Knott's Berry Farm has poured tens of millions of dollars over the years into new coasters guaranteed to deposit your just swallowed corn dog onto the pavement, a camp dedicated to a beagle who prances around in various hats and outfits while catching bubbles with his teeth and remaking the joint into a Tim Burton wet dream every October. Now comes word the theme park is spending large to upgrade one of Buena Park's oldest rides.
No, not Gladys the Toothless 'Ho of Beach and Crescent but Knott's Timber Mountain Log Ride that opened as the Calico Log Ride in 1969, which could mean it was there the first time I entered the park holding my grandma's hand, although I'm thinking that was earlier because the only rides I recall were the train and stagecoach.
Anyway, the $3.5 million attraction was designed by Bud Hurlbut, who had previously whipped up Knott's Calico Mine Ride. The log run was intended to take guests through an 85-foot-high by 330-foot-long mountain range with a 19th century lumber camp theme. John Wayne is said to have taken the inaugural ride in July 1969.
Housed in an eight-story building, the ride includes 24,000 gallons of water sending logs past mechanical figures and taxidermied animals before reaching the finale: a 42-foot drop. It's still Knott's most popular ride, according to the park's publicity team, whose checks are no longer signed by the Walter Knott family but Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. of Ohio.
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Garner Holt Productions of San Bernardino has been enlisted to assist in the revitalization project that begins this month and is expected to take five months, according to Knott's, which pegged the final cost at "millions of dollars." While scenes and characters will be added to "enhance the ridership experience," Knott's says it plans to maintain "the original theming and storyline of the attraction."
Choke down those corn dogs at your own peril.