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Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt 2008
Oct. 4th

This year marks the 36th anniversary of the theme park Halloween event that started them all, and it was my first Haunt experience since the 70s (Anyone else remember "Satan's Sawmill?"). Back then, I was an early teen and it scared the hell out of me. This year, older, wiser and presumably less of a wuss, it really scared the hell out of me. Without question, the KSF Haunt remains (human remains, of course) the standard by which all others are measured. It slays.

I met up with Doug and Brent of the superlative Season Pass, and Doug's lovely wife Shannon, to take in the park during the day and we had a ball. Most rides had near-walk-on lines and save for Xcelerator - down all day :( - all were running beautifully. Since my last visit to Knott's was a few years ago, I had yet to take on the Sierra Sidewinder, Silver Bullet, and Pony Express. Detailed ride reviews will come another time, but I'm happy to say that the Sidewinder was a total surprise. The last car seems to be the way to go if you want maximum spinnage - be prepared for some really insane behavior. It's the X2 of family coasters, for sure. Thumbs way up.

Rulez!

Silver Bullet was also a kick in the gut. I'd heard mixed things about this Beemer, but I must humbly disagree. We got two front-seat rides in and both times, I was gripping the handrails on the way down the exit stairs. Loved the half-flip that starts as a roll, but then falls back the way ya came up. And the last spiral shreds. Maybe not best-in-class, but still a very worthy sample in the B&M portfolio. Again, thumbs way up.

Ponies

Pony Express? Well, it's a fine all-ages attraction, great looking train, fun launch, a couple of nice hills, nifty tunnel, too. But it's a tad short. And I can't say I was all that comfortable assuming the ride position. That lumbar restraint presses down a bit more firmly than I would have preferred. But once we got moving, I didn't feel so stapled.

Ponies again

Kids seem to dig it a lot, and they're the target demo for this one, so who am I to judge?

Montezooma's Revenge was an old treat I hadn't paid homage to in awhile. Old-school Schwarzkopf shuttler's still got it. And Ghostrider is a monster, as always. Rides alittle rougher than it did back in the day, but nothing offensive at all about it. One of the best twister/out and back hybrids now and forever.

Now you too can be a ride op!

Here's the Ghostrider op cheat sheet. Learn it; live it. From now on, whenever I want something to stop, I will make both hands in a definite fist, with both thumbs pointed downward, and move them in a waving up and down motion.

And even Jaguar was diverting! As we all agreed, that coaster has what must be the most optimistically over-designed queue in the world - has that thing ever completely filled with people? And if so, why? But you get some great views of Silver Bullet along the way.

We paused for some adult beverages at the Knott's hotel bar as the sun went down, and then Shannon's cousin Jesse joined us to "walk in and freak out."

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© Robert Coker
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