CGA's Grizzly - From Dead Last to Worthy of a Second Look

Monday, April 29, 2013 3:50 AM

First post! Long time viewer, but first time posted - with that out of the way...

I decided last week to take a chance and ride everyone's favorite punching bag coaster, Great America's Grizzly.

Now, the park was heavy in promoting the fact that Grizzly had been re-tracked at a recent enthusiast event (they even claimed they had shaved nearly 10 seconds off the ride) but being the skeptic I am, I had to experience it for myself.

To say that I was shocked would be an understatement. Not only was the ride DECENT, but it was SMOOTH and actually had SPEED in the turnarounds. it's no Beast in terms of thrills, but at least it's RIDEABLE again!

So, when you consider voting your "Best of the Worst" this upcoming season, seriously consider taking Grizzly OFF the list - there are far worse woodies out there now. Plus, with Gold Striker about to open, CGA finally has TWO woodies worth riding!

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Monday, April 29, 2013 12:42 PM

Now, now, now, we don't actually know if Gold Striker will be a good ride...

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Monday, April 29, 2013 2:34 PM

I think it is OK to expect good things from it.

Anyway, that's good to hear about Grizzly. "Smooth" and "speed" have never appeared in the same sentence as "CGA's Grizzly" without some sort of qualifier. I'm looking forward to checking out my old park this summer.

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Monday, April 29, 2013 2:56 PM

Nobody said Gold Striker would be good, but based on past experience with GCI, it will, as stated, at least be worth riding.

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Monday, April 29, 2013 3:38 PM

I've never ridden a CGI.

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Monday, April 29, 2013 4:18 PM

I've Ridden the following GCI Coasters. Those that are on my Top Ten List are noted.

Roar - Six Flags America, Maryland

Wildcat- Hersheypark, Pennsylvania

Lightning Racer - Hersheypark, Pennsylvania

Gwazi- Busch Gardens, Florida (#10 Wood Twister)

Thunderhead - Dollywood, Tennessee (#2 Wood Twister)

Kentucky Rumbler - Beech Bend, Kentucky (#6 Wood Twister)

Maverick- Valleyfair!, Minnesota (#5 Wood Out-&-Back)

Last edited by Regulus, Monday, April 29, 2013 4:19 PM
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Monday, April 29, 2013 4:38 PM

Or Renegade.

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Monday, April 29, 2013 4:54 PM

I've got Wildcat, Lightning Racer, Gwazi, Roar SFA, Apocalypse, Renegade, American Thunder, Wodan, and Prowler. All are very good, even if none make my top ten, but the Missouri duo and Apocalypse are in a class all their own. Those rides were exceptional. If Gold Striker is anything like them, I'm gonna have a great CGA visit in a few weeks.

Last edited by sirloindude, Monday, April 29, 2013 4:55 PM
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Monday, April 29, 2013 4:56 PM

Oh, I've ridden Gwazi. I didn't like it.

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Monday, April 29, 2013 4:58 PM

To be fair, Gwazi's at the bottom of my list, so it's not like you've experienced their finest creation and everything else will be a disappointment. They've got some great stuff out there.

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Monday, April 29, 2013 5:04 PM

I've always wanted to ride a good GCI, but most Cedar Fair parks near me don't have one.

Here is a map of the US and the GCI's are plotted. The big blank area near Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan is where I am located. Click plot on map in the top right hand corner to see the map.

http://rcdb.com/r.htm?nm=na&co=6860&st=93&pl=59&ot=2

Last edited by Tyler Boes, Monday, April 29, 2013 5:07 PM
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Monday, April 29, 2013 5:35 PM

Gwazi is strange as far as GCI goes, and I just can't accept that its crappyness has anything to do with GCI. It has to be maintenance. I've done most of the others, and liked every one of them.

Last edited by Jeff, Monday, April 29, 2013 5:35 PM
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Monday, April 29, 2013 7:08 PM

Yes, that. Gwazi was funtabulous for its first couple years. FL sun is really not kind to treated lumber....which makes the train *and* esp. track maintenance of utmost importance. It's horrible now, even after the rehab and new trains. I don't think the ride will stay past 2014 - barring RMC perhaps?

(edited to add: To be fair, 12 months of operations is also very hard on wooden coasters. Parks with off-season maintenance seem to do much better. Ghostrider was easily top-5 for me when it was new-ish, now it sadly is also a 1-lap-per-visit ride).

Hershey's Wildcat was similarly an amazing ride that, while smoother, really didn't take too kindly to the MF trains...or was already past the point where the trains helped? Been hearing pretty terrible things about Roar East as well (my last rides on it were still really solid). Overall, as discussions from a decade ago will show....twister coasters are just plain hard to keep running smoothly.

Prowler is WAY my favorite GCI. By far. *Wow*.

Last edited by rollergator, Monday, April 29, 2013 7:13 PM
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Monday, April 29, 2013 7:25 PM

The thing I always hear about Grizzly (have never been on it myself) is that it is BOTH boring (poor layout) AND rough, but is VERY popular anyway. Conclusion? People at CGAmerica really like wooden coasters, now they have 2.

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Monday, April 29, 2013 7:38 PM

sirloindude said:

the Missouri duo and Apocalypse are in a class all their own.

You also missed a gem in the long lost third Missouri GCI (Ozark Wildcat).

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Monday, April 29, 2013 7:50 PM

I've ridden more GCI than I thought, and I'm surprised by the differences between them. I love Lightning Racer, one side of Gwazi was ok and one was horrible (don't remember which one was which), and Roar at SFA was good, although it was pretty rattle-y. I can't figure this out. I would say maybe it was a maintenance issue, but two GCIs on opposite ends of the likability spectrum for me are in one park (Hershey), and there are huge differences between the Gwazi ride in one park as well. Thoughts as to why this could be?

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Monday, April 29, 2013 9:06 PM

When I rode Grizzly, I would not describe it as "rough". In fact, it ran rather well, considering that it was running a Morgan train. But it was slow, and boring as hell. Oddly enough, it's more or less the same layout as the Grizzly at Kings Dominion and Wild Beast at Canada's Wonderland; and all three rides were based on the Wildcat at Coney Island (only Canada's Wonderland was fortunate enough to also get a ride based on the Shooting Star!). Somehow, the one at Great America is the only one of the three to actively *suck*.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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