Back in April, I paid my first visit to Knott’s Berry Farm, a theme park located in Buena Park, California. Although I only spent about 5 hours there, I’d like to think I got a good feel for what the park had to offer. That said, I only rode a handful of the attractions there, due to rather long lines. If you’d like a complete run through of my day at Knott’s, you can check out the trip report here. Otherwise, let’s get on with this review.
As previously stated, Knott’s Berry Farm is located in Buena Park, which is only about 10 minutes away from Disneyland. It’s also about an hour away from Six Flags Magic Mountain, which means the park has a lot of competition on its hands. Luckily, I don’t think that’s much of a problem for Knott’s, as it sort of acts for this middle ground for people who might be bored by the more tame attractions at Disneyland, but aren’t quite ready to take on the world class thrills of Magic Mountain. That’s not saying that Knott’s is necessarily better than its competitors, but it definitely offers the most diverse collection of attractions than any other park in SoCal.
A large amount of those attractions were for everyone to enjoy. They had a rapids ride, log flume, an awesome Camp Snoopy kids area, and lots of other unique attractions. Although my families visit was primarily roller coaster-based, we did get a chance to try the Voyage to the Iron Reef, a 3D shooter dark ride. Although I’ve ridden Buzz Lightyear at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom, and Justice League at Six Flags Great America, I must say Voyage to the Iron Reef has become my new favorite shooting ride. The 3D effects were nicely balanced with a substantial amount of theming, which created an immersive experience that truly felt like an awesome underwater expedition. I really hope Cedar Fair will add other innovative rides like Voyage to their parks in the future.
As for roller coasters, the park has a substantial amount of thrills to keep enthusiasts entertained. They have an excellent top 3, made up by Ghost Rider (a monster wooden coaster), Silver Bullet (an inverted coaster), and Xcelerator (the best launch coaster I’ve ever ridden). In addition to these, they also have two more smaller launch coasters, and a number of other family coasters. This proves Knott’s really knows how to work with the small space they have to provide some of the best thrills possible.
This brings me to my next point: Knott’s is not a big park by any means. It’s essentially a small rectangle with attractions, shows, stores, and restaurants stuffed in every possible crevasse imaginable. I will admit, the strange size and shape of the park did give my family and I some trouble navigating the parks odd layout. At one point you had to walk under a tunnel to get to another area of the park, and it wasn’t very clearly labeled on the map. Finding some entrances for attractions was rather difficult as well, as the signs weren’t always in the most visible position (*cough* Silver Bullet *cough*). Overall the layout was manageable though, and the paths were very flat and walkable.
Knott’s might not be the easiest to get around, but it sure is beautiful. I was not expecting the level of theming that this park offered. The Ghost Town area was on par with Disney-level theming, maybe even above! Even in areas with not as much theming, such as the Boardwalk area, still had lots of trees and flora to make it very presentable. It seemed like everywhere you looked there was something interesting to see, which is a very good thing for a competitor of Disneyland to have.
Another thing I missed out on was the vast selection of dining at Knott’s. We were at the park during Boysenberry Festival, so the only food I got to try at the park was Boysenberry related. That said, Knott’s has tons of options for regular meals at the park. Although I missed out on the famous Knott’s chicken dinner, I think it’s safe to say almost any other review of Knott’s will tell you that the food there is amazing. As for Boysenberry Festival, the park has a number of different boysenberry treats to try. I tried a boysenberry float, which was the perfect treat for a hot day at a theme park. Other interesting boysenberry options they offered were boysenberry pizza, boysenberry wings, boysenberry soda, and even boysenberry ravioli. Everything sounded delicious, and I would love to go back again during this event to try more.
Overall, Knott’s Berry Farm excels in being both an enjoyable park for families, and a haven for thrill seekers. By mixing state of the art coasters and old-fashioned shows and attractions, the park has created a unique charm that I’ve never seen at any other park I’ve visited. You can go to Magic Mountain if you’re looking for an overwhelming amount of coasters, or Disneyland for an unforgettable, magical family experience, but only Knott’s will truly give you the best of both worlds. If you’re in the SoCal area, Knott’s Berry Farm is definitely a must-do park.