KNOTT’S BERRY FARM
Buena Park, California
Cedar Fair Entertainment
Calico River Rapids (2019)
By Rob Milo for Screamscape
(5/19/19) Knott’s Berry Farm opened their new Calico River Rapids and we sent Rob out to check it out! You can read his report below.
The latest "splash" onto the scene at Knott's Berry Farm has arrived, in the form of a revamped Bigfoot Rapids, now renamed Calico River Rapids. Like a great rug, the new contributions really tie the whole south side of the park together.
Though Bigfoot Rapids' arrival in 1988 was warmly, if a bit soggily, received, it always could have used a bit more in the theming and narrative department. As with both the recent mine train and log ride renovations, Knott's again wisely enlisted Garner Holt and crew to enhance the attraction with their trademark blend of realism and humor through their proven visual style. The result is a wide assortment of animated scenes that bring the experience up to pace with its bigger brethren, the Calico Mine Ride and the Timber Mountain Log Ride. The new bits set the scene for explorers of the frontier of the untamed west, a very logical thematic extension of the gold rush culture depicted in Ghost Town.
All varieties of critters, from mischievous raccoons to a literal fox in a henhouse add humor and action to a ride that for many years had little going for it other than a forested nook of the park. Rattlesnakes, bears, chickens, and a howling wolf are only some of the wildlife to be encountered during the expedition. Perhaps the biggest triumph for this ride is the answer to the question, "What happened to Bigfoot?" Well, without spoiling things, the answer comes once riders venture into a dark cave near the end of the journey. A thrilling touch.
Though the queue path was always a pleasurable jaunt into the forest on the way to the loading platform, a rustic cabin housing supplies for intrepid explorers now serves many of those in line before they board. The ride itself is far from the wettest rapids ride, but it is satisfyingly long and now rewards repeat visits.
On the shore, visitors who want to steer clear of the water factor can set off TNT water "explosions" which drench riders as they round a bend about half way through. Additionally, many of the onride scenes can be seen from the shore, better integrating the ride into the existing area and adding some participatory fun for guests.
With Calico River Rapids, Knott's Berry Farm has bolstered their Ghost Town area of the park and reasserted it as one of the most well-loved theme park environments.