In 1987, Knott’s foreshadowed the dinosaur craze by replacing Knott’s Bear-y Tales with Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, a trek into prehistory complete with 21 animated creatures and environmental special effects. The attraction opened just in time to capture the craze for everything dinosaurs, thus making 1987 one of the best years on record.
Unfortunately, KOD died an embarrassing death. For the last year or so of its operation, the cars were joined together in three long trains which stopped at the station for loading. This served to pacify California’s overly-burdensome government regulators, but killed the show as a result. Joining the cars together made it impossible to continually load and unload the attraction. Instead, the entire ride to come to a stop for 5-10 minutes while the train in the station was unloaded, loaded, seatbelts checks (yes…seatbelts), and dispatched again.
Since the ride systems was designed as one continuous drive system, two trains of guests would be stopped in the attraction each time a train in the station was changing over. Employees would come out of the shadows with flashlights, making sure everyone was still seating and had not unlatched the seatbelts. The trains never moved faster than a few feat per second, but seatbelts were mandated anyway. It’s for your safety, you know.