The Ol’ West Rides Again

In Arts & Entertainment
1998 Archive Correspondent zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


The wooden roller coaster looms over Beach Boulevard, full of pent up energy waiting to be released in a fast and violent fury. The new GhostRider has officially arrived at Knott’s Berry Farm.

There is a so-called legend behind the GhostRider attraction. The story describes a Union soldier who wants to travel West once he heard of the fortunes in the gold and silver mines. He wrangled cattle as a cowboy for a short time before continuing to California to find his only companion, an untamed Mustang.

Rumor has it he entered into a Calico mine on horseback, but never again saw the light of day. Legend has it that his restless spirit now haunts the old shafts that took his life.


As the newest attraction in Ghost Town since the Log Ride opened in 1969, the rustic-looking unpainted, pine wood construction adds to the ambiance of the old miner town atmosphere.

However, these tid-bits of trivial information seemed unimportant until it was time to strap into the 28-passenger mine cart that would deliver thrills at a top speed of 56 miles per hour.

Though the ride doesn’t appear as massive as Magic Mountain’s Colossus, passengers get to travel 208 ft further on GhostRider. The lowest to highest point on Colossus is 3ft less than GhostRider’s 118ft. The double-track coaster’s top traveling speed is 62 miles per hour, and the duration of the ride is longer at 2.5 minutes.

One existing problem of the GhostRider attraction is that passengers weighing more than 200 pounds might find it hard to fit into the narrow seats of the mine-cart. A ride operator said GhostRider was designed to accomodate medium-size people because the intense G-forces establish strict weight limitations.

As the mine-cart departs from the depot, it begins the 108ft climb to the pinnacle of the largest banked drop in the entire attraction. When the mine-cart crests, the hang-time of the front cart offers passengers a brief view of the impending plunge.

Passengers, at this point, better take a deep breath—They might not get another chance for the next two minutes.

The rest of the ride, after the first drop, is a blur of motion. Only one word can describe the entire GhostRider experience – F-A-S-T.

There is continual break-neck speed throughout the entire ride, even during the curves and ascents. Laws of gravity provide the momentum of the mine-cart after the chain-driven lift raises them to the top of the initial drop.

After the stomach-churning drop, passengers are propelled into a gold mine adventure. The appearance of a mine is created by the intricate beam work that criss-crossed in a lattice work of pine.

In addition, the run-away mine-cart confuses the passengers because it seems to almost double back on the track already covered. Riders might have trouble deciding where they are on the attraction until they pull into the area of disembarkment.


Just like any well-planned marketing scheme, the newest attraction at Knott’s is the focal point of a whole new set of shops, games, and restaurants.

As the riders walk away from the mine-cart adventure, they have the opportunity to buy an on-ride photograph at GhostPhoto. Most major rides have this option, including Viper at Magic Mountain and Splash Mountain at Disneyland.

Famished from the ride, people can refuel at Auntie Pasta’s Pizza Parlour or Ghost Town Bakery. The always necessary souveniers can be purchased at GhostRider.

Goods and entertainment for children is at Bandit Bob’s Arcade. Finally, those in search of a prize can play Worth Your Weight in Gold for $2.Winners recieve a stuffed animal if they can not guess their weight.

All in all, The design of the new themed area does not use new concepts, and the sparse decorations show lack of effort on Knott’s part. Hopefully, they will chose to build up this area after the excitement of the new ride dies and the need for a comprehensive attraction becomes necessary.

Whether the legend behind the ride is true or not, the GhostRider’s energy waits to thrill. Looking beyond the hokey propaganda surrounding it, riders will find an invigorating expreience as they hurdle through the mine shafts.

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