December 27, 2003

SIT DOWN!!


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    I've never been to Knott's before, but I heard a lot about it.  It was a small park with a couple shuttle coasters, the first Intamin rocket coaster and a world-class wooden coaster by CCI.  Sounds like fun!  My mom, brother and I headed out to our third Cedar Fair park on Friday, December 26.  We stayed at the Radisson hotel right next to the park.

    At the park I was going to meet up with my friend, Tom.  We met at Six Flags Magic Mountain and had a good time, so we figured a trip to a different park was due.  We met outside the entrance -- I had Zippin' Pippin in hand -- and bought our tickets.  It's all about discounts, as we had about $24 off per person.  The Web site said the park would open at 9 a.m., but it didn't.  They let us in at around 9:45 and then opened some chained off areas at 10.  Tom, my brother and I decided to go to Montezooma's Revenge first.  My mom split up and walked around.  She's not crazy like we are.

    Montezooma's Revenge is a great ride!  We rode in the back row on this classic Schwarzkopf shuttle looper.  Actually, we did the back row/back car of nearly every ride we took on a coaster today.  We're enthusiasts.  We know what we're doing.  It was running a little cold (the temperature wasn't helping, either.  It was in the low 50s.) but still gave a great ride.  I think it may be my favorite shuttle coaster.  It has great Gs and the launch is really good.  The Gs don't let up and actually seem to pick up towards the end of the launch.  We're pressed against our seats the whole time.  Some of the lights in the station turn off as you fly out of the station.  The loop pulls nice Gs but the ride is all about going backwards.  Backwards you don't know exactly where the loop is, so it's a little unexpected.  But it rocks.  We fly straight backwards for a bit and hit the back spike.  We sit at the peak for a while then drop.  That's the second-coolest sensation on the ride: the loop backwards being the first.  Monte scores an 8/10.  This was my 88th coaster.

    Next we headed to Xcelerator, the other launched ride in the park and the newest coaster the park has installed.  It really stands out.  The park is fairly crowded but the back of the park is open.  It was early and everyone was at Ghostrider, so we had the back of the park to ourselves.  We got in line and went straight for the back car.  The station gates are set up so funky.  Each car has a gate, not each row.  Tom said we'd have to fight for the front row, so I just decided to do the back.  It'd be better there anyway.  These trains are very sleek.  They even have license plates on them!

    We buckled our seatbelts and waited for the ride hosts to push our lap bars down.  They don't staple like they did in stories I've heard, so I wasn't screaming in pain.  There was even some room for airtime.  The ride begins with a very short rollback -- about four or six inches.  Top Thrill Dragster rolls back a lot more than that in the pre-launch.  The "Christmas tree" lights light up and we got ready to launch out of the station.  Orange, orange, orange, green!  We launched on the third orange and threw our arms in the air.  If the lights were timed right and faster the launch would be cooler.  Who cares about the lights, though?  This is a very intense launch, and is better than Top Thrill Dragster's.  Dragster only has the length and the cheek and eyelid flap at the end of the launch to better Xcelerator's.  But that doesn't matter.  This is one quick launch!  We rose up into the top hat and twisted to the right.  As we topped off we got some airtime, a nice view of Buena Park and surrounding communities, and then we dropped.  Ninety degrees is a nice drop and a twist to the right is cool, but the Gs are what we care about.  We were going to fly into the street but those lap bars hold us in.  We leveled out and entered the first overbanked turn.  Then we entered the second overbanked turn.  The second is the better one because it's taken faster, it's tighter, and has a nice headchopper entering it.  The brakes kick in and are very powerful.  The ride was over.  We rode again because there wasn't much of a line.  Xcelerator, my 89th coaster gets a 7.5/10.

    Up next was the coaster we'd been waiting for: Ghostrider.  This would be my fourth CCI coaster.  Ghostrider completely beat all my expectations.  We rode in the back row and were treated with great airtime, great speed, and great laterals.  I am a big fan of laterals and Ghostrider delivers.  The turn by the first drop after the second camelback is one of the best turns I've ever ridden on, on a wooden coaster.  It's taken with great speed.  I loved the first turnaround.  It's got good laterals and is taken quickly.  Some parts of the coaster are a little bumpy, mainly the bottom of the first drop, but who cares?!  This ride totally rocks!  We rode it at around noon so it wasn't warmed up yet.  But I loved it just the same!  10/10.  Number 90!

    We walked around the park for a bit and headed to a knife shop.  Tom bought some cool knife from the movie The Shadow and my brother bought a morningstar.

    Then we saw Smokey the Bear.  Why is he at this park?  Where are Linus and Snoopy and Charlie Brown?

    Our next ride was Kingdom of the Dinosaurs.  I was extremely hyped up for this ride and expected it to be awful.  I heard it was the lamest ride in the park and was even lamer since they modified it, but I didn't expect it to be this bad.  Holy crap this is the single worst attraction I have ever been on.  Seriously.  SERIOUSLY!  Don't ride this.  Take my word for it.  Don't!  Augh!  It's just bad.  OK.  I'm done.  The ride consists of the slowest-moving sloths-for-trains ever.  They crawl along the course at about two miles per hour, go over hills, go down hills, turn, move, and then stop.  Some dorky scientist or something keeps saying we're going "back in time!" at various places on the ride.  The special effects consist of light toys you buy at Spencer Gifts and Hot Topic in the friggin' mall!  This entire attraction could be replicated much better by going to one of those stores.  You can see the ceiling, lights, exit signs, doors, and other stupid things that take away from the ride.  The animatronics are lame, ugly, only have one or two movements, and just suck.  Man, this ride sucks!  There was seriously not one single good thing about this ride.  It would hardly entertain kids.  The worst part was the complete stop for three minutes in the middle of the ride!  We were behind a boulder so we couldn't see anything that was going on as the spiel tells us about giant sloths and woolly mammoths or something.  A ride host walked around the train with a flashlight making sure everyone was sitting down.  Thank you, Cal OSHA!  Lamest ... ride ... ever.  0/10!  That is the lowest I have rated anything I have ever been on!

    We needed to do something to get our minds working again and ride some neat ride, so we headed to Calico Mine Ride.  Before we hopped in line, I chatted with two bandits.  The guy on the left noticed my Raptor shirt and asked me about Cedar Point.  I told him I worked there and rode Top Thrill Dragster.  Anyway we hopped in the first car on this ride.  It's pretty fun.  It's an old dark ride themed to a tour through a mine.  There are waterfalls and lots of animatronics that are much cooler than Kingdom of the Dinosaurs.  Actually, I can make better animatronics out of wire, magnets and batteries.  Hang on, this part is about Calico Mine Ride.  So the ride's fun and pretty lengthy.  I didn't know when it would end.  The ride host in the front car spoke into a microphone telling us jokes and stuff about the mines, but we couldn't hear him because the speakers in the front aren't good.  6/10.

    We walked around the park a bit and saw a guy hand-carving a carousel horse.  It was amazing.  We headed out of the park for lunch, and we ate at Baja Fresh.  Coming back I got a picture of Xcelerator.  One of the street corners has a cool painting of the park's logo so Tom took a picture of my brother and me in front of it.  About 15 feet away we saw a CD-R on the ground.  Check out what it is!  Must've been some good stuff.

    Back in the park we noticed some spray paint on the ground.  Maybe it's for Silver Bullet!  Timber Mountain Log Ride was next.  The queue line has waterfalls in it that really add to the experience.  There was also a fork below the queue line, but that didn't add to the experience.  This is the most fun log flume ever!  Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls may be long, greatly themed and have some killer airtime, but it doesn't have a guy yelling "SIT DOWN!" at you!  At the top of the lift hill Tom started waving his hand back and fourth.  Every time he crossed the center an angry, recorded voice over the speakers on the ride would say, "SIT DOWN!"  He must have tripped that optical sensor 12 times on our first run.  He explained that they are located throughout the ride and that you have to look for them.  We ended up tripping them throughout the rest of the ride.  It's so funny!  8/10.

    Up next was (sigh) Boomerang.  I'd already ridden the Vekoma Boomerang at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure and it was certainly nothing special.  Boomerang at Knott's is worse!  We rode in the back, of course.  The drop is decent, but the ride's pretty rough.  Going backwards through the loop is awful.  The cobra roll backwards is the worst, though.  Bang!  Bang!  My brother somehow hit his jaw on the restraints in that part!  Bad stuff.  Check out our photo!  We're not in pain!  4/10.  Number 91.

    Tom and I headed over to Supreme Scream and my brother sat out.  Drop rides scare him to death.  This ride is only 15 feet taller than Power Tower.  We ended up on the "sea foam green"-colored vehicle.  This ride is quieter than Power Tower and there's no rough CLANG at the top.  It's a fun drop ride.  8/10.

    Tom and I went to La Revolución and my brother sat out.  He took pictures as he sat on the side.  We waited about 25 minutes for this ride, which was the longest wait for anything all day.  It's got some cool spins to it, but only one side ends up on the peak of the swings.  It needs to run on a faster spinning program.  The ride ended and I gave my brother the thumbs-up.  We ended up on the good side that peaks on the swings, but that wasn't fair.  Every side should get equal time there.  6.5/10.

    Jaguar was next.  This is a very cool family ride.  I liked the fast lift hills and the turns.  Of course we rode in the back seat.  I wish the fire effects on top of the temple were working.  My 92nd and final coaster at Knott's gets a 7/10.

    We walked by Perilous Plunge, but I wasn't about to ride a water ride on this cold day.  Those four-point harnesses really turn me off of this ride too.  It's got a big splash, though!

    We got in line for Sky Cabin but decided not to ride since we wanted to catch a couple shows.  While heading to Mystery Lodge, we walked by a shooting gallery where I took a picture and set off all the gadgets.  I ended up doing that four or five times today, and each time is just as funny as the last!

    The show at Mystery Lodge was really cool and I figured out how the effects worked after about five minutes.  It's really a unique and fun show.  7.5/10.

    We headed over to watch the Wild West Stunt Show after finding a dead Spongebob, and my brother stood in some waterfall thingy.  Too bad the opening didn't close like Tom said it occasionally did.  We had a while before the show started so we decided to ride Joe Cool's Gr8 Sk8.  What a lame name.

    It's a decent ride.  I can't imagine what it'd be like on top of the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas!  We hopped in the back of the vehicle.  We buckled our seat belts, the ride host pushed our lap bars down, and we were off!  Or so we thought.  The gates in front went down but we did not.  The ride host told us to get off because there were too many adults on the ride.  I think there were six or seven adults and one kid on the ride.  We weighed it down so it couldn't tilt forward!  We sat out that run, then we boarded into the front of the vehicle.  This time we tilted and scooted back and fourth.  It's a fun ride and it became our goal to hit the stoppers at the ends of the track.  We hit the back one each time and the front one on our last run forward!  That was some good fun and the ride host had  good time with it, asking if there were five kids to ride with us.  5/10.

    We walked toward the Wild West Stunt Show but stopped to play with some pop guns.  Tom had a good time.  The employee at the cart asked if anyone needed any help and looked directly at us!  Awesome!  We stepped into the theatre to watch the Wild West Stunt Show now.  The seats in the back of the theatre are stage coaches and we got into one of those!  This is a really funny show, but the charm will be lost after the first viewing.  I thought they were very good at improv and that the guy on stage was very good.  I won't give away the show, though.  It was fun.

    We hopped on Timber Mountain Log Ride again.  And again.  And again.  We ended up riding it five times and tripped all the "SIT DOWN!" sensors every time.  I love it!  This ride and Ghostrider have the strangest photos.  There's one on a drop and one entering the station.  The drop photo on Timber Mountain Log Ride always got me looking to the left at Ghostrider, but the second photo always yielded great results.

    We stopped by the shooting gallery again.  I could set those things off all day!

    After that, we walked around the park a bit and left to get some dinner.  We stopped at Numero Uno for pizza and listened to some good and bad karaoke.  Darn karaoke!  We noticed an advertisement for beer on the wall next to us so we did what any dorky coaster enthusiast would do: we made a sign for it.

    We came back to the park and rode Bench: The Ride, The Sequel.

    We hopped on a final ride on Xcelerator and I got the back, left seat.  That's one great drop!

    We had to stop at the shooting gallery and ride the log flume again.  "SIT DOWN!"

    Now it was time to do what we'd been waiting for: a night ride on Ghostrider.  The ride has tracer lights along a lot of the track and they add to the ride.  The artwork on the side of the trains is the coolest drawing ever!  What's even cooler is that it's hand-painted on every single train!  This ride is killer at night!  We rode it twice at night with only about a 15-minute wait both times.  The first night ride was in the sixth car and the second was in the last car.  I got the last row and it was spectacular.  It tears through the course, is loaded with airtime and has great laterals.  During the helix finale I was practically leaning on my brother because of the intense laterals.  I said to him just before it ended, "if there was no seat divider here, I'd be inside of you!"  These two rides were what made me decide that Ghostrider is better than Raven, my third favorite wooden coaster.  Well, not anymore.  Ghostrider takes Raven's place as my third favorite woodie!

   Knott's Berry Farm is a nice, small park with lots of charm.  I would get an annual passport and marathon Ghostrider if I lived in SoCal.  Now I can't wait for Silver Bullet!  Knott's Berry Farm gets an 8/10.

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