California's Great America will convert Vortex to floorless Patriot

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

From the release:

Today California’s Great America announced that for the 2017 season, it will introduce Patriot, the first floorless coaster in the park’s 41-year history. Patriot will emerge from the soon to be retired Vortex coaster, the oldest stand up roller coaster in the United States. Season Passes for the 2017 season also go on sale today at the lowest price of the season, offering unlimited admission for the rest of 2016 and all of 2017.

Patriot will take riders to a 91-foot height before plummeting them into a 360-degree loop at 45 miles per hour. Patriot’s position in the park makes it a dynamic visual from three different sections of Great America.

The inspiration for the coaster’s name was taken from the fact that the ride is nestled adjacent to All American Corners within a park whose name celebrates America.

The transition from a stand up to floorless ride will include state-of-the-art blue and white trains positioning guests with their feet dangling above the blue and white track.

“With the track visible beneath their fee, Patriot will create unique and exciting new perspectives throughout the ride,” said California’s Great America Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg.

Guests can take their “Last Stand” on Vortex through September 5. Then work will begin to ready Patriot for the 2017 season.

Read more from California's Great America.

I anticipate this will improve the ride, but I'm a little surprised. Vortex is not as rough as other stand-ups (maybe due to being so small), so this seems a little like fixing a problem that doesn't exist, while also not being very exciting as a stand-alone announcement. I wonder how many more years they'll get out of this ride. Should help capacity I suppose... And I'll take it over VR any day.

Tommytheduck's avatar

I think people just don't like standups in general. I find them uncomfortable and awkward, but that;s just me.

I also disagree about smaller meaning "not as rough." I typically find the opposite to be true. In fact, Riddler's Revenge is the only standup that I actually enjoy, and AFAIK, it's still the largest.

I'm also sure, though, that there are many more factors at play than just size.

I see this coming to Vortex at Carowinds as well in the coming years. Rougarou proved you can get a second life out of these coasters.

Funny enough, Riddler is the only stand up I didn't like at all. I may have just hit it on a bad day, but the headbanging and ear boxing was the worst I have ever experienced on any coaster in my life. By contrast, Mantis was always one of my favorites at CP.

For what it's worth I had good experiences on both Riddler and Georgia Scorcher.

The rest of them... well, not so much :)

Tekwardo's avatar


I knew this was talked about in a conference call last year and there are slides that have a bit if the companies roadmap sketched out. They mentioned this for 2917 and another (Bortex at Carowinds) in 2018 or 19.

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Vater's avatar

Tekwardo said:


They mentioned this for 2917

Damn, 901 years in advance. That's planning ahead.

birdhombre's avatar

Tekwardo said:

(Bortex at Carowinds) in 2018 or 19.

I just hope the gift shops don't run out of Bortex license plates.

rollergator's avatar

The ride will be sponsored, I presume, by... Gore-Tex?

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

GooDFeLLoW's avatar

Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuper excited for this. As possibly the only ultra-CGA fan on these forums I feel I must chime in haha. There has been rumors of this being announced for the last few weeks but I didn't think there was any merit to it... quite surprised to read this today! I have to disagree with someone saying it's not as rough as other standups.... I really think Vortex is the roughest piece of ****e that you can find. I haven't been on many other standups.. just the ones on the west coast. But Riddler's Revenge I found ultra-smooth compared to Vortex (rode them both this year too). Vortex is a head-banging shaky mess, and it is always almost walk-on even when the park is super crowded; Most people really dislike it.

I'm still worried about shaking though. Definitely new floorless trains can fix the head-slamming problem, but what can they do to fix the track shakiness without rebuilding? Is there a retrofitting process that has been used before?

Either way I'm glad. It's a nice way to announce a new ride in a lesser park where they don't want to invest in a whole new ride. The Mass Effect 3d conversion this year was awesome, but I'm sure Patriot will not disappoint. Go Cedar Fair!!

bjames's avatar

I hated Mantis, the only stand-up I've ever been on. Down with them! Floorlesses are enjoyable experiences though, so good on this park.

"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

cmingdayton's avatar

I understand the repeat name thing, but now Cedar Fair will have B&M Floorless Patriot at California's Great America, and B&M Invert Patriot at Worlds of Fun. If both were a Floorless or both were an invert this would be ok. Does this bother anyone else?

Cole Mingo

(AKA Barry Allen and Niles Crane amalgamated).

I would be pretty alarmed if it did.

cmingdayton said:
I understand the repeat name thing, but now Cedar Fair will have B&M Floorless Patriot at California's Great America, and B&M Invert Patriot at Worlds of Fun. If both were a Floorless or both were an invert this would be ok. Does this bother anyone else?


Thunderhawk is a wooden coaster at Dorney and a Vekoma SLC at Michigans Adventure. Dominator is a drop tower somewhere (Dorney again?) and the floorless at Kings Dominion. It is just the way these things go sometimes.

slithernoggin's avatar

Why would that bother anyone?

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Because we need something to post about. :)

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slithernoggin's avatar

You are correct, Sir :-)

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Well ya know, it's nothing new. Back in the day coasters were named after animals or weather events. There's only so many, hence the proliferation of Wildcats and Cyclones.

I think the worst offender is Shockwave. The name Vortex also belongs to a bunch of different coasters and flat rides.

Fun's avatar

cmingdayton said:

Does this bother anyone else?

You must really hate Six Flags then:

GooDFeLLoW's avatar

Vortex is already shut down, and the blue paint has begun! I was in the park today, and the new blue color is a cerulian dream come true. I guess we can't post pics here, but if you check out @insidecga on IG he has a good pic of the track, some pre-paint and some post-paint. Love it.

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