It's no fun to visit a theme park and not get to go on the rides.
And that's the big problem with Camp Snoopy at Knott's Berry Farm: Far too many rides that parents can't experience with their kids.
But that will begin to change this summer when the Buena Park theme park gives the 30-year-old kiddie land a much-needed facelift and removes a number of rides with height maximums that prevent families from having fun together.
Gone are the Log Peeler kiddie scrambler ride (48-inch maximum), Snoopy Bounce inflatable bounce house (54-inch maximum) and Charlie Brown’s Speedway kiddie whip ride (far too cramped for any adult). Even Joe Cool's GR8 SK8, a giant rocking surfboard targeted for removal, has an 80-inch maximum -- in case you happen to be an NBA power forward.
Replacing those rides will be a slate of attractions built by Italy-based Zamperla with modest 36-inch minimum height requirements and no maximums: Charlie Brown's Kite Flyer kiddie wave swing, Pig Pen's Mud Buggies spinning car ride and the Linus Launcher hang glider ride.
While you might find the new collection of family rides at any county fair or church carnival, Knott's will be integrating a great deal of Peanuts theming and storytelling into the attractions in an effort to better compete with neighboring Disneyland.
The wave swing will be themed as a kite-eating tree, with an upside down and hopelessly tangled Charlie Brown revealed as the ride rises to a height of 16 feet. Riders will spin 12 feet in the air atop Linus' blanket, which doubles as a flying carpet on the hang glider attraction. And the Pig Pen spinner will send the littlest ones on a bumpy off-road journey aboard muddy all-terrain vehicles.
A new meet-and-greet location dubbed Beagle Scout Headquarters will allow visitors to pose for photographs with Peanuts characters in front of several hand-painted comic-strip-inspired backdrops.
Knott's has made dubious attempts at theming the kiddie land in the past, essentially slapping Peanuts names on random rides such as Lucy's tugboat, Snoopy's school bus and Charlie Brown's race cars with no thought to character or back story.
Other existing Camp Snoopy rides will get a Peanuts makeover while maintaining the old height maximums: Timberline Twister kiddie coaster (69-inch maximum) receives a new pinewood derby theme, with Charlie Brown's younger sister, Sally, at the helm, while the Red Baron plane ride (54-inch maximum) becomes Flying Ace, assuming another of Snoopy's alter-egos. Meanwhile, Lucy's Tugboat transforms into Rapid River Run with a white water rafting theme while Woodstock's Airmail kiddie drop tower gets a new queue.
Remaining Camp Snoopy rides that won't be incorporated into the Peanuts theme include Balloon Race, High Sierra Ferris wheel, Rocky Road Trucking Company and Huff and Puff -- the later a hand-powered ride with a 52-inch maximum that I've always wanted to try.
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