California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby cgaridesman » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:26 pm

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@CPFoodBlog posted a picture of a new teaser up at Cedar Point that references Great America/Yankee Harbor. I feel like the prevailing wisdom points to a water park expansion for 2019 and I think I've heard talk about a re-theme for Boomerang Bay, so do you think next year we see Boomerang Bay turn into Yankee Harbor? It would make sense since they've demolished pretty much everything that was in Yankee Harbor and they'll certainly be using that land for the water park.

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby crikett » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:14 am

I visited the park each of the last two Saturdays, for two very different, and rather brief trips. A week ago, it was a visit in the early evening to check out the Taste Or Orleans festival. While I had thought, "just maybe," to getting a ride on something, the reality was everything was about an hour wait (with Railblazer being 2 hours). However the food was surpassingly good, and the ambience of the festival, and the bands was quite nice. This has grown into a nice annual event for the park, and though it was inconvenient for my visit, it was nice to see things so crowded.

While the previous visit was made with the idea of no rides being likely, this last Saturday was really all about finally getting to try out Railblazer. And it turned out great! As the prior arrival found a full parking lot and a short search for parking, this Saturday's early arrival found a parking lot with 3 other cars as my wife and I arrived about 15 minutes ahead of the early opening for pass holders - and a quick aside, if you have a pass and have not used this time, it happens every Saturday over the summer.

The scheduled plan for the day was that both Gold Striker and Railblazer (and a few other smaller rides would be open), however, when things opened at 9am, Gold Striker was not open. At the time there was no other info (though it looked like they were running Patriot with the idea of opening it, so it didn't bode well for an early opening for Gold Striker). But that was a minor point, since this trip was really about trying out Railblazer... and on that point, it was a chance to ride it, and then re-ride and re-ride, before finally deciding enough rides had been had!

Took a ride on Patriot (since my wife hadn't tried it since the train change/re-branding), and then stopped by Gold Striker. As I mentioned. it wasn't opened with the park, and I had noticed earlier that one of the trains seemed to be stuck on the lift hill. But as the park itself was just opening, a line was starting to form, and they were running empty trains... as the line was short, we figured it might be worth waiting a few minutes in case it opened. And it did. In my prior experience, this is sometimes rougher in the morning, though it did seem a bit rougher than I expected (seems to be echoed by others). Nothing too bad, just a noticeable difference from where it has been.

Some take aways from these visits:

As I noted, the Taste of Orleans was a lot of fun. Great America is definitely good at these "special events," and in my experience they've all mostly proved worth checking out.

The park looks great, with the new paving and upgraded restrooms being standout points.

As others have wondered, what is going on with White Water Falls? With the log ride being gone, I would think having this up mid-summer would be a priority?

Railblazer is a lot of fun! And a real attraction: on my first visit seeing it (with the two hour wait), there were crowds gathered around it just watching it. It is without a doubt a big hit for the park and providing a good amount of "buzz."

Railblazer's operations were great. Even in the early morning with a crowd of less than 20, the ride ops were hustling to keep the trains rolling out. With the overall low capacity, it was nice to see them doing everything they could to mitigate that weakness.

And again, Railblazer is intense and a lot of fun! The back was definitely my favorite spot. With another major coaster seemingly on the horizon, Great America will have spent this decade making quite a transformation to their coaster collection (with Flight Deck being their best at the start, and looking to round out a top four with the next arrival).

While the new trains don't make Patriot a fantastic coaster, they do make it ridable. And, in the same way that Grizzly offers a tamer wooden coaster experience compared to Gold Striker, Patriot seems to fill a similar role for Flight Deck (or even Railblazer).

With Gold Striker getting rougher, I would wonder if 2021 might a target date that could see it closed for some re-tracking? Just random speculation here, but if there is a new coaster coming that year for 2020, then closing it early in 2020 and/or opening it late in 2021 would seem to be an option? I'm really hoping this ride never descends to what happened with Ghost Rider!

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby thrillseeker4552 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:51 am

^I actually didn't think Gold Striker was too bad. That could be because I rode GhostRider countless times when it was at its worst, before the renovation, so my standards for what constitutes a rough ride have been raised a lot. But at the same time, new GhostRider is definitely smoother. Heck, even Grizzly was smoother, albeit much less exciting. I could see a total retracking project ala GhostRider come within the next few years for Gold Striker if it gets worse.

Also, Railblazer kicks butt. I REALLY hope Six Flags AND Cedar Fair clones these coasters. They are so crazy intense and fun. Once CGA gets their hyper, they will have a really, really solid top 4.
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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby jonskinny12 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:41 am

My girlfriend and I made a quick trip out to northern California last week and spent Friday at CGA. It was a lot of fun. I hadn't been to this park in about 20 years and she had never been, so there was plenty of new stuff for us. We got there right at opening and hit Gold Striker first. We could see that it wasn't going to be empty so we got Fast Lane after our first ride and it was so worth it. We were able to get 6 rides on Gold Striker, 5 on Flight Deck, 16 on Railblazer, and also ride a few other things. It was also useful on our two trips on the sky ride. :Pr We even left the park for 3-4 hours during the hottest part of the day to check in to our hotel and relax and get some dinner.

Speaking of the hotel, have any of you ever stayed in the Avatar Hotel? It's right down the street from the park and isn't affiliated with the park or Cedar Fair from what I could tell, but we had this picture of Top Thrill Dragster above our bed.

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While I think the park looks nice and we had a great time, I couldn't help but notice the lack of trees especially compared to SFDK, which we visited the day before. Anyway, on to the rides!

Railblazer (x16) - This ride is absolutely insane. The back has some of the strongest airtime I've ever felt on any ride anywhere. The only complaints I have are that it's too short and the restraints can get a bit painful if you ride it a lot. After we had ridden it 8 or 9 times my collar bones started to hurt and I have bruises there now. My girlfriend's shoulders were fine but the restraints hurt her thighs a bit after a number of rides. But it was minor enough that we were still able to ride it again and again. The front seat is awesome for the view, the back seat is awesome for the airtime on the first drop. We were able to sit in just about every seat and it's awesome in every seat. I really hope that more parks get these rides. It's fun to watch too. We would just sit/stand and watch it, almost in disbelief that a ride like this exists. It looks even faster in person than in off-ride videos I've seen.

Side note - Fast Lane helped us the most here. The line was almost to the entrance for a good part of the day (they were saying 90 minutes) but we never waited more than 10 minutes. They were also using the Fast Lane line for single riders as well, but taking Fast Lane before the single riders. They tried to have single riders stand to one side of the line and Fast Lane to the other, but it didn't always work. If that's a long term plan, it would help if they painted something on the concrete so people know.

I do want to point out one more thing about Railblazer without it raising a huge issue (hopefully). You can feel almost every single track connection throughout the course. You can even see that they've tried to grind down a lot of the connections, I assume to make it smoother. The ride is super smooth aside from the track connections. And even those aren't too bad except on the very last turn before going up into the brake run. Has anyone else noticed this? Is it the same on Wonder Woman?

Gold Striker (x6) - We didn't think Gold Striker was too rough. The turn at the bottom of the first hill was pretty bumpy but the rest of it was fine. It feels like an out of control wooden coaster. It did seem smoother in the evening, but that could have just been our perception or where we were sitting. Back seat all the way for me on this one. It was a lot of fun but not my favorite GCI.

Flight Deck (x5) - I wish we could have ridden this ride more, but it was closed for a good part of the day. Luckily it was open in the evening because we rode it twice in the early afternoon and 3 times around 8:30, and it seemed like it was absolutely hauling in the evening. It blew us away and the only reason we walked away was to get some night rides on Railblazer before closing. Otherwise we would have gone a few more times. I almost want to go back for this more than any other ride because we didn't quite get our fill. :lol:

Patriot (x1) - I rode this as Vortex and thought it sucked then. As Patriot it's just kind of boring.

The Grizzly (x1) - Slowest ride ops in the park. This thing takes forever. The ride itself was fine, and it was really smooth.

Demon (x1) - Demon is pretty fun and wasn't nearly as painful as some of the others, like Corkscrew at CP. I really like classic Arrow coasters, but there were just more interesting things to do in the park than ride this. Plus we got stuck on the brake run for about 15 minutes and didn't feel like going back.

Drop Tower (x1) - The last time I was here Drop Zone was the newest ride (I think) and it was awesome. I prefer the Intamin drop towers to the S&S towers so I try to ride them at least once any time I visit a park that has one.

Here are a few crappy pictures I took with my cell phone.

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Gold Striker ready for the day!

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Railblazer is fun to watch.

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This drop is insane but not even the most insane part of the ride.

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Gold Striker doing its thing.

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This flat spin over the water is awesome.

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Railblazer looks cool all lit up at night. But I didn't think night rides were any better than day rides.


Overall, I like this park quite a bit. Railblazer ride ops were flying, props to them. Ride ops on most other rides were average or slow. Given its proximity to me compared to other parks, I can see myself wanting to come back again. Especially when they add a couple more things.

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby Sven20 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:10 am

Does Railblazer have constant breakage like Wonderwoman at SFFT? WW is down constantly with restraint problems.

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby jonskinny12 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:29 am

Sven20 wrote:Does Railblazer have constant breakage like Wonderwoman at SFFT? WW is down constantly with restraint problems.


I didn't see Railblazer down at all the day I was there a week and a half ago. We rode it all different times of the day, and as far as we could tell it was open from park opening to closing.

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby Sven20 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:34 am

jonskinny12 wrote:
Sven20 wrote:Does Railblazer have constant breakage like Wonderwoman at SFFT? WW is down constantly with restraint problems.


I didn't see Railblazer down at all the day I was there a week and a half ago. We rode it all different times of the day, and as far as we could tell it was open from park opening to closing.

Okay. I'm at SFFT it's a shot show. Broke down constantly yesterday. Today broke after 1 cycle to start day. Got back in line after11st ride broke down again. Then they went to 1 train ops and that train had only 7 working seats. Of course with no stl trains were going out with 5 or 6 all the time. SF parks don't have the ops to handle a ride like this.

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby Sven20 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:35 am

jonskinny12 wrote:
Sven20 wrote:Does Railblazer have constant breakage like Wonderwoman at SFFT? WW is down constantly with restraint problems.


I didn't see Railblazer down at all the day I was there a week and a half ago. We rode it all different times of the day, and as far as we could tell it was open from park opening to closing.

Okay. I'm at SFFT it's a shot show. Broke down constantly yesterday. Today broke after 1 cycle to start day. Got back in line after first ride broke down again. Then they went to 1 train ops and that train had only 7 working seats. Of course with no srl and ops without enough iniative pull people and call out empty seats trains were going out with 5 or 6 all the time. SF parks don't have the ops to handle a ride like this.

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby jonskinny12 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:43 am

That's pretty disappointing to hear about Wonder Woman. Is it always like that?

I think the grouping system that CGA has for Railblazer works well, it would just be helpful if there was a more clear separation between the Fast Lane and single rider lines. They were pulling a good combination of the regular line and Fast Lane lines and pulling from the single rider line as necessary to fill every single train. And they would fill the rows 2-3 people deep so there was never any delay there. It was rare that I ever saw an empty seat on that ride (and all 8 rows were open all day). Most of the ride ops were really hustling around too. I thought the line moved as well as I could have hoped for with such small trains.

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby Domm » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:47 pm

It’s been a good summer for Railblazer ride ops. The red and yellow train are always running and they get people off and back on in just about 30 seconds. The third green train has been down most of the past month from what I’ve seen.

Any rumors/news on the new coaster or water park??

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