Bonfante Gardens 6-25-01

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Monday, June 25, 2001 9:32 AM
My girlfriend and I decided to check out the new Bonfante Gardens park in Gilroy, California (about 30-40 miles south of PGA) even though we heard it was a fimily oriented park. I heard they had many expansion phases lined up in the future, so I wanter to check out 'Phase 1' of the park.

We were pleasantly suprised by the reduced ticket fee. Instead of $28 which was posted, a one-day pass was only $20. I almost can't remember when amusement parks were this cheap. Parking was $7, and food in the park was quite cheap and good, about $5-6 for a burger, fries, and soda.

Now for the park. This park looks INCREDIBLE. I am not kidding. I reccommend checking it out if you are at all into park asthetics. This park actually competes with Disney and wins in landscaping. You enter the park on a long wooden bridge through a grove of trees, and come to the main plaza with a carousel(of course). There is a lake in the middle of the park like all good parks should have. The park is divided into 5 themed gardens, and there are tons of shrubs trimmed like animals and such. Their main plant-attraction are their circus trees, which look crazy but if you've only seen pictures, you should see them up close because they're huge. One of the coolest ones consist of two trunks that arch over the walkway and form one tree growing out of the top of the arch.

There are so many waterfalls, streams, and creeks in the park, you actually stop noticing them after a while. At the top of the park (the park is built on the side of hill) they built 'Bonfante Falls' with 8 different waterfalls, all of different types. Even the lake had three levels, with nice waterfalls separating the levels.

All of the rides are themed. The teacups are giant cloves of garlic, (with roofs and cages to keep all the puke inside) the pirate ship is a giant bannana, a Yo-Yo is themed as a gigantic mushroom, and swings you out over the lake (the best Yo-Yo ride I've been on). There are lots more themed flat rides, although some weren't operating.

There is a Tivoli single figure-8 family coaster, but there are so many trees around it you can't see the whole track at once. Nice touch.

The Quicksilver Mine Coater (a Morgan Mine Train) is decent. There are two lifts, the first one is short and the first run to the second lift is also a little short, but after the second lift there is a nice 30ft twisting drop, some bunny hops with some headchopper props, and you even go through some scenes, the first is some sort of cabin that is they keep full of mist, and the second is full of TNT, strobe lights and explosion sound effects, similar to Big Thunder Mountain. In fact this ride is quite similar to Big Thunder except it's a little shorter, and with a bigger drop. A good starting family coaster for the park. Sitting in the back is essential, but if you want to see comething weird, sit in the front. When you go up the lifts, all the other cars slam into you and the car bounces up and down on the track, giving the underrail wheels a nice test. Does this happen on other Mack Mine train coasters as well? Wait a minute, are there any other Mack Mine Train coasters?

There is a giant greenhouse, complete with a Monorail and Train ride that go through it. The train circles the park, as it should. There are even Swan Pedal Boats in the lake, something I've only seen in movies and in RCT. Well, now I've gone on them myself. And they're free with admission, when I saw the guests wearing life vests I thought there may be another fee but there isn't. There is also a raft ride, where the rafts have roofs, and you don't get wet(except for some excessive misting at one point). It's just a relaxing trip through some beautiful scenery.

The true gem of this park currently is the car ride. I have always loved car rides myself, and this one is comparable to Autopia. You don't get to control the gas and brakes, but you do get to steer(on the central rail.) Since you don't have to control the gas, almost any kid can drive by themselves, making the line go agonizingly slower than most other car rides. There are two sides, a 1920's and 1950's side with appropriate cars. There are mini Chevy Bel Airs, mini Model Ts, and tons of others. No two cars match, which I also like. The cars run in opposite directions on the path, which makes it seem more like you are on an actual road. They path splits a little to keep the themeing a little more consistent with what side you chose. The 20's side is more of a scenic journey, while the 50's side goes through a car wash(!) and you get chased by a cop through a tunnel(!). The ride goes over many wooden bridges over streams, and is about 3-4 mins long. I loved it! The scenery is light years ahead of Autopia.

Overall the park has the foundation that all parks need; it looks great and is a nice place to visit. Once they start adding in some more rides it will certainly be one of the best family parks. While I hope they get some more rides, I don't want them to get a tall roller coaster or ugly drop ride to screw up the theming. Hopefully if they do start to add thrill rides they will follow Alton Towers ideas and keep the thrill rides short(not in length but heighth) and well-themed. If you are in the area and would like a relaxing day (even on Saturday there are no lines) check out Bonfante Gardens!
Monday, June 25, 2001 10:38 AM
I believe that D.H. Morgan built Quicksilver, not Mack.

Welcome to Six Flags Great America, home of the fastlane and delay-ja vu! We have now officially been deemed the world-wide wait!
Monday, June 25, 2001 2:49 PM
Awesome trip. I really want to see some pics of the park(other than on the official website). I really hope the park does well, so that others will follow in it's tracks, as far as scenery goes.
Thursday, July 5, 2001 1:14 PM
For some gr8 pics of BG, check out the below links:

For this one, click on "Online Feature" for BG:

Oh, and gr8 TR djansi! I totally agree 100% A hyper or mega looper would totally ruin the scenery and atmosphere. I'd much rather see them add unique and fun family coasters, like an Arrow suspended or Steeplechase, or Mack bobsled, coasters that would blend in and compliment the scenery, rather than detract from it.
Thursday, July 5, 2001 11:30 PM

Draco said:

Oh, and gr8 TR djansi! I totally agree 100% A hyper or mega looper would totally ruin the scenery and atmosphere. I'd much rather see them add unique and fun family coasters, like an Arrow suspended or Steeplechase, or Mack bobsled, coasters that would blend in and compliment the scenery, rather than detract from it.

You're reading my mind! That place needs a steeplechase, well, now that Soap Box Derby is gone America needs a steeplechase. That was the perfect family coaster in my mind, especially since there was a different winner each time (although usually one of two lanes.) An arrow suspended would be cool, but I doubt we'll see anymore bobsled coasters anytime soon.

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