Friday, November 07, 2014

Timber Mountain Log Ride

Another day at Knott's Berry Farm as I take you on a journey through the Timber Mountain Log Ride. Debuting in 1969, this classic attraction was recently refreshed in 2013. I can't help but get annoyed by the background tower, which takes me out of my Ghost Town haze.

The rock work doesn't quite seem up to Disneyland standards, but it still works.

Plenty of waterfalls along the queue line.

A little animated gif loop of the first hill in the attraction.

The back-side of water, Knott's-style:

A nice tribute to Bud Hurlbut:

The view as I saw it up the first hill (it was a challenge keeping my camera dry!):

Lots of animatronic figures along the way:

They all look fairly realistic, but I prefer the artistic stylings of the Marc Davis figures from Pirates of the Caribbean instead vs. a figure that attempts to look perfectly human.

A few animatronic animals to give a bit of a scare:

This detailed view shows another Hurlbut tribute:

Plenty of action:

Still, this attraction just doesn't pack the same wallop for me as the Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean. Maybe somebody more eloquent can express why the individual scenes from those two attractions seem much more exciting and beg more frequent trips than the Timber Mountain Log Ride.

Another lift:

Either the blast effects were off or the grand finale just isn't very grand:

Ken Stack (of Liberty Ranch fame) and John Waite are shown finishing up their journey on this attraction:

Overall, it was a fun ride; you definitely get wet and compared to Splash Mountain, the thrills seem much more uncontrolled (in a good way!). Still, without any truly memorable characters (like the Red Headed Wench, Hitchhiking Ghosts, etc.), other than to reshoot it with my low light lens, I really can't say that I have a huge interest in riding it again soon. I have been spoiled by the Disneyland dark-ride attractions that are thought out like a very well-planned movie: perfectly designed, perfectly lit, and full of heart & humor.

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Fifthrider said...

I get that figures in PotC and other Marc Davis attractions are more memorable and likable, but for Knotts this was pretty spectacular. In my opinion these two attractions ( log ride and mine train ) were 2/3 of the Knotts' attractions that hit that same Disney-eque level of being memorable. ( Gasoline Alley being #3 IMHO. ) Great pics by the way! From a design aspect I always thought they missed one huge opportunity with these two rides. They could have been built to intersect at some common location. Imagine the huge cavern in the Mine Train ride, and now there's a log with people passing through with you as well.

K. Martinez said...

I'd think this attraction is more comparable to Splash Mountain than Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion which are in a class by themselves, but I guess you're focusing on the interiors. Saying that, I'll take Timber Mountain Log Ride over Disneyland's Splash Mountain any day.

To me, Splash Mountain always felt like an overproduced rip off of the Knott's ride. It's probably my least favorite 'E' ticket attraction from the Eisner era.

As for the crude rock work on the Timber Mountain Log Ride, I love it. It has a genuine vintage amusement park look and feel that you can't find in Disneyland's slickly produced environment. I hope they never "improve" it. Sometimes the crunchiness of Knott's Berry Farm is a refreshing and welcome contrast to Disney's calculated pixie dust.

Daveland said...

Bryan - LOVE the idea of intersecting rides. Definitely what I miss about old Tomorrowland and old Frontierland (Pack Mules, Nature's Wonderland, Stagecoach, etc.).

Ken - You hit the nail on the head. Not really fair to compare POTC with the Log Ride. I definitely agree that I'd take the log ride over Splash Mountain any day.

JG said...

What Ken said.

I rode this when it first opened, so long ago. The figures seemed like an afterthought, but that was part of the Knotts charm. All the figures were palpably fake, even to a kid, and that made it endearing.

And what's more, now I know why Splash Mountain feels so flat to me, quite apart from the annoying music and the theme of a film story we are no longer allowed to watch.

Thanks for the pictures, Dave. I'll probably never get to ride this one again, so this is a good substitute.


giddy girlie said...

For me, the reason that the Calico Mine Ride and Timber Mountain Log Ride fall flat is that both lack a through story. There are elements of story patched in here and there, and the upgrade has made some nice additions (the Hootenany, etc.) but there's no sense of "place" in either attraction. I think that's where the Disney rides take superiority. Even though Haunted Mansion doesn't have a definitive "story" necessarily, there's enough there for people to interpret some kind of meaning. The Log Ride starts off great -- you're a newly felled tree that gets sent to the mill (workers are cutting, etc. preparing for shipment) and you hear the 'timber!' call before you splash in to the flume. From there, though, it just gets random. If I'm supposed to be a log on its way to a timber mill, why are the wolves growling at me? So then maybe I'm supposed to be an actual person, in which case the logic falls apart.

I feel the same for the Mine Ride. I'd really hoped that they would have plussed it a bit... added some newer things, like having gleaming pieces of ore coming up from the motherlode site or something. I honestly think that 99% of the passengers don't "get it" that the elevators are carrying miners to/from the pit and what they're looking for, etc.

I'm super happy that the execs at Knotts are at least making an effort and hopefully they will continue to add minor touches to their only 2 dark rides to increase interest for years to come.