Calico River Rapids – Knott’s Berry Farm 2019

Sean: One of Knott’s Berry Farm’s weaker themed attractions has always been Bigfoot Rapids. It has always been missing that Knott’s ‘spark’. As you likely know, Knott’s Berry Farm is bringing big changes to the classic water ride in 2019 with the opening of Calico River Rapids. Let’s find out what’s in store and what we think of the changes coming!

Knott’s Berry Farm will be reopening Bigfoot Rapids in the summer of 2019 as Calico River Rapids. This much needed change is coming with new scenery and storyline to compliment Ghost Town. The newly refurbished water raft ride will undergo its major renovation to join rides such as the Calico Mine Ride and the Timber Mountain Log Ride in Knott’s’ lineup of well-themed attraction. In addition to new show scenes and a story overlay, the ride will also be welcoming new water effects.

Knott’s Berry Farm stated that: “Calico River Rapids will take voyagers on a search for new land through the outskirts of Calico, the richly themed area in Knott’s esteemed Ghost Town. Guests will journey through the authentic setting with the help of legendary frontiersmen who have plotted the path for settlers to explore. Rafters will encounter a variety of wild surprises along the way such as roaring rapids, indigenous wildlife, and peculiar homesteaders. The circular raft ride, which seats six passengers, will traverse through unexpected twists and turns, rushing waters and rapid currents as it navigates the unexplored river path.”

Let’s take a look at some of the concepts that the park has released! The ride mostly takes place outdoor and it looks like that will stay the case. The scenes around the many turns on the ride will be themed to Calico, as seen below. It also seems as if the boats, that used to be rather basic, are getting some love. The newly refurbished boats include themed elements such as netting and items on the exterior of the boats.

Where geysers used to be located, under the Pony Express tunnel, will now be replaced with newly themed guest-controlled geysers, themed to dynamite/explosions. This is one of the ways I predict the ride to become a lot wetter, this guest-controlled effect at California’s Great America (sister park in Northern California) accounts for most of the splashing on their rapids ride.

The ride’s current finale is a dark tunnel, which I am presuming will be home to the giant Bigfoot show scene, a concept art of which has also been released. It’s wonderful to see the park pay homage to the original name of the ride.

Calico River Rapids will come to life with new animatronics and special effects designed and manufactured by Garner Holt Productions, Inc., the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of animatronics for theme parks. Garner Holt Productions, Inc. is well known for their work on other major Knott’s Berry Farm attractions such as the Calico Mine Ride and Timber Mountain Log Ride.

We’re very excited for Knott’s new addition, the final upgrade in an effort to revitalize the park and its classic attractions. By doing so Knott’s Berry Farm stands out in a unique way among regional theme parks in the US. Stay tuned for construction updates in the coming months.


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