Knott’s Berry Farm- Still a Distant Second

We went to Knott’s Berry Farm the other day simply because we were able to get in for free.

And still, I’m not sure if it was worth it.

The “Christmas Craft Faire” has very generic things you could find at many retail shops, and since when did they remove the dinosaur ride to replace it with Laser Tag?

Perhaps it is because my son is not at the age to get on all the big rollercoasters that they have been emphasizing for the last few years, but what little luster Knott’s had, it is gone for me.

One ride my son did love was the Sky Tour thing, the ancient and rattling contraption that takes you 180 feet up in the air for a panoramic view of SoCal. I found that I have a newly discovered fear of heights on that thing.

So, in sum, if you can only afford to attend one theme park in Orange County, make it Disneyland.

2 Comments so far

  1. Jon (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2007 @ 7:09 am

    Hahaha! I was just preparing a post with a mostly postitve review of Knott’s. Different points of view are never bad I guess. =)

  2. private (unregistered) on December 17th, 2007 @ 8:06 pm

    KBF started going downhill after Walter Knott died. The Knott family was bickering over which kid or grandkid was going to run the place so they decided to bring in outsiders to run it and all the family would sit on a board of directors equally.

    The people they brought in were bad news, and had ruined other places they’d been hired. Sure they built Camp Snoopy, but after that wore off they started changing their focus. They started targeting teenagers instead of families. Sunk millions in to "competing" with Disneyland (like anyone can) instead of feeding off them. Marketing to the toursits Disney was bringing to OC.

    Nice merchandise started being replaced with the same nickel and dime plastic junk and t-shirts in every store.

    Used to be that families and tourists coming to the park during the summer paid the bills. But when they started marketing to teens then the Haunt became their bread and butter. The Haunt started off family oriented, then it turned ugly, gruesome. They’d run in the red all year until Haunt.

    Park security used to be staffed mostly by on-duty deputy sheriff’s under contract and off-duty cops. But cops write police reports which are public domain. The park didn’t like having reports that the public could see. So they got rid of the cops and went to low-quality guards. I saw a guy who one week was a sweeper and the next week he was in security. Never did learn to tuck in his shirt. Used to be that the security director was always a retired police chief, last time I was there the security director was a former parking attendant. And the park didn’t like you to call the police for stuff. There could be a riot on a coaster loading platform and requests would come over the radio asking permission to call Buena Park PD and the Operations Manager would come on and deny permission to call the police. Insted they called sweepers and parking attendants to do crowd control while their un-armed guard broke up gang fights.

    Christmas Crafts started off as a good idea. They opened Ghost Town, and the concessionaires loved it. They brought in quality vendors who had to be screened and only limited numbers could come in. The old Jeffries Barn (where Mott’s Miniatures used to be) was done up beautifully with Santa and cookies, it was fantastic. High quality, very well done. One of the best things they’ve ever done. Then after a few years they cut costs. Moved Santa to the Crafts Barn (a retail store), instead of the Wilderness Dance Hall, had less decorations, less staff, more merchandising. Then over time they brought in fewer vendors, lowered the standards for vendors, and extended more of their own merchandising out into the streets instead of crafts and unique vendors. Started charging for entrance. Like they weren’t making enough on food, parking and shopping. Winter was dead inside the park. They were drawing tons of people to the craft festival, it made millions. Then they figured it was so popular they could charge for entry. People would come and spend $20 to $500 a head between shopping, dining, parking. But then they started charging. People may have spent $500 to shop, but they wouldn’t spend that $5 to get in to shop. Suits in corporate offices don’t have common sense, don’t see the big picture. They’re just looking to squeeze an extra five bucks out of people.

    My son went there recently, said he didn’t like the crowd that Knott’s attracted. I wouldn’t let him go at night. Would never let him go in the summer.

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