Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kingdom of the Dinosaurs Remnants at Knott's

I wanted to call this post "Knott's Bear-y Tales Remnants," but unfortunately there isn't much left at the Farm to remind us of that attraction....at least not around the old attraction building. There are three Bear-y Tales figures in the barn in Ghost Town that I posted about in April. Those can be seen (here.) Let's now take a look at the abandoned space that used to house two former Knott's Berry Farm dark rides. That upper deck held a large part of the queue for both attractions.

I love the neon sign on top of the building. It's kind of strange that it's still there since the area hasn't been called the Roaring 20's for many years now.


I wonder if the neon still works? I remember it being truly dazzling as the lights would "travel" around the circle and then radiate out to the "shooting stars."



If you look closely, you can still see the Hollywood Hills part of the mural that was painted behind the loading area for Kingdom of the Dinosaurs.



And some of the clouds above the hills......if you squint, you can see them.


Here's the old entrance to the queue. It now contains some sort of game of chance in which you can win.....a stuffed animal! The Laser Zone sign is for the attraction located behind it. We'll see that in just a moment.


Here's a vintage shot of the entrance. Notice the Pterodactyl on the rooftop and the dinosaurs in "relief" below the sign. The marble statue of "Rocko", the baby Triceratops is now located in Camp Snoopy. I remember prior to the opening of Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, the artist that carved this worked on it for months out in the open where the public could watch.


Here are some current shots of the old queue ramps.....



I had heard a rumor that the old attraction space had been turned into "laser tag." Well, it turns out that it's just located in a space on the ground floor next to the arcade. I asked the employees about it and they said it doesn't use any of the upstairs space.


See how popular this attraction is? Oh, and you have to pay extra to go into "The Lazer Zone." It is not included in the price of admission.


Here's more of the old queue. Some of the metal railings are beginning to rust.


This close-up shows that they have cut off and removed the concrete ramp at the bottom level.


Now let's go into the arcade and take a look at the old attraction exit.


I went up the exit ramp......it was kind of creeping me out, but I did it anyway and nobody stopped me.



There's a metal gate at the top of the ramp and it's locked. The gate was kind of "fuzzy".....it had a lot of long black dust growing on it.


Here's a shot taken through the "fuzz" looking up the exit ramp. And yes, I did get some on me while taking this pic.


This is the view looking to the extreme right.


And this is the view looking to the extreme left. The mural still looks great!


And here's a shot of the mural that I took after I broke the lock, pulled back the metal gate and ran up the ramp!


Okay, even if the gate hadn't been locked.....I'm not THAT brave. This photo was actually taken about nineteen years ago after boarding one of the ride vehicles.

I wish Knott's would put some kind of dark ride back into this space! The park really needs another family type of attraction. How about a Peanuts/Snoopy dark ride since those characters are used throughout the park? Or just bring back Knott's Bear-y Tales! I'm sure Rolly and Chris Crump could recreate it perfectly!

We'll take a look inside the Kingdom of the Dinosaurs attraction in an upcoming post.

23 comments:

Davelandweb said...

Great investigating, Chris! Love this kind of stuff.

Dan Alexander said...

Nice story! It's a shame that there's not a ride there anymore.

I wonder if it will eventually become a "Boo Blasters on Boo Hill" ghostblaster ride like Kings Island in Ohio has now (since Cedar Fair owns both parks).

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

I heard the 20's sign still lights up at night but I can not find a current photo of it on the web, looks like you'll need to hit the farm at night!

Laser tag is so early 2000's I bet no one even asks about it anymore! Dan has an excellent idea, in fact, we just saw something similar at Castle Park - Ghost Blasters!

I walked up the ramp, but the dust fuzzies and solitude made me turn around. Awesome shots you got thru the fence! Nice to see the mural is still there.. Did they keep that from Bear-y tales and how did it fit the Dinosaurs theme? (only saw the dino's once and all I did was keep looking for Bears & frogs)...

BRING BACK KNOTT'S BEAR-Y TALES - A want my balloon back!!!!!!

TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks Dave and Dan....I wish you both could have seen the original Rolly Crump darkride that occupied that space. The dinosaur ride wasn't too bad, but Bear-y Tales was better.

I like your idea too, Dan! It seems like it would be a "natural" since shooting gallery type rides are so poplular right now...even Legoland and Universal Studios Orlando has them! And VDT, I wish we had gotten to go on the Ghost Blasters dark ride at Castle Park on Saturday!!!!! Oh well! If I ever go back, I'm calling ahead to make sure that it's open that day!

VDT, that mural was done just for Kingdom of the Dinosaurs when it opened in 1987. It was supposed to depict vintage Hollywood. That's why the sign on the hills reads "Hollywoodland," (just as it did originally when it was supposed to be advertising real estate in the area.) The ride was supposed to have a "loose" tie-in with the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles (remember the Mastodon stuck in the tar?) The original mural for Bear-y Tales can be seen on page 136 of Chris Merritt's book "Knott's Preserved." And I agree....just put it back! I WANT MY BALLOON BACK TOO!

Major Pepperidge said...

I would love a nice dark ride at Knott's; I never saw "Beary Tales" or "Kingdom of the Dinosaurs" in person!! Not sure I would really want a Peanuts/Snoopy attraction, but it would be better than nothing. A dogfight with the Red Baron?

TokyoMagic! said...

I agree with you Major...Peanuts would be better than nothing. The Peanuts characters are okay, but I'm not a huge fan. It just seems like it would be a good fit for the park and it would probably help them sell more Peanuts merchandise. I like Dan's idea better though.

Anonymous said...

The mural looks cool! Nice post, Chris!!

Kelly said...

Nice post, Chris! The mural looked really cool for 1987!! ;)

Hugs said...

The Beary Tales ride that later became the Dino ride were both just the perfect things to ride after a long day of losing your tummy on all of the wild rides. These slower paced dark rides gave you just enough time to regain your senses so you could go back and lose your tummy some more.

I have nostalgically fond memories of both rides. It makes me a bit sad to see the pictures of it sitting empty.

I live in Texas now and I wish I had a bear (or those funny jumping frogs) from the Beary Tales ride to display in my gameroom. What did they do with all of that stuff? Is it sitting in storage somewhere or did it just go to the trash dump? At least the Roaring 20's sign is still hanging around.

Anonymous said...

@Hugs

Some of the Bear-y Tales characters were placed in a storefront over in Ghost Town (I think). I'm not sure which store they are in exactly but they are all there and they still sing, dance, and move around. There are some videos floating around YouTube of it.

As for the rest of the set pieces I am not sure what they did with them. Probably trashed them :(

TokyoMagic! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TokyoMagic! said...

@Anonymous, you are right about the bear figures. There are three of them. I've filmed them, but I still need to post the footage. I did provide a link in that first paragraph of text that shows a picture I took of them in the store in Ghost Town. I think I've heard that many of the other figures were cannibalized and their mechanisms used for animation in the Haunt mazes over the years. :-(

@Hugs, I'm so sorry that I never responded to your comment.....I forgot to get back to you! I hope we've answered your question now. I have memories of both attractions as well and I agree with you.....I would LOVE to have any little piece of the Bear-y Tales attraction to display in my home!

Josephsmom021 said...

we recently got passes to Knott's as a gift and hadn't been there in about 6 years, I had NO idea that they had taken out the Kingdom of the Dinosaurs :-( we were so excited to take our 19 month old son on the ride, it was mine and my sisters favorite ride as kids, and were SUPER bummed to walk up to the ride and find our that it is NO longer there!!! My sister is beyond bummed, I know that it was a bit out dated but come on it was a Knott's staple I hope they can redeem themselves whenever they decide to fill that space.

Tuckerscreator said...

I absolutely miss this ride. A person I met said he sneak in and the ride is in pretty bad shape. In his words, "It's pretty sad. Professor Wells is now nothing but a torso, one arm, and one leg. The dinosaurs are disintegrating down to their machinery, the walls have been stripped, countless places have been tagged by disrespectful employees. It's just tragic."

Bear-ytalesfan said...

With seeing how the log ride was given an awesome touch up. I hope that they do the same for the Mine ride and in this building.

I wish they can bring back Bear-y Tales, I can totally see Garner Holt remaking the attraction which would be fantastic. If not maybe a spiritual successor, I always imagined a Bear-y Tales revival with peanuts characters. Imagine Crafty Coyote being non-existent and it turns out to be Snoopy himself as the thief (like how he was the Great Pumpkin and Easter bagel coincidentally).

Anonymous said...

The Timber Mountain Log Ride is back and running. Great animatronics. I heard that next year the Calico Mine Train will get the same treatment.
A year after that The Kingdom of the Dinos will finally be addressed and brought back to it's former glory.

Anonymous said...

I do miss the doorbell in the Roaring 20's to find out that behind the door is really a speakeasy. Does anyone remember this?

TokyoMagic! said...

@Joseph's mom, I hope they can redeem themselves too! And I hope they do it soon!

@Tuckerscreator, I saw some pics online that someone had taken of the interior in it's present condition. I agree......TRAGIC!!!

@Bear-y Tales Fan, I like your idea! A Peanuts dark ride seems like a natural for the park. But I also wouldn't mind if they brought back Bear-y Tales just how it was originally.

@Anonymous #1, I heard the rumor about the Mine Train too, and something about a new dark ride in the old KOD space, but didn't know they were planning to restore KOD back to it's former glory. I wouldn't mind that either!

@Anonymous #2, I remember the speakeasy! The door is still there. I want to say that when you ring the bell now, you hear music playing inside, but I'm not completely sure because it has been a while since I have pushed the button. But I do remember the days when the panel in the door would slide open and a voice would say, "Yeah....who sent ya?"

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Speakeasy door still plays music when you push the doorbell. You won't hear any voices or anything, just music...but it does still work.

As for the Lazer Tag arena, it doesn't use any space the ride once occupied. The ride is upstairs, and the laser tag is down underneath it, occupying part of the arcade space. Supposedly part of Johnny Rocket's AC unit is contained in that side of the KOD building, so...that happened.

Red Savarin said...

They have finally begun the clearence of the building. Whatever we are going to get, hopefully it will rock. It would be nice to see a reboot of the KBT IP. Heck, it would make sense since they recently brought the characters back in the Chicken Dinner Resturant. They have been put on the kid's menu recently. I don't know if it is to signify a connection with kids....who knows. If Knott's makes tons of references to the ride, why not just reboot the IP.

Red Savarin said...

It's kind of odd and feels like they think it still exists.

TokyoMagic! said...

Red, thank you for the info. I did not know that the Bear-y Tales characters were now being used on the kid's menu's at CDR. Very interesting, indeed! They do own the rights to those characters, so I say why not use them? And I would love to see those characters brought back in a reboot of the Bear-y Tales attraction! I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I'm not holding my breath!

Red Savarin said...

Here is a link from Knott's Network on the KBT cast.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=758019980916400&id=297044153680654