California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby Double0Kevin » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:45 pm

RAWKIN_coaster38 wrote:Very cool footage! I can really tell the park had a lot of charm back then. It was interesting seeing the rides that are still there and the rides that are gone. That ferris wheel thing looked really cool! Why did they get rid of it?


They removed it to make room for Invertigo. I hated that thing, was not sad to see it go.
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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby oriolat » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:10 am

JT325 wrote:Did you guys notice the proper operation of an Arrow looper!? One train goes down the first drop, the next train is on the lift.

I never rode TOCentury, but I do remember that operation at Demon (at my home Great America, here in Gurnee). As soon as the train went down the drop, you would hear that loud ripping sound of the next train latching on and ratcheting at the bottom of the lift. And then the nose would peek out above the 'lift rocks.' Good times! Get in, pull down your bar, and your off! Simple times. Logical times.


Sure did! No wonder they could reach THRC back in the day. I wish you could see parks train their employees to shift trains like they used to...

Great footage! By the way, who made those triple ferris wheels? They sure looked great, had good capacity but none of them are around anyomre (I think?). It would be great for a park (looking at you, Knoebel's) to bring back such an iconic model...

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby Mike240SX » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:31 am

oriolat wrote:Great footage! By the way, who made those triple ferris wheels? They sure looked great, had good capacity but none of them are around anyomre (I think?). It would be great for a park (looking at you, Knoebel's) to bring back such an iconic model...


The triple-wheels (and more rarely seen double-wheel like Hershey used to have) were made by Waagner Biro AG and supplied by Intamin. It seems the manufacturing company is now only involved in architecture projects.
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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby JT325 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:36 am

^There were only 2 of those triple wheels to my knowledge, one at each of the Great Americas. There was supposed to be a third Great America park near Washington DC, but that never happened.

Intamin also supplied Astroworld, Hersheypark, Kings Island and Magic Mountain with similar double wheels; the "Galaxy" at Magic Mountain had 4 smaller "sweeps" on each of the large arms. Those are the ones I was aware of, there may have been more.

I only rode the one at my home park (Great America, Gurnee) and that ride scared me - but I loved it! People were a bit shocked when they took it out for a cruddy ride that never ran (Deja Vu). Sky Whirl was a capacity monster with a very long ride cycle. The ride looked HUGE from the highway and around the park, making up an important park of the park skyline. I believe the highest point was 125', does someone know for sure?
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Galaxy at Magic Mountain
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Giant Wheel at Hersheypark
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Astrowheel at Astroworld. Note the *original* drop on Texas Cyclone, with it's snapping break-over and 4-bench PTC train. This drop was modified before 1984 to a more gradual break-over (and the PTCs were changed to 3-benches around 1981).
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Racer with Zodiac double wheel. This wheel was later relocated to Wonderland in Sydney, Australia.
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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby boweryboy » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:47 am

singemfrc wrote:Scanning my family's old Super 8 and 8mm film reels to computer and came across a couple marked "Great America 7/77", thought you all would appreciate this pretty rare footage of the park when it was only a year old. There are a couple quick shots of Whizzer, lots of good footage of Turn Of The Century, and several things that arent at the park anymore. I think Tidal Wave was probably under construction when this was filmed, but I didn't see it in the video. There's also some kinda neat footage of driving down the 680 from Sacramento showing a freeway overfly still under construction somewhere in the south bay.


Oh wow! This brings back so many memories for me. I was raised in San Jose and lived there until my late 20s. I recall there were quite a few of those incomplete freeway flyovers. The one I remember the most was the Highway 101/Interstate 280/680 flyover. The Whizzer was my first "big boy" rollercoaster. I remember it was called Willard's Whizzer at the time. I was too chicken to ride Turn of the Century. By the time I got over my fear it was transformed to The Demon. The troika, called Triple Play, was my favorite flat ride. I would spend half the day re-riding it. I was also obsessed with riding the Yukon Yahoo bayern curve. Thanks for sharing!

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby coastin_dude » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:19 pm

I think CGA has a very bright future. You're getting a pretty good sized coaster this year and a freaking 250 ft B&M hyper fairly soon too.
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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby CaptainUnknown » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:42 pm

While those skywheels sure look interesting (I was unable to get on one), but how reliable were they? Why did they go the way of the dodo?
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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby crikett » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:01 am

I first went to Great America (Santa Clara) as a child, and all of this brings back great memories. In hindsight, the park in those early years really had so many things you just don't see today (trolleys and bands and whatnot). Anyway, a few points to add and consider:

Turn Of The Century. In 1976, this was my first REAL coaster, and those bunny hills were amazing. Though I have often wondered if the fact they ejected me so forcefully had as much to do with the hills themselves, or with the fact that my child self was much smaller and more easily forced from my seat. I don't suppose there is anyone here that rode it as an adult sized person or knew of someone that did ride it and experience this? In any case though, the ride experience was much better than the Demon. However, the change to the Demon was quite a big deal, and based on advertising and hype, the addition of the loops was based entirely on how new inversions still were, and how marketable. Though, as with all things, if this also wound up reducing maintenance cost, that surely would have been a plus that would've made such a decision easier. I feel lucky that I got to ride both versions of this so many times (I fondly recall literally running out of the station exit on TOtC and running all the way back to the entry on quiet days, and riding over and over with my friends). Sadly, my height has made the Demon extremely uncomfortable (the restraints push me down in the most painful way), so I probably will not partake again, but still some wonderful memories.

Sky Whirl was a pretty iconic ride, though not a personal favorite. I don't ever recall there being issues with reliability (it seemed to be always running).

Triple Play was easily my favorite flat ride... and in an interesting connection with TOtC: One of those visits when my best friend and I were probably very cute kids, the way older adult seeming girl that was the ride op in Triple Play (probably all of 18 years or so?) told us to tell the ride op on TOtC we could ride whenever we wanted. Well, obviously, in hindsight, the guy running TOtC probably had a crush on the girl, and indeed, invoking her name did grant my friend and I special riding privileges for that day!

On a last note, like everyone else, I dearly miss the Whizzer. As with the ejector experience on TOtC, I imagine the experience would not be nearly as wonderful as it is in my memory, but that and Yankee Clipper are definitely missed.

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby FolsomFan » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:55 am

That video was awesome ... thanks for sharing! I grew up in the Bay Area so I went to Great America a lot. I used to pay for my season pass back in the 80s with my paper route money.

I made my yearly trip to CGA this week and it was a mixed bag for sure. Three of the first four rides we wanted to go on were closed (Gold Striker, Tiki Twirl and Drop Tower). We went on Patriot first and it was OK. I had forgotten how relatively short the track was.

We did not wait in line much, which was great. We walked on to the front row of Flight Deck and it was incredible. I had never been in the front row for that ride and it added so much for us. It was the highlight of the day.

Gold Striker did eventually open in the afternoon. We pretty much walked onto the back row. That ride is just relentless and that is what I love about it.

We also went on Delirium, which is my test ride to see if I can still handle spinning rides at my age. I am happy to say I was totally fine afterwards!

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Re: California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

Postby RAWKIN_coaster38 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:08 am

"Face unseen twists and turns along the path #ProjectSR1"
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