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Best rides from Knott's Berry Farm

Every ride at 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm, ranked

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It may not have been the initial intent, but 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm in Buena Park would begin to define Orange County as a home for the modern American theme park. What began in the 1920s as a family-run roadside berry and tea destination would become a fried chicken haven in the 1930s, the popularity of which would lead to development of 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 historic Ghost Town.

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Today, Ghost Town is situated within a thriving theme park and is home to not just many of its original Old West structures but also era-defining attractions such as the Calico Mine Ride and the Timber Mountain Log Ride. Ghost Town throughout the 1940s and ’50s showed that Americans would flock to intricately designed environments centered on shows and light amusement park attractions, but competition from Disneyland, which opened in 1955, would inspire the Knott family to up its game.

The 1960s and ’70s were an era of prolific growth for the park, and 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 would fully transition from its farm-based roots to an enclosed amusement center. The famed roller coaster Montezooma’s Revenge, currently being updated and re-imagined, would open in 1978 and steer 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 into the coaster-enthusiast park it is today.

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碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm is responsible for other innovations as well, including its seasonal makeover into 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Scary Farm. The endeavor was first undertaken in 1973 and is one that forever turned theme parks into places to celebrate annual holidays. And, of course, that says nothing of the boysenberries for which the original farm was famous .

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Today, you can still come for the rides and stay for the fried chicken and fruit pies.

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A quick note of fine print: This summer, 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm is remaking part of Camp Snoopy, and those rides will be added to this guide at a later date. Same for the re-imagined coaster Montezooma: The Forbidden Fortress, which is scheduled to open in 2025.

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Calico Mine Ride at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Sean Teegarden Photography / 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm)

1. Calico Mine Ride

Buena Park Family Ride
The attraction that properly transformed 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm into a theme park, the Calico Mine Ride opened in 1960 and was its first major ride. The slow-moving attraction is alternately about realism and wonder, aiming to capture a working mine but with glorious, mysterious caverns.

To talk about the Calico Mine Ride, one must discuss Wendell “Bud” Hurlbut, who helped turn 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm into a modern amusement park by designing and building two of its signature attractions, the Calico Mine Ride and the Timber Mountain Log Ride. Hurlbut, who long operated out of Buena Park, had dreamed of building his own amusement park and started working with 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 in the 1950s, first with a merry-go-round at the farm and then on other small-scale kiddie rides.

The Calico Mine Ride, however, would give 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 an attraction that could rival those of Disneyland, which opened in 1955. The ride was Hurlbut’s version of an Old West mine, complete with the sounds of dynamite exploding near its end. His instructions, in keeping with the true-to-life feel of Ghost Town, were to create a ride that overall felt realistic.

But it’s also majestic. The ride traverses underground tunnels and caverns, where one can find lakes, waterfalls and geysers. The darkened passageways at times seem to close in on us, only then to open up to deep crevasses where we can glimpse miners at work. Its most mystical scene — a suddenly appearing colorful cave with glowing water — has been described as “coming up into heaven” by Hurlbut, according to the detailed book “碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Preserved.” The latter notes that the ride sold 1 million tickets in just eight months.

The Calico Mine Ride was influenced by America’s national parks. Yellowstone and the Carlsbad Caverns were visited during its creation and affected the ride’s design. In turn, the Calico Mine Ride reflects not just our past but also the majesty of nature.
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Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott's Berry Farm.
(碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm)

2. Timber Mountain Log Ride

Buena Park Thrill Ride
An 85-foot-high mountain with around a 40-foot drop, the Timber Mountain Log Ride wants to take us back to the turn of the 20th century, to show us what life would have been like for loggers — a heavily romanticized vision of that life, of course. Originally, it was much more static, with taxidermied animals, but a refurbishment in 2013 added new animatronic figures and modernized this classic.

This 1969 original was designed by Wendell “Bud” Hurlbut, who also created the Calico Mine Ride and enjoyed a close relationship with the park. Hurlburt, according to the book “碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Preserved,” originally envisioned a roller coaster, one in which vehicles would be built in troughs to look as if they were floating. But throughout the ’60s, amusement technology advanced, and a roaring, towering log flume was deemed feasible, although no one had yet themed one as 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 would do.

Possessing a relatively fast current, Timber Mountain careens through heavily detailed, black-lighted scenes. We see critters, we see skeletons, we see a hootenanny. For a few minutes, we feel as if we are in a campground, and the Timber Mountain Log Ride makes logging seem like a blast. There’s a couple of mini drops, a small 5-foot drop and a 15-foot drop before we reach its grand finale, a drop of around 40 feet.

One of the first major implementations of a log flume ride in a theme park, Timber Mountain would go on to influence major attractions around the world, including those at Disneyland. With its scenes inspired by the High Sierras, Timber Mountain helped prove thrill rides could be beautifully themed.
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Roller coaster tracks are silhouetted against a blue sky at a theme park.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

3. GhostRider

Buena Park Thrill Ride
GhostRider was one of the last projects to be approved by the Knotts before the family sold the park to Cedar Fair, and it remains one of the longest and fastest wooden roller coasters on the West Coast, reaching a top speed of 56 miles per hour.

GhostRider is a behemoth of a coaster, coming in at nearly a mile long. Opened in 1998, it was also the first major addition to 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Ghost Town since 1969. The ride is relatively long for a coaster, lasting about 2? minutes. GhostRider was built with 2.5 million board-feet of yellow pine wood and 50,000 pounds of nails.

It has some light theming. Mine cars, for instance, are said to feature gold, silver or copper accents to represent different mining metals. Throughout, expect 14 hills, many of which will prompt riders to slightly lift out of their seats. GhostRider was once rickety, but a complete rehab in 2016 created a much smoother experience.

While some pieces of 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 history were removed for the creation of GhostRider — including a lava rock volcano — the coaster has become a sort of living billboard for the theme park, stretching from Ghost Town and through the parking lot and clearly visible from a distance.

Positioned in Ghost Town, the ride serves as a sort of bridge between 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 beginnings as an organic, exploratory park and its more coaster-enthusiast present.
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A view of the new ride called Knott's Betty Tales at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

4. 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair

Buena Park Family Ride
碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair is an adorable, video-game-like animated romp with cartoon critters and lots of pies — a respectful and nostalgic 2021 endeavor that livens up the park by celebrating its history.

With Bear-y Tales, 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 leaned into the park’s past, as this ride nods to a similarly named 1970s attraction. But this is an interactive dark ride that serves as a Silly Symphony-inspired sequel to the original. Here, guests are armed with jelly jar-shaped blasters that let them take virtual aim at animated foxes making off with pies.

Zaniness takes precedence over plot, and joy comes from seeing what kind of inspired interactions guests concoct by flinging virtual jelly as they traverse among screens filled with plump bears, bouncing frogs and fortune tellers. Fire away at googly eyed mushrooms, an owl apparently conjuring a spell or mystical tents and carts filled with ghosts.

The original 1970s 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Bear-y Tales was overseen by Rolly Crump — known best, perhaps, for working on Disneyland attractions like It’s a Small World and the Enchanted Tiki Room — and may be the greatest theme park ride you’ve likely never been on.

Crump’s Bear-y Tales, with its sly fox selling “Weird Juice” (it will “make you feel weird!”) and its steampunk-inspired Chug-a-Chug pie-making assembly line, represented Crump’s whimsical-meets-beatnik-meets-rock ’n’ roll personality, as well as an era when theme parks were still willing to take a somewhat free-spirited approach.

The drawings today are more rounded and friendly than Crump’s originals — his mushroom would have a mustache and nearly broken glasses — but the festive absurdity, such as critters taking a bath in the aforementioned Weird Juice, remains. Between the animated scenes are practical sets, some original pieces pulled from storage and others faithful re-creations of Crump’s ride, making this a playful, slightly goofy tribute.
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A cancan girl at Howdown at Ghost Town Alive at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Sean Teegarden / 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm)

5. Ghost Town Alive!

Buena Park Theater
One can’t get any more low-tech than Ghost Town Alive! This hybrid live-action role-playing game and work of interactive theater that returns each summer, Ghost Town Alive! enables guests to live out mini-Wild West adventures while interacting with more than two dozen actors. Players follow a loose story centered on the drama in the fictional town of Calico, in the park’s Ghost Town area.

There are shootouts and card games, of course, and sometimes even a donkey, but guests can also become makeshift journalists and see the stories they’re acting out printed in Calico’s newspaper. 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 doesn’t pass out rules or storylines, or even guarantee what sort of activities visitors may encounter. It’s solely about connecting with other guests and playing. And there’s probably going to be a hoedown at some point.

Ghost Town Alive! is rooted in centuries-old activities, but its yearly success is something of a response — or a rebuttal — to the high-tech grind of our daily lives. Inspired by a short-lived attraction in Disneyland’s Frontierland — the late, great Legends of Frontierland — Ghost Town Alive! has become a 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 tradition by grounding its storytelling in live, interactive theater. In one sense, it recalls the sort of backyard games many of us may have played as children, but it’s unlikely we ever had a stage as grand as Ghost Town.
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A view of the Butterfield Stagecoach.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

6. Butterfield Stagecoach

Buena Park Family Ride
When 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 leans into its history, the park is a joy to experience. And this horse-driven stagecoach brings a sense of old-timey charm to the park. A version of the attraction has existed since 1949, according to 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉, and in its early days, one could have encountered actors playing the role of bandits attempting a mock holdup.

There’s no such theater today, but whether sitting atop or in the stagecoach, it’s a relatively calming way to get a glimpse of what 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 has to offer beyond Ghost Town. The horse-led journey travels along the outskirts of the recently refreshed Fiesta Village and the kid-focused Camp Snoopy. A small incline takes it underneath the park’s centrally located coasters.

碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 in many ways is a tale of two parks — its roster of coasters and Ghost Town and its affiliated attractions. The area near the stagecoach is also full of gems, as one will find the park’s intimate saloon, home to boysenberry-infused beer, as well as a bottle house and a leather shop. A piece of 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 history, the stagecoach helps make the case that this is the rare thrill-focused park that also demands patient exploration.
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A view of Hangtime at Knott's Berry Farm.
(碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm)

7. HangTime

Buena Park Thrill Ride
With its compact size, heavily oval framework and crisply bright teal hue, HangTime appears inviting, the precise vision of how we may expect a coastal coaster to look and feel. In 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Boardwalk area, HangTime, with its surf-inspired language and signage, aims to be evocative of oceanic waves, and its fast movement — 57 mph — and multiple looping inversions help sell the illusion.

It’s also terrifying.

HangTime was a one-and-done for me, but I respect its slickness, briskness and unique design, which leaves a lasting impression. Be warned, however, that the lift is anxiety inducing. There is no standard coaster hill here; you will be completely vertical, unable to see the track, and any looks to the left or right will be disorienting, especially if dizziness sets in. Then, HangTime will toy with you, forcing you to linger at the crest of the hill for about six seconds. You will stare down at nothing, as the drop is set at 96 degrees, the steepest in California.

The free-falling sensation, a coaster careening straight toward concrete, is the sort of life experience that has me frantically wishing I were at home and cuddling with my cat. You will, no doubt, be frantically checking the coaster restraints, praising whatever feats of modern engineering are responsible for keeping you bolted in.

This is a thrill trend that isn’t going anywhere, but after the drop, HangTime settles in for a series of exuberantly spiraling inversions. They’re not exactly calming, but they’re not fear-inducing, either. HangTime, by this point, is done imprinting permanent scars on you.
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The Calico Railroad at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

8. Calico Railroad

Buena Park Family Ride
A bit of history and some theme park theater combine to make the Calico Railroad a Ghost Town jewel, one that dates to 1952. Following the success of the stagecoach attraction, the Knott family was eager to bring more era-authentic excitement to Ghost Town. The farm stumbled upon the struggling Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad and was able to purchase a locomotive, caboose and coaches.

This gave the park an authentic narrow-gauge railroad, one that, according to the book “碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Preserved,” was built in 1881 and once had a 47-mile run out of Durango, Colo., where it traversed steep mountain ranges to reach the region’s gold mines.

“We felt that right then was the time to save some of this old railroad history if we were going to,” family patriarch and park founder Walter Knott, says in “碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Preserved.” We thought there would be lots of kids that had never ridden on the train before and that this would be quite an addition to their education.”

The train equipment is still in operation today, although the park has swelled around it, necessitating staffers to close a pair of walkways to foot traffic to let the train pass by multiple times a day. An open-air car gives a better view of the backside of 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 attractions, but I prefer the enclosed train cars and their cushioned seats.

Don’t consider this leisurely train ride a skippable attraction, as Ghost Town bandits are likely to have found their way on board. While today the robbery is clearly a mock one, it wasn’t always viewed as such. As “碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Preserved” notes, in the ride’s early days, Ghost Town actors could find themselves clobbered over the head with a purse or the recipients of quite a few punches.
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Xcelerator at Knott's Berry Farm.
(碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm)

9. Xcelerator the Ride

Buena Park Thrill Ride
The flame-adorned coaster cars lightly inspired by California’s hot rod culture are a nice touch, but you won’t have much time to admire them on Xcelerator. In fact, you won’t really be able to see too much at all once the coaster launches, as it goes from zero to 80 mph in 2.3 seconds. This is when I cursed myself for not removing my glasses prior to boarding, and spent the remainder of the ride in fear I would be unable to see much of anything the rest of the day. Luckily, they stayed on, the sheer wind-forces of the ride likely cementing them to my face.

See, nothing to fear?

Noting, except, a nearly vertical 205-foot launch that sends us to a twisting crest that will propel us down a 90-degree angle. From there, it’s all speed and banked turns, as Xcelerator overall is simple and efficient. But one need not be fancy to be a highlight in the 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 portfolio. And Xcelerator’s hurried, hair-raising drop alone provides quite the jostle.
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The Calico River Rapids Bear and Riders at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

10. Calico River Rapids

Buena Park Thrill ride, family ride
Calico River Rapids is home to one of the more adorable animatronic scenes in the park. Shortly after our rafts are launched into this circular, splash-focused river, we’ll encounter a young bear engaged in a whack a mole-like game with a flock of prairie dogs. The ride is constantly challenging us. As we spin among the rapids, can we keep our eyes focused on the clever, critter-focused details, or will we spend our time ducking from the waves that are striving to find their way into our raft?

Yet as far as river rapid rides go, I’ve never gotten drenched on the 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 attraction. Without a major drop or a rough, fast-moving current, Calico River Rapids to me has always been more about the threat of getting soaked, allowing for time to enjoy the scenery, which was enhanced in 2019 with about 20 animatronic figures. The ride, formerly known as Bigfoot Rapids and dating to 1987, was then given an actual Bigfoot figure. Find him tucked into a cave.

Some of the scenes are a little head-scratching. Take the trapper, for instance, who tries to splash us by firing into the water. Others, such as the grizzly capturing a salmon, seems more lighthearted. But overall, humor and cuteness are the goals here. Tip: Be on the lookout for an early animatronic woodpecker, which just may be responsible for sending some water your way.
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The Carrusel de California at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

11. Carrusel de California

Buena Park Family Ride
Every theme or amusement park has a carousel, so why do we rank the one at 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 so high? It’s a beauty. And one of the oldest working ones in the country, dating to 1896. With about 48 carved animals — in addition to horses, there are lions, tigers, camels, zebras, giraffes, pigs, cats and ostriches (I’m partial to the ostriches) — it’s an inventive mix of creatures, all of them framed under what appear to be watercolor murals, many depicting various California missions.

The carousel was obtained by Wendell “Bud” Hurlbut, who before working closely with 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 had hoped to build his own park in Whittier. But with Disneyland’s looming opening in 1955 , the Knott family, according to the book “碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Preserved,” began looking for ways to expand the site’s offerings. A guest survey revealed park attendees wanted more attractions, and thus park founder Walter Knott tapped Hurlbut to bring in the carousel, which had previously operated in Pennsylvania’s Hershey Park, to a growing 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm.

The addition was instrumental to 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 history, as it showed the family was willing to expand the park beyond its Ghost Town roots. Though surrounded by more thrilling attractions, its presence is calming. Its brown rabbits look regal, its giraffes stand stately and the aforementioned ostriches appear ready for a trot. It’s vintage amusement park art at its finest.
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A view of the Silver Bullet Roller Coaster Loop.
(碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm)

12. Silver Bullet

Buena Park Thrill Ride
What to think of Silver Bullet? It’s near the front of the park, and it makes an immediate statement — we hear screams, we see feet dangling and we see giant, brightly painted loops. But nestled next to Ghost Town, its mere existence means it sliced into 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 history as a heavily themed park.

Below Silver Bullet remains a small water area, once called Reflection Lake and once home to the the faux steamboat Cordelia K, named for founder Walter 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 wife and dating to an era when the park was still primarily focused on creating entertainment that referenced American history. But in 2004, when Silver Bullet opened — about seven years after 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 had been acquired by Cedar Fair — modern audiences were seemingly demanding more thrills.

Yet while Silver Bullet encroaches on Ghost Town territory with a garish reddish orange and yellow track, it’s overall an enjoyable ride on its own merits. It is not the coaster’s fault, for instance, that it further altered the course of 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 history. Modern audiences, I suspect, simply appreciate its six inversions and top speed of 55 mph. I like the pacing of varied drop lengths. It crams quite a bit into its two minutes, including a zero-G roll and some heavily banked curves.
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Jaguar! at Knott's Berry Farm
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

13. Jaguar!

Buena Park Thrill ride, family ride
Said to be the first themed coaster at 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm, this 1995 addition boasts an eye-catching, Mayan-inspired mini-temple at its entrance. The line snakes us through makeshift catacombs, and that’s largely where the theming ends, but I find the family-focused coaster to be a charmer. Or maybe I just like things that reference big cats.

As coasters go, this is more house cat than wild cat on the intensity scale, but anyone with a cat knows they’re in for some unpredictability. And Jaguar! definitely succeeds on that front, as the track twists and curves in unexpected directions around the nicely designed Fiesta Village. With mini hills, quite a few curves and an extended flat section, Jaguar! skips between a trot and a gallop, reaching a top speed of 30 mph. Other coasters at 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 pack more thrills, but I like that this is sort of the ride equivalent of having the zoomies.
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Guests on the horse-shaped ride vehicles of Pony Express.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

14. Pony Express

Buena Park Thrill ride, family ride
This is a ride that’s perhaps more fun to watch than it is to experience, where guests sit on horse-themed vehicles as they rush through a figure-8 track on the uppermost tip of Ghost Town. In this ride, situated about 43 feet off the ground and with little set dressing, we’re not really delivering the mail so much as taking a horse for a quick gallop. And yet the 2008 coaster does fit the theme of the land, even if its steel structure clashes with it.

Pony Express is a bit of a trifle, but not one without some charms. After all, it does have riders straddling fiberglass horses throughout its 35 seconds. It allows us to lean forward and partake in a sort of novelty that we usually don’t get to experience on a coaster. The ride is found on the path to the Calico River Rapids, and I enjoy seeing horses speed past me as I traverse the grounds. Additionally, the short, straightforward attraction is a good starter coaster for young ’uns.
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Sierra Sidewinder at Knott's Berry Farm.
(碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm)

15. Sierra Sidewinder

Buena Park Family Ride
Situated in the Camp Snoopy section of the park, Sierra Sidewinder is a relatively modest family coaster, albeit one with a twist — the cars rotate throughout the experience. It’s one of the greener areas of the park — Camp Snoopy has a light High Sierras theme — and it’s nice to spin among the trees, although I wish the area was even lusher than it is. With a grown-up companion, those as tall as 42 inches can experience the attraction, making it a relatively accessible thrill ride, one that manages to pack in more than a few tense turns.
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Sky Cabin at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

16. Sky Cabin

Buena Park Family Ride
Still proudly donning its red, white and blues — the Sky Cabin, launched in 1976, has never really stopped celebrating America’s bicentennial — the attraction takes us up about 180 feet in the air. Blessedly, it’s slow moving, letting us linger at views of Buena Park and beyond without the threat of a sudden drop. It’s a chance to relax, learn a little about the history of 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉, enjoy some air conditioning, and, on clear days, snare a glimpse of Disneyland or downtown Los Angeles. It’s the kind of old-fashioned tourist attraction built for a World’s Fair, only here, it’s an opportunity to let your stomach settle after riding Xcelerator, which is directly across from it.
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A view of the Hat Dance at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

17. Hat Dance

Buena Park Family Ride
碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 has a number of spinning rides in its park — light spinning rides, thrilling spinning rides and stomach-churning, 360-degree spinning rides. But when it comes to spinning, I’m prioritizing beauty over excitement and restraint over dizziness. Enter Hat Dance.

Originally called the Happy Sombrero when it opened in 1969 — and who doesn’t love a chipper hat? — what would eventually become known as Hat Dance was a direct response to Disneyland’s Mad Tea Party. Famed designer Wendall “Bud” Hurlbut, who led the creation of the park’s Calico Mine Ride, crafted exquisite Mexican flowerpots that were sporting cheery sombreros. We’re the flowers, more or less, and as we spin and twist amid folkloric motifs, the vibe is all silliness and positivity. It’s in Fiesta Village, which received a makeover in 2023, and Hat Dance looks as bright and inviting as it ever has.
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A view of La Revolucion at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

18. La Revolución

Buena Park Thrill Ride
La Revolución is one of those rides you can look at and instantly know whether you‘ll have a good time on it or not. For some, the promise of rising six stories in the air and experiencing a swinging arm combined with a rotating gondola — a twofer designed to create the sensation of weightlessness — is enough. It’s a chance to pretend we’re flying, albeit in a chaotic fashion. For others (hand raised), we can look at La Revolución and know immediately that the only uprising that will occur here is whatever remains in our stomach. But it looks so pretty, thanks to the nearby Alebrijes statues — is that a big cat with butterfly wings? — and the ride’s vehicles possess their own mystical approach to art design.
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The Supreme Scream at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

19. Supreme Scream

Buena Park Thrill Ride
In 1997, 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 was sold to Cedar Fair. About a year later, the new owner made an impact, bringing Supreme Scream to the park; it’s a tower that at its peak stretches 325 feet into the sky and is likely the first structure you’ll see when approaching 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉. At the time, it was the world’s tallest free-fall, drop-tower ride. And while it no longer holds that title, it’s still provides the sort of terrifying experience fans of drop towers demand. The drop: 252 feet. The speed: 50 mph. The length of weightlessness: 3 seconds. The overall time spent questioning all of your life’s choices and wondering whom you wish you could say goodbye to: 45 seconds.
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The Dragon Swing at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

20. Dragon Swing

Buena Park Thrill ride, family ride
碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 really did a terrific job with the re-imagining of its Fiesta Village in 2023, choosing to zero in on Mexican folklore. Giving aging carnival rides a dreamlike makeover proved to be a way to inject new color and life into them. Dragon Swing, built in 1980, would also be the final ride overseen by Wendell “Bud” Hurlbut, the designer who had defined the early look and tone of 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 with the creation of the Calico Mine Ride. Though this is a simple back-and-forth attraction, little details, from the Alebrije gardens that surround it to the ornate tiling that leads to it, allow Dragon Swing to transcend its carnival roots.
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Sol Spin at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

21. Sol Spin

Buena Park Thrill Ride
Joining the family-focused Hat Dance, the similarly thrilling La Revolución and the swing-driven Los Voladores, Sol Spin is the fourth spin-based attraction in the Fiesta Village section of 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉. Well, the fifth, if you count Carrusel de California, but we won’t as the circular motion of a merry-go-round is a different sensation.

From an art direction standpoint, Sol Spin aligns more closely with the Mayan-influenced temple of Jaguar! than the more colorful Alebrije designs found elsewhere in the land. From a thrill standpoint, some will debate the intensity levels of Sol Spin versus that of La Revolución, as each elevates guests six stories high and then rotates them. They both lean aggressive, as Sol Spin flips us a full 360 degrees but never quite approaches the sense of weightlessness of La Revolución.

A Times reporter once compared the attraction to looking and feeling like riding on a blender blade, and that’s the imagery that’s stuck with me. Perhaps that’s why the sight of Sol Spin has me instead turning around and heading to Cantina Del Sur for a frozen, blended adult beverage, where I can enjoy views of both the attractions and the Olvera Street-inspired dining area.
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A view of Los Voladores at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

22. Los Voladores

Buena Park Thrill ride, family ride
Los Voladores is gorgeous. Even if you decide not to go for a whirl on this classic swing ride, I’d still recommend taking it in from the sidelines. Its outer rim is filled with painterly nature-inspired scenes, while its inner ceiling is graced with lovely portraits, of which more are revealed as the ride ascends, bringing guests about 40 feet above the ground. 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 provides no credits or details about the artwork, but it makes Los Voladores one of the more ornately dressed attractions in the park. Not bad for some swings. A quick bit of fine print: 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 notes that the ride is accessible only to those who weigh 230 pounds or less.
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A view of Surfside Gliders at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

23. Surfside Gliders

Buena Park Family Ride
It’s harmless. It’s cute (our ride vehicles sorta look like kites). And we get to control the fin in front of us to raise or lower our flying contraptions. This ride isn’t going to make your day at 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉, but it’s a good, gentle attraction to partake in if not everyone in the party wants to experience the intense HangTime coaster across the way.
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A view of Linus Launcher at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

24. Linus Launcher

Buena Park Family Ride
Back in 2014, 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 Berry Farm made a concerted effort to ensure that many of the Camp Snoopy rides were fit for both kids and adults, meaning they would lack a maximum ride height and allow families to experience the attractions together. While much of the Peanuts-branded land features typical carnival fare, they’ve been dressed them up nicely. Linus Launcher, for instance, is relatively adorable. Here, Linus’ famous green blanket is a magic carpet of sorts, as guests ride face down and fly at a gentle pace. The story is propelled by the actions of Snoopy. The beagle, in attempting to grab Linus’ blanket, has sent the boy soaring.
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A view of the Flying Ace at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

25. Flying Ace

Buena Park Children's ride
A favorite song of mine as a child was “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen, a scrappy little novelty rock number that played off of Snoopy’s dreams of being a World War I flying ace. So I’m pretty sure I would have loved Flying Ace had I been exposed to it as a young ’un.

Kids will hop in mini-fighter jets, which can be led up or down, and circle Snoopy while he’s caught in his imagination above his dog house. Alas, I’m too tall to experience it now — the ride has a height maximum of 54 inches — but theme parks are for dreaming, and I like that 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 has a kiddie ride focused on those of Snoopy. Consider it also a conversation starter, a chance to discuss those fantastical childhood fantasies.
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Balloon Race at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

26. Balloon Race

Buena Park Family Ride
We sit in makeshift wicker basket seats under Peanuts-themed hot air balloons. Some have paw prints. Some are designed in the style of Charlie Brown’s shirts. As the balloons slowly lift up and down, we’re provided a nice view of some of the park’s coasters. It’s a leisurely way to get a breeze.
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A view of the Rapid River Run at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

27. Rapid River Run

Buena Park Family Ride
For those not yet tall enough to ride Calico River Rides, 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 has the tamer — and dryer — simulated Rapid River Run. The attraction, set around a story of Peanuts character Lucy needing a crew for a tugboat, has a multitude of motions, casually weaving guests up and down as well as side to side and on an angle. There’s some light spinning, and the ride reaches a moderate height of 21 feet. All the benefits of cresting on a wave, without, of course, getting splashed.
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Pig Pen's Mud Buggies at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

28. Pig-Pen's Mud Buggies

Buena Park Family Ride
If Rapid River Run gives us a wave-inspired ride without getting wet, Pig-Pen’s Mud Buggies allow us to imagine an off-road adventure without the fear of kicking up dirt. The brightly colored ATVs simulate the act of bouncing on rocky terrain while gradually riding around a jubilant-looking Pig-Pen. While kids don’t actually get to drive a car on this one, the movement should be just rocky enough to provide a light thrill and inspire visions of actually rollicking through mountains.
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A view of the Charlie Brown's Kite Flyer at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

29. Charlie Brown's Kite Flyer

Buena Park Family Ride
Give this kiddie swing credit for at least concocting an inventive story. Not only is Charlie Brown flying a kite in the High Sierras but he’s also managed to find himself a kite-eating tree. The painted tree leaves show us the tree munching on said kite. As guests lift, pay close attention to the center of the tree, as it’s slowly revealed that Charlie has gotten himself all tangled up in string. Up to two can ride on a given swing, but there’s a weight maximum of 275 pounds per seat.
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A photograph of Coast Rider at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

30. Coast Rider

Buena Park Thrill ride, family ride
Part of a 2013 plan to liven up the Boardwalk area of 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉, Coast Rider — along with the addition of Surfside Gliders and Pacific Scrambler — succeeded , bringing to it a slight Googie-influenced tone and a series of small rides that add a sense of movement. Coast Rider, overall, captures the feel of a beachside coaster. And with a relatively low height requirement of 44 inches, it could be a good introduction for a child to somewhat grown-up coasters.

Sadly, it’s just not very exciting. This steel attraction — known in the industry as a “wild mouse”-style coaster, a form once popular at smaller, regional parks — features single, tight-fitting cars that hang over a track filled with a number of quick turns. Goofy’s Sky School at Disneyland is another example of the form. Both are mildly entertaining diversions where the snugness of the vehicles can turn to discomfort by ride’s end.
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A view of Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

31. Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars

Buena Park Family Ride
As far as bumper car arenas go, 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 has a solid one. It’s large, the cars move with a fluidity, and it’s good for a quick laugh with friends or family. 碍苍辞迟迟’蝉 has had a bumper cars attraction since the ’70s, so it’s now a staple of the park. It’s the theme park equivalent of an oldie, a Chuck Berry song on the jukebox that feels too vital not to have but also too easy to skip for the latest hits.
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A view of the Pacific Scrambler at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

32. Pacific Scrambler

Buena Park Family Ride
There’s a certain summertime, childlike allure to Pacific Scrambler, the sort of spinning ride that pops up in pretty much every parking lot carnival. Maybe it brings back thoughts of funnel cakes or early high school crushes. It’s a nostalgia magnet, at least until you ride it, and then you remember that the charms of getting dizzy — and potentially slightly motion sick — just aren’t what they used to be.
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A view of Wipeout at Knott's Berry Farm.
(Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)

32. Wipeout

Buena Park Thrill Ride
Tucked into a corner of the Boardwalk section of the park, this little fiat ride packs quite an intensity. Seats face forward and backward, and if you ride with a friend, prepare for both of you to be heavily squished together. It’s a spinner — it lifts and gradually picks up speed until the entirety of your surroundings become a blur. When watching it from the sidelines, it kind of looks like a flying saucer, especially as it reaches its highest velocity. That’s probably the nicest thing I can say about this ferocious l’il motion sickness generator.
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