With a big thanks to Knott’s Berry Farm, I was able to cover the 2014 New Year’s Eve festivities from “Knott’s Merry Farm” in Buena Park, CA. This was my first time experiencing New Year’s Eve at the World’s First Theme Park and it was great to see that the park was still decked out in Holiday decor.
In the many years I have been going to Knott’s, I can honestly say that I have never seen the park so busy. Despite the crowds, navigating the park was still fairly easy to do – unlike other famous theme parks at the same time. My friends and I decided that the best way to enjoy the night was to go with the flow, dive into the crowds and see where the night took us!
Our first stop was Camp Snoopy to check out the decorations there. I loved that they had window displays like the one above showing one of my favorite Peanuts Holiday shows. Knott’s recently announced that this year is the 30th Anniversary of the area and it will soon receive new rides and a restoration to match the original idea for the area. I can’t wait to go back to check it all out!
New this year, the Wilderness Dance Hall was transformed into Santa’s Christmas Cabin – a great location to take a photo with Santa as well as enjoy some wonderful holiday treats. Not only could you get hot chocolate, cookies and enjoy the sundae bar here but they also offered wine and craft beer tastings for the adults.
Right next to Santa’s Christmas Cabin is Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village where we found dozens of local artists and artisans including this glass blower. Not only can you see these talented individuals create their crafts, but you can also purchase them on the spot!
As we continued through the park, we ran into a really long line, surely an indicator of something that shouldn’t be missed! We discovered the line for the wonderful, It’s Christmas Snoopy ice show. This is definitely a must see and every show was completely full on New Year’s Eve. Pro Tip: Arrive Early if you want to see the show. People were lined up two hours in advance of each show!
Another long wait was to see Krazy Kirk & The Hillbillies. Every set was filled to capacity! This was their first year here and they already have a huge following thanks in part to their long time performances in another huge local theme park where they went by another name, Billy Hill and The Hillbillies. Since they no longer perform at that theme park, I hope that they become a permanent fixture here at Knott’s as they are a joy to watch.
Once we got those two great shows in, it was time to tackle the rides. After all, Xcelerator awaits! I don’t normally do roller coasters, but I told my friends I would go on anything they wanted to go on. Surprisingly, there was no wait time but I don’t think I will go on this again. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then this ride is for you with high speed and a 90 degree vertical climb and drop – phew! It was a bit much for me, but I’m proud of myself for going on it. Perhaps this will be my start to conquering some of my fears!
Next up was Supreme Scream, but after Xcelerator I opted to sit this one out. The Dare Devil of our group happily went on by herself and she loved it! I’m sure if given the chance she would go on it again and again, but the rest of us already had our sights set on the next ride.
The building, the water, the lights and the awesome new show scenes have all come together on the newly refurbished Log Ride to take this historical landmark and make it the best it has ever looked! Being a water ride, there was of course, no wait at night. This time I was the brave one and as I headed into the queue alone. No one wanted to go on with me but in the end, they missed out because I didn’t even get wet!
Saving one of my all-time favorite rides here at Knott’s for last, we then headed over to The Calico Mine Train. Unfortunately, this ride just closed for an extensive refurbishment (like the log ride had last year) but check out the great snowflake projections on the show building. I’m excited to see the all new show scenes and new audio-animatronic figures when it reopens for summer.
Across from The Calico Mine Train was the DJ area, featuring The Reflexx, the ultimate 80’s party band. We got a blast to the past of radical music from Depeche Mode, Flock of Seagulls, A-Ha, and more. This high energy area was packed all night and we danced to the music for as long as we could.
Going on rides and dancing the night away makes one really hungry so it was finally time to eat. With so many options, we finally settled on BBQ chicken and ribs, corn on the cob and garlic toast…yum! Pro Tip: Eat early as some of the more famous favorite treats can and do sell out towards the end of busy nights!
Even though we didn’t have a plan, everything seemed to work out perfectly. It was time for the New Year’s Countdown and Knott’s really went all out this year with special lighting effects on the Knott’s Sky Cabin.
Opposite of the ball drop, the cabin rose to the top of the “K” tower to count down the final moments of 2013. When it reached the top, the 13 changed to 14 and then the fireworks began!
Happy New Year! Happy 2014! I love fireworks and Knott’s put on a fantastic show!
After the fireworks were over, we just had to get dessert to finish off an amazing evening. And when you’re craving desert from Knott’s, you of course have to go for what they are famous for – a funnel cake! I can’t think of a better way to start the new year than with the sweet powdery goodness of deep fried dough.
Thank you to Knott’s Berry Farm for providing complimentary entrance to their NYE Event. All opinions remain my own. Learn more at Knott’s Berry Farm.