Knott’s Berry Farm claims to be the very first theme park. It is true that Knott’s Berry Farm had a theme and was opened many years before Disneyland ever opened. The one problem with it being the first theme park though is that it only had one theme not multiple themes. Regardless of whether you consider Knott’s Berry Farm the first theme park or not, one thing is certain: it has been around awhile and after a visit to the park you can understand why that is.
Knott’s Berry Farm was first opened by Walter Knott and has been family owned and operated most of its existence. Recently the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company purchased the park from the Knott’s children. Disney had been interested in purchasing the park from the Knott’s family before it had made Disney’s California Adventure, but the family was afraid it would radically change the park and make it more like a Six Flags or other thrill park because Disneyland was mostly a family park and not geared for teenagers or older crowds. However Disney was interested in keeping it very much the same. The interest was based on Disney’s failure to make a Disney America park in Washington D.C. and thought Knott’s offered a great opportunity to do so along with keeping a historically important park that Disney had a long history with (Walt Disney was friends of the Knott’s family and visited the park often before and after Disneyland opened).
For those that lived in the area and went to the park a lot, they may fill some sadness at the change of ownership from the Knott’s family. If you had seen the park before you would realize that the family had done exactly what they did not want to have happen by selling to the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company and not Disney. While some changes were unnecessary such as removing the famous devil other changes have been helpful to the park. The park now is very much a thrill park. It had been in between a Disneyland mostly for kids and families and a Six Flags geared mainly for thrills and the older crowd. Now the park is mostly for the thrills.
The good news is that some great new rides have been added to the park. The Wild West area has seen not one but two great additions with Ghost Rider, which is considered by many the best wooden coaster, and some even the best coaster in the world. Another recent addition to the Wild West area is the Pony Express another hit coaster. Along with Bigfoot rapids, and the Log Flume the Wild West has never been so wild.
Other additions have been added to the thrills too. Xcellerator is a fun coaster in the boardwalk; the boardwalk has seen plenty of changes since the soapbox racers were taken out. Unfortunately many of the Boardwalk rides that had been replaced proved unpopular or had mechanical issues making them expensive to operate or often down for work. The problems with the Boardwalk have been fixed however with rides like the Xcellerator, Supreme Scream, and Perilous Plunge.
The Mexican Village has not seen any additions, sadly on subtractions. Jaguar was added when the Knott’s were around but is possibly the least favorite ride at the park it is to tame for a roller coaster even little kids make fun of how tame it is, it is more of a scenic train ride up high.
Camp Snoopy also has seen little change probably because Cedar Fair Entertainment does not know much about what kids like but that is probably for the best.
Knott’s has changed for better or worse. Some changes have been bad but many have added to the park. Sadly it seems that many if not most of the changes could have been made and not caused the loss of well-loved favorites. The changes started with the Knott’s children though so Cedar Fair is not totally responsible.