Thursday, April 22, 2010

Knotts Preserved: What it took to get me there, pt. 3

Yup—more Knotts today! At this point in the day, Tokyo Magic continued to give me his personal guided tour of Knotts inside the park. The attraction I was most excited about riding was the Calico Mine Train, as it’s probably the closest thing to being back on the old Nature’s Wonderland from Disneyland. First photo for today is a vintage 1961 view showing the exterior.

Our driver did a fantastic job with the spiel; entertaining and totally in character.

It was a little difficult to shoot on this attraction, as the majority is inside the mine and fairly dark. Still, I did my best to capture the “wonders” of what the guests could see. The “glory hole” was pretty cool—staring down deep into the mine and seeing all the workers trying to find gold.

My favorite part was the Rainbow Caverns:

Even though it wasn’t a “thrill” attraction, this ride still has its charm and is a lot of fun. The Log Ride was up next, and it was very fun, too. It actually moves at a faster clip than Splash Mountain. I have to say I didn’t really miss the singing animals, either!

Continuing to savor the older parts of Knotts, I took a ride on the train.

We were hijacked by these unsavory characters from the Wild West (I love that kind of stuff!)

Loved the depot, too!

I continued to snap a few more in the park; this fountain was originally a prop used in the movie “Hello, Dolly”:

The saloon was very cool too. In the inevitable comparison to Disneyland, I have to say that Ghost Town (despite the plastic trashcans) has more of an authentic vintage flavor because of its dilapidation than Frontierland, which often appears too squeaky clean. Heck, Knotts even has a house of ill-repute!

The next part of the day was a presentation by Chris Merritt at the Bird Cage, featuring a multi-media show that was edited down from its original 3 hour length (heck, I wish i could have seen that version!). Outside the Bird Cage theater, Bob Gurr, Rolly Crump, and Chris Crump were being interviewed.

Next door at the schoolhouse, vintage multi-media legend Charles Phoenix was being chastised by the local schoolmarm:

More bloggers showed up for Chris’ presentation (including Ken from Outside the Berm):

Chris & Eric’s presentation was hijacked by some shady varmints from Ghost Town:

Chris and Eric promised to be good, so they were able to move ahead with the rest of the program:

Before the show began, Marty Keithley (Knotts GM) presented both Eric & Chris with a beautiful framed memento with a montage of Knotts attraction posters:

After Chris’ entertaining show and q&a session, everyone moved over to the restaurant for the famous Fried Chicken dinner. I am happy to report that it was fantastic! Love the chicken and especially the boysenberry pie! Heck, I even enjoyed the berry punch—so what if it meant I overdid my annual quote of high fructose corn syrup?!?

Still more to come!

More Knott's photos at my main website.


Connie Moreno said...

Great pics, great commentary. I have to say, now you've made me want to go to Knott's and just walk around and LOOK at things.

Major Pepperidge said...

I don't know how you managed to get those great Calico Mine Train interiors... awesome! Looking forward to part 4.

I wonder if we can find the interviews (not sure what "Season Pass" is) online?

Major Pepperidge said...

OK, "Season Pass" is a podcast! You can listen to the Chris Merritt episode here:

Think I'll subscribe to this one on iTunes!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the dinner shots. I've started taking pictures of meals at restaurants I want to remember, at first I thought it was silly, but now in retrospect, its a great souvenir.

Appreciate the stories, esp. the mine train, my favorite old knotts.


Katella Gate said...

Yes, thanks for giving us the "full treatment" of Chris M's event, I couldn't make it and I'm very sorry for it. The pictures kinda make up for it.

Excellent pics of Knott's "Rainbow Caverns" and that food is making me hungry.

TokyoMagic! said...

More wonderful pics! And seeing the shots you were able to get inside the Mine Ride makes me want to run out and buy a better camera!

One thing that bugs me about Knott's now (and I'll only list ONE thing) is that you can no longer get a long distance shot of the Mine Train or the Log Ride without modern "junk" sticking up behind them. It's like when you walk down the Big Thunder trail at Disneyland and you can see the Maliboomer sticking up over New Orleans Square or when you round the corner of the Matterhorn, and the Tower of Terror is sticking up behind Space Mt. Oh well, that's progress I guess!