Scary Farm Opening Weekend Recap 2019
What began as a one-night event in 1973, has turned into one of the largest Halloween celebrations in the world, or the "gran-daddy" of them all, as "Haunt" fanatics like to call it. Over the years, the competition has grown stronger and stronger, especially in the Southern California market. While others can try, and even latch on to intellectual properties to grab the attention of the masses, no one can beat Knott's Berry Farm at its own game. From the foggy streets of Ghost Town, to the bright, colorful macabre antics that take place on the Boardwalk, the entire theme park becomes the star attraction. From the moment you step through the gates, you are immediately immersed in the event. Happily, a rope drop pre-show returns this year. Along with it is a story line that carries over from the Summer "Ghost Town Alive" celebration. This story is then told throughout the streets and into the park's newest maze, "Origins," and elements are used in the park's signature show, "The Hanging." If you opt for the pre-scare dinner (highly recommended), you will enter the park before rope drop and be treated to thirty minutes of time to explore the mazes on the back lot behind Ghost Rider. In addition to the exclusive jump on the lines, you will be introduced to nearly two dozen characters roaming the midway, representing each of the four scare zones. Use this time to visit this year's other new offering, "Wax Works." While you could also tour the other three mazes, heading to rope drop to see the themed story kick off, and watch the monsters be unleashed into the eager crowd is highly recommend. Get to the rope in front of the entrance to Ghostrider around 6:50. The year's two new mazes blow any previous builds out of the water. Knott's has not only outdone themselves, but with Origin's, proves they are the best in the business. With not an inch of dead space to be had, the town of Calico has been recreated and features present and beloved past attractions. Knott's fanatics will recognize the ode to the former Haunted Shack and be delighted to see a real-life Catawampus. While incredibly impressive, my fear is that most of the Easter eggs will be lost on the general public. This is one NOT to miss. From the interactive characters in the queue line, to the special effects inside, you've never seen anything like it.
Also new for 2019, "Wax Works," boasts a back story and delivers a top-notch experience. A new pre-show room has been added to "The Depths." Inside "Dark Ride," a new "Gift Shop" has been added to the exit. Look to your right before exiting, as to not miss it. The other mazes offer the same great scares as before. Several will be retiring this year to make way for new experiences in 2020, so make sure to visit your favorite. For a tamer thrill, take a ride on the Timber Mountain Log Ridge. While a lively and spooky soundtrack created exclusively for the ride by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies, the "Halloween Hootenanny" overlay offers a family-friendly way to celebrate the holiday. You can also experience this attraction during daytime operations. The park's signature show "The Hanging" is back and better than ever. The silly stunt show features bits about popular culture. A surprise ending will have fans left in shock, but effectively incorporates the opening rope drop story line into the madness. This year's show is the best it has been in some time. To round out the experience, visit Fiesta Village for the "Awaken the Dead," DJ and dance party. Inside the Bird Cage Theatre, rotating magicians will perform nightly. Brian Henson's "Puppet Up: Uncensored" takes center stage.
OPENING NIGHT ROPE DROP AND FESTIVITIES
Fans are excited to see that Rope Drop has been reincorporated into the kick-off of the nightly festivities.
NEW MAZES AND RETURNING FAVORITES
Two new mazes made their debut this past weekend:
Wax Works (Backstage near Ghostrider) – Mysterious lights and strange noises have begun to emanate from the eerie abandoned wax museum. The once prominent plastic surgeon, Dr. Augustus Scratch, has been seen tinkering at night and is now ready to show off his beautiful yet terrifying life-like masterpieces of hot molten wax and bloody flesh. It’s rumored that blood-curdling screams can be heard echoing through the halls of Wax Works as victims are horrifyingly submerged into a scorching hot cauldron of bubbling wax. Take a closer look at his gruesome works of art and try to escape his deadly grip or become the newest masterpiece to add to his collection. Origins: The Curse of Calico (Wilderness Dance Hall) – Pierce the veil of time and discover the secret of the evil fog that hangs over Knott’s Scary Farm in Origins: The Curse of Calico. Unearth the sinister paranormal activity that plagues the town as Sarah Marshall is put on trial for her suspected crimes of witchcraft. All will be unveiled when the Green Witch rises up and curses the townsfolk, transforming all who have accused her into a wicked horde of malicious creatures with an eternal quench for the living.
Our take: These are two of the best mazes Knott's has ever produced. "Origins" is out of this world amazing!
Returning Mazes include: Shadow Lands – A fulfilling life ensures a souls safe passage into eternity but what happens to the souls of soldiers slain in battle? Enter the hair-raising Shadow Lands maze and fight off demon samurais whose souls are cursed to rot within the depths of purgatory. Guests will embark on a quest through a sacred shrine, an ancient Japanese temple and into the midst of the shadow lands.
PARANORMAL, INC. – The Haunting of Hayden Hill: Paranormal Inc. maze once again reopens its doors to those brave enough to uncover an eerie and supernatural adventure. Guests investigate a haunted hospital where the patients were tortured for decades by deranged doctors and nurses. Demonic spirits of the murdered victims have been detected throughout the mysterious halls, while evil medical staff prowl for new patients to torture.
Special Ops: Infected – Enlist to fight the zombie apocalypse in an all-out war against the undead in the interactive experience, Special Ops: Infected. Armed with specially designed laser guns, brave groups of guests embark on a mission of navigating through the city in a quest to find the infection cure. Take your last shot at saving mankind as this heart-stopping attraction is going out with a bang of new surprises, including two brand-new show scenes and characters for its final year at Knott’s Scary Farm.
Pumpkin Eater – Survive the wrath of the murderous 7-foot tall creature that haunts the old woods surrounding The Hollow in the Pumpkin Eater maze. The notorious creature is on the prowl hidden within the dark confines of the haunted town he once terrorized. To escape the sinister Pumpkin Eater’s wrath, all who enter must go on a quest through the silent town of victims, face a cave of crawling insects and solve the labyrinth of thorns that blocks the way out.
Dark Ride – Journey through an abandoned carnival ride where cruel carnie folk still linger in the shadows in Dark Ride: Castle of Chaos. The carnival has become a refuge for freaks and carnies. Now those shunned performers have created a dark world of terror which they plan to unleash on those who enter. Dark Ride will lead brave visitors through a treacherous path and into the bowels of a long-neglected attraction, as sinister shadows and horrifying scenes cast the gloom over the once pleasant ride. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare, being helplessly trapped inside an abandoned carnival ride without a way out. New for 2019, Dark Ride will be debuting a brand-new ending show scene where guests can walk through the rides attached Gift Shop and come face to face with Smiley Sam and Baby Fool.
The Depths – A heavy fog drapes over an abandoned port village where ancient creatures lurk inside the pitch-black underground caves hidden below the seaside shores. The Nightwatch Mining Crew has mysteriously disappeared and village rumors point to the eerie tunnels the town sits upon. Myths of the terrifying horrors that lurk within the cave have often been whispered but never confirmed. Did the crew meet their demise at the hand of vicious creatures that live within the cave? Journey into the ominous caverns to discover if the superstitions revolving around the cave is true or not. But be warned all who have entered have never resurfaced.
Dark Entities – Teleport beyond earth into a realm where the darkness is absolute. In the depths of space, a lone station faces terror beyond all imagination. An extraterrestrial mutation has invaded the station, and it’s on the prowl for new hosts. The unearthly inhabitants’ force increases as it feeds on its unwilling victims. Escape the dark entities before its deathly force eliminates all living form aboard the station. There’s nowhere to escape when time is running out!
Halloween Hootenanny – The residents of the Timber Mountain Log Ride celebrate the Halloween Hootenanny which adds a seasonal twist to a park favorite. Mysterious creatures of Timber Mountain that live out in the woods and caverns join the citizens as they honor the season at the Halloween Hootenanny. The ride’s interior features unexpected surprises as guests venture past the Calico Coffin Creeper band, the town’s green witch and splash down Skull Mountain through a labyrinth of jack-olanterns.
Our take: All of the mazes give the competitors a run for their money, and are the best in the business. Last year's new mazes "The Depths" and "Dark Entities" remain strong. Pumpkin Eater is a favorite of ours!
SCARE ZONES AND ATMOSPHERE
Knott’s Scary Farm is far more than a collection of haunted attractions. Every night monsters spill out onto the streets and turn theme park midways into murderous scare zones. From the world famous Ghost Town Streets to the Boardwalk area filled with evil clowns, there’s nowhere to hide in Knott’s Scary Farm.
Ghost Town Streets is the original and largest, most terrifying scare zone that started it all. Bands of half-human, half-animal monsters prowl the streets and inhabit the fog, and beware the notoriously startling sliders, who lunge from fog-filled corners of the land.
On the Boardwalk, deviant clowns crave your undying attention in the CARNEVIL scare zone.
The Hollow scare zone will terrorize guests as the Witches of the Hollow along with their armies of creatures have risen once again to battle with the Witch Hunter.
The Lake underneath Silver Bullet recedes to reveal the Forsaken Lake scare zone, where gothic creatures ravaged by the dark and murky waters wander from their crypts preying on unsuspecting visitors, looking for victims to drag back to their watery graves.
Our take: The Scares Zones are what make fans return year after year. No one does this better. No one. Take the time to find a bench in each Scare Zone and just appreciate the effort put in by the talent. Forsaken Lake has been expanded this year and pop-up shows occur in the zone throughout the night. An on-going story, with live vignettes and a 12 a.m. wicker man burning take place in The Hollow.
The Hanging – The Citizens of Calico face their toughest foes yet, the censors, in this live stage show that looks back at the year’s pop culture with some killer comedy. Notorious for its special effects and highflying stunts, The Hanging is a no holds barred assault on pop culture’s most infamous moments of the past year. A must see parody!
Our take: The best the show has been in years, with a twist. The only downside, the ending left audiences standing in bewilderment wondering if it had actually ended, or if the actors were coming back out for more.
CONJURE– Magic and Mirth in the Birdcage Theatre – The Bird Cage Theatre will once again become the home of comedy and magic. Join award-winning magicians and Fox’s Masters of Illusion regulars as they take the stage to amaze and amuse. Witness magicians front and center as they perform on select nights. AWAKEN THE DEAD – A non-stop DJ dance party has taken over Fiesta Village, where guests can jam with candy skull go-go dancers and dance to music so popular it’s sure to Awaken the Dead. PUPPET UP - An outrageous live show featuring a combination of improvisational comedy and the magic of puppetry performed by a cast of world-class comedian puppeteers from The Jim Henson Company. Created by legendary puppeteer and award-winning director Brian Henson and directed by Patrick Bristow. In true uncensored form, the content is driven by audience suggestions and participation, topped with the zany antics and bawdy shenanigans of the colorful and brazen puppet cast. Our Take: We love to watch the shows at Knott's. They provide another level of entertainment, and are always enjoyable. OPENING NIGHT PRE-SCARE MONSTERS
This is a great time to see the monsters!
OVERALL THOUGHTS REGARDING 2019
Opening weekend was a kick-off to what is the strongest event in years. The mazes, talent, and scare zones were on-point. The park-wide immersive atmosphere cannot be beat. Pop-up shows, hidden characters, and roaming talent make Scary Farm... Scary Farm.
Knott's Scary Farm runs select nights through November 3. Full details and tickets at www.knotts.com For updates, photos, and videos, follow along at facebook.com/theFUNnelCakeBlog and on Instagram at @theFUNnelCakeBlog
For more photos and a complete list of additional attractions, visit our Knott's Scary Farm Season Preview page, by clicking here.
For a gallery of daytime park decor, please click here.
See you in the fog!