair again will contract with Garner Holt Productions to create new animatronic figures and show scenes for the Calico Mine Ride, another Bud Hurlbut classic. Knott's said in a statement, "The renovation of the iconic attraction includes the addition of over 50 new state-of-the-art animatronic figures, all new audio and theme lighting system, and special effects that will capture the imagination of would-be miners as they journey deep into the winding caverns of the attraction."

Garner Holt worked with Knott's on the refurbishment of the Timber Mountain Log Ride, which opened in late spring. The Calico Mine Ride will close in January to begin its refurbishment.

The park also will revitalize its first-in-the-industry themed children's play area — Camp Snoopy. Knott's said, "Thirty years ago the five-acre nature wonderland was created by the Knott family to be a carefree place where nature, adventure and imagination come to life, and in 2014 it will undergo a number of exciting updates including new rides and restoration of the entire area with the original inspiration in mind."

Camp Snoopy's lost much of its theming over the past decades, becoming more a seemingly random collection of off-the-shelf kiddie rides than a coherent wilderness-themed "place," as it once was before Silver Bullet consumed the park's lake, the Peanuts Playhouse went away and the Snoopy bounce house lost its Snoopy, among other changes in the land. There's no word in the Knott's press release if Camp Snoopy will close completely for its refurbishment, or, if so, when that would happen.

What would you like to see Knott's do to revitalize Campy Snoopy?

Replies (12)

November 19, 2013 at 10:55 AM · I hope that Knott's keeps the Huff 'n' Puff, which is a delightful, active-play attraction that fits with a wilderness theme. Other than that ride, though, everything else in the land could go and I wouldn't mourn the loss.

Camp Snoopy needs more Tom Sawyer Island-like play features, as well as better decoration throughout. In a perfect world, Knott's would find a way to recreate the lagoon, and bring back the boat ride. (I've written before that I'd be happy with Cedar Fair just sending Silver Bullet to another park.) Sierra Sidewinder's a fine coaster, but it doesn't fit Campy Snoopy. Lose that other kiddie coaster, too, and invest in a good Vekoma Junior.

Finally, Knott's needs to find a way to better incorporate the Peanuts characters. With the demise of newspapers and their comic sections, plus the lack of new material following Charles Schulz's death, Cedar Fair needs to find a way to make the Peanuts characters relevant to each new generation of kids who visits its parks.

November 19, 2013 at 11:31 AM · As a fan the Peanuts, I'm glad to see the theme is sticking around and, like Robert, really hope the Huff 'n' Puff train stays as well. As far as making Peanuts relevant to a new generation of kids, they will at least get some help in that regard in the short term thanks to 2015's *shudder* CG Peanuts film.
November 19, 2013 at 1:40 PM · I don't care much about segregated kiddie areas in theme parks, so the only thing I will say about Camp Snoopy is Knott's should break it up and spread the love throughout the park. Better yet, I would like Knott's to get rid of all the kiddie rides and replace them with whole-family experiences (a topic we discussed ad nauseam in a 2009 blog flume entry).

But the news that the Calico Mine Ride is getting a Timber Mountain style upgrade.... well, that news is awesome! Outside of the classic Disneyland attractions (like Pirates), Knott's Calico Mine Ride provided me with many of my earliest and fondest themed entertainment memories. In fact one of the main reasons my family did not go to Knott's during our recent SoCal adventures was because I did not want to see this classic attraction in its current, dilapidated state. If this refurb is as successful as what was accomplished for Timber MT, there is no doubt I will have to move up my time table for a repeat visit to SoCal - and this time Knott's will definitely be part of the adventure!

November 19, 2013 at 11:47 AM · Lately knotts has been putting all their attention into the kiddie rides and areas.. Pony express.. Serria sidewinder..
There last big coaster was silver bullet in 2004!
But camp snoopy does need a little revamp... I would love to see this rumored giga!
November 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM · The kids train needs more things to look at. The trip around the lake has nothing to see. It is quite a boring ride.

They need shade and better productions in the open air theater. They need staging and props. Most shows have one or two singers/dancers and the Peanuts characters. The shows is barebones. Nothing much to see.

They need a dark ride for the whole family. Much of Camp Snoopy is carnival type single loop rides. They go by quickly. I can't stand the noisy horn in the truck ride. Please remove the horns.

Expand Camp Snoopy to the Mexican area. Or perhaps incorporate more Snoopy into the Mexican area. Give the carousel the Peanuts treatment. Add snoopy to the family roller coaster.

November 19, 2013 at 2:42 PM · I've been expecting a Camp Snoopy refurbishment, but I didn't think it would be top priority (Fiesta Village needs work more than Camp Snoopy). It will be interesting to see what is done. I hope they don't go the route of other Cedar Fair parks and just add a few family-friendly flats to replace old kiddie rides and instead take the time and money to improve the theming quality while adding two or three worthwhile attractions (perhaps a new family coaster with a 36" min and no max to replace Timberline Twister, a small flume ride where the playhouse used to be, and new flats replacing Log Peeler and Red Baron that adults can ride). Also, Camp Snoopy won't completely close, as it would impact the park too much, but I wouldn't be surprised if sections were walled off in January and some attractions closed for a period of time.

The Calico Mine Ride refurbishment sounds like it will be really good. If it is anything like the Timber Mountain Log Ride refurbishment it could make the mine ride competitive with Disney's D-ticket dark rides. Too bad there's no news on a Windseeker replacement...I was hoping they might get a nice flat that actually works instead of leaving it a blank slate for 2014.

November 19, 2013 at 6:19 PM · These are my reactions to the announcement:

1) I'm glad that Knott's made this announcement about major refurbishments for the upcoming year in mid-November, instead of waiting until early January, like they did last year for the announcement of the Log Ride refurbishment. People who buy season passes should know what they are getting into, if a major attraction will be closed for half a year.

2) I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop on the Calico Mine Train Ride. Before the Log Ride reopened, Knott's management said that the Mine Train Ride would be next for a major refurbishment, if the Log Ride refub were successful. Garner Holt did a magnificent job on the Timber Mountain Log Ride, honoring the spirit of Bud Hurlbut's original design, so I'm looking forward to what they will do with the Mine Train ride. 

3) I've noticed unusually long lines for the Calico Mine Train Ride the last few times I've visited, with the queue coming out into the walkway. Not sure if it's spillover from the Log Ride next door, or if people wanted to experience the original attraction before a possible closure and refurbishment.

4) Have mixed feelings about the Camp Snoopy re-do. When our kids were younger, we enjoyed spending time there, and I still see families with younger children enjoying the various rides. At some level, I don't feel that it needs a big overhaul. 

It's true that you don't see many people there without younger children at Camp Snoopy. Would love to see a quality dark ride featuring the Peanuts characters, but that's probably hoping for too much. Robert Niles has suggested that it be more like Legoland, with interactive rides and attractions, but I kind of like it the way it is. Better theming would definitely be welcome, though.

November 19, 2013 at 11:22 PM · Happy that CMR is getting some love but I was hoping for a new dark ride announcement in the old Kingdom space. And maybe something about what's going to replace the Windseeker spot. As for a refreshed Camp Snoopy, eh. I'm not a big fan of segregated kiddy spaces either.
November 20, 2013 at 8:31 AM · I wrote yesterday, but here are some more thoughts on improving Camp Snoopy:

1. The outdoor theater where Peanuts shows play is a nice place to see a show, but it needs more shade, especially during the hotter months. Families with young children don't like sitting in the hot sun. Also, if I remember correctly, the floor of the seating area is flat. If there were a way to improve the sightlines for children, that would be a big improvement.

2. The ride experience is frustrating for many of the rides in Camp Snoopy because there is only a single operator for many of the rides, drastically increasing the wait times. I'm thinking of the Snoopy skateboard ride in particular, but many of the smaller rides as well. Who likes waiting 30-40 minutes for a 60-second ride? The park needs to put greater emphasis on the guest experience, instead of saving on labor costs.

3. It was a sad day for our family when we found the Peanuts Playhouse torn out a few years ago. While the maintenance was somewhat lacking, this was perfectly themed to the area, and a great addition to Camp Snoopy. Although the park promised it would be replaced by a new attraction, the space is still sitting vacant.

4. This year's spring event was fantastic, including the hunt for Easter eggs through the park, including in Camp Snoopy. Events like that really add value to our park experience and make us want to keep coming back.

November 20, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Knott's did an exceptional job with updating the Timber Mountain Log Ride, so I'm so pleased that they've decided to do the same to the Calico Mine Ride. These are "exceptional" theme park attractions and the upgrades are well deserved.

As for Camp Snoopy I'm a little surprised by some of the comments.

Clearly some of you don't remember the Camp Snoopy of the past or you wouldn't say that it doesn't need a big overhaul. It does!

Fiesta Village should not be touched. It's one of the areas of Knott's that still retains the charm of the past.

James Rao- have you been to Knott's? It sure doesn't seem so since the park has family rides throughout. Concentrated kids areas are no different than any other themed area at any other theme park. You seem to like the Disney parks, so why would you disapprove of this approach at other parks?

I too was sad to see the demise of the Peanuts Playhouse, but it's a sign of the times. Attractions like this are becoming rare in deep pocket corporate parks due to liability and accessibility issues. Some of the blame lies on the overreaching ADA laws. Don't take that the wrong way. It's nice to be accommodating, but the laws have gone too far and are too restrictive. Disney, for example, couldn't built any of the intimate dark rides found in Fantasyland at Disneyland today.

Features I'd like to see return to Camp Snoopy are the suspended bridges that use to cross over the walkways. One used to connect with the former Playhouse. I can't recall if the barrel bridges still exist, but they were just another part of the overall ambiance. Unfortunately, some of the charm will never be recovered because of Sierra Sidewinder, but much can be done.

I agree with someone's comments about more shade for the theater. Why not build a shade structure over it?

Lastly, the megacoaster is dead for Knott's. The park is clearly and rightfully repositioning itself as a family theme park. It makes sense to go after this market with Disney down the road Knott's is not a mecca for super sized roller coasters. The last major coaster addition that benefited the park was GhostRider and while Xcelerator and Silver Bullet are great rides they didn't move the needle in terms of attendance or appeal.

November 20, 2013 at 5:12 PM · @Eric Been a long time, but yeah, I've been there. And feel free to click on the link I provided in my post to read a variety of opinions for and against segregated kids areas at amusement / theme parks.
November 23, 2013 at 10:35 AM · I'm thinking the Camp Snoopy refurbishment won't be that big since there were no details but I hope I'm wrong.

I agree that Huff 'n Puff is about the only thing I hope they don't remove. A solid dark ride would be great for Camp Snoopy!

I think Xcelerator and Silver Bullet are definitely bringing in some of the local crowd who wants some thrills. I wouldn't mind seeing that mega coaster in the future.

Lastly the Log Ride refurbishment exceeded my expectations and I'm excited to see the Mine Ride updates.

Is it Haunt yet? :)

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