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Columbia

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Posts posted by Columbia

  1. I think what most people forget about the Grizzly isn't that it was JUST rough - it was it's lack of doing anything that contributed to it's suck factor. Remember, that it's a mirror image of Grizzly at Kings Dominion, and you can see the elements missing (Double Bunny Hill, Tunnel). Most of the ride was "smoothed out" from the KD design to be more gentle...but once the roughness came into play - all bets were off.

  2. For the 35th Anniversary of the park:

    "For 2011, Great America plans to add two new shows – the "Boot Scootin' Boogie" country revue and the "Don't Stop the Music" dance program."

     

    Source: www.latimes.com

     

    As others have stated (but seem to have forgotten or neglected) "While Great America has released no details on the 2012 project, officials confirmed the new attraction will NOT be the oft-delayed wooden roller coaster proposed in 2008 (which remains in limbo due to noise concerns)."

     

    Source: www.latimes.com

  3. It should be noted that the Bay Area has a rich tradition and history of amusement parks - especially CLOSED ones. To mention a few notables:

     

    Frontier Village, San Jose

    Playland at the Beach, San Francisco

    Santa's Village, Scotts Valley

    Jay's, Petaluma

     

    There's a market in the Bay Area for many parks, but that doesn't mean if you present a poor product "...they will still come."

     

    Back on topic: Although visually appealing, a ZacSpin is not the best for capacity, something the park is already lacking. Although, it WOULD be a quick fix.

     

    You have a straightaway in the former Tidal Wave spot, the Invertigo lot and some space behind it. Let's see what develops.

  4. ^^ Does the Coaster Count really matter??

    It does to Kinzel and this may be his last chance to keep CP on top.

     

    I would much rather have a park with 10 coasters and quality throughout than 20 coasters and...that's it, nothing in-between.

     

    The coaster count looks good for marketing, but when you have awesome throughout (I.E. Holiday World) you don't need a veritable s-load of coasters.

  5. Those who have been following this thread tangentially over the past few years, welcome to our personal hells.

     

    This is by no means the "first" nail in the coffin for this park. For most, it feels like several nail guns have done most of the job...and the verbiage from the press release IS eerily similar to the downfall of Geauga Lake.

     

    But this is an interesting year...If the 49ers are to move to SC, they'll realistically need to start construction THIS YEAR to HOPE to host the Superbowl in 2015. (The year the extension in Candlestick expires) Cedar Fair just had a pseudo-shakeup with Corporate Management with Kinzel's "ousting" which may affect debt restructuring, etc. These are a few things to watch for as this story develops. The park isn't dead yet (though many will say it's dead to them) but it's certainly on life support in my opinion.

     

    Many have said there's much more to this story. HELL'S YES THERE IS! It may take some time however, to let it all pan or come out.

     

    So what do I need to see to ensure myself this isn't another Geauga Lake? I need to see the park not just hint at a new attraction in the former Invertigo area, but come right out and say it - before the busy summer season gets underway. Have work walls up right away and have corporate SHOW me that they're committed to the SF Bay Area market. Forget keeping a competitive edge by keeping attractions secret until the last moment - you need all the good publicity you can get at this point from both the general public and industry watchers.

     

    As I've stated before, all CGA needs is a good 5-7 year-over-year capital campaign to get right back where they were in 2002/2003. (Similar to what KECO did in the 80's early 90's.

     

    What's even more ironic - there have been untold numbers of amusement parks that have closed in the Bay Area over the years...yet Santa Cruz just keeps putt-putting along for more than a century.

  6. It's fun to see on the video a few things, beyond what has already been said:

     

    1.) How CLEAN everything looked

     

    2.) The ORIGINAL support structure over the lake (It's not sinking, don't nobody panic)

     

    3.) The LACK of spot welds on the track! The camera angle really made it easy to see the rails themselves.

     

    So why is it a bit rougher than we remember? Well, it's amazingly been 17 years since it debuted and most* steel coasters have operational lives around 25 years. So to say this coaster has see nit's golden days is a fair statement. Now, being B&M, it should last...but maybe not age as gracefully as we could hope? Waiting for B&M fanboy hate in 3...2...1....go!

     

    On Invertigo, the reason behind it's "Vekoma Smoothness" some would say, "SMOOTH AS GLASS!" (Thank you very much) is due to the manufacturer. Vekoma designs most of their rides, but contracts (outsources) the fabrication of the track to other companies, usually Fabriweld. (Which makes them the "bargain" steel manufacturer.) Except they didn't do this for the first two Invertigo's. (Mostly because they were originally designed to use LIMS and not chains. The ensuing delay made it faster to just rebuild the damn things by themselves.) The first two Invertigo's were designed AND manufactured by Vekoma. Stealth, on the other hand, was fabricated by Fabriweld and it didn't age too well!

  7. I like the Grizzly (yes I said it). It isn't my favorite ride in the park, nor does it need to be. I find it moderately enjoyable, especially since portions of it were retracked last off-season, which made a HUGE improvement.

     

    Sure, the 10-minute turnaround isn't great, but I take that time to check out the view, and see how long the lines are for Invertigo and the Demon.

     

    The families that I've seen ride the Grizzly love it, plus it usually has one of the longest lines in the park, and I'm sure that's all that CGA cares about. I'd rather have an average coaster in the park than a Paramount-special empty gravel lot (cough Triple Play cough Tidal Wave cough).

     

    Don't forget The Orbit! Most of those lots were post-Paramount era, ala the Kinzel era. (Tidal Wave was on it's way out for YEARS)

     

    Most wonder why Grizzly is perennially voted "worst" in the Mitch Hawker poll. It's a combination of rough (of which I'll argue SoB was MUCH worse) and lack of doing anything. (10 min. turn, no bunny hills).

  8. So, I can anyone estimate what the fate of this park? I doubt that they're getting anything next year. So what's going to happen then? If you haven't added anything new for a long time, does the park slowly fade away? I've been reading alot of Columbia's comments, and he seems to know what he's talking about, so maybe he could answer this. What does this mean? How does the park stay afloat? What is Cedar Fair trying to do that is or isn't working? I'd just like to know if someone could comment on that.

     

    I actually had a great conversation with Shane of "Amusement Attic" fame about this a few months ago. We both have a personal connection to the park in Santa Clara.

     

    We basically came to the conclusion (Shane correct me if I'm wrong) that the park will eventually succumb to either a stadium or other development within the next decade, possibly sooner.

     

    In regards to your questions, I"ll try to analyze them separately:

     

    "Will the park slowly fade away?"

    I think it has been fading away for some time, since at least 2005. Because it's been so slow, we haven't noticed until now just how bad it's become. (Think Frog and Boiling Water metaphor)

     

    "How does the park stay afloat?"

    A program of significant capital improvement year over year for at least 5 to 7 years with a good multi-stage marketing campaign behind EACH one. (Similar to the campaign stared under KECO in the late 1980's.) I.E. "Every year we add something, ANYTHING." (Shows alone do not count, btw)

     

    "What is Cedar Fair trying to do that is / isn't working?"

    IMHO: Cedar Fair is trying to milk every penny out of the park and every guest through the turnstile without re-investing anything back into it. Clearly, it's not working, as opinions of the park (even on their own Facebook "fan" page) continue to plummet. This can be a debatable issue: The better question might be, "Is Cedar Fair really wanting to continue operating this park?"

     

    Based on the capital added to other Cedar Fair parks recently, the prevailing attitude would seem to be, "CGA can languish. It's already too much work with the proposed stadium, let alone all the other work of having to add capital."

     

    In any event, should the worst play out, hopefully the city and 49ers will recognize the significance of the front entrance to the park and keep my namesake for prosperity. Ultimately, that may be the only successful of the campaigns to save CGA. (Or at least some part of it.)

     

    "What can Cedar Fair do?"

    Show the fans of the park, local residents and annual visitors that you're not in it just to sell it off - even ONE major capital improvement (Like a $10 million+ coaster "caliber" attraction would quickly sway opinions of the park 180 degrees, I can almost guarantee it.)

     

    Again, just my analysis of the situation, take it with what you will. The lynch pin to the entire situation is that damn stadium and the mystery surrounding it. No longer can you blame the economy, especially when regional theme parks saw a huge uptick in attendance these past few years. (While Disney lost)

  9. Hmmm, anyone want to make a petition to Great America to build a new ride. Just to show that people actually care?

     

    ^ Here's hoping you're being sarcastic.

     

    The park knows when attendance is down and they know the way to fix it, through major capital improvement year over year. It's not a matter of "hating a park or neighborhood," it's all a business decision.

     

    When Cedar Fair bought the Paramount Parks in 2006, they were in debt, BIG DEBT. (To the tune of, "$1.7 billion for the chain." - Source: USA Today, Jan. 9, 2011) The best way to pay down debt? Not spend so much or start selling off assets.

     

    In my own opinion, and not stating as a fact: The stadium is a great excuse for Cedar Fair to get out of the contract with the City of Santa Clara to operate CGA. They can use the cash from the "bloated" sale price to pay down some of the debt and dump an underachieving park all at the same time.

  10. Depending on where you are in the park, I believe it varies from 170 - 224 feet. However, the standard height "limit" is 50 feet, without approval or zoning "variance" request. (That goes for the entire City of Santa Clara, I believe.)

     

    A parking lot coaster would actually be welcome, if there weren't a giant NFL stadium planned to occupy most of that space. Not to mention the construction space over the next few years!

  11. Let the speculation begin!

     

    Am I the only one who thinks a Mega-lite on the water would be really good?

     

    The neighbors on the hill across from the park (via Lake Chabot) are staunchly against anything with noise or height going by the lake. It would be spectacular to swing over the lake but alas, NIMBY neighbors. Plus there's the whole issue of disrupting animals but that's a whole "800 lb. gorilla" discussion.

  12. For at least once season, Paramount did indeed run Raging Waters in East San Jose. Your Season Pass from Great America was good for admission at either one. (But not your season pass to Raging Waters). Amazingly, this *could* have worked out, given that they would not have to invest their own capital into an all new park - but from what I have understood, it was not profitable enough (or at all) for then Paramount to continue with the deal.

  13. Yeah Thrust Air and Stealth...lol Two stellar rides right there (sarcasm).

     

    I'm not so sure the park itself went down hill until the last few years under Cedar Fair. It's just the lack of exciting investments made the park a bore to visit. If CF were to suddenly add two modern coasters ( say a GCI and an Intamin launch), the park's stock would pick right back up.

     

    This is one of those cases where coasters (or lack there of) really do make the difference.

     

    While I don't know how Thrust Air would end up at Great America (although having an 80 mph launch coaster in Northern California would be quite an appeal), both coasters would bring in something the park really needs: attendence. Stealth, is the ride that brought the park in three (3) hour lines. The tagline "Northern California's only flying coaster" made it the star attraction of Northern California. They took it out, and guess what happens? Attendence drops. So while you may joke about how those weren't great rides (which is your opinion, and I respect it), it's just not the bottom line for the theme park. Having those rides at Great America today would, at least give a better variety of experiences.

     

    Actually, working at the park during this time - attendance was UP after Stealth was taken out. The whole family could enjoy a waterpark, only those 54" and up could enjoy Stealth. Now, when the park did not add to the rest of the park during this time, attendance slipped to it's current level, but it was not based on the removal of Stealth alone.

     

    Variety was the reason for the removal of the ride. While PGA had coasters, they didn't have a waterpark, like many of the other "temperate" Paramount Parks at the time. So, would keeping Stealth give a better variety to the park? Personally, I don't think so. A park filled with coasters does not work (See Magic Mountain circa 1999-2008) what CGA needed then and needs even more today is SOMETHING, ANYTHING NEW. Something marketable that you can RIDE and see, not watch. (I.E. rides of all types in addition to shows.)

     

    Earlier in the thread, someone mentioned that Stealth had a long line because of it's popularity...while it's true that the coaster was indeed popular with guests, it was it's throughput or capacity that caused those infamously long lines. In an ideal world, the capacity was expected to be around 1200 guests per hour.* (Unconfirmed) But depending on guests, dispatching etc., it was usually well below that, into the mid-to high triple digits, hence the long line.

     

    Agreed on the point that a few consecutive years' worth of good capital, such as an Intamin / Premier Launch, a small woodie and some decent flats and you've got a 1000% stock increase in the park in terms of the GP and industry...the question seems to be whether C.F. can use the proposed 49ers stadium as a means to back out of the lease (and park) they signed up for when they purchased the Paramount Parks in their entirety.

  14. Blunders of the Decade:

     

    Parks:

    Hard Rock Park

     

    Marketing Tactics:

    "Xtreme" Branding Across the Industry (But mostly Six Flags)

    "Panamaxing" Parks with Coasters (Get as many as will fit, everything else can suffer)

     

    Concepts:

    Giant Inverted Boomerang / 4th Dimension Coaster

     

    Specific Coasters: (Note all of these are at ex-Paramount Parks)

    Son of Beast

    Stealth (Great America)

    Hypersonic XLC

  15. Possibly some small light at the end of the tunnel for CGA. Just ran on local channel KTVU:

    49ers Tentative Deal to Stay at Candlestick

     

    Highlights:

    49ers agree to tentative agreement to stay at Candlestick Park through 2014.

    Newer revenue sharing agreements with City of San Francisco.

    New stadium still "on schedule" for 2015.

     

     

    Well I know im not going back to a 49ers game until after 2014. Candlestick park is horrible, while I was there a few years ago there were no cupholders, at all and getting to and from the stadium was a nightmare.

     

     

    As for CGA itself.. that place when down hill when they put in a water park, inside the park that you have to pay extra for. They also tore out northern california's ONLY flying roller coaster to make room for it. Since that water park has opened, one kid has already drowned and the flat rides, psycho mouse horrible. Well, psycho mouse isn't bad but the lines for it are simply too long due to the capacity of the ride. Same thing happens with tony hawk at SFDK.

     

    1.) Stealth was a maintenance NIGHTMARE. It was always down and racked up tons of complaints from guests who blew most of their day waiting the "standard" three (3) hour wait. Despite being the "only of it's kind" it was also a pain in the neck. On it's last official "run" the large pin that held the seats parallel to the track failed to lock securely and the seats slammed loudly throughout the circuit. (I was in Yankee Harbor at the time). It never ran again at then PGA.

     

    2.) The park was going downhill FAR earlier than at the removal of Stealth in 2004. It was actually (IMHO) in 2001, when they ripped out the scenic train for the Thrust Air 2000 prototype that never arrived. That was also the year there were more up-charge attractions and the Pictorium saw it's last regularly scheduled film.

     

    As for the "blocking" on Psycho Mouse - I've never understood it either.

  16. Ironically, the worse the 49ers do, the better the chances for the park. No one wants to build a nice stadium for a team that perennially sucks.

     

    Actually, tons of people want to build a nice stadium for a team that perennially sucks.

     

    You're right Joey, the Raiders and (Al Davis) keep growling for a stadium...

     

    Hopefully cooler and smarter heads will prevail and realize that the fundamental problem with the site is lack of access. (I.E. Infastructure to handle 60k people every week.)

  17. To keep on topic - yes, they did make some amazing coasters (in the first few years of operation) and really contributed greatly to the "revival" of the woodie.

     

    My two cents - in response to Robb's prompt - "Why do most GCI's seem to hold up well, sometimes a decade after debuting?" I think it's the maintenance plan that they set up with the park in addition to the regular maintenance form the park.

     

    When I worked at then Marine World back in 2005, Roar wasn't running great. GCI was constantly calling corporate in OKC, wondering why they hadn't called to schedule their major refab on Roar's track. When the ride was finished with it's GCI refurb...it ran just like new.

     

    Take a look at Santa Cruz and the Dipper runs smoother than ANY woodie outside an Intamin Plug and Play. Then again, the track is walked EVERY two hours.

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