End of Season General Park Update + Haunt photos

We've reached that time of year when Haunt comes to and end and CGA would be facing that lovely "off season." But things are a bit different this year as we have WinterFest in about a month. Great America will have a brief hiatus before the gates are reopened for their first Holiday event in a long time (Not including Global Winter Wonderland). With this last weekend of normal operation we have a general park update. Let's start off with Patriot.

Much of the visible work is done on Patriot at this time (painting) and work continues on the actual ride system upgrade. We'll let some of the photos do the explaining.

Retractable floors are in the process of being installed. Hoping that the station itself will get a roof,
something park fans have been wanting so they aren't roasting in the summer heat.

Drive tires and friction brakes have been pulled off the brake run. Patriot will have magnetic brakes installed.
As we took our flight on Delta Flyer/Eagles flight, we noticed something on the 2 southernmost towers - have also received a fresh coat of paint!

The newly painted tower matches Patriot's blue track. You can also see the difference between the tower in the foreground and the tower just ahead with its dull blue paint.

Heading back from our "round trip" on Delta Flyer/Eagles Flight, old paint in foreground,
new paint on the last 2 towers. They pop! It's also raining further down in Los Gatos, at the base of the mountains.

Winterfest scenary continues to appear among the Haunt festivities, with a lot of things taking place back stage. One of the things we noticed was as one exits Wax Museum, you're greeted with giant steel candy cane structures, all part of Candy Cane Lane.

Candy Cane Lane will serve as a temporary path between Home Town Square and...All American Corners/Mass Effect area. The back of the park will be closed off so rides on Demon, Grizzly, Drop Tower etc will have to wait til next year.
Entry from over by First Aid
Where two holidays collide :)
Close up of the large ornaments in the trees, near First Aid.
The service road is lined with giant candy canes and overhead lighting. Guests will cut through First Aid on the other side over to the restrooms behind Delirium on this side of the park.

Lighting and decorations in Orlean's Place

Continuing into the evening we decided to snap a few photos from around the park during one of the final Haunt nights (and it was insanely packed!). We did check out the modified Dead and Breakfast and found it to be a decent maze considering the park had about a week's time to transform it. Still pretty detailed and one would almost never know it was Insanitarium a week prior to its reopening.

A bit late in the season but Firefall's fire was up and running. Would be nice to see this ride run during Winterfest as it's almost like a giant fire pit to keep park guests warm :)

Our first time ever using the stand by lines this season, gave us this nice photo op of Toy Factory's signage.
On our way out we decided to try some long exposure shots of Celebration Swings, Kind of looks like a
light-up yoyo or a spinning top :)

Did you get to visit Haunt or normal op Great America this season? What were some of your favorite moments? Let us know in the comments below!


Patriot - Vortex Floorless Conversion Update (and Exclusive close-up look at the new trains)

Vortex is barely recongizable as a lot of progress has been made over the past few weeks. Most of the track has been painted with a nice, vibrant blue and it looks like the supports will be next as sections have been masked off.

We were fortunate enough to catch some action yesterday as the crew was removing some of the rail's pin striping. Ever wondered why on the coaster rails there's a strip of bare metal running down the center and side? It's not because they "missed a spot" but because that's where the wheels make contact with the rails. Having no paint there reduces the friction between the rails and the wheels and overall eliminates any potential problems that would affect the train's wheels.

Vortex grave site with Patriot looming over.

Workers are removing the strips along the rails, the areas in which the wheels will make contact with.

Supports look like they have fresh paint on it, they had masked off the area where the track and supports join.

Patriot painting crew seemed to have been excited when we pulled out the camera to get a close up of the work being done :)

Peeling that strip away, exposing the bare metal rail underneath.

The brake run has yet to be painted as there's still work to be done.
You can see the bare metal stripes on the rails in the background.

As simple as the color scheme is, it brings new life into the park.

Sections of track have been completely covered as to prevent accidental over-spray.

Closer up look at the pinstriped rails, on top for where the road wheels make contact
and along the side where the guide wheels make contact.

We aren't exactly sure what's happening in the station but the entire thing looks like it's been ripped apart. We are hoping the station will get a nice upgrade, you know, like having a roof :)

Station work to still be done.

The station looks like a war zone at the moment :)

The walls on the queue side have been ripped out.

Lastly, during the ACE NorCal "Ace Night at the Haunt V" we were taken to the back to get a close up look at the new Patriot trains which had recently arrived on site. Patriot will be getting a nice upgrade with magnetic brakes as well. Photos of the train and backstage area were taken with permission on an authorized tour with ACE.

New trains, they look like they sit up a little higher than a normal floorless coaster's trains
for heartlining purposes (and reduce discomfort when entering a banked section)

For you wheel fans :)

Magnetic brake fins are visible under the car (those flat white horizontal plates)

Even at night Patriot's blue pops!

Are you excited for Patriot? Let us know in the comments below!