Throwback Thursday–Perilous Plunge

Perilous_PlungePerilous Plunge was an Intamin Mega Splash Figure Eight water drop ride at Knott’s Berry Farm, that opened on September 15, 2000.  The ride cost 9 million dollars to build and was located in the boardwalk themed section of the park.  Riders boarded the 24 passenger boat and ascended up 115 ft and then, after a quick u turn, came splashing down into 650,000 gallon splash down pool.  When the ride opened, it was the tallest (115ft), steepest (77.8 degrees), and fastest (53 mph) amusement park based water ride in the world.  It was also the first water ride to utilize a braking system.Knotts_plunge

Riders were originally secured by lap bars and seat belts, but after an incident in 2001, which left a 40 year old rider dead, these were replaced by retrofitted four point harnesses.  The ride was originally painted blue and white, but was changed after the 2001 incident to green, blue and purple.  The original boats were later replaced by ones with over the shoulder restraints, but these just lead to more problems.  For example, the new boats left visible fractures in the chain lift, and, at one point, the ride’s chain lift actually snapped.  Luckily, thanks to anti rollbacks, the boat stayed in place, rather than falling backwards, and no one was injured.  There were also complaints from riders of the new boats, before the malfunctions, that they didn’t splash nearly as much as the original boats.  The capacity of the ride was only 1000 riders per hour, due to the minute and a half length the ride took, when reaching the station after the drop.  Finally, Perilous Plunge closed for good on September 3, 2012, almost exactly 12 years after it opened.  It has been replaced by the new family boardwalk themed area that houses Surfside Gliders, Pacific Scrambler, and Coast Rider.


BELOW You’ll find a video showing the differences between the different kinds of boats. Notice the splash with the red boats is a lot bigger than the splash with the blue boats.

5 Replies to “Throwback Thursday–Perilous Plunge”

  1. Perilous Plunge is one ride at Knott’s that I never rode even once. For me, it just made no sense to get soaked to the bone and have to walk around wet for the rest of the day. I know that toward the end, they installed driers that cost $5, but even so, there was no desire on my part to ride it.

    1. Quite honestly, we’d have to agree, just like Roarin’ Rapids at SFMM. Why wait for 2 hours, and ruin the rest of your day because you can no longer walk properly in your soaked outfit. Our guess is that it’s great to cool down, but it must be VERY hot in order for us to take a ride. We think that they made the ride decision by replacing it, the new boardwalk is lovely!

      1. I was invited to a free preview of the Boardwalk last June. They definitely improved the area by getting rid of Perilous Plunge.

  2. I only rode it once and the drop was truly breathtaking,especially in the back row.
    I still prefer the new boardwalk over the plunge.

  3. This ride was my absolute favorite!!! I was even at the Target night event where the woman died when I was a little girl and it Never detoured me from riding the ride. This was the only water ride where the whole boat got soaked and not just those in the front.

    Even people on the bridge would get soaked! It was nice because if you wanted the cool refresh from the water but didn’t have the courage to ride you were still able to cool down on the bridge. Now I see people saying they ,don’t get the idea of being soaked”, “they’d be unfortable all day”, but what they don’t get is that in California where it’s almost always sunny and on the warmer side. Most of the time you’d be dry in ten minutes or less! Also usually you wouldn’t go on a water ride unless you wanted to get wet and cool down from the heat.

    Anyone who didn’t ride this ride seriously missed out. I used to ride this ride while my friends went on Boomerang. I can’t do backward rides (gives me a headache) and they were chickens so I would just on Perilous Plunge with out them. It always worked out.

    I was so sad when I didn’t get to Knott’s for a while and came back to find the space this sad little excuse of a thing with 3 small rides called “The Boardwalk”. I didn’t even get to ride it one last time and have yet to find a ride equivalent to it.

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