Day 80 – 12 July – Knott’s Berry Farm… and my flight’s cancelled – PANIC!

July 27, 2010 2pm in 2010 trip,Los Angeles,Travel | Comments (0)

At 1am on the morning of 12 July, I went online to double check my flight time for the next day. I logged onto the American Airlines website, and to my horror, my itinerary had the word CANCELLED next to it.

Of course, I immediately went into panic mode. My flight was in just over 36 hours, and I had been kicked off it for some reason. Very rude, I thought, since I had had no notification at all via email, or phone, or nothing that my itinerary had been cancelled.

So, I had to make an extremely expensive call to American Airlines’ premium-rate London-based 0844 number – I knew this was going to be very expensive to call from the USA, but I had no choice. The guy on the phone was not able to tell me why my itinerary was cancelled, but thankfully there was space on the flight for me to be put back on. Normally I wouldn’t have minded spending a bit longer in LA, but I started my own company a few weeks back and needed to be back in London to sign the paperwork and do some boring admin stuff.

However, there were only three seats left on the plane, and they were all in the middle of groups of five seats. I’d lost the very excellent window seat that I’d booked three months prior. The guy on the phone said that if I checked in early, the check-in agent might be able to give me one of the few window seats that were in the exit rows, that they were not allowed to give out on the phone. Oh well, at least I had a seat I guess. Despite this, I will be writing one hell of a complaint letter when I’m back in London to get compensation, or at least, to get back whatever the horrendous cost of the phone call will be.

So after lying in bed for a while at 1:30am, not being able to sleep, I eventually did get a few hours’ sleep, and we woke up at 8:30 because we were going to Knott’s Berry Farm today. For those that don’t know, it’s a theme park with scarier rides than Disneyland. We decided to go after seeing on the internet that you could get $20 off if you went to any Southern California Subway store, making the day only USD$34.99, very cheap we thought, compared to Disneylands USD$90-something.

We went off to the nearest Subway in Garden Grove (via sat-nav) and after waiting in line for 5 minutes they said they’d never heard of any discount scheme to Knott’s Berry Farm. What a surprise, we thought. Just because we were suckers for punishment, we thought we’d try another Subway about 1 mile away. To our surprise, the guy behind the counter there handed us a big stack of discount vouchers. Hooray! So we bought Subway off him. He was very cool, shame the egg and cheese in the sub tasted like plastic. Not to worry, we felt like our Subway was almost free since we got $20 off each to the theme park.

When we got to the theme park, we noticed everything was a bit less refined than Disneyland. The queueing was a bit more chaotic (although the queues were MUCH shorter), they didn’t seem to mind if one person went by themselves on a four-person ride, there were no waiting times posted, and everything was just a little more “falling apart”. But we had an excellent time, and Hannah and I both said that it was overall much better value for money than Disneyland. And we couldn’t believe how short the lines were! I’m sure we didn’t wait longer than 10 minutes for anything, and sometimes you could get off one ride, go straight back into the line and get straight back on!

Hannah not looking forward to this ride Hannah getting her fortune

Hannah wouldn’t go on the Supreme Scream – the equivalent of the Giant Drop in Dreamworld, where you go up a very tall pole, sit up there for 10 seconds or so and then freefall back to the ground. Hannah said she would do it if it was the same size as the one at Rainbow’s End or Thorpe Park, turns out though that it was quite a bit higher. If you’re interested (I know I was) – here’s how far you drop on each ride.

Thorpe Park’s Detonator (England) – 30 metres
Rainbow’s End’s Fearfall (New Zealand) – 54 metres
Knott’s Berry Farm’s Supreme Scream (California) – 77 metres
Dreamworld’s Giant Drop (Australia) – 119 metres (apparently the tallest ride in the world)

The Supreme Scream was scary because although not as high as the Giant Drop, the surrounding landscape was completely flat and you could see for miles and miles (despite all LA’s pollution). The line for this ride was never more than 3 or 4 minutes.

Supreme scream

I didn’t know that Knott’s Berry Farm was “Peanuts-based”, and had Snoopy and Charlie Brown as well as all the other Peanuts characters there. I thought that was awesome. While we were there we saw a presentation called “Snoopy On Ice” which was people dressed up as the characters doing ice-skating, as well as other professional ice-skaters.

Snoopy on Ice Ghost Rider

The scariest ride was the “Ghost Rider” (in the photo above), which was the oldest roller coaster in the world (I think it was the first roller coaster in the world). The reason it was the scariest was that it was made of wood and everything was held together by masses of wooden beams. It was scary because we could not believe that the carriages stayed on the tracks. I even bought the photo taken by the camera along the ride. We look terrified. I hope that I can find a scanner so I can put the photo on here.

EDIT: I must have made all that up, looking on wikipedia shows me that the GhostRider opened in 1998. Eek. They must have built it all rickety on purpose.

After a great day out, it was back to Econolodge, and time for the last sleep of my holiday before flying back to London.

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