Knott's Says Big Changes are Coming for GhostRider

August 19, 2015, 2:29 PM · Knott's Berry Farm announced today that it has ordered a "comprehensive restoration" for its once-lauded wooden roller coaster, GhostRider.


Park general manager Raffi Kaprelyan hinted at the news during the opening of Voyage to the Iron Reef last May, noting that next year is the 75th anniversary of the park's Ghost Town, where GhostRider is located. GhostRider will close September 8 and reopen sometime next year.

Opened in 1998, GhostRider is the longest wooden roller coaster on the west coast, at 4,533 feet. GhostRider once ranked as readers' favorite roller coaster on Theme Park Insider, but the coaster's rating has slid in recent years as the ride has become rougher and rougher. Knott's said today that it will reveal more information about the restoration in November, when it announces the plans for Ghost Town's 75th anniversary celebration. The park also said today that it will close the Screamin’ Swing upsell ride on September 8 as well, to clear space for coming Ghost Town improvements.

Over the past three years, Knott's has focused on its dark rides, opening Voyage of the Iron Reef this spring, and substantially upgrading the Calico Mine Ride and the Timber Mountain Log Ride in the two years before that with improvement animatronics, show lighting and special effects. Those moves have helped position Knott's more as a competitor with close neighbor Disneyland that with the regional iron parks against which its sibling Cedar Fair theme parks typically compete.

Replies (11)

August 19, 2015 at 2:53 PM · On a completely unrelated note, am I seriously the only TPI fan who listens to NPR? Robert, it was awesome to put a voice to your picture! And boy was this Star Wars fan-girl excited to hear them (and you) talking about the coming expansions at Disney properties as well as Universal.

It was a good morning to be listening to public radio!

August 19, 2015 at 7:15 PM · It was such a shame to have this deteriorate into its current brutal state. I look forward to wanting to ride it again.
August 19, 2015 at 9:07 PM · I highly recommend riding the silver train on GhostRider. In the last month, I have ridden in the front, middle, and back of the Silver Train, and each time I rode, the ride was very bearable. The only painful part of the ride was the section in between the main drop and the first airtime hill. However, the Gold and Bronze trains give pretty rough rides.
August 19, 2015 at 9:33 PM · When GhostRider opened, it was considered one of the top five wooden roller coasters in the entire world. While I still think it is a good ride, it has become a shadow of its former self. The coaster is rough, heavily trimmed, and just doesn't deliver that out of control ride it did when I first rode in 1999. I last rode in Spring 2015 and I doubt I will make a trip to ride again before the coaster goes down for renovation.

Despite what the ride has become, I am very excited for the future of this coaster. Knott's Berry Farm has absolutely nailed it with their previous four projects and I have no doubt that the GhostRider refurbishment will be another success. While the exact details of the project are unknown at this time, I speculate the park will have a company (probably GCI) tear up all of the track and rebuild it completely, then the ride will be given new trains that will cause less wear and tear than the PTC trains it currently uses. I am also extremely happy the ride will remain a wood coaster and not become the latest RMC conversion, as that should be reserved for coasters that need significant alteration in order to be exciting again. GhostRider is a very exciting coaster and the layout is about as perfect as you can get with a double out-and-back. It just needs to be restored to its opening day fancy inversions are needed.

August 19, 2015 at 11:05 PM · I rode it twice, and it beat me up both times. I was hanging on with a death grip, just hoping to get off the ride without too much pain in my bones. This thing is way too rough. I'll vote it "most overdue for a refurb".
August 20, 2015 at 6:50 AM · It still grinds my gears that this was closed on my (first) visit last year...
And I stayed at Knotts Hotel - it was mocking me every morning I opened the drapes! :-)
August 20, 2015 at 8:04 AM · The first and only time I rode Ghost Rider was 5 years ago. It was the first ride I got on at the park. I had a horrible headache after riding. It had to force myself on other rides just to get my money's worth and then left the park.
August 20, 2015 at 9:17 AM · This could be a tricky project. My hope would be that they simply do a traditional re-track and put on new trains. I don't think this should be an RMC, unless they're simply replacing the old track with the RMC I-track and installing their trains.
August 20, 2015 at 1:21 PM · WAYYY over due for refurb, i cracked a rib and my wife lost her glasses on the ride last week. the roughest woody i have ever been on. made me lose my interest in wooden coasters. maybe time for a Hybrid refurb ??
August 20, 2015 at 2:10 PM · Man what a bummer. All these years that I've been to the park or Knottscary farms, it was always closed. I have heard from numerous folks that it was rough and not a fun ride. But still just to ride it once would have been cool. I hope it gets a hybrid remake like Iran Rattler.
August 22, 2015 at 8:32 PM · This wasn't really a shocker to me. This ride was rough but it was my favorite woodie as I grew up. I have so many good memories with it. It was my first woodie I have ever ridden and, as of now, my latest. I have mix feelings about the restoration. We all may hope that RMC wont mess with it but it sounds like RMC is the obvious choice. I just hope it wont loose its wooden feel if RMC refurbishes it, but on the other hand, Knotts Berry Farm knows what they are doing. I have faith that Ghost Rider will be great again.

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