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Knott’s Berry Farm vs. Universal Studios Hollywood

If you’re looking for a fun-filled day of rides and attractions, Southern California has two great options: Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios Hollywood.

The oldest theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm, offering a variety of attractions for visitors of all ages, is famous for its thrill rides. 

The park includes a water park, a separate kid’s area and several specific rides, emphasizing thrilling coasters. 

On the other hand, Universal Studios Hollywood is known for its on-site working film studio. 

The park is all about movies and famous characters, with rides and areas themed around popular franchises like Jurassic World, Transformers and Harry Potter. 

You can tour the movie backlots, see where your favorite films were made, and explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Knott’s Berry Farm is the way to go if you’re looking for a coaster-filled day with fun entertainment for all ages. 

Universal Studios Hollywood is the perfect destination if you’re more interested in movie-themed experiences. 

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Size

Size
Image: Myburbank.com

Knotts Berry Farm is spread over 57 acres and features rides, restaurants, stores and other attractions in four main themed areas:

  • Ghost Town
  • Fiesta Village
  • The Boardwalk
  • Camp Snoopy

Universal Studios Hollywood, spanning approximately 415 acres in size, is split into two areas on different levels.

The Upper Lot consists of various family-based attractions, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. At the same time, the Lower Lot features more thrilling rides and a kids’ play area.

Opening hours

Knott’s Berry Farm opens daily at 10 am, but their closing times vary depending on the season. 

During the summer, the park typically stays open until 10 pm to accommodate the high rush of visitors. However, the park can close earlier during other times of the year. 

Universal Studios Hollywood opens around 9 am and closes between 6 pm and 10 pm, depending on the season.

Location

Knott’s Berry Farm, located outside Anaheim, lies just south of Los Angeles in Southern California.

On the other hand, Universal Studios Hollywood is just north of Hollywood in Los Angeles. Despite being in a busy neighborhood, it is easily accessible by car or public transport.

You can travel the 36 miles between the two parks in under an hour by car. However, we wouldn’t recommend visiting both parks on the same day as it would be incredibly hectic. 

To completely appreciate the attractions and activities each park offers, it is best to spend a whole day at each one.

Knott’s Berry Farm address: 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 9062

Knott’s Berry Farm address
Image: Kget.com

Universal Studios Hollywood address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

Universal Studios Hollywood address
Image: Universalstudioshollywood.com

Rides and Attractions

Rides and Attractions
Image: Cleverlycatheryn.com

The main difference between Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios Hollywood is the general theme of the parks.

Knott’s prides itself on thrilling rides, family-friendly attractions and its unique farm history.

On the other hand, Universal Studios Hollywood is known and loved for the working film studio tour that includes a look into the inner workings of television and film sets.

Knott’s is loosely themed with a traditional Western town essence, while Universal Hollywood offers TV and movie- based attractions.

Let’s delve into the rides and attractions at both parks and help you decide which one is right for you.

Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm has a wide selection of thrilling rides that are sure to satisfy anyone’s desire for excitement. 

Along with the 10 roller coasters, the park also features other adrenaline-inducing attractions such as La Revolucion, which offers a 360-degree swinging and pendulum-like motion and Sol Spin, which features six-story-high spinning arms.

Some popular roller coasters include

  • Ghost Rider – the longest and tallest wooden rollercoaster on the West Coast, at 4,533 feet long and 118 feet tall.
  • Xcelerator – a high-speed launch coaster reaching speeds up to 82 miles per hour in just over two seconds.
  • Silver Bullet – a suspended 3,125 feet coaster featuring six inversions, including cobra rolls, corkscrews and a 105 feet vertical loop. 
  • HangTime – a steel infinity coaster with five inversions and a 96-degree drop.

The Calico Mine Ride is another well-liked dark ride that takes passengers through a mine with beautiful scenery and dozens of animatronics.

Camp Snoopy, the part of the theme park specially designed for kids, features over a dozen rides, attractions, live shows and meet-and-greet opportunities based on the PEANUTS comic strip characters. 

The area features several kid-friendly rides based on the park’s popular rides, like the mini roller coaster, the log ride and the charming train ride. You will also find classic rides like carousels, bumper cars and miniature trains.

Knott’s also has some unique historical attractions, including an entire area denoted to Native Americans, Indian trails featuring their traditional art, crafts and dance, and the only replica of Philadelphia’s historic Independence Hall.

A real mid-1900s Old Schoolhouse is another such attraction where teacher historians illustrate the school life of both students and teachers during that era.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Built on two levels due to its hilly location, Universal Studios Hollywood boasts around 21 rides and attractions.

The most popular attraction at Universal Hollywood is the hour-long backlot tour of the studio, which includes a tram ride to discover behind-the-scenes filming of well-known memorable sequences.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is another famous attraction that houses the family-friendly roller coaster Flight of the Hippogriff and the dark ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Kids can enjoy Super Silly Fun Land, an outdoor family play zone in the Upper Lot and the interactive five-minute family-friendly ride, Secret Life of Pets, with no scary drops or wild turns.

Exciting rides, such as Transformers: The Ride-3D, Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride and Jurassic Park with its enormous animatronic dinosaurs, at the lower lot.

Based on the 1995 motion picture of the same name, the WaterWorld stunt show features a ton of action, explosions, watery chases and some goofy humor.

Super Nintendo World is a newly opened park area where you can immerse yourself in the world of your favorite video game characters. 

Water rides

Water rides
Image: Itsalovelylife.com

Knott’s has a separate water park, Soak City, with over 20 water rides and attractions.  

Thrilling water slides, a lazy river, a one-foot lagoon for kids, a wave pool and an interactive play house— you can find something for everyone at the waterpark.

At Universal Hollywood, you will occasionally get sprayed with water at the Studio Tour, during rides including Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and shows at DreamWorks Theatre.

However, apart from the river adventure ride Jurassic World and the kid’s Super Silly Fun Land, the theme park does not have water slides and other water attractions.

Events and Entertainment

Events and Entertainment
Image: Kget.com

A unique feature of Knott’s Berry Farm is its intriguing history with boysenberries. Knott’s hosts an annual spring celebration called the Boysenberry Festival to honor this.

The event is one of the many Knott’s special events the theme park organizes throughout the year:

  • Ghost Town Alive – themed after the ‘Wild West,’ this summertime event offers a unique interactive experience
  • Knott’s Spooky Farm – a kid-friendly daytime Halloween celebration  
  • Peanuts celebration – an early season Peanuts characters meet and greet
  • Knott’s Scary Farm – adult nighttime Halloween event including haunted mazes, fright zones and other eerie attractions
  • Knott’s Merry Farm – Christmas celebrations from late November through early January

These events feature amazing food, festive decorations and live entertainment, including music, shows and DJs.

Universal Studios Hollywood also hosts holiday events with decorations, special parades and firecrackers, like Christmas at Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Grinchmas.

Tickets

The general one-day admission is the most popular of all Knott’s Berry Farm tickets. The ticket costs around $75 per person. 

Knott’s Soak City Waterpark requires a separate entrance ticket.

Universal Hollywood one-day general admission ticket starts at US$ 107 for everyone over 13 years.

You can save money if you buy the Go City Los Angeles Pass, which includes access to over 40 top Los Angeles attractions, including Knott’s Berry Farm, Knott’s Soak City and Universal Hollywood.

If you visit both parks, you can select a 3-, 5- or 7-day pass and save up to 40% on admission to all the attractions.

Expected crowd

Expected crowd
Image: Thecoasterkings.com

Universal Studios Hollywood, on average, sees a couple million more visitors than Knott’s Berry. 

In 2021, Knott’s Berry Farm welcomed approximately 3.7 million visitors, while Universal Studios Hollywood saw about 5.51 million.

You must expect a sizable number of visitors during the peak season at both parks.

To avoid long lines at rides, you can visit the parks during the weekdays. Weekdays are generally less crowded, which means shorter lines and more time to enjoy the rides and attractions.

Featured Image: Knotts.com, Ymgerman / Getty images (Canva)

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