Monday, June 24, 2013

New At Knott's: Part 2 - The Log Ride

A grand "reopening" ceremony was held recently at Knott's Berry Farm, for the Timber Mountain Log Ride attraction. It had been closed since the beginning of the year for an extensive five-month refurbishment.

The "Calico Log Ride," as it was originally called, first opened to the public on July 11, 1969. Actor John Wayne and his son, Ethan, were flown to Knott's by helicopter to host the opening ceremony.

Here's a shot of Ethan shaking hands with Walter Knott.

And this photo shows him and his dad watching as Cordelia Knott breaks a bottle of boysenberry juice over the bow of one of the logs.

Mr. Wayne and his son were the first guests to ride the new attraction that day.

Special grand opening entertainment included log rollers in the splash-down pond out in front of the attraction.

For the rededication ceremony last month, the entertainment included members from the park's new show, "Boomtown." As stated on the banner, it's "Where Cirque and the Old West Collide!"

This guy was doing a balancing act using wooden crates and "moonshine" jugs.

The Ghost Town Miners (formerly known as the Miner 49ers) were also on hand to liven things up.

And once again, Charles Phoenix was the master of ceremonies. He had helped open the three new Boardwalk attractions just an hour earlier. To see the photos from that ceremony, click here for part one of this series.

Ethan Wayne was also in attendance for the rededication. Below, Charles shows Ethan the photo of him shaking hands with Walter Knott back in 1969.

Beth Swift, the Mayor of Buena Park, gave a wonderful speech acknowledging Bud Hurlbut as the creative genius behind the Log Ride. She even designated May 30th as "Bud Hurlbut Day."

Taking the first ride of the day were Knott's General Manager Raffi Kaprelyan (in back), Lara Hanneman, Director of Entertainment Production (middle), and Ride Maintenance Supervisor, Kelley Roberts (front).

Just for the day, a special exhibit was set up in Jeffries Barn (Wilderness Dance Hall). The exhibit included concept art, construction photos, and Bud Hurlbut's original Log Ride models. Also on display was this original Log Ride figure.

The figure was being auctioned off and the proceeds were being given to the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

Photos of the Log Ride's original interior scenes were on display.

This photo shows John Wayne addressing the crowd on opening day. Record crowds showed up at the park that day.

Here are Bud Hurlbut and Walter Knott going for a ride.

And here's a photo of Mr. Hurlbut showing Walter Knott an early concept model of the new attraction that he was proposing for the park.

That original model was also on display in the barn.

A sign explained about some of the details of that first model, including the three tunnels on the right side of the mountain. The original design was going to have the mountain extending over the Stage Coach path, the Calico Railroad tracks and the path for the old Burro attraction.

Bud Hurlbut reworked the design of the ride and built a second model. That second model is actually closer in design to what was actually built.

Detailed information about the second model:

Some early concept art was also included in the exhibit.

Certificates for "100 Shares" of the Calico Logging Company were being handed out to guests in the barn.

Now, let's take a look at the new ride. Yay, the original Log Ride ticket booth is still standing! Today, it serves as a "snack shack."

If you look in the center of the photo above, a new figure is visible outdoors.

This is the first indoor scene, inside the saw mill. The figures are now all animatronic.

Here is that outdoor figure that we saw before boarding.

The next two photos are from the second indoor scene. I have to say, there are so many figures in the attraction now, that it is difficult to see them all on just one ride-through....not to mention trying to photograph all of them.

I was glad to see that the old logging train still remains in this scene (not pictured).

This guy is hanging around in the caverns at the bottom of the first drop.

Here is an official Knott's press-release photo of the same scene. I will point out now that the official photos from Knott's depict the scenes much more accurately in comparison to my photos in which a flash was used.

Again, my photo:

And the official Knott's photo:

Two more official Knott's photos:

And my photo:

These last six are all official photos from Knott's. These scenes are viewed just before going up the second lift hill:

I really enjoyed the updates that were made to the Calico Log Ride. The company responsible for the refurbishment was Garner Holt Productions. After seeing what they were able to do with the Log Ride, it got me thinking.....what if they were hired to bring back Kingdom of the Dinosaurs to Knott's, or even better, Knott's Bear-y Tales! One can only hope! :-)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New at Knott's: Part 1 - The Boardwalk

After a six month-long hiatus, I am back with my first post of the year! Happy belated 2013, everyone!

Just in time for summer, Knott's Berry Farm has opened three new rides in the Boardwalk section of the park (formerly the Roaring 20's). The three new attractions, Pacific Scrambler, Surfside Gliders, and Coast Rider can be seen here in this official Knott's publicity photo. (The green track on the left belongs to the newly repainted Boomerang.)

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new attractions was held on May 30th. Season Passholders were invited to enter the park starting at 7:30 a.m., so they could enjoy the three new rides prior to park opening. This pinback button was being handed out at the entrance. The Calico Log Ride is depicted here as well because it's official re-dedication ceremony (after undergoing a six month-long refurbishment), was also held that day.

These next three pics show how empty the park was at 7:30 a.m. Actually, these areas were still closed and everyone was being directed towards the new rides.

Unfortunately, my photos are a little on the dark side. Southern California's "June gloom" started a bit early this year.

A new sign marks the entrance to "Boardwalk Pier." Located off the Pier are two of the new attractions, Pacific Scrambler and Surfside Gliders.

Pacific Scrambler is the old Whirlpool/Headspin attraction that used to be located indoors in the Roaring 20's. It was later moved over near Bigfoot Rapids and renamed Wilderness Scrambler. When construction began on the Pony Express ride, it was dismantled and put into storage.

It's nice to see an old friend return to the park! Ahem...Haunted Shack and Knott's Bear-y Tales, anyone? :-)

By the way, the new Boardwalk Pier was built over the old splash-down pool of the former Perilous Plunge attraction. Portions of it were filled in and built upon, but it's the same basin.

Next up, we have Surfside Gliders. Part of Coast Rider can also be seen here on the far right.

Knott's gives the following description for Surfside Gliders: "Taking the ride into their own hands, guests will pilot their own Surfside Glider. From a height of 28 feet, these two-man aircrafts zip through the air providing a bird’s eye view of the Boardwalk area as they glide over Boardwalk Bay."

And here's an official publicity shot from Knott's showing a close up of the ride vehicle. You can see the child's hand on a handle which allows riders to control how high and how far out the vehicle will go.

Next door to Surfside Gliders, we have Coast Rider (not to be confused with Ghost Rider over in Ghost Town), which is a "Wild Mouse" type of coaster. Incidentally, Coast Rider sits in the spot that was the original location of the Pacific Scrambler/Wilderness Scrambler/Headspin/Whirlpool attraction. This is another official publicity photo from Knott's. I somehow failed to take my own photos of this particular attraction on opening day. See what a six month hiatus from posting does.....I'm slacking off! But I'll get back into the groove. In the meantime, thanks to Knott's for letting me use their press photos to fill in the gaps in my post!

For opening day, Knott's had "streetmosphere" performers wandering around. Here's a typical family from the 1950's.....or would that be the 1960's?


And of course, SNOOPY!

Hey wait a minute, who's that? Why it's everyone's favorite Pop-culturist and Histo-tainer, Charles Phoenix!

Charles Phoenix was the master of ceremonies for the day. And how much are we loving his boysenberry suit? To borrow a line from Mr. Phoenix, "I KNOW!!!"

Knott's Berry Farm's general manager, Raffi Kaprelyan also spoke at the opening ceremony.

Then it was time for the ribbon cutting. The "ribbon" was actually a very long piece of boysenberry taffy that was brought out on a special board and then lifted off and cut by the "tourist family."

After the ribbon cutting, everyone posed for a photo op. The lady on the far left is Buena Park mayor, Beth Swift. I'm sorry, I do not remember who some of the other people in the photo are, but if someone out there knows and cares to identify them, please do so!

We will end this post with another shot of Mr. Phoenix's fabulous suit. Stay tuned, I will have more of what's "New at Knott's" and also Charles Phoenix as he rededicates the Calico Log Ride in Part 2 of this series!

***POST UPDATE!*** Part 2 of this series which covers the rededication of The Log Ride is now finished. Please click here for Part 2: New At Knott's: Part 2 - The Log Ride