The world famous Calico Mine Ride is a classic dark ride ride that opened in 1960 at Knott’s Berry Farm. It was built by Bud Hurlbut and was one of the most innovative dark rides of it’s time. The ride took riders on a journey into Calico Mountain and they would see sights such as the Bubbling Pots, Glory Hole, underground lakes and waterfalls, Square Set Timbering, glorious caverns and a finale that took guests into an explosion. The ride used many animated figures, but were very primitive. Most were animated mannequins. The ride system was a gravity powered train that started on the second floor and then traveled down to the first floor. A chain lift hill would pull the the train up to the third floor and would coast back down to the second level. The ride also introduced the world to the first hidden queue. It would appear as there was nobody in line, but a few switch backs were hidden behind the load building. This concept has been used in many attractions, such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The attraction was starting to show it’s age and was closed on January 5, 2014 for a 6 month refurbishment by Garner Holt Productions. They went into the attraction and added over 100 new audio animatronics The ride retained the same layout and scenes, but were livened up and given new gags. They also gave the ride a new audio and adjustable lighting systems. If you want to learn more about the refurbishment, take a look of our review and coverage of the reopening. Below are two videos, one of the original version of the ride on it’s last day of operation, with the lights on. The other is of the new version filmed on June 14th.
This model was built in about eleven days. Ten of them were in June, before the ride opened. The other day was in December. Due to the massive amount of animatronics, I took a long time to get photos of each figure. This model is my largest, coming in at 25 x 32 inches. The front facade was built using foam blocks and the inside was built on three separate layers, one for each floor. The rock work on the inside was also carved from foam. The third and second floors can be removed and the lift track is mounted to the first floor. The roof can be removed in two sections. The main roof is attached to the back wall. Both of those sections can be removed as one. This gives you the opportunity to see how steep the 25˚ lift hill really is.
I hope you enjoy this model, please leave a comment telling me what you thought of it. I also built a model of the Timber Mountain Log Ride early last year, which was also refurbished by Garner Holt Productions.