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Calico Mine Ride - A Look Into The Past And Present of it

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Calico Mine Ride was opened in 1960 at Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. Knotts Berry Farm is presently owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. The theme park sits on the site of a former berry farm owned by Walter Knott and his family.

Initially, the family sold berries pies and berry preserves along the State Route 39 from a roadside stand. Walter Knott started constructing a replica Ghost Town in 1940 on the property which was the beginning of the present-day theme park. But, the idea of an amusement park was taken seriously in the 1950s when Walter Knott opened a summer-long county fair.

In November 1960, Calico Mine Ride which was Knott's first major ride, was opened in Ghost Town. Following its opening, it was recognized as one of the world's most impressive dark rides. It was designed by Bud Hurlbut, the industry pioneer. The attraction carries riders on ore cars through indistinctly lit tunnels of a functioning gold mine, through underground lakes, caverns filled with multitudes of strange formations, waterfalls, chambers filled with hot bubbling pots and geysers. Somewhere along the trip, riders discover themselves along the edge of a 65 foot deep and 90 foot wide view filled with a collection of animated miners at work.

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As away to preserve a classic, the Knotts Berry Farm design team partnered with Garner Holt Productions Inc., to renovate and elevate the Hurlbut's 1960 design while at the same time maintain the original mining experience. The new look of Calico Mine features approximately fifty human animatronics and more animal populate. It also includes over 120 characters that are spread throughout the classic.

Among the new mine features is an old miner inside the first tunnel who welcomes the guests into the Calico Mine and warns them against the dangers lying ahead. Unfortunately, since the Calico Mine was opened none of the miners has ever found Gold in the mountain. Therefore, among the renovations that begin on June the 14th, a lucky miner will be viewed striking it rich with gold in his hand.

The new look of Calico Mine Ride
To start things of, here's an onride video of Calico Mine Ride filmed on June 12, 2014. It shows all the changes done to it.



At the beginning of 2014 (January 2014), the attraction was closed down for renovations and refurbishment by the Knotts Berry Farm production and design team together with the Garner Holt Production, Inc, the formidable team that brought the award winning enhancements to the famous Timber Mountain Log Ride in 2013. Among the notable renovations include additional 50 new state of the art cartoon figures, new audio and theme lighting system as well as special things that will amaze the prospective miners as they travel deep into the meandering caverns of the mine.

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Additionally, the chain lift will also be renovated. It will feature a miner carrying a canary in a cage for safety measures into the unknown. This is among the new animals being introduced in the attraction. Others include vultures, a playful dog, a blind fish in the eerie Lake Room, a donkey and countless bats.

To add on that, guests will also use well renovated, hand painted mining cars that will be pulled by beautiful locomotives that have new speakers with digital amplification system. To make this journey even more exciting Garner Holt Productions Inc, installed a revolutionary RFID playback system in the ride vehicles that play all new on ride narration and audio effects via a powerful crystal clear digital system. Garner Holt who is the founder and the president of the San Bernardino based Garner Holt Productions goes further to explain that the spiel is based on the original 1960 script. This will make each trip unique on its own as there will be new points of interest and that the stories will have voices of all the three new character narrators. This will be great as the audio narrator will interact with the animated figures to bring out the special effects in some scenes.

After closing down for a major renovation that lasted six months, the Knotts Berry Farm officially reopened the Calico Mine Ride Train on 14th June 2014. This process included a top to bottom renovation and refurbishment. This means that visitors will not only have an amazing view of the mine but will be entertained to the new audio recording and narratives of what will be happening at the mine.

Other attractions
Calico Mine Ride is not the only attraction at Knotts Berry Farm. There are several other attractions that will excite people of all walks of life for example the Ghost Town, The Fiesta Village, The Boardwalk, Camp Snoopy and finally the Indian Trails.

Ghost Town
In the Ghost Town, craftsmen demonstrate the arts of woodcarver, sign cutter, blacksmith, spinner and glassblower. This attraction show cases historical structures for example the Bird Cage Theatre, the General Store, the Western Trails Museum that features historical western artifacts both large and small for example the hand powered horse drawn fire engine and utensils that can be used to survive the prairie as well as the wilderness.

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Fiesta Village
This attraction was built in 1969 featuring a pop culture Mexican theme. It contains stores like Casa California and La Tiendita as well restaurants for example La Papa Loca, La Cantina and Pancho's Tacos. Visitors can play games like Shoot if Yucan as well as enjoy theme rides like the Jaguar, La Revolucion and Montezooma's Revenge.

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The Boardwalk
This was originally known as the Gypsy Camp. It was later renamed as the Roaring 20s then finally the Boardwalk. It is home to the major thrill rides. It includes physical challenges for example soccer, ripe ladder crawl, rock wall, basketball among other chance games. On top of that, the famous and the largest Johnny Rockets restaurant is found at the Boardwalk.

Camp Snoopy
This is home to several children's and family rides. It features attractions specifically built for children and adults who cannot ride the park's more aggressive rides and attractions. This is the place for families and kids.

In summary, the Calico Mine Ride is not just a fun way to show and demonstrate the rich and amazing history of California but it is also a piece of Orange County history as well as theme park history. Here's a video of the grand opening ceremony:

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Really neat stuff Oscar, hope you had a lot of fun! Not typing this of course, but at the actual park :P

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Thanks for the pictures, trip report and information Oscar! :)
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Much better than Skull Mountain, then really close to Disneyland's attraction, because the theming of Calico's entrance looks as cool as "Big Thunder Mountain" in the distance! :D
Last edited by lol240 on June 19th, 2014, 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Hey, I think Skull Mountain is one of the best Six Flags themed dark rides ever!

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Thank you :D
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Thank you :D

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^ I think maybe he likes Skull Mountain.

Speaking of the video, I found the inside part of Calico marvelous, plus liked the train entering tunnels! They are so headchoppers though it runs slow! xD
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lol240 wrote:
^ I think maybe he likes Skull Mountain.

Perhaps.

I can't wait to try this out when I go back in November!


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