California's Great America - July 5, 2018

Saturday, July 7, 2018 7:46 PM

I was visiting friends in the Bay Area and took a day off to visit California's Great America. This represented my first visit to the park. Unfortunately, I left feeling very underwhelmed. I understand that Cedar Fair has targeted this park for substantial upgrades. If these rumors are true, such upgrades should be well worth the investment, considering the massive population centers surrounding the park. But, its location in the middle of suburban corporate-campus sprawl, cannot be remedied. It is a sad location for an amusement park.

With that said, the entrance with its flower sign, palm trees, a small pool of fountains, and the double-decker carousel looked very inviting and pretty. Gold Striker also looked beautiful from the midway and I appreciated that it was built around the sky tower - nice touch.

As an aside, I was really looking forward to Gold Striker as I love a great wooden coaster. But, like the park, the ride did not impress me. It felt sluggish. And, the layout seemed too tight and compressed, providing very little moments of classic wooden coaster air time.

The park wasn't "dirty per se" but with its fading paint, cheap infrastructure, and inattention to detail I continually felt that the park was "dirty." There didn't seem to be a level of care that I have become accustomed to with Cedar Fair parks.

Further, the coasters at the park were either past their prime (grizzly and the demon), shockingly short (flight deck and patriot), designed for children (wild mouse) or mildly entertaining (Gold Striker).

I did enjoy Rail Blazer and am excited to see future iterations of RMC's interesting Raptor-track design and technology. But, the coaster's location and orientation in the park is unforgivable. It was placed as if someone pointed to the middle of the park and simply stated "put a coaster here." There didn't seem to be much thought given to the ceremony surrounding a roller coaster: i.e. how one walks into a coaster, interacts with a coaster, and the suspense one feels while waiting to ride a coaster. This high-quality rollercoaster was given the status of a mere carnival ride: a shame.

I've only been to five of the Cedar Fair Parks but CGA was my least favorite. There is a lot of work to be done to provide the Bay Area with a park worthy of its immense population and geographical beauty (not to mention wealth). Hopefully, the strong minds at Cedar Fair have a reasonable plan to alter CGA from an uninspired regional amusement park into a destination park.

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Sunday, July 8, 2018 3:55 PM

Sadly, CGA is my home park. Given the proximity of the stadium, airport, and commercial space, I can’t see a huge coaster ever going in. CGA was the only former Parmount park that didn’t receive a hyper/giga in the CF purchase and I have to believe space issues were part of that. Since they share a parking lot with the 49ers, I assume they can’t just dig up a big chunk of parking and put it there.

That said, I’d love to see RMC do something with Grizzly. Lack of space has never been less of a problem.

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Sunday, July 8, 2018 4:29 PM

Be happy with what you have. Folks in Muskegon would kill for cheap infrastructure and inattention to detail.

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Sunday, July 8, 2018 9:41 PM

BrettV said:

Be happy with what you have. Folks in Muskegon would kill for cheap infrastructure and inattention to detail.

I don't understand. Can you explain this, please?

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Monday, July 9, 2018 2:25 PM

I agree about the park, completely disagree regarding Railblazer. Rode it a few days ago, and it is AMAZING. Full of powerful forces, fast, snappy and for me a top 20 ride easily.

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Monday, July 9, 2018 3:53 PM

urumqi said:

I don't understand. Can you explain this, please?

Hang around a while and you'll figure it out.

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Monday, July 9, 2018 9:26 PM

That’s what I didn’t like about it. It felt like RMC’s version of B:TR which is my least favorite B&M invert.

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Monday, July 9, 2018 9:27 PM

BrettV said:

urumqi said:

I don't understand. Can you explain this, please?

Hang around a while and you'll figure it out.

I’ve been around and I’m still not sure I understood your comment.

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Monday, July 9, 2018 9:45 PM

It was a take on the Michigan’s Adventure gets nothing joke. I guess this was one of the ones that was funnier in my head.

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Monday, July 9, 2018 10:15 PM

ApolloAndy said:
That’s what I didn’t like about it. It felt like RMC’s version of B:TR which is my least favorite B&M invert.

And I love the intensity of B:TR. So yeah, this ride rocked!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018 12:18 AM

I also loved RailBlazer. I just didn’t like where and how it was located. Most of the other coasters at the park had better and more mysterious entrances off of the midway. RailBlazer was seemingly just sitting in the middle of the midway.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018 1:42 AM

urumqi said:
I also loved RailBlazer. I just didn’t like where and how it was located. Most of the other coasters at the park had better and more mysterious entrances off of the midway. RailBlazer was seemingly just sitting in the middle of the midway.

Yeah space is definitely an issue at this park.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018 7:17 PM

urumqi said:

But, the coaster's location and orientation in the park is unforgivable. It was placed as if someone pointed to the middle of the park and simply stated "put a coaster here." There didn't seem to be much thought given to the ceremony surrounding a roller coaster: i.e. how one walks into a coaster, interacts with a coaster, and the suspense one feels while waiting to ride a coaster. This high-quality rollercoaster was given the status of a mere carnival ride: a shame.

That's funny because that's the exact opposite of my opinion of the ride's location. I thought it was a very intelligent place to put it, because it is literally front and center as you're entering that side of the park. It is highly visible from all front and side areas of the park, and serves as an advert for the new track technology. I always see crowds of people just stop and watch for awhile as they're walking down that path, since it's such a close view. The queue winds through the tracks and gets you shockingly close to the trains as they whiz by, and attractive rock-work throughout. The location was carefully planned years and years in advance (with the removal of Invertigo), and they purposely invested big money to put it right in the open midway like that (the removal of all the midway games and structures). But just like ApolloAndy this is my home park, so I could be biased.

It's good you haven't been to the park until know if you thought it's dirty.... the look and the attention to detail to this park has had a drastic improvement over the last 10 years since CF bought it. I'm glad you didn't see it before then; you would have found it to be a real ****e hole for sure.

Last edited by GooDFeLLoW, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 7:18 PM
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