There's a complete guide to Knott's Berry Farm including tons of information about where everything is located, height restrictions and making the most of your visit. You can also make use of a helpful guide that breaks down everything you can do at Knott's with young children and toddlers. But if you're in a hurry, these quick tips will avoid some potential headaches and help you easily navigate the park.
Don't Pay Full Price
Paying at the gate is pretty much the only time you'll need to pay full price at Knott's. Use one of the discount options on the Knott's tickets page to get your tickets online in advance to save a significant amount of money and avoid waiting in ticket lines.
Mid-week is least crowded, but during the school year has the shortest open hours, so you get less time for your money. On days when the park is open late, wait for the last hour to ride the rides with the longest lines, since half the people clear out an hour or two before the park closes.
Fast Lane for Some of the Group
The Fast Lane wristband can save you a lot of time waiting in line but can be pricey, especially on peak days. You don't have to get Fast Lane for your whole group if not everyone wants to ride the extreme rides. One really good use of Fast Lane is when you have only one or two people who want to ride the bigger rides. Get them Fast Lane wristbands, so they can run off and do those rides quickly and rejoin the group.
Parent Locator Service for Lost Kids
Many families will have a special appreciation for this "parent locator" service. It's a good idea for your kids to know your cell phone number and have it on them (you can even write your number written on your child's arm), in case they get separated from you, but you can also register your child with the Information office when you arrive so that if he or she is found without you, your cell phone number will be on file for someone to call you.
Parent Trade Off with Fast Lane Option
Like most parks these days, at Knott's parents with children who are too small for the ride can wait in line together, then when you get to the ride, one parent waits with the children not riding, while the other parent rides, then when the first parent gets back to take the kids, the second one can ride.
With Fast Lane for just the parents, you can enter through the exit and do this a lot faster, so the kids don't get as bored waiting in line for a ride they can't ride.
Map Apps to Use On Site
Google Maps on the iPhone identifies the major rides, so it works better than the Knott's iPhone app or printed map for finding your way around the park. Bing Maps Birds Eye View is one way to get the best aerial views to see the rides on a computer.
A word to the wise: Don't bother with the Knott's app. The only useful thing it has is the height restrictions for each ride, but you have to click into each ride to see them, so it's easier to just look at the paper map.
Check the Ride Names and Height Restrictions
There are 40 rides at Knott's Berry Farm. If you don't know the names of the rides, it's hard to figure out what's what on the map. If you know the name of the ride you're looking for, it's much easier (although still sometimes confusing) to locate it on the map and find the entrance.
It's also good to measure your kids and check height restrictions in advance, so you can aim for the rides they can go on and not waste time measuring at rides they're too small (or tall) for.
Ride Thrill Rides Clockwise Back to Front
Thrill seekers who are familiar with Knott's recommend starting your day when the park opens with the Xcelerator, Boomerang and Extreme Scream, all in the back right corner, and make your way around clockwise to Sidewinder in Camp Snoopy, then on to Silver Bullet and Ghostrider.
The Fried Chicken is Better at Mrs. Knott's
You would think that all the Knott's Berry Farm restaurants that serve fried chicken would be using Mrs. Knott's recipe, but if you're after Mrs. Knott's famous fried chicken, it tastes better at Mrs. Knott's Fried Chicken Restaurant at the Marketplace just outside the park than anywhere inside the park. However, it's prepared to order, so it can be a bit of a wait for your food. While the fried chicken is tasty, the biscuits and sides are nothing special, though the pie is a winner and must-try.
Healthier Dining Options
Knott's Berry Farm has gotten wise to the fact that there are a lot of health-conscious, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free guests who need something to eat, so they've added more options, including salads, veggie burgers and gluten-free pizzas to some menus. For the best healthy selections, try the Ghost Town Grill, Sutter's Fine Family Fare or Panda Express.
If you tend to eat a lot at theme parks or plan to be there from opening to closing, Knott's has an all-day Dining Plan that will let you order an entree and side every 90 minutes all day at 6 participating counter-service restaurants. The Dining Plan menu is basically limited at each location to burgers, hot dogs, and chicken sandwiches or chicken tenders, with one place with burritos and tacos. It does not include drinks. No full-service restaurants are included. None of the vegan/gluten-free options are included. You can see the full meal choices here. There is also a single meal dining plan option with a flat rate for an entree, side and drink, and a season meal pass.
All Day Dining Plans can be purchased online or at the park. Single meal plans can only be purchased online.
Ride Water Rides Early & Wear Quick Dry Clothes
This is kind of a no-brainer. It's especially important during the winter season when days are short to ride water rides early enough in the day that you have time to dry off before temperatures drop.
Even on a hot summer day, it can take hours for jeans to dry walking around -- so don't forget that quick-dry attire. If not, you end up leaving the seat wet behind you on the next bunch of rides you ride. There is a pay dryer you can stand in if it's too chilly or uncomfortable to wait to air dry. An extra pair of dry socks for the kids can also help prevent blisters from walking around in wet ones.