Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park California is a unique theme park that offers thrill rides, family adventures and historical experiences you won’t find anywhere else. And add to that all the delicious boysenberry-inspired foods. Our Day Trips Traveling Mom shares her insider tips on how to cover Knott’s Berry Farm in one day.
My family was provided one overnight hotel stay from Visit Buena Park and four-one day park tickets for Knott’s Berry Farm to facilitate this post.
Knott’s Berry Farm in One Day
Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park is located about fifteen minutes drive from Disneyland. There are plenty of things to do in the Buena Park and Southern California area. However Knott’s Berry Farm is a destination all on its own! Guests can be entertained from morning to night at this historic theme park. You likely won’t be able to experience every single thing in one day at Knott’s. However, by planning ahead of time and following these tips, you’ll be able to experience several rides or attractions in each area of the park. Follow these 10 tips on how to maximize one day at Knott’s.
1. Stay Overnight Near Knott’s
If you’re going to be spending all day at Knott’s Berry Farm, you’ll want to begin the day close to the park. This will allow you to avoid time spent freeway driving in the morning. The Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel is located right next door to the park and is easily walkable.
My family recently stayed at the Radisson Suites Hotel Anaheim – Buena Park. Located just a few minutes drive from Knott’s, the hotel offers free on-site parking, free Wi-Fi and a complimentary shuttle to both Knott’s and Disneyland. What a great way to save on the parking fee!
My large family appreciated the extra space to spread out in the large hotel suite. While our older kids watched television in the front sitting area, my husband and I were able to get the toddler asleep in the bedroom. After a comfortable night’s rest, we were able to enjoy the breakfast buffet in the onsite restaurant.
There are several noteworthy places to visit on Beach Blvd, within walking distance of the Radisson Suites hotel. Grab a burger and drinks at Rock & Brews, located directly across the street from the Radisson (they’re open late). For dessert hit up Porto’s Bakery just down the street. There are also two dinner shows, Medieval Times and Pirate’s Adventure Dinner. Plan your evening so that you are allowed time the day before your Knott’s Berry Farm visit to work in some of these other attractions!
2. Choose a Non-Peak Day
Summer time, spring break, three-day weekends and just about any time the kids are out of school is going to be busy at Knott’s Berry Farm. As a rule, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days of the week to plan your visit to most theme parks. Schedule your Knott’s vacation during off-peak season and non-special event days for the lightest crowds.
3. Have a Plan For the Day
Knott’s Berry Farm is a diverse theme park with a wide variety of activities. Decide ahead of time where you want to spend most of your time. Camp Snoopy is for the littlest kiddos. Some of the fastest thrill rides are located in the Boardwalk section of the park. Fiesta Village houses rides for young and old. Many shows and live entertainment take place in the Ghost Town area. This is also where you’ll find historical diversions like panning for gold, the Old School House and Blacksmith. Check out the park map on the Knott’s website ahead of time to plan out your day. This will help to minimize the time spent walking.
These are my recommendations for the top must-do attractions in each section at Knott’s:
- Ghost Town – GhostRider roller coaster, Silver Bullet, Butterfield Stagecoach, Calico Mine Ride, Timber Mountain Log Ride, Mystery Lodge, Blacksmith, Ghost Town Jail & Sad Eye Joe.
- Camp Snoopy – For younger kids, Flying Ace and Pigpen’s Mud Buggies. For older kids, Sierra Sidewinder and Timberline Twister.
- Fiesta Village – Jaguar!, La Revolucion and Sol Spin.
- Boardwalk – Xcelerator, Voyage to the Iron Reef and any show taking place inside the Charles M. Schulz Theatre.
4. Purchase Tickets Ahead of Time
Don’t waste precious park time waiting in line to purchase tickets! TravelingMom recommends our travel partner Get Away Today for discounted Knott’s Berry Farm vacation packages (Knott’s area hotels are listed under “Huntington Beach”).
5. Download the Knott’s Park App
The Knott’s Berry Farm mobile app offers several time saving options. When you park your car in morning, you’ll have the ability to pinpoint your coordinates into the app. At the end of a long day, you’ll easily be able to locate your car in the parking lot! Guests can see ride wait times, show times and event listings. The app also features an interactive map for quicker navigation.
6. Check the Park Times
Knott’s Berry Farm generally opens at 10 a.m. This will allow you plenty of time in the morning for an off-site breakfast. During the peak summer season and most weekends, Knott’s offers late hours. However, during the off-season and most weekdays, the Park closes earlier (sometimes as early as 5 p.m.). Be sure to check Knott’s online calendar before your trip to verify the park times so you can maximize your visit.
Aim to arrive at least 30 minutes before the gates open. This will allow time for parking, the short walk to the gate and the bag inspection at the security checkpoint.
7. Thrill Ride Lovers Should Purchase FastLane
Guests who want to ride all the fastest coasters with minimal line waiting will want to purchase a FastLane wristband. This is a huge time saver for thrill seekers, potentially giving you a 5 minute line wait instead of 30 minutes or more in queue. The wristband offers unlimited access to popular rides like Xcelerator and Silver Bullet. My 6-year old was able to ride Jaguar! three times during our visit, with no wait being longer than a few minutes. FastLane can be purchased on the Knott’s website or at the park.
If you aren’t purchasing FastLane, here’s a tip for getting onto the thrill ride a bit faster. Choose to sit in the middle of the car. Guests at Knott’s are able to pick which seat they want on the coaster. The front and back of the cars are the most popular. Choose a middle seat and you’ll get on the ride that much quicker.
8. Little Ones? Start (and End) Your Day in Camp Snoopy
There’s no way to speed up the lines in Camp Snoopy. None of the rides in this area accept FastLane, so your only choice is to wait in queue. In fact this is one thing that needs improvement at Knott’s Berry Farm. However, I do have some tips on making the most of the Camp Snoopy area with your young visitors.
If you have little ones in your group, start your day early at Camp Snoopy. Immediately upon entering the park, turn right and head into Camp Snoopy. There are several rides that adults can go on with their kids (like Camp Bus and Grand Sierra Railroad). Other rides are only for the kids and they do have height restrictions (like Huff and Puff and Woodstock’s Airmail). This mean that your older children might be too tall to ride with their smaller siblings.
My two year old toddler was just tall enough at 32″ to ride Flying Ace by herself. Be sure to check out the height restrictions posted near each ride. Some attractions are for kids only, while other rides require an accompanying adult if the child doesn’t meet the height requirement.
The Camp Snoopy area will be very busy about an hour after opening. Plan to tour the rest of the park and return to the area later in the evening. Camp Snoopy will be considerably less crowded about an hour before park closing.
9. Plan Meals
Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant is a mealtime must-do! The chicken dinner is amazing (they still use Mrs. Knott’s age-old fried chicken recipe!). You don’t want to use up your park time waiting in line to eat, so reservations are recommended. However, we’ve arrived for lunch right after opening and only had a few minute wait. Share the meal and save room for boysenberry pie!
Knott’s Berry Farm also offers a reasonably priced All Day Dining Plan. Guests can eat at the 14 participating locations as often as every 90 minutes throughout the day. Check your park map to know which restaurants offer the plan so you can schedule your day.
During the off-peak season Knott’s Berry Farm closes around dinner time. Extend your day of adventure with a dinner theater show. Consider purchasing the discounted Knott’s and Medieval Times dinner show bundle from TravelingMom partner Get Away Today.
10. Is Knott’s Having a Special Event?
Knott’s Berry Farm is host to several fun special events throughout the year. Certain events may cause the park to be more crowded than usual. Other events may close the park to regular guests early. Check the Knott’s website to know if a special event will be happening during your visit.
- Kick start spring time at the annual celebration of the little berry that started it all at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. Lots of fun entertainment and so much to eat, with 75+ special boysenberry-inspired foods. This event is included with park admission (food tastings are additional cost).
- During the summer months, guests at Knott’s can experience Ghost Town Alive! The real ghost town of Calico was moved into the theme park and the historical elements are celebrated during this special event, included with park admission.
- During the fall season day time hours, park guests can participate in Knott’s Spooky Farm. This family-friendly special event offers Halloween trick-or-treating, fall-themed entertainment, Dia de los Muertos celebration and several not-too-scary ride overlays.
- After the park closes to regular guests, it reopens on select fall nights for Knott’s Scary Farm. This spooky special ticked Halloween event is for those 13+ and includes scary costumed actors, mazes and frightening entertainment. Park admission is not included.
- During the holiday season, everyone will enjoy Knott’s Merry Farm. Included in the park admission are holiday-themed shows, nightly snow fall and meetings with Santa. Naturally this time of year will bring in additional crowds.
Get your complete Visit Buena Park Travel Guide and be sure to take advantage of everything it offers!