‘Step in the Right Direction’ to ‘Discriminatory’: Knott’s Berry Farm Visitors Weigh In on New Chaperone Policy
Joseph Pimentel, Spectrum News, July 23, 2022
While her husband works, Tiffany Parker of Yucaipa enjoys visiting Knott’s Berry Farm with her children.
It’s a place where she can watch her four children, ages 4 to 11, in a safe environment, have fun and enjoy themselves.
Parker had planned to visit Knott’s Berry Farm on Friday. But she had to scrap those plans.
Under Knott’s Berry Farm’s new chaperone policy, Parker would have needed to find another adult to go with her so they could take all four children.
“They are going about this the wrong way,” said Parker via phone to Spectrum News Friday. “It’s not fair and is discriminatory to single parents and families with more than three children.”
The new policy, implemented Friday at Knott’s Berry Farm and Knott’s Soak City, states that teenage visitors ages 17 years or younger now must be accompanied by a chaperone who is at least 21 years old to get into the Buena Park theme parks.
However, the chaperone can only accommodate three visitors ages 17 or younger, must remain with them at “all times,” and be available by phone throughout the day.
It’s unclear how Knott’s will enforce the new policy, but officials clarified that teens and children found inside the park unaccompanied will get kicked out.
After a group of rowdy teenagers forced Knott’s to shut down early last Saturday, July 16, a few days later Knott’s Berry Farm officials set forth a heavy-handed new policy to keep visitors safe while indirectly affecting large families.
The policy is aimed at curbing the number of teenagers who often get dropped off unaccompanied, meet with friends, and sometimes start trouble at the theme park.
“It is a growing, serious problem,” said Brad R., who did not want to provide his full name since he works at a local theme park.
Brad, who has worked in the theme park industry for the past decade, said many fights happen over line cutters and “mismanagement of queue lines.”
That exact situation happened earlier this week at Walt Disney World. According to reports, two families brawled it out at the Magic Kingdom over someone cutting in line.
Brad said Knott’s Berry Farm is not at fault in this situation. The new policy, he said, might be a way to ward off any potential lawsuits or liability from people caught in the crossfire of a fight.
Sandra Espinosa of Ontario is a long-time Knott’s Berry Farm season pass holder. Espinosa called the new policy “a step in the right direction.”
“I think they decided to do something now because there were so many fights at Knott’s all at once, and the teenage problem has been growing the last few months,” said Espinosa. “[The fights] being so public also probably made them feel like they had to do something.”