Knotts Berry Farms vs Disneyland Which is better? How are they different? I’m here to tell you that they’re very different, but both fun. Knott’s Berry is a favorite of mine, and today I’m gonna compare the two and tell you why.
Knotts Berry Farm vs Disneyland
Disclosure: I was given Knotts Tickets for our family and have gotten Disneyland tickets at times in the past, but no posting requirements were included. All opinions are my own.
Table of contents
- Differences between Knotts Berry Farms & Disneyland
- Knotts Berry Farms Pricing
- Knotts Berry Farms Hotels
- Disneyland to Knotts Berry Farms
- Knotts Berry Farms Rides
- Knotts Berry Farms Crowds
- Food at Knotts Berry Farms.
- Knotts vs Disneyland at the Holidays
- Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farms: Final Answer.
Differences between Knotts Berry Farms & Disneyland
Disneyland is truly a magical place. I don’t think of it as a theme park, but as more of a destination.
Knotts Berry is a theme park (owned by Cedar Fair, which owns a LOT of US theme parks). And frankly, probably the best one I’ve been to.
Knotts has big rides — HUGE rides, that are super fun. It’s well-kept, themed well, has good food, and is great for a family day.
Disneyland has smaller rides, with more imagination. There is something for every member of your family to delight in. It has a high standard of cleanliness, has great food, and is a destination for family travel.
BUT, each one has its place. I’ve talked a TON about Disneyland tips — so, today I’ll talk more about Knotts Berry and what is great about it!
Knotts Berry Farms Ticket Pricing
Knotts Berry Farms Tickets (when bought online at the time of publication) are about half the price (or more — depending on when you go) of Disneyland. That is HUGE. If you have other things you’d prefer to spend your money on, but still have a fun vacation, that makes Knotts a great option!
Plus, Disneyland has the whole park hopper/Genie+ add-on, so that adds to the price as well.
Let me spell it all out for you in a table. Please note that both parks have dynamic pricing for 1-day tickets (meaning it’s more expensive on weekends, etc).
Disneyland tickets vary from about $90 to $169/day (this is why most people prefer multi-day tickets — your price/day goes WAY Down). Knotts seems to vary from $69-$89
|Park||Base Average Price||Base Price Plus Line Skipping|
|Disneyland Park Hopper||$187||$207|
|Knotts Berry Farms||$79||$168|
Like most places, I recommend buying your tickets before the gate (buying at the gate is one of my biggest Disneyland Mistakes)…..
I have a whole post on if you can buy your tickets to Disneyland at the gate (you shouldn’t, and 99% of days you can’t) — that shares the CHEAPEST way to get Disneyland tickets!
Knotts Berry Farms Discount Tickets
My #1 choice for Southern California tickets is Get Away Today. You can get Knotts tickets on this page (just scroll down a bit to find the Knotts tickets). FYI, sometimes Knotts has sales that make buying off their site cheaper!
You can also get great prices on Universal, Disneyland, Sea World, and more (and when you combo them, you save even more!).
I would 100% recommend pricing a Knotts hotel in the area with them as well. They have the best price guarantee.
Knotts Berry Farms Hotels
If you plan to go to Disneyland as well, I would get your hotel location based on Disneyland, and drive (or Uber) to Knotts. They’re actually quite close to each other.
If you’re just going to Knotts, they have their own hotel – Amber Waves.
Oh. My. Gosh. You can get a hotel stay, with free breakfast plus tickets for a steal. Pricing depends on how long you plan to go and the time of year — but I’d totally recommend checking their page out.
Now, their hotel doesn’t get rave reviews, but I think families enjoy it (the free breakfast is a great option) — as they’re mainly at the park vs in their room. Even if you get tickets at a nicer hotel nearby, you’d still come out WAY ahead of going to Disneyland, financially.
I had heard the hotel was pretty loud, so we decided to stay with the Ayres chain that is in LA (we stayed in their Seal Beach Location — and Get Away Today can book any hotel if you call them). Get Away Today offers a few of them. They have an AMAZING breakfast, the rooms are large and we really enjoyed our stay there.
They also recommend the Holiday Inn Buena Park — which is at a great price point.
Disneyland to Knotts Berry Farms
They aren’t far from each other at all.
Personally, I find the area around Disneyland to be much harder to navigate, so we usually stay near Disneyland and drive to Knotts on the day we are headed there.
This shows to take the 5, but we often drive down Ball and then turn north just past the 39 — there are some fun things to see along the way.
I also checked the price for an Uber/Lyft, and it was about $25 each way (obviously depending on timing) to go from Disneyland to Knotts.
Knotts Berry Farms Rides
Knotts Berry Farms has rides for everyone in your party. Even with small children, Knotts can be very fun. There is a Snoopy area, and lots of other fun rides for kids & families. Many rides don’t have height restrictions, and kids will find them SUPER fun.
I think Knotts can be fun for kids of all ages, similar to Disneyland.
Knotts is split into areas. There are lots of rides and something for every taste. However, they are much more amusement-park-like rides, unlike Disneyland which seems to have its own brand of rides.
Of particular note of popular rides:
- GhostRider — a great wooden roller coaster, my husband said it’s one of the best he’s ever been on (you can see it in the photo above)
- Knotts Berry Tales — an interactive dark ride where you learn the history of Knotts and “shoot” things.
- Timber Mountain Log Ride — A log flume — has a lot of story to it. Very similar to Splash mountain, we really enjoyed it (and didn’t get TOO wet)
- Silver bullet — a hanging-type coaster.
- Calico Mine Train — This is a family-friendly fun ride through a mining mountain. It’s like Knotts Berry’s Pirates of the Caribbean.
- HangTime — this was their newest ride when I went and has one of the steepest drops of a coaster on the west coast.
- Xcelerator — Another steel rollercoaster that is amazing – per my husband, because I am NOT a roller coaster rider
There is also a raft ride and lots of spinning rides. Like I said, most of your basic amusement park rides.
I will say if you’re a lot on the overweight side, Disneyland will likely be more comfortable.
There were a couple of rides that I was too big to ride (or very uncomfortable buckled in).
Knotts Berry Farms Rides for Little Kids
They have a really sweet kid’s area (better than most amusement parks, I think). It’s all themed around Camp Snoopy and it does have similar rides to many amusement parks for small kids. But there are some fun ones that might “test” them a bit more.
There is also the Ghost Town area that has informational stuff on the history of California and sometimes extra fun for little kids (especially at Halloween and Christmas). Lots of interactive experiences (including a blacksmith etc). That type of interactive entertainment isn’t just for Disney. 🙂
One of the biggest perks for small kids is not having to wait long for rides. Anyone who’s waited an hour for Buzz Lightyear with a 2-year-old knows from whence I speak.
Knotts Berry Farms Rides for Teenagers
Like most amusement parks — Knotts is a mecca for teenagers. yes, while they will likely skip Camp Snoopy (and the many routes through the park makes that doable, the rest of the park is perfect for them).
While not impossible, I think Knotts is a little harder to do with kids of all ages.
Knotts Berry Farms Rides for Adults
I think adults will find a lot of fun at Knotts as well. Because it’s not as crowded you aren’t constantly faced with teenagers who will annoy you. There are a lot of really nicely themed areas and adults also appreciate the lack of lines.
Knotts Berry Farms Crowds
Now, we’ve been to Knotts four times, and the first time was AMAZING. Hardly any crowds, and rides had hardly any wait at all.
But, the second (and most recent) time it was SOOOOO busy! Miserably busy. I think we had to wait 45 minutes to get lunch as all of the food places were so crowded. BUT, we were there on a Friday towards the end of the school year, and I think many schools were going there for a fun day at the end of the year.
Thankfully, we had fast lane passes. That got us on to the rides quite quickly, and I think they were 100% necessary on that day.
The third time was during Halloween and it was also sort of rainy. It was still fairly busy with wait times of around 30 minutes for coasters. For a Saturday at Halloween, it wasn’t bad though.
The fourth time was a recent spring break trip. The bigger rides did have long lines (lots of school groups there), but the smaller ones did not. Long lines would be a max of about 60 minutes.
On a regular day, I think the Fast Lane passes might not be worth it. You can add them to your pass in the park if you decide to do so (you can get them at many of the stores).
Knotts Berry Farms Entertainment
I have to say that I’m not sad that my kids aren’t too into the “shows” anymore.
Knotts has great shows, some of the best I’ve seen at amusement parks. But, Disneyland has broadway-esque ones. So, for me, there isn’t much of a comparison. The win to Disneyland on this one.
Knotts Berry Farms Parking
Knotts doesn’t have a lot of hotels that are within walking distance, but there is plenty of parking in the area it is currently $25, vs the $30 it costs at Disneyland.
As far as WHICH parking lot at Knotts, I recommend the North lot — it seems to be closest to the main entrance.
Food at Knotts Berry Farms.
Knotts has a LOT of food options
We got some Carne Asada fries that were really yummy, and very shareable — just near the Fiesta Plaza.
We got those in the afternoon and then had an early dinner at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Restaurant.
It was SO tasty, and HUUUUUGE. I would recommend ordering the fried chicken dinners — My 14-year-old and I split and we still couldn’t eat even close to all of it. it included:
- Biscuits (SO yummy, with their delicious KNOTTS jam)
- 4 pieces of chicken
- Mashed potatoes
All that was under $25. I think 3 of us could have split that dinner!
Disney also has a great chicken dinner, at a bit lower price point, but less food. I think their chicken is better (you can find it at the Plaza Inn at the end of Main street).
Knotts All Day Dining
This last time we went I tried the Knotts all-day dining package. It was around $37 I think. It allows you to get a full meal every 90 minutes. There were 3 of us, and we just got one. Obviously, it could be a GREAT value if you do it right:
- Get a meal every 90 minutes
- Enjoy the types of foods offered on this meal plan.
Obviously, this is just for “one person” (although there are no rules about who can eat the food, they’re just very clear that only one person can purchase the food — you are given a wristband). So, THAT person has to stand in line to get the food each time.
This only includes MEALS. Much of the offered food is fries or burgers. During Our day, we got:
- Carne asada fries in the Fiesta Village
- Orange chicken from Panda Express
- Pizza & a salad
In total that food would have been around $45, and we just paid $32. But sadly, this meal plan does NOT include the delicious chicken dinner.
You’re stuck. The Panda Express line stretched far out of the restaurant, but since I’d already paid the money I was stuck eating at those venues. I also couldn’t just decide we’d rather sit down for the chicken dinner.
Be aware of open/closing. There are no breakfast options on the meal plan, which made it so we couldn’t even get a meal til’ around 11. We’d hoped to get some tots, but that place was closed, so we went for Pizza. Just be aware of those things. Also, if you plan to leave early that limits how many meals you can get since it’s just one every 90 minutes.
The Lines are Long — in reality, you almost need to get in LINE about every 75 minutes, because some of the lines are long. It was fine for me because my kids love big rides and I don’t mind sitting out — but again, something to think about. It did take up a considerable amount of my day.
Honestly, for the 3 of us, it was a decent amount of food for the day. The portions are pretty decent. If our boys were there, I would think 2 bands would do all of us for the day.
Pro Tip: What to BRING to Knotts is very similar to what to pack for Disneyland.
Knotts All-Inclusive Vacation:
As I was typing all of this up — you could get a REALLY sweet Knotts Vacation (pricing is current in Jan 2020 for a March stay)
- Stay at Amber Waves for $784 (that includes 2 nights hotel, plus 2 days at Knotts for 2 adults and 2 kids)
- Add the all-day eating for $137 (might be able to knock off a kid or two depending on if they’re big eaters)
This gives you a total of under $1000 for all the food and fun for 2 days (you’d only get one day of the food pass, I’d recommend splitting a couple of meals at the chicken dinner spot your first day)
- You could even add fast lane passes for $89each…. (btw, I’d wait to add those until you get into the park and get an idea of the crowds unless you KNOW you’re going at a crowded time).
That still puts you under $1400 for all of you to enjoy a couple of days with no waits and all the junk your kids want.
Honestly, that’s less than just our Disneyland tickets cost us. Just putting that out there. You can compare these costs with mine in my Disneyland Budget. You can also get a better idea in my Disneyland All-Inclusive Packages post.
Knotts vs Disneyland at the Holidays
We actually attended Knott’s and Disneyland last fall for both of their Halloween festivities.
While Disneyland is certainly amazing at Halloween, I was really impressed by how Knotts did it up. Our kids were able to trick or treat (no additional charge) and the ghost town was done up really fun.
A few of the rides (especially the log flume) were done up for Halloween. Although, I am pretty sure my kids are scarred for life from the Log Flume — it’s a little weird, and the music is certainly an earworm. 🙂
Knotts does Knott’s Scary Farms in the evenings in the park and I hear it’s some of the scariest stuff in the area, which has ZERO appeal to me. So, there’s that. 🙂
They also do a “Knott’s spooky farm” during the day for the littles where ghosts hang out in the Ghost town. It’s pretty fun. Kids can even trick or treat on the weekends.
Disneyland again does Christmas up like crazy, but Knotts isn’t to be beaten with their Knotts Merry Farms!
Knotts also has their own festivals including the Knotts Boysenberry Festival (which sounds delicious).
Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farms: Final Answer.
While each definitely has its own place. A few thoughts:
If Disneyland tickets/hotel alone is going to stress your vacation budget to the max, go to Knotts — I think you’ll have a great time and feel less financial strain. BTW, check out my Disneyland Trip Calculator (which can easily be used for Knotts or any other trip).
If it is your visit to Southern California and can only pick one — pick Disneyland. Overall, it’s better, more iconic, and — something your family will always remember. There are tons of other fun things in Southern California as well!
If you’ve gone to Disneyland a few times, I say try Knotts! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the decreased crowds, fun rides, and enjoyable days!
All in all a trip to Knotts is a LOT of fun. I think it’s different than Disneyland, but can be done for a LOT cheaper, and with a lot fewer lines.
There are just SO many California Theme parks to choose from (which is awesome). Be sure to check out my post about Universal also.
All in all — Knotts is awesome for thrill-seekers, and Disneyland (for me) is more magical. I am not a thrill-seeker though, and our kids absolutely love both parks.
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