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 we were invited to opening night of Halloween Haunt at California’s Great America. This event is one of the biggest Halloween event’s in the Bay area and once again the park did a fantastic job.
Written by Stephen Harrington
There are 8 houses with 5 different “Skeleton Key” rooms, which sound very similar with what Knott’s is doing, and possibly the Cedar Fair chain. Really the fact is that each Skeleton Key room is it’s own little mini-haunt. I will not be giving any spoilers away for the “Skeleton Key” rooms other than to say it is worth it to upgrade to Frightlane plus and include the rooms.
The “Skeleton Key” rooms were very strong in their showings. The other nice thing about opening night is the crowds were thin. The next few weekends are probably going to be the best times to visit if you are worried about crowds.
Once we start getting into October and closer to Halloween, the crowd levels will increase. Another nice thing about coming during haunt is the rides are open and tonight was pretty much walk on for the coasters and very minimal wait for the major attractions.
However, hopefully it was opening night hiccups, there was a noticeable lack of talent in the houses. We will be back before the end of the run to see the differences compared to opening night. Also a majority of the houses are repeat and some of them, hate to say it need to be retired.
Rumor has it, if possible, stay for the evenings closing ceremony for possible spoilers and hints for next season. We unfortunately couldn’t stay last night to hear for ourselves.
House reviews, no spoilers-
New for this year was also FearVR. Samsung Gear VR is taking over the amusement world. It is a 4D $10 upcharge attraction. It is also very unique. If you decide to give it a shot, look around with the Gear on, there is so much to look at. If you missed our review of FearVR and thoughts on it's sudden closure be sure to check it out here.
Skeleton Key Rooms- California’s Great America has 5 Skeleton Key rooms which are their own separate entities. There is “Bone Crusher,” “Dominated,” “Vanity,” “Hoarder House,” and “Sorority Slaughter.” While short, the theming was amazing, and the actors owned their roles. Definitely worth the price to upgrade to fastlane plus.
There also also four shows during the run. Last night we were only able to catch “Blood Drums” so on our next visit we’ll be sure to catch the other shows.
Once again if you get a chance to come out to California’s Great America Halloween Haunt you won’t be disappointed. There were some opening night hiccups, as to be expected, but we will be back later in the run to see the differences and changes.
Thank’s again to California’s Great America for having us out and we’ll see you in the fog!
With Bay Area schools back in session, we thought it would be a great time to check out some of our local parks. With the news of Patriot coming to California’s Great America in 2017, we decided to check out the final week of Vortex’s operation and to make my first visit to Gilroy Gardens for their Lumination festival. Check it out!
Written by Andrew Cunningham
Be sure to check out the full press release for The Patriot coming to California's Great America in 2017.