Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA
So, uh… hey, guys! It’s been a spell, hasn’t it? Well, I’ve been on vacation for the past couple of weeks plus, and as a result, the site’s been on a bit of a break during the same time. So we’re going to play a bit of catch-up today by going back to media night for Knott’s Merry Farm a few Fridays ago.
The winter overlay for Knott’s is back this year, running now through Sunday, January 6th, and it’s brighter than ever! This year’s Merry Farm brings more illuminated decorations than ever, with most of the additions focused on The Boardwalk in support of the new HangTime roller coaster. The shows and activities remain largely the same as last year and the year before, with the Christmas Crafts Village and Santa’s Christmas Cabin returning to Ghost Town, shows like Snoopy Ice Show: Merry Christmas, Snoopy! and It’s The Merriest Christmas Show Ever, Charlie Brown returning to the Charles Schulz Theater and Calico Mine Stage, respectively, and plenty of holiday spirit throughout the farm. Lets take a look at what this year’s Merry Farm is like, shall we?
Calico Tree Lighting
Every evening, at Calico Park, the town comes together to light its grand Christmas tree and ring in the season. With help from carolers, a designated special guest family, and emceeing from none other than Calico Mayor Horton Parnell, the tree lighting is a magical and lovely affair.
On media night last month, the ceremony was made more special by the presence of several hundred children from several chapters of the Boys and Girls Club of Southern California. They were joined by the Peanuts Gang and even Santa Claus himself to kick off the Christmas run. Guests can enjoy the Christmas tree lighting nightly around the 6:00 hour or so.
Merry Farm Food & Merch
Much like Disney has with its Festival of Holidays at California Adventure, Knott’s Merry Farm has rolled out unique seasonal cuisine and merchandise the past few years. The media night dinner offered a peek at some of this year’s special souvenirs—hates, shirts, and some interactive mememntos—plus a bite of some of the unique food items that will be offered for a limited time only. There are plenty of sweets, plus holiday-inspired savories that are sure to satisfy anyone’s yuletide culinary cravings. At the very least, try the Turkey Poutine. It’s divine!
Christmas Around the Park
Of course, it can’t be a theme park Christmas without decorations everywhere. This year, Knott’s has decorated more than ever before, introducing new ornaments and displays and literally keeping the holiday spirit bright and glowing everywhere. Lets stroll through each of the lands to see more!
With the exception of a quiet Bigfoot Rapids (soon to be transformed and renamed), Ghost Town this year is pretty much the same as Ghost Town last Christmas. By day, the Christmas Crafts Fair offers vendors a chance to sell their homemade or artisan wares, with items ranging from soaps to artwork to hats and plushes and more. By night, Ghost Town lights up with twinkle lights—not to mention the luminous medley of Snow and Glow.
At Santa’s Christmas Cabin (Wilderness Dance Hall), guests can have a sampling of seasonal pastries, wines, and beer, plus share a photo op with Jolly St. Nick himself. There is also a souvenir lantern being peddled that interacts during Snow and Glow, using radio frequency waves to pulse and react to the show similar to World of Color and the Glow Ears at Disney several years ago. And of course, the towering Christmas tree in Calico Park is the focal point of many a photo op.
The Boardwalk has seen the most dramatic Christmas transformation, with plenty of new theming items to really brighten up the place in an extravagant manner. From a breath-taking, glowing ice fountain to oversized ornaments at Coasters to a special holiday lighting package on HangTime (similar to what they did during Scary Farm), The Boardwalk really stands out this year. The majority of the thematic seasonal improvements seem to have been dedicated toward this area, which makes sense, given HangTime’s debut this year and the Boardwalk's revitalization.
Truthfully, with the exception of perhaps a few of the ground projections, Camp Snoopy does not seem to have garnered much new and notable additions for the holidays. The area still has a rustic feel, but it’s somewhat dark. I was hoping for string lights wrapped around the trees, or perhaps Christmas lighting strung from evergreen to evergreen overhead, similar to the aesthetic outside the park entrance along Grand Avenue. Alas, either by tardiness or choice, the added holiday decorations didn’t seem to make it this far.
That’s not to say that Camp Snoopy didn’t look good. It’s just that it looked the same.
Fiesta Village remains mostly the same as last year, though a few accents have been added, such as a Christmas tree set for photos (though there’s no spot on the scene, just lights from the trees which end up backlighting guests), and theming more heavily clustered around the arcade and souvenir shop area.
The show line-up remains unchanged from last year. The two headlining shows remain the Snoopy Ice Show, located in the Charles Schulz Theater and performing three times a day (the last right at dusk). It’s the Merriest Christmas Show Ever, Charlie Brown! remains at the Calico Mine Stage, playing nightly. Over at the Bird Cage, guests can alternatingly see A Christmas Carol or The Gift of the Magi. In Camp Snoopy, A Peanuts Guide to Christmas returns to inform guests on how to get ready for the busy holiday season. And several times a night in Ghost Town, Snow and Glow transforms the place into a [soapy] winter wonderland.
We’ve covered most of these shows in previous years, so lets take a look at the two that we saw on media night.
It’s the Merriest Christmas Show Ever, Charlie Brown!
It’s time for the big Christmas play, but Snoopy is nowhere in sight! Reluctant stage manager, Charlie Brown, must put for the show without his favorite beagle, much to the delight of his arch nemesis, Lucy Van Pelt. But Charlie Brown always retains hope that his beloved pooch will be able make it before the finale!
The Calico Mine Stage production is a great song and dance number with the Peanuts Gang providing plenty of charm and whimsy. The performers are energetic and plenty of fun, and the show is a terrific way to cap off a nice evening in the park.
Merry Christmas, Snoopy! Ice Show
The ice show is back this year, but it was playing before the media event formally kicked off, so we don’t have pictures of it for this update. However, it’s basically the same show as last year, so you can check out our 2017 Knott’s Merry Farm update for photos!
Snow and Glow in Ghost Town
The magical snowfall moment is back again, and the experience still conjures up the delight and wonder of the Christmas season. Similar to Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle lighting ceremony, Snow and Glow celebrates the family-oriented, warm meaning of the holiday and showers guests with “snoap” and uplifting holiday music. It occurs several times throughout the evening and is great for the little ones.
And there you have Knott’s Merry Farm for this year. There’s still plenty of time to stop by, as Merry Farm continues until the Sunday after New Year’s. Take your family, your sweetheart, or just yourself and a friend or two, and enjoy the fantastic atmosphere and lovely theming of the holiday decor. Knott’s Merry Farm is a Southern California holiday tradition, and it’s looking brighter than ever!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.