3.30.2016

California's Great Ameica Unveils Future Plans

We just got through opening weekend at California's Great America when we found out about Great America's rather bright future. Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair's CEO was at CGA today to discuss the direction Cedar Fair wants the park to go. In the end, this eliminated all of the rumors of the park going under on various theme park fan sites and shows the commitment Cedar Fair has with the park.

While Cedar Fair owns and operates the park, the City of Santa Clara owns the land the park sits on. Cedar Fair plans on purchasing the land and is filing an application to rezone the property. Currently, Cedar Fair has a long-term lease on the land that goes to 2074. The long term goals they have with the park include a number of things that will make this a destination to go to, and would include the following:

  • New Front Gate Entertainment/Shopping District (Think Downtown Disney or Knott's Marketplace)
  • Revamp/Rebranding of the Water Park (currently Boomerang Bay...Can we call this Yankee Harbor Water Park?) as well as expansion and new entry
  • New Major Coaster
  • Family Rides
  • Water Coaster (Yankee Clipper 2.0 anyone?)
  • Entrance Plaza

Image Courtesy of 1590 KLIV-AM

We've been looking at this image and looks like the area highlighted in Orange could be tied with other things like Stadium Events. While we don't want to stir up any rumors, we found it interesting that Logger's Run is highlighted as part of the Boomerang Bay attractions.


This is what got us really excited! That's a lot of rides! 6 200-foot rides?


Right now though this is all an idea/concept and only time will tell as to what's to come as there's a number of studies to be conducted (noise, traffic, environmental impact, proximity to SJC) but hopefully in the next year or so we'll start seeing some of these things come to life! In short, CGA isn't going to be sold off to make way for more houses we don't need, or more empty offices in Silicon Valley (Yes, there's a lot of vacant offices in the vicinity).

What do you think of this announcement? Let us know in the comments below!

3.25.2016

California's Great America Opening Day 2016



We're back from the opening day at California's Great America and overall was a pleasant day. The park kicked their 40th year off with giving out free cinch bags (complete with old school Marriott-era Great America logo) to the first 2500 guests. Crowds were light today so a huge number of guests walking around the park today all had their bags in tow.









Probably the coolest 40th Anniversary souvenirs we've seen so far!

 Opening day though is expected to arrive with several kinks that will be worked out over the coming weekends. Some of these kinks included slower operations (as ride attendants get accustomed to their roles), some infrastructure glitches (season pass discounts), slower operations at food services  - the available staff that was present had their hands full with everything and they did everything they could to get food out, but the lack of staff initially made it a bit rough for both employees and guests alike. Kudos though to both guests and employees for being patient and handling things rather well (at least the line we were in everyone kept their cool).

Plus side, the crowds were light so that made for the majority of the rides a minimal wait or a walk on. We also saw numerous park improvements as we made our way around the park. The Games Gallery near Drop Tower looks so much better now as it takes on a more vibrant color scheme as opposed to the gloomy gray colors from the Paramount era. In fact, all the new color in the area sort of makes Drop Tower, one of the focal points in the area, look a bit more faded.








New this season in food services was the "All Season Souvenir Cup" where your cup gets you unlimited refills all season long (as opposed to the 99-cent refills for the rest of the season). We opted to get the cup as we're frequently at the park and know it will come in handy when those hot summer days roll in.



Mass Effect did not open with the park but will be opening some point later this spring. It looks like there's still a bit of work to be done but it's hard to tell as everything is enclosed. The queue for the theater has been expanded outward and unfortunately as it currently stands, there is no shade. Until later toward the evening when the surrounding trees shade the queue, guests are going to be roasting in the blazing sun. Hopefully some kind of shade structure will be in the works.





The building received a skin over the operating side as an element of theming, making it look much like the exterior of a space ship. Also upgraded were the pre show monitors, previously they used the older CRT monitors which were hard to see in the daytime hours.




Bonus park feature for 2016: Great America now has free Wifi! As much as we should be enjoying our day with our families and friends, having a wifi hotspot is convenient. For those of us who do live updates at the park, this is a plus. Wifi seemed to come and go but overall it did the job (not that we needed to constantly be online :) ).

Other notable features from today were the following:

New Rapids queue, more ADA-friendly with wider ramps going up



New game cards for the arcades - replacing the antiquated token system (there goes the days of finding some random stray tokens on the ground to play a quick game :) ). Better off using the cards though, wouldn't want a bunch of tokens pouring out of a pocket when on a ride.




Drop Tower - number of things to mention here. First off, all 6 cabins were functioning on opening day! We hope they can keep all 6 running now as it will help the line significantly! Also, the cabins were repainted. Wonder if a tower repaint is in the works for the near future... Lastly (Didn't get any photos) they replaced the ugly gray wooden panels on the air gates with a natural color panel with curved edges, matching the curved edge shape of the metal airgates.



Riders in Cabin 1 (which is usually never working) prepare to ascend 200+ feet.
Here's a few other additional photos we snapped from throughout the day just out of pure randomness.

Flight Deck red still really pops!

Firefall did open with the park this season.

#LegacyOfArrow

HMB Endeavor (AKA Revolution, or as we've nicknamed it "Endeavolution")

#LegacyOfArrow

Gold Striker via fisheye lens, really captures the twisty nature of this ride!

Gold Striker from above (complete with graffiti on the tower's windows...)
Thank you for reading and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for park news and updates!

2.17.2016

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Mid Winter Update




We’re here with an update from our most recent visit to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk! This visit was on the second weekend of February, 2016, which meant most rides were open with a few still closed for winter maintenance. In this update, you’ll see many little changes that are happening, and it is all these little things added up that really make the boardwalk what it is: keeping things fresh and modern while preserving a rich history.

Without further ado, here are the photos from this visit, enjoy!


The first change that can now be seen is major: A complete overhaul of the parking system to a ticketed version.


It works like any ticketed parking system. We were pleased to see the pay stations accept both cards and cash.
The entire process goes smoothly and does not appear to have any kinks.

Now the parking has been taken care, of, it’s time to enter the park proper.

Undertow’s station has been repainted with a fitting set of colors.
We recommend riding Haunted Castle early, if not first thing on busier days like President’s Day weekend.
It’s a great dark ride, albeit with low capacity.


Speaking of dark rides, Ghost Blasters appears to be undergoing a major refurbishment.
A reminder as to how committed the boardwalk is to maintaining rides.
One of the best maintenance teams you’ll find in the amusement industry by far.


Here you can see work being done on the track.

Not to mention an completely redone exterior…

…and a cool new sign. We are unsure as to whether they are updating the show portion of the ride,
but if they are, then that should be cause for excitement.
There have been major cosmetic upgrades to the queue for one of our favorite flat rides, Wipeout!
Beautiful new murals like this one have been painted in the queue.


Particularly this one, the tuna have been sculpted to give the picture real physical depth.


It’s hard to tell in this photo, but there’s a new light-music sync going on between cycles.

Logger’s Revenge, the boardwalk’s Arrow log flume, is getting some TLC.
#LegacyOfArrow :)

Over at Rock-O-Plane, capsule number 5 has been repainted into a rainbow scheme.
This area formerly housed Tater Twist. It is being rebuilt into something new, what it is we do not know yet.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a boardwalk update without pictures of the signature rides, as well as atmosphere in general.

One of the last remaining ring dispensers in the world,
the other two being at Knoebels in Pennsylvania and Crescent Park in Rhode Island.
There is no bad angle you can get of the boardwalk from the beach.




Yes, it was busy…but the bustle is part of the boardwalk experience,
something unique that other parks can’t seem to accomplish.

Last but not least, Giant Dipper pics!

Here you can see some retracking has been done.

Airtime in the front…

…and in the back!

We’ll conclude with some first drop love. Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed this update!