Knott's Berry Farm has implemented two big new admission policy changes for this year's Knott's Scary Farm event. So how did they go?
Knott's has applied its weekend chaperone policy to all nights of Knott's Scary Farm this year. That means that all attendees under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult age 21 or older, who must stay with their minors at all times during the event. Each chaperone may accompany no more than four younger guests.
In addition, Knott's is banning all purses, bags, and backpacks larger than 6.5” x 4.5” x 2” during Knott's Scary Farm. That's about half the size of a standard sheet of paper, so most bags that people typically bring to theme parks will not be allowed under this new policy. All bags will be searched prior to entry, as well.
Invited reporters were exempt from the bag policy on Thursday night, so that we could bring in camera equipment. But filming in the mazes will not be allowed any other night of Knott's Scary Farm, and the park is banning all "unsolicited photographing or video recording that disrupts a guest’s experience or interferes with park operations," throughout the park.
The bag policy should help further dissuade any parents of small children tempted to bring their kids to Knott's Scary Farm that this is not an event for them. If Knott's wants to keep contraband out of the park, a bag policy alone won't accomplish that, however, since many fans have learned over the years how to smuggle, uh, party supplies into an event without needing to carry them in a bag.
Later in the season, Knott's bag policy might also help bring jackets tied around your waist or sweaters tied around your shoulders back into fashion, since no one will be able to bring them into the park in a bag to put on later in the evening. But for now, with nighttime temperatures remaining warm, that's not an issue. As for other needs - such as phones and chargers, medications, and sanitary products - consider yourself warned in advance so that you will have time to gather a compliant bag to bring to the park.
As for the chaperone policy, that's led to smaller and more orderly crowds on recent weekend evenings at Knott's. At Scary Farm, the opening night seemed quieter than in past years, but a Thursday opening might have done as much to keep school-aged children away as the chaperone policy did. Without many teens present, a few older guests did step up to ensure that event did not go without selfish... obstacles. But they remained by far the minority among an enthusiastic crowd of Scary Farm fans.
Still, Knott's chaperone policy is a gut punch for young theme park fans who always behave themselves but can't always convince an adult to buy a ticket and come along with them. I remember how I discovered so much about and fell in love with theme parks wandering around them on my own as a teenager. It hurts me to think that a new generation of potential fans might not have that same opportunity.
But I also understand why Knott's parent Cedar Fair made the decision that they did. Knott's had become a target for young idiots looking to stage social media fights, and that had to end. The parks have seemed to many guests to be better for that decision, and we soon will see if that extends to Knott's Scary Farm, as well.
For my review of this year's new mazes, please see my earlier post, Knott's Scary Farm Returns With Two Great New Mazes.
And for discounted tickets to Knott's Scary Farm, starting at $59, please visit our travel partner's Knott's Berry Farm tickets page.
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