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Knott's Berry Farm/Six Flags Magic Mountain Park Tips


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I am heading to San Diego for an event and have a free day and a half to visit some parks in California. I am looking for some advice for both of these parks. I have a platinum pass  So Knott's Berry Farm would be definitely on the list. SFMM May not be on the list due to it going to cost almost an extra $85 just to get into the park. I am looking to go to SFMM on Sunday June 11th and Knott's on Monday June 12th. I may skip SFMM if the price is too steep.

 

Does anyone have tips on how to visit each park?

What should I not miss while at each park?

What is the cheapest way to get into SFMM?

Can I do SFMM in one day without a Flash Pass?

What is the best way to avoid long lines (i.e. ride this ride before you go on others, walking around the park, etc)? 

What will crowds be like during early June? 

Anything else you would like to add please do! Thanks! 

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I'm not sure I'm going to be much help as I visited Knott's on a Sunday in October 2013. 

I didn't have any issue riding all the coasters, some of them twice. The Pony Express is a short but unique ride and is worth a ride. Xcelerator answered my long time question of what would happen if they added more to CP's TTD. 

The theming in this park is great! I had a lot of fun looking around all the nooks and crannies in the Ghost Town. 

Some things that may get overlooked for coasters but I would recommend not skipping them. The train ride is fun and has a surprise experience. The Calico Mine Ride was great and it's since been refurbished. If you get claustrophobic, this might not be the ride for you as they will pack the mine car full of people. I regret not riding the Timber Mountain Log Ride - it is one of the few themed log rides. If possible, try to take time for their shows. I caught a few and they were top notch! 

As for food, lots of people swear by Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant. It's on the street outside the park and you will likely walk past it from the parking lot. The restaurant had a huge waiting list but they offer carry-out next door. I did carry-out. It was fine...but I had to wait to eat until I got to my hotel so I'm sure that had a negative impact. The stores both inside and outside the park have tons of jams and jellies for sale and they are yummy. 

If you like to hear about park history, strike up a conversation with some of older staff in the stores. I normally don't do this but I asked a question of one of the gentleman about the park, which launched into a huge history lesson of the park and his time there as well as a funny story or two. It was a great way to end my visit. 

I really enjoyed my visit to Knott's and absolutely could have spent another day there. 

I hope this helps! Enjoy your visit! 

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I spent a day and a half in both parks last month.  The coasters and other rides at Knott's are  very easy to do multiple times.  The longest line was for Goldstriker, about 45 minutes.  They have so much to do there that the crowds are dispersed nicely.  As mentioned above, Calico Mine Train was awesome was the Timber Mountain log flume.  The train ride was not working while I was there, but the stagecoach ride was alot of fun.  I didn't try Mrs. Knott's chicken, and the rest of the food was pretty much like other CF parks.  Many of their food locations do not accept the meal plan. 

SFMM---I was really let down by this park.  On Saturday, it was raining, but people didn't leave in droves as I expected.  The coasters that were open had very slow operations and one train operations.  On Sunday, it was a beautiful day and the park was packed.  I did get the FlashPass so I could get in as many coasters as possible.  You can only get TC and Superman once with this pass and it will only allow you to reserve one ride at a time.  Ride operations were still very slow and had one train operations.  Food was actually very good--the grilled chicken salad by the little store by the fountain was excellent.  The park was clean and actually themed nicely.  I am not sure if there is a sewer problem, but there was the Boy Scout latrine smell that wafted around was not pleasant. 

I'm not sure about summer crowds at SFMM, but I wouldn't have been able to do what I did without the FlashPass, and they had several of the coasters down.  My thought is if they keep the same operation mode in the summer as they had in the winter, even with minimal crowds, line would be an issue.  Tip:  at opening, lines are horrendous for security.  As you face the gate, they have an overflow at the exit and you can get through security quicker here.  No real tips for getting into the gate from there.  Tip:  it is about 60 miles between the parks and on a Sunday evening it took me almost 2 hours to drive between the two parks.  I'd plan  for this or more, if you are driving on a weekday. 

Don't miss TC and Superman, as well as New Revolution (VR was not an option while I was there).  Goliath was a terrible ride, Scream! is (I think) a clone of Dominator, the log flume was fun. 

Quality at Knott's was much better than quantity at SFMM.

Hope my experience helps!

 

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15 hours ago, electricsun said:

I'm not sure I'm going to be much help as I visited Knott's on a Sunday in October 2013. 

I didn't have any issue riding all the coasters, some of them twice. The Pony Express is a short but unique ride and is worth a ride. Xcelerator answered my long time question of what would happen if they added more to CP's TTD. 

The theming in this park is great! I had a lot of fun looking around all the nooks and crannies in the Ghost Town. 

Some things that may get overlooked for coasters but I would recommend not skipping them. The train ride is fun and has a surprise experience. The Calico Mine Ride was great and it's since been refurbished. If you get claustrophobic, this might not be the ride for you as they will pack the mine car full of people. I regret not riding the Timber Mountain Log Ride - it is one of the few themed log rides. If possible, try to take time for their shows. I caught a few and they were top notch! 

As for food, lots of people swear by Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant. It's on the street outside the park and you will likely walk past it from the parking lot. The restaurant had a huge waiting list but they offer carry-out next door. I did carry-out. It was fine...but I had to wait to eat until I got to my hotel so I'm sure that had a negative impact. The stores both inside and outside the park have tons of jams and jellies for sale and they are yummy. 

If you like to hear about park history, strike up a conversation with some of older staff in the stores. I normally don't do this but I asked a question of one of the gentleman about the park, which launched into a huge history lesson of the park and his time there as well as a funny story or two. It was a great way to end my visit. 

I really enjoyed my visit to Knott's and absolutely could have spent another day there. 

I hope this helps! Enjoy your visit! 

Thanks! This helps a lot! I don't think I would have tried the train or the chicken place without this. I'll make sure that I share a trip report when I go out there. 

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On 3/16/2017 at 11:35 AM, jtro223 said:

I spent a day and a half in both parks last month.  The coasters and other rides at Knott's are  very easy to do multiple times.  The longest line was for Goldstriker, about 45 minutes.  They have so much to do there that the crowds are dispersed nicely.  As mentioned above, Calico Mine Train was awesome was the Timber Mountain log flume.  The train ride was not working while I was there, but the stagecoach ride was alot of fun.  I didn't try Mrs. Knott's chicken, and the rest of the food was pretty much like other CF parks.  Many of their food locations do not accept the meal plan. 

SFMM---I was really let down by this park.  On Saturday, it was raining, but people didn't leave in droves as I expected.  The coasters that were open had very slow operations and one train operations.  On Sunday, it was a beautiful day and the park was packed.  I did get the FlashPass so I could get in as many coasters as possible.  You can only get TC and Superman once with this pass and it will only allow you to reserve one ride at a time.  Ride operations were still very slow and had one train operations.  Food was actually very good--the grilled chicken salad by the little store by the fountain was excellent.  The park was clean and actually themed nicely.  I am not sure if there is a sewer problem, but there was the Boy Scout latrine smell that wafted around was not pleasant. 

I'm not sure about summer crowds at SFMM, but I wouldn't have been able to do what I did without the FlashPass, and they had several of the coasters down.  My thought is if they keep the same operation mode in the summer as they had in the winter, even with minimal crowds, line would be an issue.  Tip:  at opening, lines are horrendous for security.  As you face the gate, they have an overflow at the exit and you can get through security quicker here.  No real tips for getting into the gate from there.  Tip:  it is about 60 miles between the parks and on a Sunday evening it took me almost 2 hours to drive between the two parks.  I'd plan  for this or more, if you are driving on a weekday. 

Don't miss TC and Superman, as well as New Revolution (VR was not an option while I was there).  Goliath was a terrible ride, Scream! is (I think) a clone of Dominator, the log flume was fun. 

Quality at Knott's was much better than quantity at SFMM.

Hope my experience helps!

 

That's what I am worried about with SFMM. I'm going to have to spend $85 if I go there and I don't want to go and only be able to ride 4-5 coasters. Ive never been to a Six Flags park and most of the things that I have read basically talk about slow dispatch times and long lines everywhere. SFMM looks to have about 3-4 really good coasters then just okay rides for the rest of them. The crowd map that I saw say that it will be packed that Sunday. I'm hoping to somehow find a cheap ticket to get in to justify spending a Sunday there. Thanks for the tip about the time it takes to travel from SFMM to Knott's because I thought about going to Knott's that way I get more than just half a day at Knott's.

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27 minutes ago, Joncars05 said:

 SFMM looks to have about 3-4 really good coasters then just okay rides for the rest of them. The crowd map that I saw say that it will be packed that Sunday. I'm hoping to somehow find a cheap ticket to get in to justify spending a Sunday there. Thanks for the tip about the time it takes to travel from SFMM to Knott's because I thought about going to Knott's that way I get more than just half a day at Knott's.

Maybe you can look into a SF season pass?  I'm not in the know with their trends, but I bought one on the labor day sale for around $60, which is the equivalent of the CF Platinum pass, so I have definately got my money's worth thus far.  Maybe they have spring specials?  I totally had fun there, just had to internalize my frustration.  I would hope in June they would have all the coasters open, they were all fun (the ones I got to experience--except Goliath, but even a bad coaster can be better than no coaster at all!)  Knott's, on the other hand--even with less coasters, was a first class experience.

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The best discounts I have ever seen on Six Flags admission was with an ACE membership but I have not seen a 2017 discount yet.  Last year they had a set of two coupons the first was for completely free admission, the second was for 50% off.  Annual passes to Six Flags are often very cheap so if you can get to two or three different parks in one year it is still frequently cheaper to just buy an annual pass.

SFMM is tough to do in one day without a flash pass.  The biggest problem with Magic Mountain is that the entire park has terrible capacity.  If the park is busy, which I would expect on a Sunday in June then you will be looking at long waits for just about everything.  Plus the park is pretty much only coasters, there are almost no flat rides and few shows.  Every time I go to the park I find myself wishing I would have just gone to Knotts but once I start riding the coasters, I typically am happy I made the time.  Last spring when I went to SFMM it took two hours to get through security, purchase a ticket, and get through the gate.  Then I found out the lines to the rides were shorter than the line to get into the park.  Do not underestimate the size of Magic Mountain, the pathways can be very steep and it is a long distance between rides.  Do not think you will be going back and forth across the park.

 

Knott's is completely different, the rides are themed, the lines actually move, and there are good shows.  I would try to do everything in the park if possible.  Because the shows really are worth watching at least once, the train is well themed and worth your time, the log flume is amazing, and do not miss the mine ride.  The park is compact and mostly easy to get around.  Plus typically the lines at Knott's are shorter than at SFMM.

 

My advice would be to spend a full day at Knott's then decide what you want to do with the half day.  Magic Mountain has a few good coasters and a lot of junk, but more likely than not you will find yourself disappointed.

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Last year I went to Knott's on a Tuesday in the 3rd week of June. Lines were mostly 5 - 15 minutes for the coasters with the exception of Xcelerator (30 minutes with 1 train), Boomerang and Ghost Rider. Maybe Ghost Rider was popular because it was just reopened after the refurbishment and got up to an hour and 45 minute wait in the middle of the day. I managed to wait 20 minutes since I was near the entrance after it opened a few hours after the park opened.

I really enjoyed the park. The log flume is my favorite after the 2 US Splash Mountain rides. Voyage To The Iron Reef was a lot of fun even though I prefer dark rides that aren't all screens. The stage coach was also something different but very low capacity with only 1 stage coach running.

I liked Xcelerator a lot more than Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka (and even Storm Runner). Silver Bullet although not nearly as good as Banshee was still a great coaster, Ghostrider was way smoother than I was expecting and Montezooma's Revenge was something different and I always like coasters that go upside down without over the should restraints. Jaguar and Coast Rider were fun for family coasters as well. I didn't get to try Pony Express since it was closed all day.

 

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On 3/17/2017 at 8:23 PM, Joncars05 said:

That's what I am worried about with SFMM. I'm going to have to spend $85 if I go there and I don't want to go and only be able to ride 4-5 coasters. Ive never been to a Six Flags park and most of the things that I have read basically talk about slow dispatch times and long lines everywhere. SFMM looks to have about 3-4 really good coasters then just okay rides for the rest of them. The crowd map that I saw say that it will be packed that Sunday. I'm hoping to somehow find a cheap ticket to get in to justify spending a Sunday there. Thanks for the tip about the time it takes to travel from SFMM to Knott's because I thought about going to Knott's that way I get more than just half a day at Knott's.

I can't offer much California-related advice, as I've never been there.

However, for what it's worth, Six Flags parks aren't universally bad. I've personally never had a memorably bad experience with Six Flags' ride ops in Texas, Missouri, New Jersey, or Illinois. Georgia was a step down, but still not bad. Six Flags America's ride ops were very slow; that was one of many bad experiences I had there. Six Flags New England holds the record for being the only place where the ride operations were so incredibly slow and needlessly redundant that I actually wanted to leave without riding stuff I came to ride.

That being said, I have heard and read multiple trip reports that agree with what's been said here about SFMM operations. If I were in your place and if it was a viable option, I'd think about getting either the Gold or the Platinum Flash Pass.

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On 3/17/2017 at 9:00 PM, jtro223 said:

Maybe you can look into a SF season pass?  I'm not in the know with their trends, but I bought one on the labor day sale for around $60, which is the equivalent of the CF Platinum pass, so I have definately got my money's worth thus far.  Maybe they have spring specials?  I totally had fun there, just had to internalize my frustration.  I would hope in June they would have all the coasters open, they were all fun (the ones I got to experience--except Goliath, but even a bad coaster can be better than no coaster at all!)  Knott's, on the other hand--even with less coasters, was a first class experience.

I think that I what I will do the best deal that I can find in the area is at Six Flags Over Georgia. So I will probably just buy that and head to SFMM and probably add SFOG and SF St Louis to the itinerary. That way I at least get my money's worth and not fret about paying almost $90 for half a day in on park. 

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