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Knotts Scary Farm 2019 - Now with shiny new review by zombieman!

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All has been revealed for Knotts Halloween Haunt 2019!

 

UPDATE: Mice Chat Haunt event announced (see below)

UPDATE: Horrorbuzz VIP event announced (see below)

 

Sections mentioned below for 2019:

  • Mazes - New, returning, and retiring houses
  • Scarezones
  • Shows
  • Experiences
  • Rides
  • Merchandise - What is new for 2019
  • Dates - All dates that we know of for 2019
  • Tickets - All ticket options for 2019
  • Special Events - Special private events in September you can be a part of

 

 

Mazes

  • Wax Works [NEW MAZE FOR  2019] (announced 8/29) - Replaces Trick or Treat

 

Origins: The Curse of Calico [NEW MAZE FOR  2019] (announced 8/29) - Replaces Red barn

 

Special Ops: Infected [6th and FINAL YEAR - Choice of two missions, 174 Knott's related Easter eggs, Two new scenes, Two new characters] (announced 8/7)

  • Dark Ride [3rd year - Two new scenes, Two new characters] (announced 8/9)
  • Paranormal Inc. (5th year - announced 8/15)
  • Shadowlands [4th and FINAL YEAR] (announced 8/16)
  • Pumpkin Eater (3rd year - announced 8/21)
  • Dark Entities (2nd year - announced 8/23)
  • The Depths (2nd year - announced 8/28)

 

 

Scarezones

  • Ghost Town Streets (announced 8/11)
  • Carnevil (announced 8/15)

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  • Forsaken Lake (announced 8/18)
  • The Hollow (announced 8/22)

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Shows (a FOURTH slot was added around the time a slot was dropped from Experiences)

  • Awaken the Dead - a non stop dance party (announced 8/12)

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  • Conjurers, Magic and Mirth - Magicians from Fox's Masters of Illusion return for the 2019 show (announced 8/19)

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  • The Hanging (announced 8/25)

 

  • Puppet Up: Uncensored [NEW SHOW FOR 2019] - in the Charles M Schultz Theater

 

 

Experiences (listed separate from shows - one empty slot was dropped from the list at some point between 7/6/19 and 8/6/19, and a SECOND slot was dropped some time before 8/20)

  • Boo-fet (I've never seen this advertised as an experience...   $34.95)

 

  • Into the Fog: A Scary Farm Tribute Art Show (Nautilus Merchandise Store)

 

  • Time Zombies (an upcharge VR experience located in Boardwalk, first added in 2018)
  • Timber Mountain Log Ride: Halloween Hootenanny (announced 8/26)

 

 

Rides (ALL RIDES have been removed from the Haunt site at some point between 7/6/19 and 8/6/19).  I'm sure nothing to be worried about.  Just a point of fact.

  • Hang Time 
  • Coast Rider
  • Ghostrider
  • Jaguar
  • La Revolucion
  • Montezoomas Revenge
  • Pony Express
  • Silver Bullet
  • Sol Spin
  • Supreme Scream

 

 

Merchandise

On Aug 27th, Knotts announced Legends pin collections, which commemorate retiring mazes.  They are tombstone shaped.

 

 

 

 

Dates - NO WEDNESDAYS THIS YEAR:

  • Sep 19,20,21        (Thu-Sat)  <-- Horrorbuzz event is 9/21
  • Sep 26,27,28,29   (Thu-Sun) <-- Micechat event is 9/29
  • Oct 3, 4, 5, 6        (Thu-Sun)
  • Oct 10,11,12,13   (Thu-Sun)
  • Oct 17,18,19,20   (Thu-Sun)
  • Oct 24,25,26,27   (Thu-Sun)
  • Oct 31, Nov 1,2   (Thu-Sat)

 

 

Tickets (prices do not include tax):

  • Scary Farm Season pass (ALL NIGHTS): $100 (AP holders get extra $10 off thru 9/15)
  • Single Night Admission: $43 to $60 (AP holders get extra $5 off)
  • Single Night Admission+Fright Lane+Fast Lane: $125 to $159 (AP holders get extra $5 off) - unlimited line skip on rides and houses
  • Single Night Admission+Fright Lane+Fast Lane+PARKING+Boo-Fet (Online as low as): $158 to $190 (AP holders get extra $5 off) - unlimited line skip on rides and houses
  • Fright Lane+Fast Lane add on: $90 to $115 to a single night (does not include admission)
  • Boo-fet add on: $35
  • Parking: $22

 

In my experience, a great way to do Knotts is to get the Fright Lane+Fast Lane ($129-$159).   If there is no special event available, I always do this.  The full blown top of the line ticket adds parking and buffet for less than the price of the buffet, so parking is essentially free.  That creates a problem if you have a carload of people who don't all need parking.

 

 

Special Events

But THE BEST way is to attend either the Mice Chat or Horrorbuzz annual haunt event.  I have no affiliation with them other than I have been to some of their events.

Neither one of these events is better than the other.  They do the same things and are equally as fun.

These are the only way you can get a backstage tour of mazes.

 

Horrorbuzz event is Saturday 9/21.  TICKETS

For $166.60 (total including taxes and fees), it includes:

  • Admission into Knott's Scary Farm
  • Meet and greet with maze designers
  • Backstage tour of one or more new mazes before the event (last year was The Depths+Dark Entities).  No idea which it will be this year.
  • All you can eat Private Pre-scare Boo-fet dinner
  • Early entry into Haunt
  • Unlimited front of the line access to all mazes
  • Unlimited front of line for Fastlane rides 
  • Does NOT include parking

There are 89 tickets left as of 8/27.  The backstage tour perk is exceedingly cool.  Take all the pictures and video you want (at least they always have allowed it in the past).  You are NOT required to stay with the group during the event.  You are given a schedule, but can go anywhere at ant time you like.

 

Micechat event is Saturday 9/28 - TICKETS - ONLY 8 TICKETS LEFT!

For $180.13 (total including taxes and fees), it includes:

  • Admission into Knott's Scary Farm
  • Meet and greet with maze designers
  • Backstage tour of one or more new mazes before the event (last year was The Depths+Dark Entities).  No idea which it will be this year.
  • All you can eat Private Pre-scare Boo-fet dinner
  • Early entry into Haunt
  • Unlimited front of the line access to all mazes
  • Unlimited front of line for Fastlane rides 
  • Does NOT include parking

There are only 150 tickets available this year.  The backstage tour perk is exceedingly cool.  Take all the pictures and video you want (at least they always have allowed it in the past).  You are NOT required to stay with the group during the event.  You are given a schedule, but can go anywhere at ant time you like.

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So what do you think of this year's lineup?

 

Wax Works sounds interesting.  House of Wax in Orlando was the very first HHN Orlando house I ever visited.  I remember the strong smell of melted wax throughout.  I am looking forward to Knotts take on it.

 

Origins: Curse of Calico sounds like a love letter from the designers.  So good to see Jon Cooke involved on this one.  

This will be not only the origin story of the Green Witch, but also an attempt to tie story of this house, the Ghost Town scarezone, and The Hanging all together.

Remember - the very first years of The Hanging were not about skewing pop culture.  They were played very straight - hanging an accused witch.  I'm not suggesting The Hanging will be played straight this year, but it will be interesting to see how they tie it together.  Maybe they will pick a celebrity to hang and he/she will transform to the Witch and we will get a serious ending.

 

Puppet-Up: Uncensored.  Boy was I wrong when I thought Ed Alonzo was returning.  

I had never heard of this show before, but evidently it has been running since 2006.  

It cannot possibly be worse than last year's Hacks! Cutting Room Floor show.

It looks promising, but this gigantic theater deserves a large spectacle of a haunt show.

I'm glad it's not just a dance troupe show like HHN forces on us.

 

Of all the houses I'd like to see modified, Dark Entities is it.  They are already plussing the already perfect Depths, and ignoring this one.  It's not terrible, but it's not memorable either.  It needs some TLC if we are expected to have it 2-3 more years.  Or maybe Dark Entities will be one of those short lived houses like Shadowlands.

 

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My 2019 three word review: SO, SO GOOD!

 

Now the longer review:

Went with my daughter on 9/21 as part of the Horrorbuzz event.

Got to do lights-on tour of The Depths and Wax Works.

Wax Works was created by Daniel Miller

Origins: The Curse of Calico was created by Jon Cooke (he's BACK!!)

 

Some interesting things we learned on the backstage tour:

 

The Depths:

  • Does not use puppets.  The sea monster and the shark are animatronics.


Wax Works:

  • In the room with the very first button, the giant pedestal is supposed to rotate.  They have not gotten the motor to work continuously yet. 
  • In that same room, the scareactor has control over the spotlight, and can shine it in your face.  Press the button and they will do just that.
  • The second button in the President room triggers a voiceover.
  • The third button is hard to see, but is in front of the window where you see the electric chair.  Pressing it activates the chair and lights and sounds.
  • Just to the left of that electric chair is an grotesque animatronic.  Watch the chin move to indicate there is supposed to be a living person trapped inside.
  • The final hallways is supposed to be where they spray you with hot wax (just water).  On your right in that hallway there is a static figure of a guy wearing just underwear.  He is wearing underwear because when the figure arrived, they discovered it was anatomically correct...  

 

 

Not a single house disappointed this year.  I have not been to Hollywood HHN this year, but 2019 Haunt is better than any recent Hollywood HHN.

You won't find a bunch of black hallways in Haunt (maybe one or two in Dark Entities).

 

Almost all of the houses were fantastic. 

 

Even with 7 hours of event time and a Fastlane pass, we were not able to do:

  • Log Ride
  • Mine Train
  • Magic show
  • Most of the rides

We did all 9 houses once (Ghostrider area houses twice), Puppet Up, Hanging, Ghostrider, and Pony Express.  That's it for seven hours.  Silver Bullet broke down just as we got to the loading platform...

Wait times for non Fastlane were upwards of 75 minutes for every maze.

 

Mini reviews:

Origins: Curse of Calico (a.k.a. Catawampus: the maze): A+ 

This was the show-stealer, and a kiss from Jon Cooke.

Live entertainment out front, setting the storyline.  Note that if you do Fastlane you will miss most of it.

What a friggin' beautiful house - I'm talking HHN Orlando quality.

It tells the story of Sarah Marshall progressively, and carefully.  But it was a bit weird to see Jason Segal doing full frontal in this maze :D (surprised The Hanging didn't use that reference)

And yes, Catawampus is in the house!

It's a long house and went by so fast.  I love this one.

 

Wax Works: A-

Had Daniel Miller written all over it.  It's gotten to where one can easily see his work.

Parts feel like Slaughterhouse.  Parts feel like Tooth Fairy.  Parts feel like Pinocchio Unstrung. That's not a bad thing, just an observation.

I thought it was going to remind me of House of Wax from Orlando, but this is vastly different.  It's a unique story.  

Lots of story to be learned from the queue video.  Look for Dr. Agustus Scratch interacting with people just outside the maze - gross and fun.

Lots of Easter eggs including homages to past mazes and even the first Halloween Haunt.

Three interactive buttons.  Stuff happens when you press them, and they also set off scareactors.  Buttons are red and all look alike.

Huge homage to Doll Factory.  Fantastic water gag in that same room.

 

Special Ops: B-

Super long lines due to painfully low thruput.

A couple of new rooms but otherwise the same as ever.

I thought there was supposed to be two courses again this year.  Didn't appear to be.

It's good but not great.

 

Paranormal Inc: B+

The ending is even better than the added ending from last year.

The pre-show has been so neutered that I think it detracts.

They no longer separate groups by the drop down sheet, but they still have two parallel mazes, so you now decide which path to take..

Ar this point, why not rework it so that everyone goes through one path and transitions to the other?  It would make the maze longer and not hurt thruput too much.

Figure 2020 to be the final year for this one.

 

Shadowlands: B+

Still a very good house even in its final year.  Although its start and end have been greatly slashed, it's still such a unique house.  More beautiful than scary.

 

Pumpkin Eater: B

No better or worse than prior years.  Solid house.

 

Dark Entities: C

Knotts has never really done a strong space themed house.  Last year, it was pretty clear what was going on - that you were teleporting to a space station which has been infested by something, and then teleporting back to find it came back with someone.  This year that seems lost.  Last year, I recall the first few rooms being pretty "normal" as things have not gone to shit yet.  Then you teleport into chaos.  This could really use a narration in the queue.  To me, this just didn't stand a chance because it debuted the same year as the Depths...  This just doesn't begin to compare.

I have a feeling 2020 will be the final year for this one, even though Pumpkineater is older.

 

The Depths: A+

The addition of the elevator room has been a blessing and a curse.  Blessing in that it adds to the already great story.  A curse in that it kills thruput.

The Elevator room is exceedingly cool in that you enter and exit through the same door.  Knowing that makes you search high and low to see how they did it. I think I know...  They didn't show us during the tour.  They really need a second Elevator room, but this one cost a couple of good rooms from last year.

So much damn fantastic stuff in this house!  

 

Dark Ride: A+

Still holds up as an amazing house.  The new rooms are welcome, and add to the story a bit.

 

Puppet Up: B+

Remember when Knotts got risque but never crossed a certain line?  Puppet Up erases that line.  ANYTHING GOES in this show.

Beware...  I went with my 16 year old daughter.  She exited a 21 year old.

This is an improv show, so the audience shouts out suggestions, and the most obscene ones are used.

From my show:

What will the puppet in this first bit be doing?   "Taking a shit!"

Someone yell out a color! "Orange!".   And an object!  "Anal beads!!"

What dance will this puppet be doing? "Leaky Dick Waltz!"

This from Jim Henson's son.  Ooooookay.  

You know what was really weird though?  At the start of every Haunt show since forever, they do the old "This show is for mature audiences,  You may hear words like...."  and they bleep out a bunch of words for humor.  They do that here as well - complete with the bleeps.  Then they go full frontal everything.  I mean, why even do the bleeps?  Just say the words if you are going to say them anyhow.

The people in the audience ate this up.  My daughter spent the next morning Googling all sorts of crap.  Thanks, Knotts...

It was funny, but I'd prefer something like big stage magic.  That's just me.

I'm not offended, but wish I hadn't brought my daughter to it.  Haunt always "warns people of content", but those were always crying wolf. 

This is honest to God not for teens.  In any way.

 

The Hanging: B+

Better than past years.

There is NO mention of Trump or any politician at all, but evil foreign leaders are mentioned.

Instead, the story of the Witch takes center stage.

And Disney.  LOTS of jokes targeting Disney.

Many people - me included - are convinced this is the final year of The Hanging.

I'm going to spoiler my reasons why, but I think the evidence is quite clear.

 

The Hangman is on trial. 
His henchman of many years is clearly killed off.
Throughout the show, the Devil refers to Social Media as his tool.
The Devil makes a lot of references to Social Media making everyone hyper offended and unable to cope with real life.
The Devil plays the role of Social Media, making offensive one liners whenever possible.  In fact, he is the single source of the most offensive jokes.
But at the end of the show, the Devil plays his hand and willingly goes to the gallows.

The Hangman and descendant of Sarah Marshall seek judgement on the one who offended them: "Justice will be served".
His final words to the citizens of Calico in 1889: "You must heed my warning: Mend your ways.  You must not take offense at those who may be different than us or pass judgement on them.  If not, you're racing toward a society where offense is found in everything and humor is non-existent.  A bland, hollow, neutered society where no one can take a joke - let alone dare tell one.  Everything comes to an end." 

Rather than being hanged his throat is cut by the descendant of Sarah Marshall, who then hangs the hangman.
Once he is hanged, the scene darkens and the Witch laughs on the main screen.  The laugh then echoes out into the crowd and beyond. The show ends abruptly.  Lights out.  No huge pyro.  No big musical sendoff.  No closing monologue.  It just.....ends.

Everyone looks around, expecting to see more.
The song from the closing scene of Dr Strangelove plays in its entirety:
"We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day"

 

Look, maybe I'm reading more into this than there is.  There are probably lots of explanations for the ending, but why that music?  So many people associate that song with finality the same way it was portrayed in the movie.  There's just too many farewells for this to come back next year.


To me, this show was pretty clearly saying "We've tried entertain you all these years, and we think we've done a pretty good job.  But over the years you've stopped laughing at the same sort of jokes we've always told.  Instead, you've decided to become offended.  How dare someone tell such a joke and force you to listen to it?  So rather than seeing you getting this show banned, we're going to stop it on our terms.  If you need to ask: 'It's not us. It's you.' ".

 

If this is the final year of The Hanging, I wonder what they would replace it with..  I'd so not want to see a Jabbawockeez type show there.

 

So there you have it, a VERY solid year of Haunt.  If I lived near it, I'd get a Haunt season pass go to A LOT.

As it is, I live very near HHN Hollywood and barely go to HHN, it's just so awful now.

Definitely worth your time this year.

I have a feeling I will return at then end of the season.

 

THREE must-see mazes in one year:

  • Origins: Curse of Calico
  • Dark Ride
  • The Depths

(Each created by Jon Cooke.  Coincidence?)

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Returned to Haunt on 10/26 - arguably the busiest night of 2019

 

Purchased general admission + Fright Lane/Fast Lane ($180 total)

Lines for all houses were upwards of 90 minutes all night long.

 

Fright Lane made that wait under 5 minutes per house (usually a walk on).  I've said it before - Fright Lane is the way to go.  Worth every penny, even on the most crowded night.  And it was crowded.  Had to wait a full hour in line just to get carne asada fries.

 

Changes since start of season:

Wax Works: First scene was to have had a rotating turntable (before/after scene) with scareactor.  They briefly had the turntable working at start of season.  It was not by the end of the season.  

Wax Works: First scene also had a scareactor controlling a spotlight on a stand.  Was able to shine it in your face.  End of season - light was gone.  Empty stand remained.  No actor.  

Wax Works: All three guest activated buttons still worked

Depths: The elevator room is gone.  Don't know what happened, but you go through the original path once again.

Depths: The ship was rocking a lot less.

Depths: The ground mist in the Kraken room is just not working.  Wasn't working at beginning of season, either.  I'm guessing the room is just too big and hot so the hazer cannot keep up.

Dark Entities: A few puppets were gone

Dark Entities: Discovered that they have several guest activates triggers in the house.  Look for rectangular iPad shaped panels with a grid of green lights.  Press center to activate lights/sounds

Dark Ride: Discovered they have guest activated buttons in the Surveillance Room.  There are three large buttons (Green, Yellow, Red) right there on the console.  I pressed the Red one and it triggered some lights and sounds.  Once you trigger one, it takes about 30 seconds to reset.

Puppet Up: The really toned down the show, simply by "not hearing" some of the dirtier suggestions or by saying ahead of time they've heard every dirty suggestion imaginable, and to suggest some funny ideas.  Still way more extreme than anything Knotts has done before.  I imagine this will be returning for many years.  Makes sense as people eat it up, and show holds up regardless of time period.

 

In all, there seemed to me to be about 1/4 of the scareactors missing from mazes.  Even so, they really seemed to be pulsing the lines even with this crowd.  I found myself alone in the mazes quite a lot.

 

Dark Entities really improved for me.  Mostly from finding those triggers, but it just seemed more fun for some reason.

 

Origins just gets better every time.  So many new things to see.  Next time you go through, check out that scene where you look into "ghost town streets".  Fog rolls down the whole street.  You round a bend and see it from a different angle, looking down the length.  Turn your head to the left and using a simple mirror it seems to extend another 100 feet in the other direction.  Look up and you will see you are entering The Haunted Shack.  So damn good.  My favorite Haunt maze ever.  I went through this around 5 times in 30 minutes - as the normal wait was 75 min.  Thanks Fright Lane!

 

Didn't do Pumpkin Eater or Special Ops this time.  Focused on my favorite mazes.

 

 

7:30: entered park

2AM left park

Wax Works: 2 times

Depths: 3 times

Paranormal: 2 times

Dark entities: 3 times

Origins: 5 times

Shadowlands: 1 time

Dark Ride: 2 times

Pumpkin Eater: 0 times

Special ops:  0 times

Log Ride: 0 times

Hanging: 0 times

Conjurers: 1 time

Puppet Up: 1 time

Wait for food: 75 min (it's not a Knotts trip without carne asada fries.  They give you hope for mankind)

Iron Reef: 1 time (15 minute wait, as Fright Lane dumps you out upstairs in queue.  Standby was 60 min)

Montezooma's Revenge: 1 time (15 minute wait, as they build up Fright Lane line until it can take an entire train.  Standby was 60 min)

Other Rides: none

Total time spent waiting in line for mazes: About 30 min

Spent about 30 min in Bizarre Bazaar, looking at haunt artwork.  Most of the pieces were sold.  They do have prints near the checkout counter that range from $10-$50.  I bought "the Hanging" - $15, "Wax Works" - $20, and the one that looked like the Haunt version of the stretching portrait room - $30.

The original Wax Works piece by Daniel Miller is still available for $200.

 

Also, discovered Boysenberry Caramels.  3 for $2.  Damn, they are good.  Had no idea about the boysenberry until the first one.  Subtle, but good.

 

Even with seemingly missing scarectors, Knotts haunt 2019 has the strongest lineup ever.  Far and away better than anything HHN Hollywood has done in quite a number of years.  In my opinion, it is THE best California based theme park haunt around, and a heck of a good deal for the money (go on an off night and you don't need Fright lane to have fun).

The only theme park haunt that is better is HHN Orlando.

 

This coming weekend: HHN Hollywood.  Honestly, still no big desire to go.  But my daughter likes it...  Murdy has murdered it for me.

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Does anyone have an idea of how crowded it will be this weekend? I have a Scary pass and always buy the Fright and Fast Lane add-on, but was thinking of forgoing that if the weekend after Halloween isn't as crowded? I was also thinking of taking in the Boo-fet to get early access to the park and some of the mazes as another alternative. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as always. Thank you.

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On 10/29/2019 at 4:04 PM, hgwy407 said:

Does anyone have an idea of how crowded it will be this weekend? I have a Scary pass and always buy the Fright and Fast Lane add-on, but was thinking of forgoing that if the weekend after Halloween isn't as crowded? I was also thinking of taking in the Boo-fet to get early access to the park and some of the mazes as another alternative. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as always. Thank you.

Did you go?  How was it?

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Some breaking Knott's news totally unrelated to Scary Farm.  Well, maybe indirectly related:

 

Voyage to the Iron Reef is CLOSING in Jan!

 

The ride was pretty popular, low maintenance, and had a really cool steampunk theme and adjacent store.

I'm really not too excited for what will be going in it's place:

Knott's Beary Tales 4D shooter...

 

Not joking.  It's a re-skinning of the ride and presumably the store.

 

For those that are not old, here's the history:

 

Way back in 1975, a dark ride was built in that location called Knott's Beary Tales.  It was not a shooter.  Just a dark ride with singing animatronics.

The ride closed in 1986, and became Kingdom of the Dinosaurs a year later.  That, too, was not a shooter.  It was a dark ride with the same track layout, but it had a time travelling theme with animatronic dinosaurs.  Think Epcot's Dinosaur!, but without the motion base cars.

Kingdom of the Dinosaurs was used for Scary Farm from 1987-1996, usually as a ride in darkness, but in several years with the dinosaurs visible. 

In 2004 KOD as it was known closed and remained shuttered for 11 years until Iron Reef took over.

 

So now we are going full circle - back to the original theme.

It will be closed for a quick transition, so it should have same track layout.  Just new skins. and videos.

Unless we get to kill bears (unlikely), it's gonna become a kiddie ride - Bear Story Mania, so to speak.

 

This will open in 2020.

 

Here is an excellent article on Beary Tales.

 

 

 

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