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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Should CA Great America shut down?

Should CA Great America shut down?


4/11/17 at
8:03:09 AM

I've been to this park 11 times, most of those as a kid in the 90s. I went last week, my first trip there since 2005.

I was shocked by what it has turned into. The place just feels sterile and has no atmosphere. Patriot is a huge dud. It had lines at the beginning of the day but by afternoon the lines had vanished. Gold Striker was new(to me) and definitely one of my favorite wooden coasters but...that's it?!? Yes Flight Deck is great but it cant draw people in here. The few who come here that haven't rode it before have rode it somewhere else with a different name.

What are they doing to this park? It feels like they are morphing it into a water park. This park has the worst coasters of any park. They remove rides like Stealth and Invertigo but keep The Grizzly? Why?

Their flat rides aren't much to write home about either although I've always loved the Endeavor.

I just don't see the point of this park continuing. I wont be coming back until there is a major revamping and I talked with others there who weren't blown away by their experience either. I took my two young cousins as they had never been here before and after two hours they were bored.

I used to have a blast here in my youth but now its got the vibe of a funeral. I'm going to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom next month. Now THAT place has something to offer.

Can this park be saved or should they just write it off?

Re: Should CA Great America shut down? by SirWillow SirWillow Profile at 4/11/17 5:12:56 PM
it's not going to close down. it's still drawing crowds and still making a profit. They've got no reason to close it.

That doesn't mean I like what they've done with the park. Cedar Fair (and honestly Paramount before it) have done a great job of turning what was a wonderful park into a "blah". I grew up going to the park from the time it opened as Mariott's, and loved it then. yes, it's a sad shadow of what it was.

However, Cedar Fair has also shown that they do have plans to improve the park and put some new things in. That happened just in the last year at city council meetings. As a whole I'm not a fun of what Cedar Fair has done with the their parks, but at least there is a bit of hope here.

But regardless of what we think, as long as attendance is decent (and it is) and money is coming in (and it is) they're not going to close it.

Re: Should CA Great America shut down? by TracyB at 4/12/17 12:16:01 AM
I should've researched the park before going. I expected it to be the park of yesteryear with a few extras.

Due to my lengthy hiatus between visits, I have no idea if the change was gradual or if it happened at a quick pace due to new management.

I'm not in the amusement park business but I have a few suggestions that need to take immediate effect..

-Take down The Grizzly. Burn it to the ground if you have to. Its the most worthless coaster around and I'm shocked its still here. Seems like Gold Striker should've been its replacement. Even if it was good(its not), its redundant with the existence of Gold Striker.

-THis might be blasphemy but get rid of the Demon. Yes its a classic and serves a nostalgic purpose but having these specific oldies here puts this park at a disadvantage to other parks.

-Get rid of Skyflyer and bring in a slingshot.

-Delirium is fun(my cousins loved it) but bring us a much bigger one like at the Six Flags parks.

-Ditch the kiddie swings and bring in a windseeker.

-They need a main attraction coaster that gives this place a buzz. Not sure exactly which type but maybe something like X2, Green Lantern: First Flight, or one of the Superman rides spread throughout the country.

If they want nostalgia, bring in a double ferris wheel. Not sure how many people would ride this but it cant be any worse than any of their flat rides.

They need enough killer rides and other things to keep people here. The longer you're there, the more money you spend.

When a 28 year old and her two cousins(9 and 12) are bored after 2-3 hours, you're doing something wrong.

Re: Should CA Great America shut down? by Eric_Gieszl Eric_Gieszl Profile at 4/13/17 1:27:54 PM
There is no reason to remove a mediocre ride without a replacement. What you'll end up with is an amusement park with little to do.

Grizzly and Demon are dated. Grizzly could be a much better ride, but both serve a purpose.

After the dust settled from Cedar Fair working out the issues with the NFL Stadium and city there is renewed interest from corporate in the park. I anticipate there will be some new attractions in the coming years. Of course, the planning and sourcing of ride equipment takes time.

Patriot is the start. The train changeover is not super exciting, but it serves the purpose of replacing equipment that's reached the end of its serviceable life while creating something new in the park.

There will never be another installation of a Mondial Windseeker ride at a Cedar Fair park again. That ride is a disaster both from a design and ride experience perspective. That ride is also not permitted for operation in California since they were never able to modify it for emergency evacuations. Cedar Fair has learned their lesson with that garbage. if they install that style of ride at California's Great America, which I think would be a good addition, it will be the superior Fun Time Star Flyer ride.

The upcharge Skyflyer Skycoaster is not going to be replaced by a Slingshot. That makes no sense from a business perspective. A slingshot in addition to it, may be considered.

Re: Should CA Great America shut down? by TracyB at 4/13/17 11:31:19 PM
I wish I would've paid closer attention to the empty space. I know there's room for more rides but not sure exactly how much room. If I do go again but with no kids, I'll be a bit more observant.

Can something like Valravn fit here as the park stands or would it require more rides being removed?

This park has a crappy track record unveiling new rides and since this year is the year of the Patriot, what's a good prediction on how long we might have to wait for something new and by something new I mean rides and not upgrades to restaurants, picnic areas, etc.?

I love the extreme swings no matter which company makes them although they do seem to have some problems with them. When I went with friends to Six Flags, none of them would get on it due to it being shut down earlier.

Re: Should CA Great America shut down? by RobLec RobLec Profile at 4/14/17 12:27:05 PM
I know nothing about this park other than the history of its ownership and have never visited, however I believe I am able to recognize a phenomenon when I see one. And I suspect this as another example of a park that was built close enough to a metropolitan center to attract large crowds, yet far enough away that land is affordable and without restrictive zoning so to allow for the operation of loud, heavy machinery and accommodate large, loud crowds.

Fast forward several decades and that same tract of land is now surrounded by suburban "activists" who base everything on "not in my back yard", and a series of park operators find themselves being lawyered out of existence.

Of course, I don't know anything about this park... I've just seen the same game played elsewhere.

Re: Should CA Great America shut down? by glutton glutton Profile at 4/14/17 11:27:49 PM
I live in the Bay Area, and for the past 10 years, I've been visiting Great America once or twice a year most years. 10 to 15 years ago, I was living closer to the park, and had a season pass (when it was still a Paramount park.) I bought a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass for this year, since I'm planning a trip to some other Cedar Fair parks. I'm not happy with all of the changes at CA Great America in recent years, but they've done SOME good things.
I absolutely LOVE Gold Striker, and could ride that all day! Top Gun, a.k.a. Flight Deck, is still a great ride, and usually has fairly short lines, despite being the 2nd best coaster in the park. For a while, Grizzly was way too bumpy, and it hurt to ride, but they did some refurbishing about about 2 years ago, and I started to enjoy it again, except for the fact that they never seem to be able to load and dispatch trains efficiently. I rarely bother riding Demon anymore, since it has become somewhat painful too, so I wouldn't mind if they took that out to replace it with a new coaster. Psycho Mouse is fun, but on opening day last month, they were waiting almost until the prior car had finished the ride before dispatching the next one, and the line took almost an hour despite not appearing to be very long. I haven't had a chance to try Patriot yet, but I suspect I will like it more than I liked Vortex.
I was angry when they took out Stealth after just a couple seasons, though I do enjoy the water park occasionally. Seems like they should have found a different place to put their water park, or they should have planned sooner and put Stealth in a different spot. And I liked Invertigo too, before they removed it. They've left Invertigo's spot basically empty since they took it out, so I hope they're planning a big coaster soon.
I've been worried that with the Niners new stadium in Great America's parking lot, and the park closing on Niners' game days, maybe they were going to phase out the park. But earlier this year, they announced long term plans for the park, which included expanded hours, adding some shopping and restaurants outside the gates, (comparing that to Downtown Disney) and also raising the height limit for rides at the park (since a zoning change was approved to allow for that.) I haven't seen any specific ride plans announced yet, but I'm somewhat optimistic that if they are going to make these multi-year plans for Great America, they would have to be including some new rides too.
Re: Should CA Great America shut down? by rossrich66 rossrich66 Profile at 4/15/17 2:59:37 PM
This should clear up any questions about the future of the, net.... the future is very bright for this park. Cedar Fair is committed to major capital investments in this park. CEO Matt Ouimet sees huge potential for this park in a very important market (which at one point Cedar Fair was trying to exit). The turnaround for this park will be on par with with what Cedar Fair has done with Carowinds. Some highlights:

City of Santa Clara approved Cedar Fair's Master Plan for the park.....

- Entire front of park will be transformed into
a year-round "Downtown Disney/Universal
Citywalk" type of complex.
- Taller height limits have been approved
meaning new, taller roller coasters.
- Major improvements, investments in
attractions throughout the park.
- Cedar Fair sees this park as an under-
utilized asset in their chain of 11+
nationwide parks...they will invest in this
park to make it one of their flagship parks
(i.e Cedar Point, Canada's Wonderland,
Carowinds, Knott's Berry Farm, Kings Island
and Kings Dominion. This was discussed in
the Q4 Cedar Fair earnings call earlier this
- The "Winterfest" pilot was a huge success and
will now be rolled out to more of their parks
this year. (I went and it was awesome).

Their CEO Matt Ouimet is ex-Disney (theme parks division), so that's a great thing. That definitely showed when we went to WinterFest.

I know there's mixed opinions as to whether Demon should be removed. For me it's a classic and it should stay. It will complement an updated coaster round-up in the coming years. As far as the Grizzly, don't be surprised if it gets the RMC treatment in the next few years. Cedar Fair is now starting to do that with their parks with the Mean Streak/Cedar Point and Hurler/Kings Dominion. The rumors are already flying and there's no shortage of speculation videos on YouTube. Given the company's vision for the park and the fact that they are officially in the RMC game...I'm bullish of a Grizzly transformation (but not before they put in a 250 foot hyper)....It would also still leave the park with a superb pure woodie with the Gold Striker (unlike Six Flags Discovery Kingdom up the road that sacrificed their only woodie Roar to become RMC Joker).

Finally, checkout the Patriot grand opening ceremony...the GM and the Santa Clara Vice Mayor make great speeches about the future of the park.

* This post was modified at 4/15/17 3:40:57 PM *