Knott’s Berry Farm has been on a roll the last few years with their in park events. They were already known for having a solid Halloween and Christmas lineup. Recently, they curated the Boysenberry Festival into something that’s just an all-out spring carnival and for the last two years, Ghost Town Alive has become an award-winning, living, interactive experience during the summer.
While that covers the major seasons, a lot of other theme parks in the last few years have been taking advantage of a little lull in late January/early February to celebrate Lunar New Year. Instead of copying what other parks have done regarding that, Knott’s did something entirely unique but very familiar. This was the inaugural year of the Knott’s Peanuts Celebration and it’s exactly what you’d expect, and more.
Normally, Snoopy and the gang are confined mostly to Camp Snoopy, but during this celebration, you can find them all around in the park, for meet and greets, photo ops, shows and all over the decorations. Even the bunting’s fabric has the characters all over it. This is a photo-heavy review of it, so enjoy.
All around the park is new bunting with bright solid colors. It really stands out without screaming “Snoopy” or anything too character-focused.
And yes, many of the trees around the park, even the palm trees, had kites stuck in them, serving as a nod to the kite-eating tree that tormented Charlie Brown so much. It was like a little game walking around trying to find them.
If that wasn’t enough, this also was the first time ever that Pig-Pen was available for meet and greets! Naturally he was in the barn in Ghost Town, surrounded by the horses and now pigs, too! The month-old piglets were visiting from the OC Fair Center, but it’d be great if they could stick around for the long term. The other guests really just loved watching them lay around.
While Krazy Kirk & The Hillbillies are taking a little vacation, the Birdcage Theater is still getting heavy use, pulling double-duty. Multiple times during the day, Leon Cox, Knott’s resident artist, teaches a quick lesson on how to draw a Peanuts character. Pads and paper are provided. And if the kids are too young to follow along, there’s also coloring book pages and crayons instead.
This whole setup was really well done. Noel has great narration skills and made it simple to follow along. The projector was setup perfectly. And there were even rugs on the stage for the kids to get up really close. We had Lucy for our go around, but saw Linus earlier, so it’s not just Snoopy over and over all day.
If that wasn’t enough, between sketch sessions, they’re playing entire Knott’s specials. So after sketching Linus, they played It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and guests could just come in and watch it at their leisure. It’s just something so simple and perfect, you wonder why it wasn’t done before. The Beagle Scout headquarters store in Camp Snoopy would play the cartoon specials in that shop, but this is obviously a much larger venue to show them in. They even took the time to make banners for the sides of the screen to indicate which cartoon was currently playing. This was well thought out and executed.
Over in Camp Snoopy, they added a show featuring Lucy and Sally practicing traditional Mexican dances, which of course means they had to do the Mexican hat dance with the help of the audience. That was a fun show, but only one of many going on for this celebration.
Over in Calico Square, there were games going on every 90 minutes or so, like the pie (frisbee) toss or bean bag tossing. The characters get involved in it, too. It’s fun to see Franklin try to throw a frisbee.
During the daytime, Calico Stage has a show called “The Music Goes Round and Round” featuring the two hosts and Schroeder teaching Sally about all the different genres of music, from country to rock and roll to swing. It’s a fairly fast paced show with a lot of props and costume changes, but the main song that plays throughout the show becomes incredibly grating fairly quickly.
It felt like every time they were getting onto a new song, they had to go back to playing the first song again. If they could find a way to trim that one song down, this could be a very tight and great show.
And speaking of music, there’s also a constant Peanuts dance party taking place around the nearby fountain in front of Johnny Rocket’s. Featuring a whole bunch of characters, and a trolley that delivers them, it mostly exists to surprise guests like a pop-up party without feeling the need to line up for a photo.
But it wasn’t just shows that got added around the park. The Grand Sierra Railroad in Camp Snoopy got a complete redo with new props to celebrate The Beagle Bonanza! The means new standees, new on-ride audio and new posters in the queue and entrance. It’s really a stunning re-theme for the railroad and features some really amazing buildings. (Olaf’s House of Fun is just spectacular)
There’s also the usual show in Camp Snoopy. This one is called “Peanuts Balancing Act” and comes off as just some lesson about how you shouldn’t be on your phone all day and to get exercise. It felt a bit preachy, but with the audience interaction, it’s likely the kids won’t notice, although it might not hold their attention.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t cover the great treats they have for this event. Most you can find in the Ghost Town Bakery, across from Ghostrider, but others, like the funnel cake, can be found in the traditional spots. Many of these are peanut butter-flavored as a nod to the Peanuts name. It’s nice to see them not completely indulge themselves on boysenberries, as we’ll be revisiting that in just a few short weeks.
On top of that, there’s also the finale at the end of the night. Instead of Coachella, you get Woodstock’s Music Festival featuring The Jelly Of The Month Club. Without being disparaging to other bands, they play all ages music, as opposed to music targeted only towards children. It’s a really well done show, with just the right amount of Peanuts characters goofing around and a great way to end the evening.
If that’s not enough Peanuts for you, City Hall (previously the Haunt Museum) next to the Magic Shop and Birdcage Theater, has been transformed into a Charles Schulz mini-Museum, with a lot to take in including a video with Sparky himself.
And there are also a ton of photo ops around Camp Snoopy and the front of the park to celebrate all that is Peanuts. Just be patient as they’re popular and everyone wants a turn to be the center of attention.
Outside of this event, this is still usually the off-season, so a lot is under refurbishment right now, so the Log Ride is getting cleaned up right now, but the Calico Mine Ride is still going.
No splashing today. But very soon.
But Knott’s big attention-getter this summer is going to be Hangtime. It’s a dive coaster and the first on the west coast. The track is currently complete, so the vehicles should start testing and cycling fairly soon. It’s an impressive sight. But the real bonus here are the construction walls. They’re covered in Peanuts comic strips, but not just any random strips. These are hand-picked strips that all focus around the theme of construction. Someone worked hard to dig these up. I hope we see more like this in the future.
That about covers the Peanuts Celebration at Knott’s, and what’s to come in the next few months. Enjoy some other random pictures around the park and pop on down for the Peanuts Celebration. It’s running weekends until February 25th. If the crowds on the weekend were any indication, this could be extended to weekdays next year, but for now, just pick a Saturday or Sunday and get ready to celebrate Snoopy and his gang! And February 4th is going to be Charlie Brown Day in the park where Knott’s is encouraging everyone to come dressed up as Charlie Brown. Good Grief!