It's always great when a classic coaster gets a new lease on life, and this year is no exception as Vortex at California's Great America has received a new lease on life this year with all new floorless trains, a great new paint job and a general freshening up of the front of the park.
The next few years are going to be very exciting for California's Great America and we can't wait to see what the future holds.
Written by Stephen Harrington
We'll start off with a great POV of Patriot
Good Morning from Santa Clara, home of your Santa Clara, we mean San Francisco 49ers. =)
But this is the real reason we're here
Something is going on here today
The stage is set
The new paint job looks amazing
City of Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor talking about the re-zoning approval and future expansions of the park
Patriot is officially open!!
Patriot Fun Facts
The entrance, going to guess more people will ride Patriot this year. =)
The station also got some freshening up
Lots of great Patriot merchandise for all of your Patriot needs.
And of course, no media event would be complete without a lot of awesome food
United States service members, the first to enjoy Patriot
Thanks again California's Great America for a fantastic day and a fantastic event. Come out and ride!!
Today we have an amazing offseason look at California's Great America where some major changes have been made in just a couple of short months since Winterfest.
But more than that, some new developments related to the parks master plan have made this park really one of the parks to look towards for the next decade as becoming one of the top parks in the country. Let's take a look.
Written by Andrew Cunningham
If you had asked me ten years ago about the future of California’s Great America, I would have told you to book a trip while you still can. I, like many others, was convinced that this park would eventually be a distant memory, most likely replaced by a tech campus or condos. But here we are, 2017, and Great America has laid the groundwork to become a rising star in the Cedar Fair chain. After the impressive debuts of Winterfest and Mass Effect: New Earth in 2016, the park was granted approval of a new master plan that, among other things, makes it easier for them to add new attractions and raises their height ceiling to 250 feet.
We were fortunate enough to tag along with ACE Norcal on a preseason tour of the park. This year is all about Patriot, so lets take a look around!
It seems like so long ago that we were saying farewell (or perhaps, good riddance) to Vortex and California’s Great America. This B&M coaster sits in the middle of the park, and despite it’s fun, snappy little layout, the coaster was both an eyesore and and pain to ride.
One of the best things about Patriot is that its bright colors bring life to the surrounding midways. Since the ride is placed in a central area of the park, it interacts with several different midways. Instead of clunky standup trains rattling along faded track, guests throughout the park will see the flashy new floorless trains whipping around the bright blue twists and turns.
Great America is intent on improving the guest experience beyond the Patriot conversion. The entire Celebration Plaza area, where Patriot’s entrance is located, is getting a facelift for the summer. There is still a lot of construction activity going on, but it’s all looking amazing!
One of the coolest new additions to the area will be the live entertainment. Unique characters, or “citizens’, will roam the midway and interact with guests around Patriot. This is similar to Ghost Town Alive at Knotts Berry Farm.
Overall, there is still some work to be done around the park before opening day, but things are really looking great!
Thank you to California’s Great America for a wonderful tour! We are very excited for the park to open for the season, and even more excited to see new changes evolve over the next several years!
Last week the inaugural WinterFest at California's Great America kicked off and from all indications it was a great openining for what will hopefully become an amazing annual holiday event in the Bay Area.
Be sure to check out all of the amaznig pictures below and let us know what you think. Click here for more information on WinterFest 2016.
Written by Andrew Cunningham
California’s Great America rolled out their very first WinterFest event last week, and we happily showed up to experience this great seasonal addition to the park.
WinterFest includes a huge variety of holiday lights, some special activities that are exclusive to the event, and limited rides and attractions. Overall, there are nine uniquely themed areas throughout the park: Snowflake Lake, Celebration Plaza, Orleans Plaza, Coca-Cola Polar Bear Plaza, Crafter’s Corner, Planet Snoopy, Candy Cane Lane, Toyland, and Hometown Square.
When you enter the park, you immediately find yourself at Snowflake Lake. The park’s iconic front entrance has been converted into an ice skating rink, and the neighboring observation tower has taken on a new theme as The North Pole.
Immediately behind Snowflake Lake and The Carousel Columbia is the park’s enormous Christmas tree. The tree anchors Celebration Plaza and is one of the most popular photo spots of the event.
To fit the new holiday theme of Celebration Plaza, the nearby Gold Striker gift shop was rethemed into a Christmas shop, complete with some (awesome) unique park merchandise and holiday displays.
Moving on from Celebration Plaza, Orleans Square was completely covered with very colorful lights.
One thing worth mentioning: Flight Deck and Gold Striker are the only two major thrill rides operating at WinterFest, and both had very long queues. I hope that Patriot will be added to the lineup next year to help spread out the crowds :-)
Coca-Cola Polar Bear Plaza takes up the area in front of FireFall. This area was featured a variety of nostalgic Coke advertisements, a meet-and-greet with a Coca-Cola Polar Bear, and a ton of red and white lights.
Sitting just beyond the Coke Plaza is Crafter’s Corner, an area dedicated to local Bay Area merchants. There are a series of booths set up in front of Mass Effect, each selling uniques gift items. We took a look at some grilling spices, soaps that look and smell like desserts, and some funny drink coasters.
The park has a backstage corridor, Candy Cane Lane, setup to connect Crafter’s Corner to Toyland, since the back loop of the park is not open past Planet Snoopy. This was a fun little area with cool gingerbread displays.
Closing the loop back to the front of the park, Hometown Square was covered with more traditional Christmas decorations.
Underneath Patriot, the park had live Reindeer for guests to interact with. This seemed like a very popular attraction for the kids in attendance!
That just about does it for my trip around WinterFest at California’s Great America! Many thanks to the park for inviting us out to check out the event. The event is off to a great start and I definitely recommend checking it out!