Knott's Announces Changes to Ghost Town
Thoughts on Ghost Town Next year, Knott’s Berry Farm will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the beloved and historic Ghost Town section of the park. This area, is what started it all. First built as a diversion for those waiting hours to enjoy a delicious fried chicken dinner at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner restaurant, the area has grown to include rides, shows, shops and attractions and is the heart of the Buena Park theme park. While other areas have seen growth over the past decade or so, Ghost Town has quietly stayed the same. In addition to its history, the area is home base to three of the park’s most popular annual events; the Boysenberry Festival during Spring Break, Knott’s Scary Farm in October and Knott’s Merry Farm during the holidays. The smell of boysenberry fills the air in the spring, while fog engulfs the streets before Halloween. The cobwebs are quickly changed out for twinkling white lights and a dusting of snow come Christmas. Ghost Town is what made and continues to make Knott’s Berry Farm what it is. On most visits to Knott’s, I find myself never leaving Ghost Town. Visits are made just to eat at the Ghost Town Grill. Sitting on the patio is always a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. A visit to the park just to stroll through the streets of Ghost Town are also not uncommon, especially during the holidays. There is a sense of belonging in Ghost Town that no other theme park can seem to match, even Disneyland. Management has recently announced that Ghost Town’s largest thrill ride will be down for an extended period of time for a massive refurbishment starting September 8. What exactly will be done to Ghostrider, the massive wooden rollercoaster has not yet been announced, but it is in need of some TLC. The Screamin’ Swing will also welcome its last riders for good on September 8. This ride is an upcharge attraction that was an eyesore and never matched its Ghost Town, or Boardwalk surroundings. Knott’s fans of course would love to see the Haunted Shack return to the spot where Screamin’ Swing sits today. Next to the Bear-y Tales Ride and the Soapbox Racers, the Haunted Shack (a walk-through mystery venue) has been the most requested attraction to return. Whether this happens or not is yet to be revealed. The reason for its removal was simple; it was falling apart and it was not ADA compliant. Well, similar attractions have been built and the ADA issue has been resolved. So, time will tell. The park promises more details on what is in store for Ghost Town for the anniversary next year. Details will come after Scary Farm ends. Expect an announcement in early November. In the meantime, here are a few ideas and suggestions that we MAY and/or SHOULD see happen in Ghost Town… again, these are IDEAS, not anything officially announced by the park. - Improve the entrance to Ghost Town with new signage, landscaping and theming. Guests are now welcomed to Ghost Town from the main park entrance by a set of restrooms. Please hide these better, or theme the exterior. - Hide Silver Bullet’s support beams better as you enter Ghost Town near Camp Snoopy. Additional theming should be added here as well. Wild West Stunt Show/Wagon Camp – This show has been the same for countless years. Still a guest favorite, the show could use an updating, as could the seating. Please add much, much needed shade! Silver Bullet Gift Shop – This outdoor vending location has been closed for quite some time. Something new could be added to this space.
Ghostrider Queue - Add some additional thematic elements. Ghostrider - Maybe a steel track, similar to Twisted Colossus? Bandit Bob’s Arcade - This location used to be a huge market and candy shop. This returning would be an excellent addition to Ghost Town! Ghost Town Bakery – A remodel is necessary. The desserts are DELICIOUS! Better than Disneyland (in my opinion). Spurs – This restaurant location was remodeled in 2009. It needs to be done again. This location sees a lot of traffic from private parties and Scary Farm buffet dinners. Main Street - Please do not change anything here! The Barn at the end of Main Street – This location has been quite empty the past few weeks. This spot is prime real estate. Combined with the outside gift shop, there is a lot of space here to do something exciting! Western Trails Museum – New exhibits? Ghost Town Grill - theFUNnelCakeBlog’s absolute favorite place to eat at Knott’s. An interior redo and expanded patio would be nice. Fireman’s BBQ – This location serves up amazing BBQ. Could this location be moved? This area, combined with The Barn could make an exciting new outdoor/indoor venue for events, concerts, etc… Bird Cage Saloon – While it could use an updating, hopefully, nothing will change here. Calico Saloon – It has been long rumored that this building would get a full refurbishment. Rumors have also circulated whether it was a “historically” protected building. Either way, the inside could see an updating. But… keep the shows! Indian Trails – An expansion of this area would be nice. A larger stage and seating area could be accomplished if the restrooms were pushed out, or completely rebuilt. Mystery Lodge – This show is a classic and teaches a very valuable lesson. Even though the technology is old, audiences still leave in amazement. With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new show in this location. Calico Square – This is one of the busiest areas of the park. But, I could imagine the stage moving. The railroad tracks cut the viewing area in half. Shows stall the train leaving the station. If the Stagecoach/Indian Trails areas were to be expanded, new restrooms could be built in the area of the current stage. The current stage could be moved to the Screamin’ Swing location. If the stage remains, an update could be coming. Moving the stage to the Screamin’ Swing location would block the unsightly and non-themed backside of Pony Express, while offering additional backstage space and access to dressing rooms at the Charles M. Schulz Theatre. Silver Bullet – Could we see more theming added to the steel red and gold structure? Maybe! Silver Bullet Smoking Area – This area near the Dippin’ Dots stand and smoking area is severely underutilized (including the closed retail location mentioned above). Screamin’ Swing – This area is up for the most debate. It is highly unlikely that a new ride will resurface here, but who knows. Fans hope for the return of the Haunted Shack, but it is unlikely. Could the Calico stage move here? Could the Boot Hill Cemetery be expanded? Could it be a new food and picnic venue? Time will tell… Entrance from the Boardwalk – Ghost Town entry signage would be nice here, to create a sense of “place.” Trail to Fiesta Village – Knott’s has been restoring the classic mission dioramas for years, yet they have not been placed in the park. Could these return between the Silver Bullet tunnel on the road to Fiesta Village? Let’s hope so! Ghost Town and Calico Railroad – Lusher landscaping, additional thematic elements along the route and the hiding of backstage areas would further enhance the ride. Wilderness Dance Hall – Changes are unlikely here, as the venue is used numerous times throughout the year. Bigfoot Rapids – The “Bigfoot” name has recently come down off the “Bigfoot Broiler” food service location. A refreshing of this ride, as well as area enhancements are likely. Maybe a tie-in with a new Mystery Lodge show? Entrance near Pony Express and Entrance near the Log Ride – New welcome signage should be put up. Restrooms –New modern, welcoming restrooms would please guests! Citizens of Calico – The street team that appears during peak seasons are a hit with guests. Not only do they provide one-on-one interaction, they add to the overall sense of the time period. Keep this up! Whatever happens should be welcomed by fans and guests of all ages! Keep posted for news releases as they become available! Thoughts? Post them on theFUNnelCakeBlog’s Facebook page! facebook.com/theFUNnelCakeBlog