Knott's Berry Farm encourages customers to snitch on line-jumpers, vows to kick cutters out

Buena Park, CA - November 02: Exterior view of Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. Two iconic Southern California theme parks, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott's Berry Farm, would come under the same ownership as part of a mega-merger announced Thursday that is set to reshape the industry. Consolidating two of the nation's largest amusement park giants is estimated to increase value of the combined company by $200 million over three years, through anticipated operational and administrative savings, as well as an increase in revenue, according to an announcement from the companies.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park is cracking down on line jumpers. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

If you're tempted to shave a few minutes off your extremely long wait for a roller coaster by cutting in line this summer, Knott's Berry Farm has a warning: Respect the queue or run the risk of getting booted from the park.

Knott's Berry Farm is encouraging guests across the 57-acre theme park to report line jumpers by texting a message to the park's security team. It may sound like an adult version of "tattling," but it is the latest effort by the park to clamp down on guests who cut in line or hold spots for large groups — extending for everyone else what can sometimes be agony-inducing waits for the park's most popular rides.

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Line cutting is not a problem just at Knott's Berry Farm. Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood also forbid cutting in front of other guests in a queue and threaten to expel violators from their parks. But these same theme parks have also adopted moneymaking programs to allow guests who pay an additional fee to skip much of the wait on the most popular rides. At Disneyland, the program is called Genie +; at Six Flags Magic Mountain, it's called the Flash Pass; at Knott's Berry Farm, it is called Fast Lane; and at Universal Studios Hollywood, it is called Express Pass.

The Buena Park theme park, which began as a roadside berry stand and chicken-dinner restaurant in the 1920s, is home to Camp Snoopy and the Peanuts gang, Knott's Scary Farm during Halloween and a host of thrill rides — which often feature lengthy waits. Knott's Berry Farm did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.

Parkgoers have lamented for years about line jumpers, complaining online that people who cut rarely meet with consequences.

The pilot program is being tested on the GhostRider roller coaster, according to the Orange County Register, which first reported on the issue. GhostRider — one of the park's most popular coasters — is the longest, tallest and fastest wooden coaster on the West Coast, but the line to ride it is anything but speedy during peak hours.

Signs posted near the coaster note that guests can report line-jumping violations by texting details to park security.

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"Line jumping or holding spots in line is NOT permitted," the sign reads. "Your entire party must be together when entering the line."

But what if you need a bathroom break while in line? "If you must leave the line," the sign reads, "please inform an associate of your intent to return to your group."

Prohibitions on line cutting aren't new. The park's code of conduct policy has forbidden line jumping, including leaving and reentering the line or holding spots for others, for years. Repeat rule breakers risk being escorted from the park, according to the policy.

In the words of Charlie Brown: "Good grief."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.