Happy Friday everybody and welcome to our yearly review of Knott's Scary Farm.
This years event is a bit unique in that, well, it was completely dead (pun intended) the two nights we attended the event last weekend. This is due to the new Chaperone Policy and the extremely low numbers of Knott's Scary Farm Passes. I don't personally think the bag policy has anything to do with it.
However, they have revamped the chaperone policy a bit for this weekend, let's see if it helps bring in more guests, or we'll see some other changes next week I'm sure.
As for this years event, we were once again not a part of the media events at the park (as last year), but to us that doesn't really matter. We like to give you our honest view of events whether we are invited or not.
Thankfully, due to a happy accident, we were able to actually do our yearly maze videos which we'll display below. But first, let's jump right in and talk about the two new mazes, Grimoire and Bloodlines 1842.
Armed with the latest Bellatorian weaponry, you can choose to heed the call to action and embark on a perilous journey with the immortal Daybreakers. Travel through the busy city streets of Valdonia while hunting the bloodthirsty Valhymphri in an all-out war. Bring light into the darkness, survive the vicious onslaught of vampires, and bring honor to your order!
Located in the former location of Paranormal Inc, the newest vampire maze at Scary Farm is visually stunning. Maybe one of the most visually stunning mazes at Scary Farm.
Unfortunately, a maze that would easily be a B+ if it was a typical maze walk-through, is probably a solid D with the gun gimmick, which has no place in a Vampire maze.
You are simply hustled through the maze far too quickly to appreciate the awesome work the set designers did here, it's confusing which Vampires you are actually supposed to shoot, as with Infected the guns don't always work, and at the end of the maze you have no idea what your score even is.
Throw in a long pre-show that kills capacity and half of the maze talent basically telling you to hurry, and there you have it. Sadly, many of us saw this coming when they announced they were moving the guns here.
I have to be honest, I really don't know how long the guns will last here, perhaps through the end of this season, but I would be surprised to see them back for 2023. If they felt they needed to use the Guns, they should have moved them over to Dark Entities and given that maze new life.
Turn the page and enter the world of an ancient relic whose dark stories exist purely to turn your greatest nightmares into a reality. Try to escape the horror of the evil creatures released by the mysterious book, or have your soul eternally trapped within the pages of the next chapter!
The Grimoire is the second new maze of 2022 and is located in Mystery Lodge, where the final couple years of Infected were, and some classic Scary Farm Mazes like Terror of London, Blood Bayou and Forevermore called home.
Unfortunately The Grimoire doesn't live up to the greatness of it's predecessors, but it definitely could at some point.
The maze starts off with a pre-show video, but only in the stand-by line. If you are using front of the line passes, you get none of the backstory that is definitely needed with this one.
A Bruce Campbell'esque character explains the history of the Grimoire, something that comes into play throughout the maze.
Once you are in the Mystery Lodge lobby you head to a live pre-show, which once again explains next to nothing about the maze and is far too small for everybody to take in. This pre-show kills the capacity of yet another maze. Are you sensing the theme here?
Perhaps playing the queue video in the Mystery Lodge lobby would help as well?
Once in the maze, much of it is actually visually stunning. The black and white scenes are played out to perfection, and the timeline jumps (once you realize what's actually happening) are effective. The end of the maze is a bit confusing however.
On Friday night we did stand-by with the pre-show video and enjoyed the maze much more. There was also some voice-over narration in the maze on Friday night that we either did not hear on two trips through on Thursday, or it wasn't on Thursday.
At the end of the day, this maze feels like they took Stranger Things and Evil Dead, put them in a blender, and this is what they spat out.
This maze has a LOT of potential however, and some minor tweaks like showing the pre-show video to all (we heard it wasn't even on last night in the stand-by queue) and eliminating the live pre-show would help.
Alright, let's get to the returning mazes, we'll list them in our order of preference.
Origins: The Legend of Calico
Back this year, and great as it's been the past few years. This maze does not disappoint and is a love story to Ghost Town. This was our favorite of both nights.
This maze has REALLY grown on me the past couple of years. It had the bad luck to debut the same year as Dark Ride (which is a top 10 all time maze for me) but unlike Dark Ride, this maze has continually seen touches added to it year after year. And this year is no different. I'm really going to miss this one and there are at least 3 other mazes I would rather see them replace for the 50th.
Mesmer: Sideshow of the Mind
In it's second year, Mesmer does not disappoint. Just continually creepy and disturbing, in all the best ways. This maze doesn't need the boo scare or people yelling in your ear, it's high marks are earned just through the chills you feel walking through it. Something I wish some other mazes at other events would utilize.
Also in it's final year, this beloved maze still delivers. I do wish they would have changed this up a bit to give it a grand send-off, but the concept is just so fun. I hope it comes back in some form in a decade or so, just with a new dark ride. Kingdom of the Dinosaurs themed haunted maze dark ride anybody?
The concept of this maze is so fun and so well done. This, along with one other maze seemed to suffer from not a lot of talent, especially in the first half of the maze. I do really hope they change things up here for the 50th.
I'm a big fan of Wax Works, but it just didn't work for me this year. Seemed to be a lot of effects not working on opening night (we didn't even bother on Friday) including the sign in front. Inexcusable for opening night IMO.
I've gotten some slack for defending this maze the past couple of years, but sadly I just can't any more. I think this is an amazing concept, possibly the best overall concept of any maze at Knott's Scary Farm. But the execution is just severely lacking, and I think there were maybe 4 actors in this entire maze. Bring the guns over here and let's have an alien shoot-out.
The Scare Zones at Knott's are just amazing, couple that with the lack of unsupervised kids running around trying to scare the monsters, or walking through the scare zones with their phone flashlight on, and that makes them even better.
We spent A LOT of time in the Goring 20's and we definitely love the vibe of this area. The Hollows is also a favorite, although we're a bit sad it's going away after this year.
We're not big show people, but we're Puppet Up people. So that's the only show we saw, and we loved it. You can see all of our Puppet Up videos for 2022 below.
Overall, I have to say, it feels like a down year for Scary Farm. I realize it was opening weekend, but it just felt weird TBH. I thought it might have just been me due to my recent experiences with the park, but it's not. A lot of people I talked with opening night and since feel the same way. I'm not sure what it is, but I have every confidence the Knott's team will figure it out and this years event will be amazing as always.
One thing I almost don't want to even mention ... with the current direction of both Knott's and Cedar Fair as a whole, as they're moving away from scary Halloween events and towards more interactive "Ghost Town Alive" type experiences, while also taking into account recent issues at a variety of parks, I really start to wonder what the viability of Knott's Scary Farm is after the 50th.
The rumor is that the Scary Farm pass is not coming back in any form, and you just have to wonder if they may just call it a day after the 50th and do a more family friendly nighttime event moving forward.
I hope not ...
After 40 (something) years I finally made my way to Cedar Point. Well, to be fair it's probably been 25 or so since I've been acutely aware of the park, and 20 since I've been itching to get there and made multiple plans to visit that never came to be.
But this time, seeing as our final destination on our cross-country road trip was just on the other side of the great lakes, we definitely made a slight detour to spend a few days at Cedar Point.
Our original plan was to do 3 days at Cedar Point followed by 2 days at Kings Island. After an exhausting 2000+ miles, and our day 1 at a very empty Cedar Point, we decided we didn't really need 3 days, and that we'd cut our trip short and head up to Canada after 2 days at the park. And we are definitely happy with that decision.
So let's head in, I'll give you my thoughts on Ohio's Roller Coast.
We had 3 days at Cedar Point's Express Hotel, which was perfect for us. A quick drive to the park. And you get awesome pics in the room. One thing I will say is I wish there were more food options around the hotel.
It was a bit sprinkly the first morning, but not for long. In fact, both of our days were very pleasant weather wise.
Remember, "as you know it".
On day one of the park we obviously made sure we got all of our "credits". Which was easy to do as the park was absolutely deserted both days.
Iron Dragon is a super fun suspended coaster but was running 1 train on both days, so sadly we only got 1 ride on it. Rougarou was decent but was definitely the better of the two stand-up to floorless conversions I've ridden.
A couple of B&M's in the morning!
In the early afternoon we decided to head back to the hotel for a bit, a quick nap and then back to the park about 5:00 to re-ride our favorites before the park closed. We definitely were going against traffic as we made our way to the back of the park.
Some final thoughts on Cedar Point.
Six Flags Magic Mountain has been my home park for my entire life. I've visited the park more than any other park, and it's probably not even close. I love Magic Mountain. That said, I feel that Cedar Point is the better "coaster park". Sure, Magic Mountain may have more coasters, and probably more "top tier" coasters for most enthusiasts, but for me there is not a coaster I can just sit on all day like I can with something like Millennium Force. And while I don't think I could ride Steel Vengeance more than once or twice in a row, it's just simply amazing. And IMO, Maverick is better than any of the launched coasters at SFMM, as much as I love both Full Throttle and West Coast Racers.
But more than just the coasters, operationally, thematically, etc, I think CP takes the crown here too. They have an amazing collection of flat rides, both new and old, two kids areas, multiple sit-down indoor restaurants and coke freestyle EVERYWHERE.
Now, I will say that CP has an inherent advantage due to the way they staff their park, and you definitely have to take that into consideration. But the fact that Maverick was running 6 trains on both of our days (a Tuesday/Wednesday at the end of the summer season) says a lot about the park.
On the flip side, we definitely did notice some 1-train operations on a few coasters we would have liked to have ridden more like Raptor, but even with 1-train, dispatches were relatively quick.
Overall we had an amazing 2 days at the park. It was everything we could have hoped for and more. I was honestly surprised that the hype for the park and a few of the rides wasn't overshadowed by our anticipation of them.
The historic park’s hotel renovation will include major upgrades to all 322 guest rooms, common areas, conference facilities and outdoor banquet venue of the iconic property
BUENA PARK, CA – California's first theme park, Knott's Berry Farm, today announced the beginning of a major renovation at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel. The multi-million-dollar investment promises to offer guests a unique, memorable experience centered around the park's founders, Walter and Cordelia Knott, that blends farm comfort and family hospitality seamlessly with contemporary design. Every aspect of the hotel will be transformed, from common areas such as the lobby and the pool area to conference rooms and a new outdoor banquet venue designed to elevate the experience for both corporate and leisure groups alike.
The renovation work is set to commence later this year, starting with a complete transformation of all 322 guest rooms. The hotel's newly transformed guest rooms will feature stylish country-chic interiors including newly updated family-size rooms that will provide guests with ample space for up to six and additional amenities such as a kitchenette and mini refrigerator. The bright yet serene accommodations will be perfect for families ready to unwind after a full day of fun at the park.
In early 2023, all public spaces, including the lobby, conference rooms, ballroom and restaurant, will receive a complete transformation. The lobby will include rustic and warm textures reminiscent of Walter's appreciation for the Old West with a welcoming, elegant feel that Cordelia created for everyone who ordered her famous chicken dinners at their restaurant. Accents will nod to the inspiration and ingenuity that led to the creation of the Knott Family’s famous berry farm. The theme will carry over to a newly updated and conceptualized restaurant that makes guests feel like they are dining in modern farmhouse-style. This open-concept restaurant will feature historical details and elegant accents perfect for those looking to celebrate big moments or enjoy a meal with loved ones.
"It is a privilege to welcome those visiting the Orange County area from near and far to stay at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel," said Don Prescott, general manager of the hotel, "and this project will significantly enhance and elevate the experience for all guests by seamlessly complementing the theming of the park located only steps away."
The renovation project will officially begin later this year and be completed in 2023. The fully redesigned space will give future guests visiting the Buena Park area an opportunity to experience a new level of hospitality. In the meantime, the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel will remain open during its remodel. For reservations and special theme park packages, please visit knotts.com.
About Knott’s Berry Farm and Cedar Fair Entertainment Company:
What began as a roadside berry stand and chicken dinner restaurant in the 1920s has evolved into Knott’s Berry Farm, one of Southern California’s most popular theme park destinations combining world-class thrill rides with traditional family favorite attractions and entertainment. Knott’s is also home to Knott’s Soak City Water Park, Knott’s Marketplace, and the full-service Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel. Knott’s Berry Farm is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world, is a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio. Focused on its mission to make people happy by providing fun, immersive and memorable experiences, the Company owns and operates 13 properties, consisting of 11 amusement parks, four separately gated outdoor water parks, and resort accommodations totaling more than 2,300 rooms and more than 600 luxury RV sites. Its parks are located in Ohio, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Texas and Toronto, Ontario.
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