At Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., there are several new reasons to hang out at the classic park – including the introduction of the first dive coaster on the west coast, HangTime.
According to Knott’s public relations staff, HangTime takes riders zooming up a vertical lift hill, where they pause for several seconds and then shoot straight into a 15-story, 96-degree drop, the steepest in the state. With some 2,189 feet of track and five inversions, the new coaster is just the second roller coaster in the Western hemisphere and the only one in California with a negative-g stall loop. As a note, the other coaster with a negative-g stall is located in Iowa at Adventureland Park. The coaster sits an impressive 150-feet above the ground and features a 96-degree drop. At night, bright LED lighting from the ride shines through Knott’s Boardwalk area and creates vibrant illumination on the ride. Day or night, the track itself disappears in front of riders, creating the sensation that the rider is suspended over the edge of a cliff.
Excited yet? Park staff relates that the ride also travels up to 57 miles per hour, and the moments when the train comes to a halt at the top peak leaves riders literally suspended at the crest staring down at a 60-degree angle. There’s plenty of wow and anticipation packed into the ride, with five different inversions defying gravity.
HangTime is nothing if not innovative, which as an outgrowth of Knott’s long history with roller coasters is not surprising. The park premiered the first corkscrew inversion coaster at the park in 1975, and in 1978, opened Montezooma’s Revenge, the first fly wheel launch coaster. HangTime is a cutting edge coaster for today’s generation of riders, with a height requirement of just 48 inches, the vivid night track with chase lighting, and a terrific view of the park from the ride.
And the ride also offers a perfect-for-SoCal motif: a surfing theme that fits the illusion of riding an enormous wave along the steel track.
HangTime isn’t the only reason to spend a day “hanging around” Knott’s theme park, though. After being closed for a year, staff reports that the Sky Cabin re-opened in February. The classic ride is 300-feet tall, and was the tallest spot in town when it first opened in 1976. The ride may no longer be the tallest structure, but it hasn’t lost its retro appeal. Riders are placed inside a round, revolving room that goes up and down the inner tower. The view is a panoramic 360-degrees, and the inside of the sky cabin has been sleekly renovated. There’s new lighting inside the tower, the cabin’s windows have been replaced, and new floors, interior paint, and siding add to the appeal – as well as air conditioning, which makes the vast view even more enticing on a hot summer day.
The park's new interactive summer story of the Wild West, Ghost Town Alive! is another addition worth remarking on at the park this season. Last year, the story line ended with discovered gold inside the Calico Mine. Guests can step into the action with cowboys, shopkeepers and other townsfolk in a scenario that’s suitable for all ages to participate. The interactive attraction takes place only during the summer months at Knott’s, and changes annually. This year’s story takes on gold fever as everyone in the town of Calico sets out to find their fortune.
In 2017, the park received an award for this innovative and immersive adventure from the international Themed Entertainment Association. Ghost Town Alive! was the recipient of the Award for Outstanding Achievement, in part because the attraction allows families to work together within the experience, making the story’s fantasy into a real-life memory at the park.
Knott’s is 77-years young according to PR staff, and has expanded greatly since the days in which Walter Knott and his wife Cordelia set out to construct a fun, small diversion for guests waiting to be served Cordelia’s chicken dinner. It was the Ghost Town that started it all, but food was the original focus, and even today dining options don’t disappoint. One popular choice for guests is the All-Day Dining Plan, a $31.99 addition to park admission that allows guests to enjoy an entrée and a side at any of 16 participating locations throughout Knott’s Berry Farm or Knott’s Soak City Waterpark.
Along with the wide collection of roller coasters and other rides, the park offers themed activities that run throughout this year as well. Knott’s Spooky Farm and Knott’s Merry Farm both offer daytime-hours of family fun during October weekends and the holiday season respectively. Knott’s Scary Farm promises fresh evening thrills and scares for teens and adults during the Halloween season.
There are two new summer shows running June 9 through August 19th at the park. Beach Blanket Beagle takes place in Camp Snoopy, at the Charles M. Schultz Theatre. It’s a musical dance party that’s set to surf and beach tunes from the 60s and 70s, with Snoopy leading the way in a show that features an indoor rain storm and fire dancers.
The music filled Calico’s Mountain Jamboree takes place at the Calico Mine Stage, and is a rollicking presentation that pits the Timber Mountain Loggers against the Calico Miners in a competition of dancing, stunts, and music.
And Camp Snoopy gives kids the chance to really camp out this August 25th and 26th when families can participate in the park’s annual Coaster Campout. The event, which costs $250 for a family of four, benefits the Boys & Girls Club of America. Attendees get to camp overnight at the Park Pavilion Picnic Center at Knott’s, and receive two days’ admission to Knott’s Berry Farm and its sister waterpark, Soak City. Campers set up in the early evening; and while Knott’s closes at 10 p.m., there’s also entertainment in the camping area until 11. The next morning, breakfast and a wake-up call from Snoopy start the day; campers visiting Knott’s will be let in early to the Camp Snoopy and Fiesta Village areas.
Individual Knott’s Berry Farm tickets cost $50 online, and $82 at the park; a regular season pass is $113.00 for 2018.