Knott’s Scary Farm – 2021 Opening Night Review

October is around the corner and that can only mean one thing, it’s time for some spooks at the one and only Knott’s Scary Farm!

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The night began with an unleashing of the Monsters. The crowds lined the outskirts of Ghost Town as the ghouls slowly emerged. Stopping right outside the Gold Trails Hotel, the scare actors formed a menacing barricade essentially turning the area into a stand off between the guests and the haunted Ghost Town residents. After a short speech, Knott’s Scary Farm was declared open and the crowds ran into the fog that had enveloped all of Ghost Town. The scare actors were plentiful and everyone was having a fantastic time! There was an Opening Night energy that could be felt amongst all of the Knott’s employees and it was infectious to the crowd. We all could tell we were in for a night of great frights!

After walking through the Ghost Town Streets scare zone, we first made our way to the Media Night event where we were allowed to sample many of the special food and beverage options. The desert section was a great highlight, showcasing tons of delicious offerings from around the park that anyone with a sweet tooth will love! Plus Boysenberry beer…..what more could you ask for?

From there, we decided to jump on a few of the rides we hadn’t experienced in a while. We had Fright Lane fast passes which will quickly get you to the front of most attractions. However, the crowds were generally pretty light. I’d assume this is due to the fact that it was a Thursday night very early in the haunt season. Many of the coasters were walk-ons including Coast Rider, Sierra Sidewinder, Pony Express, Silver Bullet, and Bear-y Tales, the latter of which we will explore more shortly. The other ride lines seemed to be below 30 minutes, with GhostRider being the exception, but then again when is it not? HangTime was closed.

Maze time! First we hit up the new for 2021 maze, Mesmer: Sideshow of the Mind, which sits in the former location of Shadow Lands. I always love walking this queue as it provides some wonderful views of Xcelerator that we don’t get to see too often. Telling the story of a circus hypnotist, the maze was impeccably themed and featured many fun gags such as actors on bungee cords and a glass walkway over a menacing pit. Mesmer was a highlight of the evening and the scare actors were truly giving it their all.

Next up, we decided to hit a few classics in Dark Ride: Castle of Chaos and Pumpkin Eater. While I have never found Dark Ride to be one of the scariest mazes, I have always appreciated it’s old school aesthetic and the structure of following the abandoned ride’s track. Pumpkin Eater is an oldie but a goodie. Located in the camp Snoopy section of the park, this maze is long and incredibly well themed. I always try to swing by Pumpkin Eater and that Pumpkin never fails to eat me.

As a general note, we did find that a few of the mazes felt a little understaffed in terms of scare actors. I would imagine this is due to the current labor shortages.

Taking a detour from scares to laughs, we took our seats in the Walter Knott Theater for Puppet Up Uncensored! Puppet Up is a live improv show performed by the amazing puppeteers of The Jim Henson Company. The improv in the show was top notch as the actors jumped in and out of various improv games with a wide variety of puppets. The show was certainly uncensored and widely consisted of audience interaction which made it very current. Nicki Minaj and her cousin’s friend would not have felt safe in this room.

In it’s sophomore outing, Origins: The Curse of Calico was the next maze we found ourselves exploring. Origins tells the story of the Green Witch and how she came to curse Calico. This maze was well themed but was one of the mazes that suffered from a lack of scare actors. However, I love the story of the maze and how it’s incorporated perfectly into Calico and actually works as not just a maze but an extension of the entire area. Kudos to Knott’s for always taking the extra step.

Finally it was the moment we had all been waiting for: Bear-y Tales! Okay…maybe it was just me, but Bears are my favorite animal and I was so excited to experience the reimagining of this Knott’s classic. Knotts and Triotech did not disappoint! Bear-y Tales was everything that you would want out of a family shooter dark ride. To gain points, players must use their Jelly Blasters to hit pies. However, I quickly began blasting everything but the pies as everything on the screen was interactive when hit with a digital pie. For me, this took the ride to a higher immersive experience. I was no longer just using my jelly blaster to earn points but instead to interact with the Bear’s world. Needless to say, Bear-y Tales was a hit for me.

The Depths and Wax Works are both solid mazes that have been around for a few seasons. I always appreciate The Depths’ fun setting and loads of theming so I never mind exploring this sunken port. The Depths also has an openness to it that many mazes don’t have. Instead of tight corridors, it’s a lot of larger rooms which lead to the dread that someone could be hiding anywhere. Wax Works was fun and loaded with gruesome set pieces.

A trip to Knott’s is never complete without a ride on the Timber Mountain Log Ride which is currently re-themed as Halloween Hootenanny. The interior theming was mostly the same with the addition of strobe lights and cobwebs however the outside of the ride looked amazing! Every time we passed by I would stop and admire the beautiful Halloween decorations atop this wonderful classic flume.

In its final year at Knott’s, Paranormal Inc. is still running strong! This maze consistently has one of the longest lines and I understand why. With an extended pre-show and loads of theming, this Paranormal adventure is something everyone should try to experience before it’s gone for good. On the flip side, hiding directly behind Paranormal Inc is Dark Entities. This maze consistently has one of the shortest lines which I’d assume is because the attraction is slightly off the beaten path. However, I always really enjoy this maze! The corridors were so dark that two times our entire group entered the back of house sections and wandered aimlessly until we were pointed in the right direction.

We ended our evening with a ride on GhostRider. Few things can top GhostRider and even fewer things can top GhostRider at night! It is always the perfect way to end your time at the park.

Overall, we had an amazing time at Knott’s Scary Farm! Anyone and everyone who likes theme parks and frights should have this scare fest on their Halloween bucket list. Knott’s Scary Farm is running on select nights through October 31st. Tickets and hours can be found on Knott’s website.

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