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September 15, 2000

Perilous Plunge Drops Into Knott's Berry Farm

Buena Park, CA -- Just 24 months after debuting the world's tallest descending thrill ride and the West's longest wooden roller coaster, Knott's Berry Farm Theme Park in Southern California makes another entry into the theme park record books with today's opening of Perilous Plunge -- the world's tallest, steepest and wettest water ride.

Just 34 feet shorter than mighty Niagara Falls, Knott's new thrill ride in The Boardwalk themed area sends guests in 24-passenger boats up a 121-foot-tall lift before plummeting them down a world-record 115-foot water chute at a revolutionary 75-degree angle - just 15 degrees from a sheer vertical, waterfall-like drop-off!

Now open, the high-tech mega-thriller and related improvements, including a giant, 650,000-gallon "ocean" harbor, complete the next phase of redevelopment of Knott's Berry Farm's largest themed area, introduced in 1996 as a tribute to Southern California's celebrated beach lifestyle.

With an eye toward year-round guest satisfaction, Knott's designers have equipped the new attraction with a state-of-the-art magnetic braking system enabling officials to control not only the speed of the cascading boats but the size of the splash and the extent which riders get wet on colder days. At their top speed of 50 mph (13 feet per second), Perilous Plunge's descending boats generate an amazing 45-foot, 180-degree splash - the biggest in the theme park industry.

"We wanted to create a big splash on The Boardwalk, our tribute to Southern California's beach culture - and this is about as big as it gets," explained Jack Falfas, Knott's vice president and general manager. "Perilous Plunge not only introduces the world to a new level of water thrills, it reinforces Knott's ongoing commitment to world-class themed attractions."

Three 14,500-pound boats travel the Plunge's 865-feet of track, accommodating 1,900 riders an hour. State-of-the-art water pumping technology pumps 40,000 gallons of water up the 121-foot-lift per minute.

Building heavily on the vintage California boardwalk theme, Perilous Plunge gives guests the impression they are boarding a thrill ride on a legendary Southern California pleasure pier of the past. Themed facades and props create a vintage look - as do a 420-foot-long viewing and activity "boardwalk" running the entire midway length of the attraction. After splashdown and unloading, exiting riders return to the Boardwalk midway by walking across a 125-foot-long "Splash Pier" offering an unparalleled photo - and splash! - opportunity for exiting riders lingering long enough to watch (and feel) the cascading boats directly below.

A highlight of the new ride is 650,000-gallon California Harbor, giving Knott's Boardwalk area its first real "ocean," and offering a picturesque setting for Perilous Plunge's mammoth, 865-foot-long, figure-eight track. Themed wharf buildings and other seaworthy props adorn the new harbor, which becomes Knott's Berry Farm second-largest body of water (Bigfoot Rapids is 800,000 gallons).

The completion of Perilous Plunge completes the next phase of redevelopment of The Boardwalk, introduced in 1996 as an updated version of the Roaring 20s area originally opened in 1976. As part of the 73,500-square-foot redevelopment site along Western Avenue, Knott's HeadAche ride was permanently retired. HeadSpin and a new ride, Wipeout, a classic spinning attraction, were relocated to an area under Windjammer. The Pacific Pavilion, formerly home to marine mammals, has been removed. The existing midway was moved east 40 feet to straddle the Boardwalk's towering Canary Island palms, and a new rest room facility was added north of Coasters Diner.

Prior to the opening of Perilous Plunge, the world's tallest water ride was 100-foot-tall Tidal Force at Hersheypark in Pennsylvania. Universal Studios' Jurassic Park attractions in California and Florida drop guests 84 and 85 feet, respectively.

Perilous Plunge is part of a long-range plan by Cedar Fair L.P. to turn Knott's Berry Farm into a multiple-day vacation destination resort. Blockbuster new attractions opened recently inside the Theme Park include GhostRider, the world's highest-rated new wooden roller coaster; Supreme Scream, the country's tallest descending thrill ride; the new-for-2000 nighttime multimedia laser show Edison International ElectroBlast; and the new Camp Snoopy thrill ride Charlie Brown Speedway.

The company also recently opened the 320-room Radisson Resort Knott's Berry Farm, complete with 20,000 square feet of meeting space, the signature Cucina! Cucina! Italian Cafe and a wing of 16 SNOOPY-themed guest rooms; and Knott's Soak City U.S.A., a 13-acre, 1950s California beach-themed water park attracting record crowds adjacent to the Theme Park.

In all, Knott's Theme Park features 160 acres of wild rides, live shows and family attractions in six themed areas including Old West Ghost Town and Camp Snoopy, the six-acre home of Snoopy and the Peanuts gang.

Knott's Theme Park is located just 10 minutes from Disneyland Park; 30 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Southern California's famous beaches; and 45 minutes from Universal Studios Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles-area sightseeing.

Knott's Berry Farm Theme Park is open everyday except Christmas. For information on the day you plan to visit, call (714) 220-5200, or visit us online at For information on Knott's Soak City U.S.A. or Knott's world-famous Halloween Haunt, scheduled for Oct. 5-31, 2000, click on or, respectively.

For hotel and multiple-park vacation reservations at the Radisson Resort Knott's Berry Farm, call (800) 333-3333 or click on

PERILOUS PLUNGE Attraction Fact Sheet


Track Length: 865-feet
Lift Height: 121-feet (Niagara Falls is 155-feet at its lowest height)
Angle of Lift Hill: 40-degrees
Vertical Drop: 115-feet
Angle of Descent: 75-degrees


Model (Industry Name): Chute Ride
Structure: Reinforced fiberglass chute track
Special Features: State-of-the-art magnetic braking system allowing operators to control splash size and state-of-the-art water pumping technology pumping 40,000 gallons per minute.
Ride Capacity: Approximately 1,900 riders per hour


Number: Three
Capacity: 24 Passengers
Weight: 14,500 pounds or 7.25 tons (loaded)
Dimensions: 420-feet long by 175-feet wide
Color: Red and yellow
Design: Reinforced fiberglass boats with cushioned seats and lap bars.
Splash Size: 45-foot, 180-degrees (at max. boat speed)


Time: 1 minute, 30 seconds
Top Speed: 50 mph or 13-feet per second.


1. Tallest water ride (121-feet)
2. Highest drop on a water ride (115-feet)
3. Steepest drop on a water ride (75-degrees)
4. Biggest splash resulting from a water ride (45-feet at maximum boat speed).


Footprint: 420-feet by 175-feet
Location: Knott's Berry Farm Theme Park Boardwalk themed area between Lindy's Cafe on the south and Coasters Diner on the north, along Western Avenue.

Opening Date: September 15, 2000

Perilous Plunge is a service mark of Knott's Berry Farm and Cedar Fair, L.P.