The return of Fiesta Village at Knott’s Berry Farm felt incomplete without the centerpiece and impetus for the extensive makeover of the themed land: The reimagined Montezooma’s Revenge roller coaster.
The refreshed Fiesta Village themed land celebrating Southern California’s Hispanic influences with updated theming, rides, food and entertainment officially reopens today, May 26 at the Buena Park theme park. Knott’s hosted a late night media preview of Fiesta Village on Thursday, May 25.
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Construction delays forced Knott’s to postpone the debut of the new randomized launch sequence on the refreshed Montezooma: The Forbidden Fortress roller coaster until sometime after the summer. Knott’s initially planned for the reimagined 1978 flywheel-launch roller coaster to debut as the centerpiece of the refurbished Fiesta Village.
Visitors to the newly transformed land now walk down El Camino Real as they enter the reimagined Fiesta Village inspired by Los Angeles’ Olvera Street with a redesigned marketplace and an updated stage area.
The renewed Fiesta Village is now broken into three zones — Casa California Courtyard with mission-style architecture, the Jaguar temple area with Aztec and Mayan influences and the Alebrijes Garden with six colorful spirit animal statues.
Mexican papel picado banners were strung between buildings freshly painted in fiesta colors. New trellises with flowering vines along the adobe-style buildings now offer shade and seating for the hot summer days ahead.
The best new additions to Fiesta Village were the colorful Alebrijes statues representing animal hybrids like the jaguar bunny, seahorse butterfly and giraffe eagle. The vibrant magical mythical spirit animals shift colors as the day changes to night.
Fiesta Village’s seven rides have been refreshed as part of the makeover of the land. The generically named Merry-Go-Round and Wave Swinger rides have been rechristened Carrusel de California and Los Voladores, respectively. Los Voladores translates to The Flyers and makes reference to Danza de los Voladores, the ancient Mexican pole climbing ritual.
The super structure of the Sol Spin thrill ride has been painted with a Mayan sun calendar theme to match the nearby pyramid-like temple that serves as the entrance for the Jaguar coaster. The legs and pendulum arm of La Revolucion are now wrapped in festive colors evocative of the spirit animal designs. Even the formerly Viking-themed Dragon Swing has traded in shields and axes for Alebrijes-inspired paint scheme.
The 1995 Jaguar coaster is still in need of some TLC after the extensive makeover of the land that added an LED lighting package to the temple exterior.
A construction wall stood at the entrance to the Montezooma coaster that was missing large segments of track including the signature loop.
New entertainment in Fiesta Village includes Mariachi music, Alebrijes storytellers, Folklorico dancers, puppet shows and a Calle Celebracion nighttime street party.
On Thursday night, Calle Celebracion featured salsa and bachata dancing, giant colorful puppets and stilt walkers throughout Fiesta Village. The energetic show designed to awaken the spirit animals was punctuated by projections, flame effects and fireworks on and above the Jaguar temple.
The parade route and the small stages used by the performers throughout Fiesta Village were seriously under-lit during the media preview presentation — which should be fixed as the Knott’s entertainment team works out the preview night kinks.
New Fiesta Village food options include Casa California (burritos, quesadillas and tamales), Baja Taqueria (fish tacos), Papas Mexicanas (carne asada french fries) and Cantina Del Sur (cocktails and drinks). New menu items include Baja Poke Bowls, Birria Tacos and Gansito Cupcakes along with Margarita Flights with 10 flavor options including strawberry, watermelon, mango and cucumber.
The Casa California build-your-own burrito or bold restaurant essentially amounted to a Chipotle knockoff. The Papas Mexicanas food stand remained a work in progress with the kitchen basics still a few weeks away.