CHRISTMAS IS MERRY AND BRIGHT AT KNOTTS!: KNOTT’S MERRY FARM 2022 REVIEW

Knott’s Berry Farm has many identities over the seasons in Southern California. From one moment to the next, Knott’s transforms from your deepest fears to a winter wonderland. While the latter might be some peoples deepest fear, for the vast majority of visitors to the park the holidays are what fill them with warmth and joy. And when you’re celebrating at Knott’s Merry Farm, it’s nearly impossible to leave the park without feeling the holiday spirit. As soon as you enter, you’re met with the sights and sounds of the season that are impossible to ignore. Lights adorn the old wooden rooftops of Ghost Town and carolers roam around singing classic holiday songs. The complete transformation of the park really sets the stage for all the incredible offerings the park has for the season.

@thethemeparkduo

Knott’s Merry Farm can turn any Scrooge’s frown upside down! @knottsberryfarmofficial has incredible entertainment, food, drinks, and more to keep you in the holiday spirit! #MerryFarm #Christmas #fyp #fypシ

♬ Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee

The Theme Park Duo Podcast: Knott’s Merry Farm 2022 Review

ENTERTAINMENT & EXPERIENCES

The Christmas Crafts Village in Ghost Town is now a yearly staple of Merry Farm and if you didn’t know, on select dates you can enter the park FOR FREE just for the Crafts Village. Just visit Knotts.com for more info. We love perusing through the different vendors for unique and different gift ideas for friends and family. From hats, wood carvings, art, and clothing; there are plenty of vendors throughout Ghost Town to fit your shopping needs. Two big highlights every year for us are the chainsaw wood carving and glass blowing. Each time someone is working at these booths, it gathers a crowd.

Over past Ghostrider, you’ll find Gingerbread Lane! This cute area has food, drinks, souvenirs, games and photo opportunities. Funny enough, for us personally, we always forget about this area. In the past, this area was mainly used for Scary Farm since many of the mazes are located behind the roller coaster. But they’ve been incorporating this area into many other seasonal celebrations at the park. So make sure not to miss it on your next visit to Merry Farm. We spent a fair amount of time here with our Daughter because she really wanted to meet Whittles again after leaving such a positive impression on her at Spooky Farm. She even asked him where his cobwebs went, which created a very cute interaction between them.

We also got to try some of the seasonal adult beverages and seasonal food items after our photo op with Whittles. While we will dive deeper into the food and drink offerings at the park later in this article, we will share our thoughts on the items we tried. Nikki got the Santa Clausmopolitan ($16) and I got the Breckenridge Christmas Ale ($14). We thoroughly enjoyed both these offerings. The cosmo was well balanced and wasn’t overly sweet and the Ale was the perfect drink for the food we purchased as well. We tried the Turkey Bites with Brussel Sprouts ($12) and the Mistletoe Meatloaf Footlong Hot Dog with Peppers ($14). If you’re visiting Knott’s Merry Farm, the Turkey Bites are a MUST HAVE. This is the food that is most popular at the park during the season and the item we get year after year. The Mistletoe Meatloaf Footlong Hot Dog is new this year and is massive. It’s a hearty serving of food that could be split easily between two people. While there isn’t anything major to write home about in terms of the flavor itself, the item was tasty and filled me up for the rest of the evening…which might have been a problem since there were many more food items I wanted to try. Thank goodness for a season pass!

Along the main thoroughfare of Gingerbread Lane, you’ll find two new game offerings. There was the TNT Tree Lighting Game and the Santa Whittles: A Calico Christmas Story game. Both of these games are priced based on the prize you want to win. The smaller the prize the lower the cost. We actually love the concept of this style of game because if you have younger kids, you can easily pay for the largest prize and make them think they won it. It’s a rather innocent fib, but if it becomes the highlight of their day then I think it can be forgiven. Although I don’t think this was the intent, it’s how I view it as a parent. But, luckily for us, our Daughter just wanted the small Christmas tree and she was thrilled to win it herself. Again, just furthering the idea that the kids get to take ownership over their experiences.

If you venture further into Ghost Town, you’ll find Santa’s Christmas Cabin and Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen. Inside Santa’s Christmas Cabin, you can find many delicious treats, mail a letter to the North Pole, have a hot coco (maybe adding a bit more cheer to it too) and of course meet the big man himself. Here’s a big tip, make sure to visit Santa early on in the day because lines for photos tend to get longer during the middle and later parts of the day. At Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen you can help out with decorating cupcakes for the season. For only $6, kids are given a box with their cupcake and let loose on how they want to make their unique holiday treat. We personally love these types of offerings because it allows kids to have a sense of ownership over their creation and treat.

Also in Ghost Town is a Christmas classic that you can always find in The Birdcage Theatre, and that’s A Christmas Carol. This is the beloved Charles Dickens Christmas story come to life on stage at Knott’s. While we didn’t see the show this year, we are always impressed with the cast and telling of the story. If you happen to find yourself at the Calico Saloon, you might find a spirited show put on by Miss Cameo Kate where she sings some of your favorite holiday tunes with a western flare.

Of course Knott’s has two massive shows for this years Merry Farm. One a returning favorite from last years Merry Farm, Home For The Holidays, and the other BRAND NEW for 2022 and that’s Snoopy’s Night Before Christmas. As with every years ice show, it is extremely popular. The biggest tip we can give you on experiencing the ice show at Knott’s is to make sure you wait in line early. Many people line up hours before show time to ensure they get good seats. So plan ahead so you’re not left outside in the cold. This show fills up fast and even we were surprised that every single seat was filled, rightfully so because the show is absolutely phenomenal.

While we loved the old show, this surpasses it in almost every way. We were very impressed with the variety of set pieces and acts during the show. It was the much needed update Snoopy deserved during the holiday season. This show is NOT to be missed. Then of course we have Home For The Holidays.

Last year, we found the show to be a bit over the top and silly. Not really in a bad way, but less of our taste. But this year, the show has really grown on us. It’s almost like the Knott’s team encapsulates the true essence of Christmas and packages it into this holiday show. While it is a bit silly and over the top at times, it just puts a massive smile on our faces. Additionally, how could you have a better entrance for Santa in any other show. Spoiler alert, the answer is you can’t because this is single handedly the best Santa entrance we’ve ever seen. From a technical aspect, this show is rather impressive. From the large cast to the transforming stage; Home For The Holidays is extremely impressive.

As the sun is almost set, prep yourself for the park wide lighting moment. We always park ourselves in Ghost Town right in front of the saloon because we’ll most likely find The Sleigh Bells, an amazing acapella group. As they finish, the moment begins and all the lights in Ghost Town and throughout the park come alive. It’s really a fun moment, although we do miss the Tree Lighting Ceremony with the Mayor of Calico.

One of our favorite spots to visit at night is Camp Snoopy! The lights and Vince Guaraldi music immediately takes me back to my childhood. Snuggling up with family to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special on tv. It actually got me rather emotional because in that very moment, it felt like Christmas. Don’t miss out on visiting this part of the park at night because it’s absolutely beautiful.

Then, multiple times a night, you can catch Snow and Glow in Ghost Town. Other than meeting Snoopy, this was our most highly anticipated item on our list when visiting with our Daughter. We knew she would be entranced by the lights and sounds of it all. Then to cap it all off, it snows in Ghost Town. It’s a really beautiful moment when you get to see your child’s eyes light up as the snow begins to fall. Something about the light, music and snow all together really evokes an emotional response from us. It feels so wholesome and put us right into the holiday mood.

FOOD & DRINKS

Be warned heading into this portion of the review because you might just leave this page incredibly hungry. As with every celebrations at Knott’s Berry Farm, the amount of unique food and drink offerings is off the charts. We are always impressed with not only the variety, but the quality of offerings. The team behind the food and drink offerings clearly love to have fun with the names of these foods, but know how to encapsulate the holidays into the various food options. We also can’t forget to mention that there are plenty of adult beverages as well, which will fill you with the holiday spirit!

We got to see all the food offerings and tried a good handful of them as well. Here are some notable favorites that you might want to try when you visit the park for the holidays.

PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE BELGIAN ALE

POT ROAST BEEF BURGER

TINSELTOWN’S TURKEY, BACON and ALFREDO TATER BITES

SANTA’S PULLED PORK AND ONION PIZZA

POT PIE STROMBOLLI

PEANUT BUTTERY WINTER COCOA (ALCOHOLIC)

If you are only getting one food and one drink option, here is our suggestion. Always get the Turkey Bites! They are a go to must have whenever you visit Merry Farm.

But if you don’t want something fried, then try the Pulled Pork and Onion Pizza. For drinks, particularly adult beverages, I don’t think I’ve tried anything tastier than the Peanut Buttery Winter Cocoa. I was pleasantly surprised by this drink. It was much more peanut butter forward than I anticipated but also balanced the alcohol well with the hot coco as well. It’s probably my favorite dessert drink I’ve ever had…anywhere. Not just at Knott’s, which says alot about the quality of the drink.

MERCHANDISE

This years merchandise is so dang cute. We’ve always raved about the sheer amount of merchandise Knott’s offers during it’s seasonal events, but this year takes the Christmas cake! Ever since Knott’s has dipped their toes into the world of Spirit Jerseys, they’ve kept releasing them for many seasons.

Typically, I’m not a big holiday clothing person…in the slightest. I like my clothes black and grey (which they do have a black holiday shirt this year). But something about this years sparkly red spirit jersey was just calling my name. They also have adorable Charlie Brown, Woodstock, and Snoopy plushes. And probably one of my favorite pieces of merchandise this year are these park specific, unique Christmas ornaments. There are four different versions and each celebrates a different part of the park during the season.

As always, Knott’s continues to be the only theme park in SoCal with the best souvenir deal for those maybe wanting to spend a little less while visiting the park. It’s an adorable Snoopy Christmas shirt and pin combo for only $19.99! Yes, you read that right! We are always thoroughly impressed with the continued attempts at making souvenirs more attainable for those who can’t afford expensive ticket items while visiting.

OVERALL

As with many Knott’s seasonal offerings, we simply couldn’t fit everything within our two visits we made to the park for Merry Farm. We missed the BRAND NEW show in Camp Snoopy called Best Wishes. We also never got a chance to slow down and take in the multiple music acts throughout the park like: Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies, Bluegrass Duo, Rockin’ Reindeer, and Tinsel Top Club! This just means we’ll have to come back, try a new food or drink and take in the many different sights and sounds the park has to offer. From the decorations, food, drinks, merchandise, and entertainment; Knott’s has knocked it out of the park again for the 2022 season. With the combination of returning favorites and instant classic new additions; Knott’s continues to set the bar higher and higher for themselves.

In future years, we’d love to see the inclusion of other holidays during season. Knott’s has situated themselves in a perfect position to present other holidays in more of a edu-tainment light than they do Christmas. Knott’s always does a great job at giving hands on experiences to families and including other cultural celebrations in those experience is the best way to educate those who may not know much about them. Additionally by presenting a more diverse view of the holidays, it better reflects the diverse people who come visit the park. Even with this small suggested adjustment, Merry Farm has once again cemented itself as a SoCal tradition. Not only for us, for thousands of guests who flood the park just to get a taste of the holidays. There’s something very honest and pure about the park that evokes memories of holidays past, that make me look forward to future holiday celebrations with our Daughter.

Knott’s Merry Farm runs November 18th, 2022 – January 8th, 2023 at Knott’s Berry Farm

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