Thursday, November 13, 2014

Knott's Berry Farm Invites Us to Voyage to the Iron Reef in 2015

As rumored, Knott’s Berry Farm has announced the addition of Voyage to the Iron Reef, a brand new high-tech dark ride that will open at the park in 2015.  Described by the theme park as a “spectacular interactive 4-D attraction,” Voyage to the Iron Reef will be similar in design to Wonder Mountain’s Guardian, which opened this year at Canada’s Wonderland.  The ride features a media-based battle between riders and steampunk themed underwater creatures.  The story line is totally unique, and ties directly to the park itself.

Knott’s Berry Farm has created a full backstory for the attraction, going back to the work that was completed in 2013 to renovate the Boardwalk section of the park.  It seems that the activity reawakened a “mystical lair in the depths below, filled with creatures who have risen up to wreak havoc on the classic So Cal theme park.”   The Queen of the Kraken and her “aquatic army” are trying to feed on the steel of Knott’s rides in order to satiate an unquenchable appetite for coaster metal.  The years of eating old rides has turned the sea creatures into “swimming mechanical monsters unlike anything ever seen on the ocean floor.”

Riders will sit in four passenger vehicles and travel on a four minute voyage to the iron reef.  Each seat is equipped with an “interactive freeze ray” that lets riders blast creatures such as ballooning puffer fish and an iron clad octopus.  3-D glasses will help riders feel as if they are under the sea with the monsters, and individual scores will be displayed for each player.  The goal is to keep Knott’s Berry Farm from slowly sinking into a watery doom, courtesy of the underwater monsters.

The ‘guts’ of the ride will consists of the passenger vehicles moving through the second story of the large Boardwalk show building.  The site was the previous home to both Bear-y Tales and Kingdom of the Dinosaurs.  Voyage to the Iron reef will utilize 600 feet of track and eleven scenes such as “underwater forests, disorienting ocean current tunnels, and mysterious mechanical wreckage.”  In addition to the gaming component and 3-D technology, other special effects such as bubbles and heat will be used.  The attraction will have a “thrilling finale,” though it is not expected to be similar to the one at Canada’s Wonderland (which I will not detail in order to keep the surprise).  Additionally, no roller coaster section is expected to be a part of the Knott's ride.

The same company responsible for creating Wonder Mountain’s Guardian, Triotech, will also work on Voyage to the Iron Reef.  Knott's is proud of its recent trend of adding family friendly attractions in the form of themed experiences.  Voyage to the Iron Reef will be the third recent dark ride experience highlighted at the park, after the complete renovations of both the Timber Mountain Log Ride and Calico Mine Ride.  Knott's Berry Farm has worked hard over these years, "reestablishing Knott’s as a destination renowned for premier theme park experiences."

“The same commitment to storytelling and dedication to incorporating the most cutting edge ride technologies that made Knott’s Bear-y Tales and Kingdom of the Dinosaurs so popular is what has driven the Iron Reef creative process,” said Raffi Kaprelyan, vice president and general manager of Knott’s Berry Farm. “The technology showcased in Iron Reef will honor the legacy of the attractions that preceded it, and propel the on-ride experience into the 21st century.”

I'm quite pleased to see that a second dark ride has been announced for a Cedar Fair park!  Hopefully Voyage to the Iron reef receives a bit more theming than the first go around in Canada, if for no other reason than to help it better compete in a tough Southern California market.