What’s New at Knott’s Berry Farm?

Knott’s Berry Farm is one of the most beloved theme parks in Southern California. Rich in history and full of exhilarating fun for guests of all ages, it’s a perfect place to bring your group. If you haven’t visited in a while, you may be surprised by some of the exciting changes that have come in the past year, and some changes that are in the works!  

Knott’s Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair- In May of 2021, Knott’s opened Knott’s Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair, which pays tribute to its predecessor of the same name which closed in 1987. This reimagined dark ride takes inspiration from many of the classic scenes of the original attraction, using 4D technology to create an interactive adventure.  

Fiesta Village: The reimagined Fiesta Village area of the park celebrates the Hispanic Heritage and influence on Southern California. This vibrant and beautiful space comes alive with Mariachi music, traditional Folklorico dancing, irresistible new food offerings, and more!  

Camp Snoopy: Finally, we look forward to the reimagined Camp Snoopy set to open Summer 2024. This whimsical space will debut several new outdoor adventures for guests of all ages. Knott’s reports the new space will include four new attractions including Snoopy’s Tenderpaw Twister Coaster, shops, new menu items, character meet and greets with the beloved Peanuts crew, and a new Camp Snoopy Theatre.  

We have loved the exciting changes that have come to Knott’s Berry Farm over the past few years, and can’t wait to see what’s next in store! Let us help plan your next visit so that you can experience these awesome new offerings too!  

Overnight Trips- Terms and Tricks to Know

Photo by Joao Marcelo Martins

Planning an overnight trip can be daunting. Luckily, we have a team of experts happy to help ensure your planning process is as seamless as possible. Whether you’re considering your first overnight trip, or you are a seasoned veteran, we’ve compiled a helpful list of terms and tricks you should know: 

RFP or RFQ: This is where it all starts- a RFP (Request for Proposal) or RFQ (Request for Quote) is how you can submit your details and ideas for a trip to get the planning process started. Your request should include contact information, destination, trip dates, activities, and a rough estimate of participants.  If you have a budget in mind, please include this as well! 

Package: Your package is everything that the Forum team is handling for you- this includes your festival and any theme parks, shows, attractions, or dining experiences that you have asked us to arrange. Unless otherwise specified, your transportation costs are usually not included in this number and will be noted as a separate quote.  

Peak Season: This refers to the busiest times of the season. There are several factors that can play into the peak season- spring breaks, local conferences or events at your destination, and more can play into what is considered “Peak.”   

Tour Escort: Some groups do choose to include a tour escort in their package- this is an expert on the ground who can help guide your group from location to location, helping to check in at your attractions, share tips and tricks, and make sure your trip runs smoothly. 

Your Trip Assistant: We provide this automated texting service for all our overnight trips (unless you choose to opt out). Like a tour escort, this service will remind you of upcoming activities with addresses, entry time, bus loading times, and any other helpful information you may need to know beforehand. This service is completely complimentary for our overnight clients and is a great way to stay on track throughout your travels!  

Bus Hour Regulations: When planning your trip, we may refer to bus hour limitations which affect how far it is safe to travel within a day based on government regulations . In accordance to these laws, “No motor carrier of passengers shall permit or require any passenger-carrying CMV driver to drive more than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty, or for any period after having been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.” If you are ever unsure that your trip may violate these regulations, be sure to share your itinerary with your transportation provider or let us arrange your transportation so that we may communicate directly with bus providers to ensure a safe trip!  

Attrition: Some activities or hotels charge an attrition penalty if a group utilizes a smaller portion of services than originally contracted. We understand changes occur in student travel and will accommodate changes to your package to the best of our ability. When we provide pricing, it is based on current availability, fees & taxes based on the total number of participants (students, chaperones, & educators).  If that number changes, we may re-price your package to adjust prorated costs, etc. Please note that if the package is re-priced due to attrition, it will likely increase the per person price by just a few dollars. 

Rooming List: Your rooming list is the assignment of each traveling participant to a room. The rooming assignments are a vital way to confirm the number of participants on your trip and where they will be for an added level of security and accountability.  

CSTP: CSTP or Certified Student Travel Professional is a recognition that “provides credibility amongst student travel professionals and their clients.” We are proud to have several members of our staff honored with this recognition or working towards it to ensure that you are receiving the highest quality of service and stay up to date on travel trends and restrictions to ensure your trip is as smooth as possible.  

Complimentary: Whenever you see complimentary noted on your proposal, this means that the indicated experience comes at no cost to you! Your Trip Assistant (our automated texting service) is a great example. We are also pleased to continue to offer a complimentary director’s package, which will always include a recording of your group’s performance, single occupancy room and breakfast, and admission to all activities for the director. 

These are just a few of the most common terms that you may see when planning your trip, but please know that our staff is always here and happy to help with questions that you may have! We are here to make your planning process as easy as possible, and we hope you’re ready to get started with a quote today!

Fundraising 101

Fundraising is a crucial step in the planning process of your school year and the rewarding festivals and events your students will get to enjoy. There can be a lot of questions for fundraisers- where do you start? What do you consider? What ideas work best? Truth is, it all depends on your school and group – you’re the expert, but we’re here to help with a step-by-step guide! 

  1. Determine how much your desired activities will cost. Whether it is a one-day festival or an overnight trip, having a clear goal will be critical in helping you determine what fundraisers will work best and when you need to start. Having a number in mind can also help to motivate and inspire. Who doesn’t love to watch as you fill your fundraising meter each week closer and closer to your goal?!  
  1. Get parents involved. Parents can bring experience and great ideas to the table for unique and engaging fundraisers. Getting parents involved early on can help the process be smooth and successful. You can even designate a fundraising committee with your most designated parents to take on the bulk of the planning process!  
  1. Know your deadlines. Work with your travel planner or provider to determine when invoices are due and how much will need to be collected. It’s always a good idea to add more time for straggling payments, deposit turnaround, and preparation.  
  1. Get your students’ involved with planning. Want your students to participate? Include them in the planning process! Enlist their suggestions and take their ideas into consideration. This applies for both the fundraisers themselves and the activity you’ve set. If you’re planning a trip that everyone is excited for, it will create enthusiasm and motivation. By that same philosophy, if you select fundraiser ideas that no one is inspired by, it may be harder to keep students’ involved with the process.  
  1. Get inspired! These days, fundraisers are so much more than going door-to-door and selling wrapping paper. For music groups especially, you have the edge of unique fundraising offers that no one else has! 99Pledges suggests giving music lessons, running a Practice-a-thon (think walk-a-thon but for rehearsing), or hosting a Battle of the Bands! In the age of crowdfunding, there s also the option to use platforms like Gofundme.com to expand your efforts.  

Fundraising might not be the thing you look forward to at the start of every year, but with proper planning and the right support, you can feel confident and maybe even excited about the engaging fundraisers you have planned! Plus, we’re always in your corner ready to help with ideas and planning! Request a quote today to get started on step one!  

An Easy Overnight Festival Trip Awaits…in San Diego 

Did you know that Forum Music Festivals produces festival in the San Diego area?  San Diego offers sunshine, beaches, and fantastic sightseeing opportunities.  But another benefit to exploring America’s Finest City is how easy it is to navigate an overnight trip with your students.   

Sea Lion & Otter Spotlight at SeaWorld San Diego

A vibrant city filled with musical and cultural options, in San Diego you will find plenty to attract your students of any grade level.  Check out this sample student itinerary. 

  • Day 1 – 
  •  Travel Day.  Check in to 3-diamond hotel in San Diego, then visit Old Town State Park, the heart of historic San Diego and California’s first settlement.  You’ll find museums, shops, and excellent restaurants here.  Enjoy a Mexican dinner at Café Coyote. 
  • Day 2 –  
  • After a hot breakfast at the hotel, transfer to one of the many college campuses for a music clinic with a college instructor.  Include a possible campus tour and let your students imagine the promising next step in their educational careers. 
  • Transfer to Liberty Public Market in the Point Loma neighborhood for shopping among artisans and lunch.   
  • In the early evening, head to the marina to board a City Experience Dinner Cruise of the San Diego Bay. Cruise ends at 10 PM, then head back to the hotel for the evening. 
  • Day 3 –  
  • Hot breakfast at the hotel is served, then transfer to Forum Music Festivals, where you will receive expert adjudication and feedback on your performance.  Awards are held at the venue, then off you go to SeaWorld San Diego for a full day with amazing animals, educational adventures, rides, shows, and exhibits.  Top off the day with a group dinner at Buca di Beppo, the Corvette Diner, or one of the scrumptious restaurants in Little Italy. 
  • Day 4 –  
  • Following breakfast, head to the Embarcadero to board the USS Midway, the longest-serving U.S. Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century.  Boasting flight simulators, climb-in aircraft, self-guided audio tours and spectacular views of the downtown skyline, the USS Midway also offers performance opportunities on deck for your ensembles. Following your tour, grab some lunch or early dinner, board the bus, and head for home.   

Other options?  They are limitless… 

  • The Museum of Making Music, in nearby Carlsbad, offers scheduled educational programs sponsored by NAMM.    
  • The San Diego Symphony in historic Copley Hall presents a range of concerts including traditional classical repertoire as well as a pop series featuring famous guest artists. 
  • Exposing your students to Broadway is easy in San Diego – theatres abound featuring musicals at the La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe in Balboa Park, and the Balboa and Civic Theatres.  

San Diego offers all of this and so much more.  Let’s customize a festival package that features the interests and budget of your student group.   

From beaches and bays to culture and cuisine, you’ll find it in San Diego.   

Traveling Green

10 Ideas for Sustainable Student Travel

As we wait for a green light to student travel, let’s consider the impact our travel has on our students, the destination, and the planet. Our teens live in a world where reducing their footprint on our planet is incredibly critical.    To promote sustainable travel, meet your students’ ideas with your own tips.  Together, you can incorporate these ideas into the fun of planning your next trip.

Go lightly! 

Ask students to assemble a packing list that includes only the essentials.  By packing light, you avoid burning resources with heavy baggage.

Explore public transportation

Feel adventurous?  If your group is small enough, you can do it!  Trust that your entire group can fit on one bus, subway, or train, but chat up a Plan B if your group gets split.  Until the next bus or subway comes along, a couple of chaperones can stay with students. Then you can all meet up at the next stop.  Is public transpo the answer for the entire trip? Maybe not, but in many destinations, it’s an easier way to get around.

Walk On!

If your hotel is near your sites, walking saves money, is healthy, and makes the planet greener.  Before you go, decide whether your group can handle short walking trips. Talk to your travel planner about the proximity of sites to your hotel.


That is, bring your own water bottles. Clearly, buying disposable beverage bottles is a problem for a green-loving group. Ponder other ways to reduce plastic use.

  • Bring reusable bags for shopping and laundry.
  • Sidestep one-use straws when eating out.
  • Avoid plastic utensils, if possible. 
  • Leave recyclable trash in the proper container. 

Note: Plastic takes between 100 and 400 years to break down in a landfill. 

RIP Hotel Toiletries

Once considered a luxury, these cute little bottles often go half-used before being tossed and ultimately living in a landfillBring soap and shampoo in reusable bottles.  To avoid plastic waste, bring your own.  Many hotel brands are cutting these items to reduce their clutter footprint. 

Tip:  If you must use the hotel toiletries, take the balance to finish off the shampoo and to re-use the container for your next trip.

Power Down

Turn off lights, TV, and electronics to conserve energy.  Close the drapes to keep out the heat or insulate from the cold.

Go paperless. 

Technology, (with which your students are quite familiar), is an obvious starting place.  Encourage electronic notetaking.  When corresponding with parents, use email or text message – far more effective than the bottom of the backpack notice. 

Re-use towels and bedding! 

Most hotels encourage this – hang the Do Not Disturb sign on your hotel door or use the folded sign the hotel provides.  For just a few nights, this is a no-brainer and minimizes water and energy used to launder towels and sheets. Easy, but key way to promote sustainable travel.

Enlist your travel planner! 

At Forum Festivals, we can suggest many green travel ideas.  We’re happy to inquire about the hotel’s recycling policies.  We can book local eateries that are walkable from the hotel.  As we design your itinerary, we’ll explore transportation options that can save you money AND save the planet.  

Enjoy the green journey! 

Students will likely be one step ahead of you, but when you incorporate sustainable travel in your planning as a challenge as well as a fun, educational experience, it will add to the journey.  We’d love to help!

Bon voyages!