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Knott’s Scary Farm 2019

Ryan

Staff member
Moderator
May 23, 2013
4,441
Think of it like a sitcom cartoon. Every episode resolves itself and there's little in the way of development.
Honestly, I don't get the joke then. It literally says "RIP The Hanging 1976 to 2019" at the end. Is this the last version of THIS kind of parody show Hanging or what? Either way I don't care. It was not great. The Disney jokes are smile-inducing but otherwise the whole thing drags and is painfully unfunny. If the joke is about "cancel culture" (as the Epstein speech would imply), then it doesn't come across as ironic or sincere, just confusing.

That said, I have only good things to say about the rest of the event. Origins and Wax Works were both awesome, especially Origins. That reminded me a lot of HHN 26's Ghost Town, but with really cheesy (in the best way) video monitor effects. Wax Works had a nice, spooky vibe with some solid scenic and scares. The Depths is still amazing for a scenic fan like myself, and I adored the new preshow with the elevator descending room. Dark Ride, of course, is still awesome, love the new room at the very end, it cracked me up. Infected is still wildly popular, which makes me very, very nervous that it's going away. The only plus is that they didn't remove anything from Mystery Lodge... yet.

Puppet Up was an absolute riot, hardest I've laughed at a show in any Haunt, including all of the Bill and Ted's I've seen. I've been scouring the various other shows people have filmed and they have been hilarious. I pray this comes back in 2020, it's a total hit and way better than Hacks was.

The event was extremely busy, and while my Fast Lane made the mazes a breeze, it wasn't any help on the coasters. I got to ride Ghost Rider at the very start of the event and that was it. Xcelerator had 1-train operation (no shock) along with Silver Bullet. Hangtime was running 2, but the ops were so slow it might as well have been one. Pony Express was not running. Iron Reef (IRON REEF!) had a 50-minute wait. Calico River Rapids, thankfully, had zero wait and I enjoyed it. The Bigfoot animatronic comes across less cheesy at night. I did force myself to endure the 45-minute wait for Timber Mountain, which despite its new seating arrangement had no single rider line. It also didn't help that there were (seems like ADA?) seating for three every few or so logs and they would just let them go by empty. The crowd was entirely teenagers which made some of the night absolutely dreadful. I was pushed thru Paranormal Inc and had to physically turn around and tell the kid to knock it off. In Timber Mountain's line, there were a group of 15-year-olds making fart noises almost the entire first half of the line. Next year I'm going far earlier in the event to avoid them.

However it wasn't enough to deter my enjoyment of this stellar event. Another A-plus year at Knott's.
 

Stryker

Member
Feb 22, 2018
736
So Cal
The ride itself is fine. Ride ops for Iron Reef is some of the slowest I've ever experienced. That final outdoor portion of the queue looks short, but can take 30 minutes.
 

Ryan

Staff member
Moderator
May 23, 2013
4,441
A 50 minute wait for Iron Reef is the scariest thing Knotts will ever produce. That ride is legitimately in the bottom 5 I've ever been on.
It was a virtual walk-on last year, which is why I knew that night was more crowded than normal.
 

GhostHost85

Rookie
Jul 24, 2019
164
Knott's in general tends to keep getting busier and busier. Sadly, they don't have the ops and ride capacity to support the crowds they get. As much as I like the park, I would go way more often if I didn't have to wait 30-120 minutes to ride most anything good. With fastpass and high capacity rides, there are usually things to do at Disneyland without waiting forever even if the park is fairly busy.

Thankfully, they now have a single rider line on GhostRider, but it isn't always open.

I would suggest visiting Scary Farm on the second Thursday of the year whenever possible since the crowds were really low that day this year.
 
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GhostHost85

Rookie
Jul 24, 2019
164
I was there tonight and the crowds were insane for a Thursday. Parking was a huge hassle and took forever, like maybe 40 minutes or so. The park itself was packed and a lot of the ride lines were ludicrous. Outside of the crowds, the mazes themselves suffer on these busy nights since they tend to let more people in at once, which leads to the mazes basically being slow moving conga lines through the sets with little or no scares.

I feel that to get a good experience anymore, you need to visit on Thursday or Sunday during the first three weeks. If a Thursday this late in the season was so crowded, then a Saturday can't even approach being enjoyable.

I hope they add more mazes next year since 9 aren't enough. As much as I enjoy the guns in special ops, I would prefer that no more mazes have gimmicks like guns or flash lights that slow down the lines. They need all the capacity they can get.
 
I was there tonight and the crowds were insane for a Thursday. Parking was a huge hassle and took forever, like maybe 40 minutes or so. The park itself was packed and a lot of the ride lines were ludicrous. Outside of the crowds, the mazes themselves suffer on these busy nights since they tend to let more people in at once, which leads to the mazes basically being slow moving conga lines through the sets with little or no scares.

I feel that to get a good experience anymore, you need to visit on Thursday or Sunday during the first three weeks. If a Thursday this late in the season was so crowded, then a Saturday can't even approach being enjoyable.

I hope they add more mazes next year since 9 aren't enough. As much as I enjoy the guns in special ops, I would prefer that no more mazes have gimmicks like guns or flash lights that slow down the lines. They need all the capacity they can get.
have to agree. If I were Knotts, 10 mazes would be the choice, with more showtimes, more operating rides, and, as much as it sucks, higher prices.
 

GhostHost85

Rookie
Jul 24, 2019
164
have to agree. If I were Knotts, 10 mazes would be the choice, with more showtimes, more operating rides, and, as much as it sucks, higher prices.
As much as I don't want to have to pay more, I would definitely be okay with a price increase if it results in far smaller crowds and a better experience. Scary Farm and Knott's in general are both very cheap options for entertainment when compared to other nearby entertainment options. That has resulted in extreme crowd increases over the years.

I know they want to pack as many people in as possible to sell food and merchandise, but I know from my own experience that I go far less often because of crowds.
 

DTH

Member
Nov 7, 2016
970
They used to have 13 mazes, and this was back in its hayday when they would actually have sold out nights every night of the event, and as you can imagine, it was a nightmare with crowds.
It'd be price gouging that'd steer away crowds. But no measly uptick will do it, it'd have to nearly triple in price. People are willing to spend as much as HHN because KSF has way more rides. If it suddenly became $90, people would still go.
But then, personally, as a fan I would expect quality to rise with it. And that just won't happen.
 

GhostHost85

Rookie
Jul 24, 2019
164
They used to have 13 mazes, and this was back in its hayday when they would actually have sold out nights every night of the event, and as you can imagine, it was a nightmare with crowds.
It'd be price gouging that'd steer away crowds. But no measly uptick will do it, it'd have to nearly triple in price. People are willing to spend as much as HHN because KSF has way more rides. If it suddenly became $90, people would still go.
But then, personally, as a fan I would expect quality to rise with it. And that just won't happen.
I didn't live in California till 2015, so I'm not sure when the heyday would have been. That said, the crowds have gotten far worse than they were back in 2015 and 2016. Even though most of the rides are open, you might spend 2-3 hours of the event waiting for GhostRider or Xcelerator on busy nights.
 

DTH

Member
Nov 7, 2016
970
Heyday was basically pre-2006. Not coincidentally, this is the year HHN returned from hiatus. KSF had a hard time trying to keep up starting around 2008. Sadly, they didn't try to compensate, and just let their event fall into shambles. It took a handful of years, plus many years of experimentation (stuff like Trapped and the original Special Ops) before they found their footing again where people find the content suitable.
Also, a lot of those line times have to do with operations and how idiotic they can be sometimes. Like running one or two trains for Ghost Rider on a peak night. Maybe some are down for maintenance, but c'mon, prep for the peak season!

On another note!
I noticed KSF is open for Nov 1st and 2nd. This is the first time in years that I can remember them doing this! (Or maybe I just didn't notice). One of my very first trips in the early 00s was in November when it was COMPLETELY empty and it was a magical experience. I might just go one of those nights to try to recapture that experience.
 
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GhostHost85

Rookie
Jul 24, 2019
164
Heyday was basically pre-2006. Not coincidentally, this is the year HHN returned from hiatus. KSF had a hard time trying to keep up starting around 2008. Sadly, they didn't try to compensate, and just let their event fall into shambles. It took a handful of years, plus many years of experimentation (stuff like Trapped and the original Special Ops) before they found their footing again where people find the content suitable.
Also, a lot of those line times have to do with operations and how idiotic they can be sometimes. Like running one or two trains for Ghost Rider on a peak night. Maybe some are down for maintenance, but c'mon, prep for the peak season!

On another note!
I noticed KSF is open for Nov 1st and 2nd. This is the first time in years that I can remember them doing this! (Or maybe I just didn't notice). One of my very first trips in the early 00s was in November when it was COMPLETELY empty and it was a magical experience. I might just go one of those nights to try to recapture that experience.
That is good to know, thanks. I am guessing that since there wasn't nearly as much competition back then, almost everyone that wanted a haunt went to Scary Farm which would cause the sold out nights. Nowadays, we not only have HHN, but also Dark Harbor and Fright Fest. Even if Fright Fest existed back then, they have made a lot of improvements to it over the years.

And Knott's Ops throughout the year can generally be terrible. Xcelerator has been running one train since at least July and they also have multiple seats broken on that train. Also, their dispatch times are extremely slow, and they have the worst overall coaster ops in SoCal from my experience.

The last day of Scary Farm is usually Halloween, but I think they expanded it into November since Halloween is on a Thursday this year. I am really curious how crowded it will be on Halloween thru November 2nd. I went on Halloween night in 2015 and 2016 and it was pleasant on those nights. However, since crowds throughout the event have increased so much, I don't know if it will be like that this year.
 

DTH

Member
Nov 7, 2016
970
Historically for HHN, the November nights are (no pun intended) absolute Ghost Towns and are the best times to go.
That one time in 2001 I went in November to KSF, like I said, magical with how empty it was. Did absolutely everything and was the target everywhere I went.
 
I know this is constantly repeated, but Knotts really needs to add more than 2 mazes each year. Compared to 2017, the last two years have been so damn boring (stil quality, but really dull). What I'd do:
New maze in Shadowlands area
New maze in special ops area
New maze in Punpkin eater area
Lights out treatment in Paranormal
Lights out treatment on dark ride]
Guns added to Dark Entities
THAT'D be a year! Say "6 New Mazes!" or "More mazes than ever!"
 

deadbydawn

Member
Mar 23, 2015
591
Orange County, CA
I know this is constantly repeated, but Knotts really needs to add more than 2 mazes each year. Compared to 2017, the last two years have been so damn boring (stil quality, but really dull). What I'd do:
New maze in Shadowlands area
New maze in special ops area
New maze in Punpkin eater area
Lights out treatment in Paranormal
Lights out treatment on dark ride]
Guns added to Dark Entities
THAT'D be a year! Say "6 New Mazes!" or "More mazes than ever!"
I don't think this year is boring or dull at all. I've had a blast this season. We know that we will probably be getting a replacement for both Shadowlands and Special Ops next year. Assuming nothing changes, the maze count would be the same but as long as the quality of the event continues going up I have no issues. IMO, Knott's still provides the best bang for your buck in terms of what you get at the overall event.

I like the ideas for changes to some of the existing mazes. Those would be fun. I think Dark Ride is pretty dang near perfect how it is even after a few seasons though.
 

DTH

Member
Nov 7, 2016
970
I know this is constantly repeated, but Knotts really needs to add more than 2 mazes each year. Compared to 2017, the last two years have been so damn boring (stil quality, but really dull). What I'd do:
New maze in Shadowlands area
New maze in special ops area
New maze in Punpkin eater area
Lights out treatment in Paranormal
Lights out treatment on dark ride]
Guns added to Dark Entities
THAT'D be a year! Say "6 New Mazes!" or "More mazes than ever!"
I'd love it if Knotts actually scaled things back a bit, in the sense HHN did in 06/07.
A "reboot" if you will.
Slash ALL the mazes and start from scratch. Only do 4-5 mazes. Put ALL the budget into them and make them the scariest, most innovative mazes ever made -- the first year or two, due to figuring out their budget allocation, I'd expect many reused set pieces from this year and that's fine. Throw away any bad ideas and focus on quality. Let the creative directors really dive into the process and thoroughly train each actor. Then be strict. Make sure every scene is in tip top shape so that every - single - visitor gets the intended experience of that scene. Let veterans do their thing but newbies can have "set scares." Hire 3/4 of the amount of actors they hire now, but now have the actors double up in each maze so nobody gets tired with breaks and intervals. Have dress rehearsals and/or fan appreciation nights so the kinks can be ironed out. So the lines don't get insane, make sure every ride has had maintenance and running several cars. Three major high capacity shows. One to replace The Hanging, the Schultz theater, and one in the Birdcage or the Wagon Camp. If there's any budget leftover, fix up the Log Ride and the Mine Ride to be themed. They don't necessarily need actors, but a spooky overhaul would be great. Raise prices by about $15-20 and lower capacity. Keep the prices low in the beginning so word of mouth can spread though, so people understand they're not just charging more for less. That they've upped their game to be beyond anything they were before or any competition in the area, and spending extra will be worth it. Keep Ghost Town exactly the same. If they feel a need to re-haul Carnevil and Necropolis, so be it. They already got rid of the Gauntlet so Carnevil isn't even that sacred to me anymore, considering it's barely ANY dressing and all clowns.
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
4,076
I'd love it if Knotts actually scaled things back a bit, in the sense HHN did in 06/07.
A "reboot" if you will.
Slash ALL the mazes and start from scratch. Only do 4-5 mazes. Put ALL the budget into them and make them the scariest, most innovative mazes ever made -- the first year or two, due to figuring out their budget allocation, I'd expect many reused set pieces from this year and that's fine. Throw away any bad ideas and focus on quality. Let the creative directors really dive into the process and thoroughly train each actor. Then be strict. Make sure every scene is in tip top shape so that every - single - visitor gets the intended experience of that scene. Let veterans do their thing but newbies can have "set scares." Hire 3/4 of the amount of actors they hire now, but now have the actors double up in each maze so nobody gets tired with breaks and intervals. Have dress rehearsals and/or fan appreciation nights so the kinks can be ironed out. So the lines don't get insane, make sure every ride has had maintenance and running several cars. Three major high capacity shows. One to replace The Hanging, the Schultz theater, and one in the Birdcage or the Wagon Camp. If there's any budget leftover, fix up the Log Ride and the Mine Ride to be themed. They don't necessarily need actors, but a spooky overhaul would be great. Raise prices by about $15-20 and lower capacity. Keep the prices low in the beginning so word of mouth can spread though, so people understand they're not just charging more for less. That they've upped their game to be beyond anything they were before or any competition in the area, and spending extra will be worth it. Keep Ghost Town exactly the same. If they feel a need to re-haul Carnevil and Necropolis, so be it. They already got rid of the Gauntlet so Carnevil isn't even that sacred to me anymore, considering it's barely ANY dressing and all clowns.
You're basically describing them becoming more like Horror Nights... which I don't necessarily disagree with, but I think Knotts is more than happy to have their own identity, for better and worse.