By AT Staff | June 13, 2014
BUENA PARK, Calif. – Knott’s Berry Farm reintroduced its fully updated Calico Mine Ride and a completely refreshed Camp Snoopy to the media on June 12. The public begins enjoying the new attractions June 14.
The top-to-bottom refurbishment of the 54-year-old Calico Mine Ride began in early January and includes dozens of new, richly-detailed animatronic figures, state-of-the art lighting, audio and all-new special effects.
The basis of the iconic attraction was a simple handshake agreement between Knott’s founder, Walter Knott, and theme park pioneer Bud Hurlbut in1959. From that handshake emerged a first-of-its-kind “dark ride” with elaborate show scenes and full-sized human figures. The attraction was an instant hit with guests at its original November 22, 1960, opening, and earned back Hurlbut’s initial $1 million investment in less than two years.
Knott’s Berry Farm’s design team, in partnership with San Bernardino, Calif.-based Garner Holt Productions, has elevated Hurlbut’s design while preserving the original mining experience. Nearly fifty animatronic humans and dozens more animals populate the updated adventure, with more than 120 characters spread through classic and re-imagined scenes. New denizens of the mountain include an old miner just inside the first tunnel (see accompanying photo) who welcomes guests into the Calico Mine and warns them of dangers that lie along the rails ahead.
The attraction’s rustic wooden loading platform has been refreshed and now includes a “peek-in” similar to those found throughout Ghost Town, offering guests windows into the rich mining history of the 1850s on their way toward boarding the mine train car. A new guest and employee elevator has been installed to improve access to the attraction, especially for guests seeking ADA accommodations.
The twisting, turning tunnels and expansive caverns of the eight-minute ride were completely repainted, including a brilliant new color scheme in the spectacular “Heaven Room.” Here, guests will thrill to the glorious sight of the thousands of spectacular stalagmite and stalactites accompanied by the original musical score, which has been digitally re-recorded. Original special effects have been lovingly re-created, like real steam in the Bubbling Pots scene with its surprising steam geyser and tipping barrels and other effects in the Explosion Room finale.
The makeover of the family-friendly Camp Snoopy features new pavement, rustic log fencing and three new, compatibly themed kiddie rides from Zamperla. Craig Schultz, son of late Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, was among the special guests on hand for the media preview.
Look for comprehensive coverage of all the Summer 2014 improvements at Knott’s Berry Farm in the July issue of Amusement Today.