August 2016 Disneyland Trip Report – Part 3

If you missed part 1 or 2 of this trip report, just click on the number and find the first two installments!

Thursday found us getting a little extra sleep and then heading to Knott’s Berry Farm.  I hadn’t been to Knott’s Berry Farm in years and wasn’t sure of what to expect.  I was excited about the history, chicken house, and seeing something relatively new to my eyes.  I didn’t have many expectations and didn’t do much research on the park, outside of seeing what the most popular attractions were.  I won’t go into full detail here on our day but I’ll hit some of the highlights (and lowlights) from our day there.

Transportation was absolutely no issue.  A round trip bus ticket from Disneyland to Knott’s was less than $5 a person and got us there in less than half an hour.  The driver was a bit crazy but we arrived in one piece!  We used public transportation a fair amount on this trip and I have no problem with recommending it.  Uber may be a better option as far as overall value, but if you don’t want to separate a big group the busses worked well.

Knotts waterfall

We started in Knott’s on the right side of the park, also known as Camp Snoopy.  This area had its downfalls but overall was beautiful.  I liked the landscaping and some of the mountain lodge theming.  I’m not sure what any of that has to do with Snoopy, outside of Snoop’s love for the outdoors.  I’d love to go camping with Snoopy.  Questionable names aside, this area really was beautiful and comparable to the Grizzly River Run area of DCA (although not quite to that level.)

Knotts stream

Unfortunately after that I wasn’t very impressed with that side of the park.  There was a lot of pavement around and rides that were seemingly thrown down to take up room rather than placed within a theme.  In other words Fiesta Village and the Boardwalk areas felt like amusement parks.  Sure, there were some areas that followed theme but the majority didn’t.  I did like this fountain but the tower behind the building takes me out of any immersion in the environment.

Knotts fountain

The rides in this area were pretty impressive.  I’m by no means a roller coaster aficionado so I rely on my wife for reports on the more thrilling (terrifying) coasters.  Some real winners in her opinion were the XCelerator and the Silver Bullet.  I enjoyed the Jaguar as it was somewhat tamer, although it felt like the track needed to be redone.  Moving towards the middle of the park, and into Ghost Town, I loved the Timber Mountain Log Ride.  GhostRider, with its redone track, was terrifying but an excellent wooden coaster.  I didn’t expect it to go that fast and I was.. umm… startled?  I think that’s a nice way of saying it.  The Pony Express is weird but I liked it being somewhat different.

We saw the wild west stunt show in Ghost Town and the Blockbuster Beagle ice skating show.  They were both interesting to put it politely.  If I’m being honest, they were both really bad.  I remembered very few things about Knotts but I did have a memory of the stunt show.  My fond memories and the show did not match up.  The plot was muddled, the stunts were unspectacular and the show itself was fairly boring.  Blockbuster Beagle was definitely more interesting.  This was a mind explosion with no discernible plot.  Whatever plot there was had my mind in a deep state confusion when the plot reared its unorthodox head.  The ice skating seemed nice?  I don’t know.  I’m sure that it’s hard to combine an ice skating show and the Peanuts characters but this was very strange.  Thinking back, it’s pretty amazing the power that the Disney name holds.  I’m sure the performers at both parks earn similar wages.  Sure, the Disney Parks are more heavily attended but Knott’s is still a popular place.  Still the difference in their productions and acting were shocking to me.  Mickey and the Magical Map and Frozen are top-notch stage entertainment.  Shows at Knott’s Berry Farm were far from that, at least the two I saw.

I’ll end on a positive not and that is Ghost Town.  The oldest area of the park is most definitely the best.  Aside from it’s two great rides, the log ride and GhostRider, the theming is up to par with Disneyland’s Frontierland.  It takes you back to the old west and has many layers to it.  If I went to the park again, I’d love to spend a good share of my time there.  Here’s a few of my favorite shots from that area.

Knotts train

Knotts Calico Saloon

Knotts flower tree

After the park, we went to Knott’s Chicken House and I enjoyed my meal there.  I’ll most likely do a review of the restaurant in the future.  My Cliff Notes version is that the restaurant is beautiful and the food is above average but not much more.

This all leads to the question, is Knott’s Berry Farm worth visiting on a vacation to Southern California?  The answer is not clear to me even after going.  Disneyland’s two parks are surely better.  Universal Stuidios is a better theme park now, as well.  If you want to stay close to Disneyland and already have 3 or more days planned at that park then I’d say that going to Knott’s Berry Farm is a good choice.  If you love roller coasters or theme park history and have never been then it’s also a good choice.  Otherwise I’m pretty hesitant to recommend it.  The value is decent, with plenty of rides there and a cost point of around $40 if you look for discounts, but I’m not sure that this is a great option compared to what else Southern California offers.  I’m glad we went but that’s mostly because I hadn’t been there in a long time.  If you have more questions about Knott’s please let me know in the comments!

DCA Band car

The next morning saw us back in DCA, grabbing a FastPass for Frozen.  We went back to Paradise Pier after that and enjoyed a few rides around there.  Later that morning we saw Frozen – Live At The Hyperion.  I already covered that in a review last week, so check it out here if you haven’t already!

Frozen Sven_edited-2

After the show we crossed the promenade and had a corn dog at the Little Red Wagon for lunch.  It did not disappoint.  I typically try new items when at Disney Parks so I can review them or add to existing reviews but I always make an exception for the Disneyland Corn Dogs.  We ordered a Raspberry Macaron and a Matterhorn Macaroon from the Jolly Holiday Bakery for dessert.  The Raspberry Macaron was maybe the best item I tried all trip.  It was fresh and absolutely delicious.

After lunch we did a few attractions around Disneyland.  The parks got more crowded throughout the week but the weather was much cooler.  It was a pleasant afternoon to wander around the park and enjoy a few attractions.  We eventually went back to the hotel for some rest but not before a relaxing, fun afternoon in Disneyland.

Astro Orbiter castle

That evening found us dining at Napa Rose.  Last time we ate there, I had the best meal I’ve ever eaten anywhere.  This time was nearly as good.  The food is outstanding and the service impeccable.  I didn’t like my entrée as much this time as I did on our previous experience but it was still delicious.  I ordered the macaroni and cheese as a side and I thought that was incredible.  We had a great meal and loved the experience.  I’ll update the Napa Rose review soon accounting for our meal.

Napa Rose steak

Napa Rose Peach dessert

After dinner it was time for our final ride around the Cadillac Mountains.  This is my favorite way to end my time in California Adventure.  Radiator Springs Racers is definitely a highlight of the park and riding it at night is something everyone should try at least once.  We were all happy that night.

Cars Land group

After our ride, my nephew got to meet Mater and then we headed over to Disneyland to watch the fireworks.  We watched from the start of Main Street this time, near the flag pole.  I mainly stayed back here for photography purposes.  The view was different and unique.  While it’s nowhere near the best spot to watch fireworks, if you’re looking for something different then this spot is fun.

I did like taking photos back there.  Aside from a rather tall human on my right, the photos turned out pretty well.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Red gold fireworks

Fireworks castle off centered

Fireworks projections

After that we went for one more late night showing of Paint the Night back near It’s a Small World.  We knew we wanted to go on rides the next day, so we saw quite a few shows this day and enjoyed all of them.

Genie Lumiere PTN

Weird butterfly Rapunzel

Throughout the night, our group got smaller and smaller.  Once Paint the Night was over I was left to me, myself and I for a little bit of nighttime photography.  I was pretty tired but thoroughly enjoy the feeling of being one of the few guests left in the park.  I wandered around the Matterhorn to take some photos and took a few in Tomorrowland.  The problem with taking photos of Tomorrowland is that I don’t think many places really grab my eye.  There are a few interesting spots at night but I always end up feeling that I wish the land was more vibrant and bright.  Instead we’re just left with neon lights that don’t do much for me.  Nonetheless, I had a great time taking photos that night and was one of the last guests out of the park.  Security, as usual, was very accommodating and wasn’t rushing anyone out.

Matterhorn at night

Tomorrowland lagoon night

Tomorrowland entrance night

That’s it for this installment.  Next week I’ll be back with a final portion of this trip report, discussing our last day, the future of Disneyland and adding some final thoughts from our trip.  If you have any questions or comments about Disney, please leave them in the comments and I’d love to get back to you.  Thank you for reading!

– Andrew

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3 thoughts on “August 2016 Disneyland Trip Report – Part 3

    • Yeah, they did have a few crazier rides that didn’t make some of us feel the best. The quality definitely doesn’t hold up to what we’re accustomed to as Disney fans. I guess the way to go is to visit Knott’s before Disneyland, if you are on vacation. Then the fall off in quality wouldn’t be noticeable.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: August 2016 Disneyland Trip Report – Part 4 | Wandering In Disney

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