RailBlazer Construction Update 4/5/18

We're just a couple weeks into the 2018 season and RailBlazer is blazing along at a rapid pace as far as construction goes. Unfortunately we no longer have that cool view on the bridge as fencing has been put up obscuring much of the view. Opening weekend we were able to walk right up to the bridge handrails and got a clear shot of what was all happening.

Disclaimer: All of these photos were taken within the park's midways that are accessible to the public. Please don't enter restricted areas, construction zones or climb up on park structures to obtain photos (yes we've seen guests climbing up on park benches and even go as far as climbing onto the back rests...and we've heard of guests getting corrected by park security for doing such too! Remember, it's for your safety!)

Moving along, one of the most notable things is the rockwork...and it looks gorgeous! Much of the scaffolding has been removed around the drop tunnel/canyon and while it's significantly shorter than the rendering, we are still delighted to see it as we all know "final product may vary." It will still provide that nice head chopper, followed by a narrow clearance between the drop and the overhead brake run. Other rockwork that is currently being painted is in the area just before the upward helix.

Another noticeable thing is after a small hiatus, the lift handrails continue to take shape again. Crews have been up on the lift installing the necessary components. Also, beneath the crest of the lift is more bracing for some catwalks to access the cogs and such.

Last but not least, construction around the ride perimeter continues to take shape. This includes the small photo booth that guests will pass by upon exiting the ride. Hope everyone has their all-season Funpix!

A few other small updates around the park include:
-New "Main ID" signage for White Water Falls, Hometown Square (Replacing the printed one that was produced last year), and fresh new lettering on the Orleans Place brick pillars (replacing the old weathered letters)
-New furnishings over at Pizza Orleans
-Maggie Browns is now open with the interior slightly re-routed - there are now 4 kiosks, doubling the capacity of taking orders
-New restrooms by White Water Falls is now open. Hoping the Orleans restrooms open soon as that's quite a distance between Patriot and Delirium restrooms :)

The new lettering installed on the brick portal over at Orleans Place, the previous lettering lived a good life!

A new 3D painted sign replaced the old flat printed one that kicked off re-establishing
that Hometown Square identity last season

And a new 3D painted White Water Falls graphic replacing the weathered "1990s" era sign,
 fitting with the theme of the area

The new entry area into Maggies has made things run a lot smoother

Maggies now doubled the amount of kiosks (though one was down on this visit) and everything just flowed much better!

Turkey legs

My go-to Tri-tip sitting in the tray behind, perfect to dip in the BBQ sauce!

New to Maggies was the roasted potatoes, they were great!


Have you made it out to the park during Spring Break? Have you gotten to try out what we're calling "Maggie's 3.0" yet? Let us know in the comments below!


Opening Day/Weekend at California's Great America

It's been a brief 3-month slumber for California's Great America and now the park has reopened for its 43rd season! Opening day kicked off on a cold and rainy March 24th as the park celebrated their iconic coaster Flight Deck's 25th anniversary.

The celebration included free dog tag souvenirs, continuous screenings of Top Gun in the adjacent Theatre Royale, a photo op with a Tom Cruise look-alike, a nifty Coaster Dynamix model of Flight Deck in the Theatre Royale lobby, and special food items at the adjacent remodeled Pizza Orleans.

Flight Deck is ready to take on riders despite the poor weather

Flight Deck Model in the Theatre Royale lobby

The park was giving out these 25th anniversary Flight Deck dog tags

The park spruced up the queue and fixed the lighting in these vignettes during the off-season

Another returning element for the weekend was the fog spewing out from the retractable floor

And ride attendants decked out in flight suits modeled after the originals

We took a photo with the Tom Cruise look-alike after our ride

Typically opening days tend to have a few operational kinks but everything went rather smooth once the weather cooperated. We had actually kicked off the CGA season with a front row on Flight Deck only to have a sudden downpour as soon as we disengaged the lift...made for an interesting and intense experience!

CGA Marketing team took a spin as well on Flight Deck

Foods-wise, options felt initially sparse but it is early in the season and there's some good things coming. Maggie's is undergoing a refurbishment and should be opening soon. Sierra Creek Lodge appears to have a little ways to go as well as the new French Quarter Funnel Cake. Funnel Cake lovers, you can still pick some up over at Sweet Treats in Planet Snoopy! We did try out the offerings at Pizza Orleans and were very satisfied with their offerings! Their pizza now uses fresh dough made from scratch. Yesterday we had tried the "Maverick" and today the "Goose" pizza. 

French Quarter Funnel Cake will soon rise behind these walls

Orleans Candy Kitchen also coming soon - previous home to Trending Now shop

Maggies is also undergoing an extensive refurbishment. The new pavement and ride really make this park look fresh!

We had to try out the limited time offerings at Pizza Orleans.

Maverick Pizza was a meat lover's pizza with Canadian bacon, ham, and pepperoni. 

And our favorite, "Goose Pizza" which had BBQ sauce, chicken and red onion

Planet Snoopy and surrounding area looks quite different this year as there are a lot of construction walls up. Access to Peanuts Playhouse has been blocked off as the outdoor theater gets demolished. With this said, the Peanuts Meet and Greet has found a new home right in the heart of Planet Snoopy!

New home for the Peanuts Gang!

Sierra Creek Lodge make-over taking place beyond these walls

Hi Schroeder! 

Switching gears here and probably the moment everyone's all been waiting for - RailBlazer! 

This attraction is really twisted and just gorgeous to look at. Now that the park is open, we've been able to get some great views of construction that's taking place. One thing to note: photos taken were from behind perimeter fencing from ground level - please respect the park and don't attempt to try and enter restricted areas or climb on park structures to get your construction photos of the attraction as both are a safety hazard and against park policies.

A clear view of the tunnel/canyon that's being formed around the initial drop. It's a tight fit!

Overview of RailBlazer, aka the view as shown in the renderings

These next couple shots give you an idea how compact this footprint is

The queue is beginning to form

And ride lighting is being installed

More rockwork as you sweep into the upward helix

Entertainment-wise, the early season starts us out with 2 Peanuts shows - a revamped Peanuts Block Party with a new music routine and a brand new show at the Peanuts Showplace, Snoopy's Dog Days of Summer! Come summer season the rest of the shows will begin making their way into the park, starting with the new R&B Boys kicking off Memorial Day Weekend. The park has put up a billboard highlighting upcoming shows and shows that are currently running. 

Active shows and shows coming soon

Nice to see the stages promoting the upcoming shows!

Even the Great America Theater is promoting its upcoming "Elevation Extreme" show!

Lastly, we just need to say this: Great America looks gorgeous! We just couldn't get enough of strolling the new midways, which span from RailBlazer all the way to the first part of Orleans Place. Visually, our favorite area is Hometown Square with its pavers that's been meticulously placed over the past few weeks! 

Did you make it out to opening weekend? What did you think of the park? Are you excited for RailBlazer? Let us know in the comments below! Stay tuned for the next park update!