Howdy partners, it is time for what many guests and myself have all been anxious to see when word went out that the Calico Mine Ride was going to be closing to get a well deserved update just like its neighbor Timber Mountain Log Ride. With that in mind Knott’s enlisted the help once more of Garner Holt Productions Inc. (GHP) They did such an amazing job with the animatronics for the Log Ride and who better to help once more with the tedious job of making the miners of Calico Mine come back to life but GHP. Inside the mine ride they have over 45 different animatronics working seamlessly mining away hoping to strike gold.
At the grand re-opening ceremony we had Garner L. Holt, President of Garner Holt Productions Inc., Bill Butler Director of Creative Design at GHP and Darrel Anderson (the grandson of Walter and Cordelia Knott) spoke briefly. Then one of the Calico Mine trains pulled up with a Miner in one of the boxcars to welcome us all to his mine. Once he made his way down and invited us all to check out his mine and to share with him any winnings you may find inside the mine, he detonated the box of TNT setting off a chain reaction of 4 small pyrotechnics and one major kaboom. Like a start of the sound of a pistol fired at the beginning of a race we were on our way up thru the ramp queue and amongst the first guests to see this ride before opening to the public.
I have been looking forward to this re-opening for quite some time now, I felt so honored to be able to experience this ride that I recall from my childhood. Once in our open box cars and one final safety check were off into the mine.
Inside was the beautiful cavern with bubbling steam geysers. Then later you get to see the well known “Glory Hole” where you will see a lot of prospectors mining away working tediously. My favorite parts are the stalagmites and stalactites that seem to come alive and sing. The music has been re-recorded and it sounds amazing! I wish that the tour could have dropped me off so I can just stay and listen for a few hours. After the sweet serenade we take a slow advance through a rickety bridge where we can see the back side of a water fall and then you notice two animatronic vultures perched on boxes on the mountain. What could this mean? Oh no we are now entering the blasting zone. Will our train make it out alive? The special effects and lighting at the end were a great surprise that I was not anticipating and I look forward to seeing it time and time again. In fact I’m ready to go again, anyone want to join me? Well then come on down, the prospectors and I will be waiting for you at Knott’s Berry Farm in Ghost Town at the Calico Mine Ride.
Calico Mine Ride Facts!
Original Opening Date: November 22, 1960
Designer: Bud Hurlbut
Original Cost: Over 1 million dollars
Length of Train Track: 1,080 feet
Height of the Mountain: 7 stories
Number of Levels: 3
Length of Ride: 8 minutes
Number of Trains:(6) 19th century-themed steam locomotives
Number of Cars per Train: 5
Number of guests per train: 50
Capacity: 1,500 passengers an hour
Height of Tallest Ascent: 160 Feet at a 25% slope
Number of Bodies of Water: 2; 2 interior bodies of water, 5 waterfalls
Gallons of Water Circulating the Mountain: 20,000 gallons
Original Number of Human Figures: 40
New Number of Human Figures and Animals: 46 humans, plus dozens of historically accurate animals; bats, a dog, a mule, vultures, fish.
Approximate Number of Stalactites and Stalagmites: Over 8,000
Size of the Glory Hole: 65 ft. deep x 90 ft. wide