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Knottsberry Farm, the happiest place on earth (2003-07-31 - 8:07 a.m.)

This entry will comprise the third day of our vacation, which was Monday, July 21. We slept too late for breakfast (the free one at the hotel), so we got up and went to Krispy Kreme. Yum!! Then we set out for Knottsberry Farm. We had gotten a discount coupon at a Carl's Jr. restaurant on Sunday during our drive up the Pacific Coastal Highway, so we got into Knottsberry for only $62.00! Not bad. The first thing we noticed was...Peanuts characters!! Yay!! There was this huge, inflated Snoopy on the first gift shop, which was aptly titled "Snoopy Headquarters." We went in another shop and bought me a pair of clip-on sunglasses, which I promptly lost at "Mystery Lodge." Hmph. So we went into the Grand Entrance. We took a left and found the "Ghostrider." This is an impressive wooden roller coaster. All three of us rode it. It reminded me a bit of the Texas Giant before they put in the sledgehammers that pound on your back. Anyway, it was way fun. From there we went to this thing called "Mystery Lodge." (See reference to above lost sunglasses.) Ooooooh! It's billed as a "mystical, multi-sensory and one-of-a-kind Native North American entertainment attraction" that "will leave you charmed, entranced, and amazed." Ok. Not too far off. "Multi-sensory" means sight and sound. Yep. That's it. It consisted of a lone Indian storyteller (and don't lecture me about calling them "Native Americans." I call them Indians. I'm a freakin' "Native American," dang it!) storyteller behind a big glass window. He walked around a big "fire" and told tales of earlier times. The thing that made it not boring was the tricks that they did with the smoke. Somehow, there were either projected or holographic images in there, behind the glass (I know this because I could see the window dividers in front of the images) that managed to sit on the storyteller's arms, etc. Over all, it was interesting and actually pretty cool. At the tne, Storyteller just vanished, leaving his walking stick standing straight up for about ten seconds, after which it fell over. Creepy. They wouldn't tell us how it was done.

Next, we went to the Wilderness Scrambler, with a short detour into the "Ranger Station," where we saw hissing cockroaches, black widows, tarantulas, and, oh, yeah, I got to let a couple walking sticks crawl all over me. Heheh. Got a picture. Hopefully will have it here, soon. Wilderness Scrambler was just that. Traditional Scrambler. Always fun.

Next was the "World According to Snoopy" ice skating show at the Charles M. Schulz Theatre. How fun! It was a very classy, professional ice skating show, and very entertaining. One part made me tear up. One of the songs was "My First, My Last, My Everything," by Barry White. And, I swear I am not making this up, as soon as his voice was heard, there was a resounding "Awww!" throughout the audience. *Sniffle* Anyway, great ice show. Some really great couples dancing. One of them did that thing where the guy swings the girl around by her feet, missing the ice with her head by about two inches. I am always afraid he is going to bash her head in! Man! You have really got to trust someone to let them do that! Heheh. Just for kicks, sometime they should let the girl swing the guy around, eh?

Next was the "Calico Mine Ride." We thought it might be a "Runaway Mountain" (this is an indoor roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas) kind of ride. Nah. It was a little mining train that went through a mining cave with little scenarios on either side. Anybody remember the "Spelunker's Cave" at SFOT? Well, it was that with a train. Btw, the Spelunker's Cave is what Yosemite Sam's Ride used to be. Same boats, same cave, different scenes. I miss the little Spelunkers, meself!

Next was the "Supreme Scream." Similar to SFOT's "Superman," the Scream is a three-legged tower, each leg having a car that lifts you up to the top at a pretty good clip, where you sit for an eternity, waiting to be droaaaauuuugggghhh!!!!....pped, free fall style about 3/4 of the way down, where you "bounce" back up several times. Fun. Nerve-shattering, but fun. And yes, Stephanie rode it!!

Next, Christi and I rode the "Xcelerator." NOT to be in any way confused with "XLR8" at Astroworld in Houston. More like "Mr. Freeze" at SFOT. Only I think it might be faster. And, for a change, you go straight up and over the OUTSIDE of the loop instead of turning upside down. THAT was a totally new sensation! Hopefully, I'll have pictures of that, too. (I took something like 13 rolls of pictures...)Unlike the Freeze, though, it doesn't do it all backwards afterwards. After the initial half-loop, it's just a really fast coaster with some good, tight turns. The operator gets to be clever. We heard two or three different speeches. She would say the traditional "keep arms, hands inside car, blah, blah." Then, "Don't worry, it's not as bad as it looks." And as she pressed the button, sending all occupants blazing off at supersonic speeds..."It's worse." OR, "Relax, breathe." Pushing button, "Now scream." Or, a simple, "See ya." Good times. Great fun. Christi blacked out from the G's. Hee.

Next, for a slower pace, we went up in the "Sky-Cabin." This ride, obviously pretty old, was a small tower, with a circular cabin. We went in and sat down around the middle, facing out. We were allowed to stand if we wanted. The cabin was slowly lifted to the top, where it circled; no, revolved. Yeah, that's it. It revolved slowly for several minutes, allowing for some really good photo ops. Then it plummeted to the ground, obliterating all lifeforms within 100 yards!!! BAHAHAHAHA!!! Ahem. Sorry. Not really. Went down just as slowly as it went up. Mainly a sightseeing thing. Right next to it was the "Wipeout." Similar to the Mexican Hat at SFOT, it does the revolving, up and down motion. We sat facing each other, though. And at about the midway point, it stopped going up and down. It remained tilted at about 45 degrees and sat there spinning really fast!! Then, it went back to going up and down, until it went flat and spun really fast for another minute. I swear I thought I was going to bust right through the side of my seat. Slightly dizzy upon getting out! Har!

Next was a nice little steel coaster, called the Jaguar. Nothing fancy, other than it went through the top of the little Mayan temple thingy that was its entrance, and it also went through the middle of the loop for the ride next door, "Montezuma's Revenge." It was fun, though. We didn't ride M.R. It's a slingshot through a single loop, up an incline, back through the loop, through the starting gate, up another incline, back to the start. Just like "Greased Lightning" at Astroworld.

Next, we road a pretty little boat ride in Camp Snoopy. Slow boat, nice scenery, resting feet. Took a look at "Church of Reflections." Built around 1850-60, it was supposed to be torn down around 1950. Mr. Knott bought it and moved it to the farm. They actually have worship services there at 11:00 on Sundays. Cool. Couldn't go in, though. It was locked.

Finally, we rode the stagecoach, at Stephanie's request. Line took a while, and the coach was rather cramped, but it was still a unique experience. I've never done that before.

All in all, I believe that Knottsberry Farm has a better chance of being the "happiest place on earth" than Disneyland, which makes that claim. It was great fun!

We went to Friday's for supper, where we saw many, many, many, women in cowboy hats, having a little too much to drink and a little too much fun. Finally asked our waitress, "What's with all the cowboy hats?" Shoulda known. Dixie Chicks in town for a concert that night. That explained the conspicuous lack of MEN! We stopped and got more Krispy Kreme doughnuts (does anyone else still spell it that way?), and came back to "Room Sweet Room."

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