In my last post we saw how the Log Ride at Knott's Berry Farm gets decorated for Halloween. Today, we'll be taking a look at the Calico Mine Train. Since it doesn't get as many Halloween decorations, we'll also be looking at some of the non-decorated scenes, in addition to some vintage postcard images.
The photos in today's post were taken over the course of two visits to the park and three different ride-throughs of the attraction. All of the trains appeared to be out of storage, even though they weren't all running. I believe that they had them out and ready to go for the Halloween Haunt nights. I hope if they are running all of the trains, that means the wait time is much shorter. I remember the lines during the Halloween Haunts being crazy-crowded in the past.
More skeletons! The Mine Train has it's own pair out in front of the mountain.
Maybe you've heard of the Hatbox Ghost from Disneyland's Haunted Mansion? This is Knott's Berry Farm's Hatbox Skeleton....but her head doesn't disappear and then reappear in the hatbox....but it should!
A mine car from the queue.....
More of the queue......
Check out that nugget!
Now we're boarding the train.
This sign can be seen just before the entrance tunnel. Look.....it's Whittles! Whittles is the prospector pictured on the sign and was Knott's mascot back in the 60's and early 70's. I've never noticed this sign before. Was I just missing it or is this a vintage sign that has been dug out of storage and is being used once again?
This vintage ticket shows Whittles driving the Calico Mine Train. This is from a ticket book that was given to me by my aunt, but I somehow forgot to ask her how she got these "complementary" attraction tickets! To read more about Whittles, check out this great post, "Knott's Berry Farm's Whittles" from Chris Jepsen's O.C. History Roundup blog.
Here's a vintage postcard showing a scene near the beginning of the ride.
The photos below show some of the figures that can be found in the first half of the attraction.
Here's a vintage postcard showing the famous "glory hole" from ground level.
And here's another view of it taken from above.
For the Halloween overlay, there is a giant "drill" that goes from the ground floor of the glory hole all the way up to the ceiling. There is also a lighting effect projected onto it that makes it appear to be spinning. On one of the trips through the mine, this was pointed out by the driver to be a giant drill. On another trip, it was described as a giant alien spaceship. Maybe it's supposed to be a spaceship that's drilling? Unlike the Log Ride, the Mine Train didn't appear to be renamed for Halloween. I'm sure there is more of a scary backstory that is told during the Haunt events. The drivers did point out that things had been modified for Halloween and they also seemed to make an effort to explain that this daytime trip wouldn't be scary for the children on the train.
Next we enter into the caverns filled with stalactites and stalagmites.
Speaking of "scary", these aliens were hiding in the caverns, but they were completely in the dark and basically looked like rocks. The flash on my camera revealed what they look like when lit. I'm sure these are lit up at a strategic moment during the nighttime ride-throughs. I'm also pretty sure they have real people wearing the same outfits that "come to life" after the train stops on the tracks....I'm just remembering this part of the ride from past Halloween Haunts.
Now we're crossing the tressel on the upper level of the mountain.
The view looking down below.....
After reentering the mine, the train goes past the "blasting" scene. Here's another vintage postcard showing one of the miners preparing the dynamite.
Here's the same scene today. I have to say that this figure's movement looks pretty good.....for Knott's, that is! It isn't "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" movement, but he does move quite a bit more than the other figures in the attraction. Even his lips move as he warns everyone that there's blasting going on and to "get out!"
This shot of the train sitting in the unloading area shows a temporary wooden structure in the background. Again, I'm guessing here, but I'm pretty sure this is used during the Haunt nights to give riders one last scare at the end of the ride. Maybe I'll have to go check out the park one night this month so I can give a more complete report!
Frontierland Instamatics, August 1969
2 hours ago