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California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread


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My take on yesterday and last night. The park was naturally dead during the day (except for Gold Striker which had 10-15 minute waits all day), and even Grizzly was only a 5 minute wait so we decided to take a ride on that for kicks...to be fair, Grizzly isn't really that bad...It's just dull. We still somehow managed to enjoy ourselves and the crews seemed to be moving a little bit quicker than we anticipated.

 

Haunt, polar opposite. The place was jam packed. As said above, we start at the back and work forward. We saved our VooDoo Chophouse front of the line passes for Dia De Los Muertos as we had a friend with us who had never experienced Dia yet. Good thing we did as the line stretched all the way to the park's entrance gates. In my mind, the only sounds I can hear in my head were the 'ka-ching! ka-ching!' sounds from RCT. Haunt is a money maker for the park for sure! I never really timed our waits but I'll take a rough guestimate of what we experienced and length of lines...This is also the order we did the mazes.

 

Zombie High: <5 minutes, waited for 2 groups to go in and we were in

Toy Factory: 5 minutes, used 3 sets of switchbacks

Corn Stalkers: <5 minutes...was a walk-on. They disabled the multiple entries and kept the entry to the far right open. I'm actually a bit glad for this as this usually created traffic jams and getting split from your group as everyone's trying to merge.

Madame Marie's Massacre Manor: 5 minutes, used most of switchbacks in front of facade. We once again got line cutters kicked out

Blades of Horror...there was actually a line forming to enter theater...a nice, near single file line rather than everyone crowding at the doors.

Dia De Los Muertos: Walk-on, used our single-use Fright Lane pass. There was a huge backup and took us 10 minutes to actually go through the maze! Oh well, more time to actually look at all the eye-gasmic props! Once we got past the hanging skeleton bodies (near end of maze) traffic was nonexistent.

 

CarnEvil: 30 minutes...line moved like every 10 seconds. I had brought my 3DS and Pokemon X as these long lines would be great opportunity to battle friends and progress in my game but with how fast paced the line was, it was hard to focus.

 

We skipped Werewolf as the line wrapped around 80% of the circumference of the Flyers...in fact, we opted to ride the flyers instead as it had just about no line!

 

AFX theater/Funhouse Express's line stretched all the way to the action arcade/exit. I'd rather ride this during the day when we can walk right on. It is a hit for families though so I recommend riding it early and lines can still fill up.

 

Final visit back at Zombie High: 25-30 minutes. Line started at Tiki Twirl's entrance. At this point they were just letting everyone in so that they can keep things going in a timely manner.

 

For the most part, guests were pretty well behaved! There were the 2 people we called out and supervisors immediately responded and escorted them out of the line, or the group of 5 that passed everyone at Zombie High. Other than that, everyone (from what I saw) were pretty well behaved.

 

Other highlights of the night: Madame Marie spotted me near the chophouse/Maggie Brown's, called me over, and had Blue Fire Guy and my cousin help participate in one of her crazy rituals of stealing people's souls She then took my cousin's soul.

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We had a great time at CGA’s Haunt a couple of weeks ago for an event! We had backstage tours of 3 mazes (Dia de Los Muertos, Slaughterhouse Annihilation and Massacre Manor). We were also behind Gold Striker for some more photos. The night was terrific! We went through the mazes a couple of times (once going into line and once with Fright Line passes) and rode Gold Striker for an hour without getting off! The Voodoo Chophouse is the best value!

 

The only downer of the night was blatant line jumping, even in the Fright Lane! We went through the fright lane for Werewolf Canyon. There was a couple that got in between a couple of us (we had 8 people with us). They got up to the front with us, without a fright lane pass. They told the person at the entrance that “my brother is inside, I need to go in.” She told him that it is line cutting and he could be kicked out. She also said to go to the end of the line. We got through and then she let him in….RIGHT BEHIND US! We couldn’t believe how blatant the line cutting was.

 

We also went last night and had a blast! The park looked crowded, but we were able to get through everything!

 

It is a shame that Haunt is almost over. It seems like it just got started. We will be back out there next Sunday!

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Behind the Scenes of Dia!!!

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The cantina!

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Serve 'em up, we'll knock 'em down!

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Oooooh....the Theatre!

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The OVERLORD!

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Zombie High's entrance got better!

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Day 2

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So the Madame Marie package, you get a dinner at CGA, a skip the line pass on any maze, and 1 hour 30 minutes of ERT for how much money?

 

If you're a season pass holder, you're looking at roughly $22. It includes an all you can eat dinner, a single maze Fright Lane (Good for any 1 maze), and Gold Striker ERT from 5:30-7:00. Due to how busy it's been though, the ERT session was cut short 15 minutes to let guests standing in plaza in line...in turn, (a bit of a hassle) we could get back in line via the Fast Lane queue...just an inconvenience having to get out, go around, then get back in...where you can easily have had another 5 laps... I still got in 12 or so laps this past ERT and my record was 19 laps due to the insanely fast crew!

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CGA is reporting record numbers in Haunt attendance:

 

GREAT AMERICA’S HALLOWEEN HAUNT ENTERS FINAL WEEKEND

8 Haunted Mazes, 3 Scare Zones & 4 Live Shows Live Shows Deliver Record Attendance

Mazes Open Until 1 AM; Rides Operating Until Midnight Friday & Saturday

 

SANTA CLARA, CA – Halloween Haunt at California’s Great America heads into its final weekend delivering record attendance for the Bay Area’s premier Halloween event. Adding to the final Friday and Saturday, all Halloween Haunt mazes will be open until 1 a.m., with rides operating until Midnight.

 

Halloween Haunt’s sixth horrifying season has debuted two new sinister mazes, raising the frightful walks of terror count to eight. Dia de los Muertos lures victims into the forbidden jungle of El Chupacabra. La Llorona, the Weeping Woman, delivers horrifying screams as creatures of the night crawl from their crypts, while 3D effects and glow-in-the-dark highlights show the way. In the bloody halls of Zombie High, students experience a horrific homecoming with demonic hellions roaming about.

 

Great America’s six returning haunted mazes include: Slaughterhouse Annihilation, CarnEvil, Werewolf Canyon, CornStalkers, Madame Marie’s Massacre Manor and Toy Factory.

 

“Halloween Haunt is the Bay Area’s premier fright event,” said California’s Great America Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg. “Haunt provides terrifying mazes and in-your-face experiences, mixed with the added fun of all our thrill rides. Halloween Haunt at California’s Great America is the perfect place to confront your fears and we’re keeping the mazes open until 1 a.m. for the final Friday and Saturday.”

 

Three exhilarating Scare Zones return for 2013 to keep guests on edge throughout the night. In Dead Man’s Cove – dastardly dead pirates pursue your souls, while The Gauntlet area features tortured spirits lurking in the fog. Underworld Alley is a forgotten graveyard where the undead awake to wreak havoc.

 

Halloween Haunt’s four Live Shows bring additional frights, shrills and campiness to Great America. New for 2013, Blades of Horror transports screen images to life and guests can only hope to depart safely in Halloween Haunt’s inaugural ice show. Blades of Horror features two America’s Got Talent performers, along with a contortionist who will next perform in a Las Vegas Cirque show.

 

The Halloween Haunt experience begins each evening with the Overlord unleashing his fury from atop Carousel Columbia.

 

Tickets can be found online at http://www.cagreatamerica.com/haunt with free admission for 2013 and 2014 Gold Pass holders. Students can receive up to $17 off the regular admission price by showing their valid student ID. Halloween Haunt is intended for guests 13 and older.

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So the Madame Marie package, you get a dinner at CGA, a skip the line pass on any maze, and 1 hour 30 minutes of ERT for how much money?

 

If you're a season pass holder, you're looking at roughly $22. It includes an all you can eat dinner, a single maze Fright Lane (Good for any 1 maze), and Gold Striker ERT from 5:30-7:00. Due to how busy it's been though, the ERT session was cut short 15 minutes to let guests standing in plaza in line...in turn, (a bit of a hassle) we could get back in line via the Fast Lane queue...just an inconvenience having to get out, go around, then get back in...where you can easily have had another 5 laps... I still got in 12 or so laps this past ERT and my record was 19 laps due to the insanely fast crew!

Awesome! Definitely going to do that next Haunt visit!

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Had a great time at Haunt last night! Despite large crowds, we were able to do all 8 mazes, got to ride Drop Tower, Orbit, and Gold Striker, and watched Blades of Horror! If anyone is going to brave Haunt tonight (Saturday), be sure to start in the back first!

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Heading out to the park tonight with a group of 5, it was the only night everyone could go.

I know to expect heavy crowds, but am excited to hear they are staying efficient with the lines. Can anyone comment what mazes would be best to hit at the back of the park to be efficient? Should we wrap toward goldy, or flight deck? Anyone else coming out tonight?

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I know tonight's going to be busy but realistically I don't anticipate it to be as crazy as last night, but more like Friday. Speaking of which, I went Friday and stayed til their 1AM closing. It was neat having that extra hour but at the same time I felt like the park had its balls cut off as all of the rides were closed after midnight...even the smaller flat rides. Within that time I ended up visiting Werewolf Canyon (Probably the most lackluster experience of the night and of the season...why were talent just singing and just standing there?). There was very little talent in the maze and very little effort. Zombie High was still kicking strong at 12:45 and we finished the night with Slaughter House.

 

Other highlights from Saturday was waiting 75 minutes for Gold Striker, got on the ride at midnight...ended up dealing with line cutters who threatened us/said that they'd be waiting for us at the exit...and other cutters who got pulled back out of line by park employees. Both groups of cutters' plans were foiled!

 

CarnEvil after midnight was a walk-on as well as Zombie. Werewolf was only 10 minute wait. We also waited 15 minutes for Dia De Los Muertos, and started the night with the 4 mazes in back (all walk-on). It was my brother's and bro's friend's first time doing Haunt and we ended up doing the Chophouse meal for Goldy ERT...and they loved it! We later managed to ride a randomly violent-swinging Orlean's Orbit, a nice ride on Flyers, and a near walk-on for Drop Tower (caught the ride early).

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Bumptasticness!

 

It's time for my 'end of the season' recap followed by next season's predictions...let's take a look.

 

-Gold Striker will either be ready to greet us opening day, or perhaps spring break. I don't see a "Six Flags" happening here.

Neither, but it did begin testing after Spring Break and literally opened the last day of May spontaneously.

 

-Coasters will get fresh coat of paint/coasters will get the rest of their much needed paint (Demon, Flight Deck)

Nope. Buildings however did receive fresh paint.

 

-More sprucing up on the property (Parking lot signs are pretty faded, had a hard time finding where we parked the other night during Haunt, letters hard to read under the amber lighting)

CGA's lot was reconfigured and outfitted with new and very bright LED lighting. It looks like an auto dealership!

 

-New Haunt maze and/or scare zone, and a maze revamp

2 new mazes (one replacement). Due to the other new maze, one existing maze (Cornstalkers) was drastically re-configured. The 2 new mazes were Zombie High and Dia De Los Muertos. Toy Factory got some sprucing up as well (RIP "butt cheeks")

 

-Madame Marie's Massacre Manor soundtrack gets released on Soundcloud for our listening pleasures

Yup, now waiting for the Zombie High 80's rock and the Dia De Los Muertos ambiance

 

-Hint at a new ride

Nope, not yet...

 

Wishful thinking:

-New attraction for Boomerang Bay, could use a speed slide complex...those drop slides are pretty nice

Nope

-Firefall gets new/improved program, earns more flips

Nope

-New show to replace the aging Spongebob

Yup, twice...Happy Feet (which got old fast) and the more enjoyable Funhouse Express!

 

-2 ride limit gets lifted, highly beneficial if any kind of ERT sessions are going to happen.

Well, I marathon'd Gold Striker 19 times back-to-back so...what's that say?

 

Highlights:

 

- Pre-season behind the scenes park and hardhat tour

- Gold Striker opening (duh!)

- Gold Striker Promotional shoot and being on one of the first trains to cycle the general public

- Hanging out with the gang

- Haunt, and being invited to their VIP opening night

- Haunt improvements and options (Madame Marie's Voodoo Chophouse)

- 5-man run with the group, which this time lead to us beating each other up...Blue Fire Guy's head smashed into my shoulder, Flagg o' Dim and his brother collided (nose smash into shoulder)...not to mention the crazy wall time

- New, great shows...being Blades of Horror (Haunt) and On Broadway (Summer)

- CGA rolled out some nice season passholder perks during the summer being the "Thank You Thursday" ERT sessions during the summer. This worked out great as I work on weekdays but was able to head out to the park for a few hours after work to ride Gold Striker.

 

Letdowns:

- No hint at any attractions for next year, not even for a flat or water slide. There's still hope but I'm not counting on it

- Crazy 'no photos' rules now being applied in Haunt scare zones...fortunately I was granted permission to do such as I was doing work for my blog

- While I don't mind the tunnels on Gold Striker, the delays between the promo shoot and it actually opening were pretty long

 

 

Looking ahead at my 2014 predictions

 

-New show to replace Happiness is Snoopy, On Broadway will return

-More sprucing up of the property, painting more buildings and hopefully some of the coasters. Vortex looks pretty bad.

-More retracking of Grizzly

-Another new maze for next year, some existing maze revamps (as the park is truly never complete with mazes/mazes are always growing), and a maze to be replaced

-Jam packed parking lots on Sundays in the fall

-Gold Striker will receive more tunnels/walls/infill

-More single rider queues to be combined with Fast Lane

-With the opening of Levi's Stadium and football, I can only guess that CGA would be open on a limited op during the winter months...plus with their competitor up north being open year-round it only makes sense. North Bay gets worse weather than the south bay or even the east bay (where I'm at) so I don't see why this couldn't work.

 

Wishful thinking

-New Boomerang Bay attraction

-Announcement/hints for 2015 attraction

-Something will happen with former River Adventure attraction, whether if it will just be part of space for something bigger (as Invertigo's grass sits near it)

 

And a brief writeup on my closing out of the season. I went Friday and Sunday. Friday was moderately busy with the typical 30-minute wait times. Sunday however was probably the quietest I've seen Haunt all season. I never waited more than 15 minutes for a maze...average waits were 5-10 minutes. I think that the crummy weather combined with being a Sunday kept people at bay. 2012 Haunt on a Sunday was much more packed. Daytime Sunday was actually decently busy, though most of it was families with kids. You know it's busy when the AFX theater has a full line. Delirium during the day was also full...thankfully there's single rider lines! Gold Striker averaged 20 minute waits, probably the longest I've seen in a while. 2013 was a great season, and easily one of my favorite park seasons so far! Let's see if CGA can top this season!

 

And I shared this a few weeks back but I'll share it again for those who missed Haunt or want to relive it.

Edited by Angry_Gumball
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I'm really glad I finally got to experience all of Haunt this year. Last year I only got to do Slaughterhouse, Club Blood, and Madame Marie's once each. This year I went through every maze at least once.

 

My favorite show by far was Blades of Horror. That show just blew my mind both times I saw it. I still can't believe how awesome it is.

 

My favorite maze was probably Carnevil, with Toy Factory just after that. I really really like how the music in Carnevil. They also got some really great scares on me (the last time we went through Carnevil especially, when one of the guys I knew was real was standing so still, and I kinda hesitantly walked up to him, not sure if he was going to scare me or not, but of course he did because I was an easy target. And then right after I screamed like a banshee, his friend saw the opportunity and scared me again), however, I didn't find it so scary that I didn't also have fun.

 

The scariest maze for me was definitely Corn Stalkers. Both times I did it I literally almost wanted to cry and leave the maze. It was the part with all the life-like scare crows that really got to me. I couldn't tell which ones were real and which ones were fake, so I kept looking back and forth at all of them and then the scare actors would jump out and scare me really bad. It literally was not fun at all. I really want to get over my fear of Haunt mazes and do Knott's and Universal next year, but my reaction to this maze makes me really unsure about whether i would have any fun at the more intense Haunts or if I'd just be scared to tears the entire time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Judging from the lack of any announcements as to what will be new for 2014, I'm going to assume it will be an infrastructure year, which I already expected, but I still expected something new like a new show or restaraunt.

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Random... but I think Time Machine (aka Led Zeppelin the ride) from Freestyle Music/ Hard Rock Park would make a great addition to this park! Should be interesting now that its for sell. Could possibly be a good fit where the picnic pavilion currently is.. and they could move the picnic pavilion over behind gold striker, the theater, whitewater falls, and Xtreme sky Flyer

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...and they could move the picnic pavilion over behind gold striker, the theater, whitewater falls, and Xtreme sky Flyer

 

I think that area behind Gold Striker's an emergency exit route and access point, probably why Gold Striker has that service road path running under it. That area leads to Patrick Henry Dr, where there's also a driveway/entry to the neighbor's parking lots.

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Since there's not a whole lot to discuss the happenings at CGA, I thought I'd bring this up, found on the permit page. (Gotta be excited about something, right?)

http://smartpermit.santaclaraca.gov/tm_bin/tmw_cmd.pl?tmw_cmd=StatusViewCase&shl_caseno=PLN2013-10112

 

Status: Application Received

Address:

 

Application Date: 11/12/2013

Description: Architectural Review of modifications to existing Pavilion area

 

Modifications to the picnic pavilion area near Flight Deck...wonder what this all involves and if this has any bearing on the site's future...

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That area between flightdeck and the parking lot looks like an area that could fit time machine as well. In my initial post I didn't mention that area because I wasn't aware of what that building was (since I've never been to CGA). I just feel that the picnic pavilion can go basically anywhere and in my opinion since the area behind GS, Whitewater, Sky flyer, and the theater is one which no can be built without the moans and groans from the Prudes, they can instead plop down some pavilions and make it their picnic grove.

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Since there's not a whole lot to discuss the happenings at CGA, I thought I'd bring this up, found on the permit page. (Gotta be excited about something, right?)

http://smartpermit.santaclaraca.gov/tm_bin/tmw_cmd.pl?tmw_cmd=StatusViewCase&shl_caseno=PLN2013-10112

 

Status: Application Received

Address:

 

Application Date: 11/12/2013

Description: Architectural Review of modifications to existing Pavilion area

 

Modifications to the picnic pavilion area near Flight Deck...wonder what this all involves and if this has any bearing on the site's future...

 

I heard rumors that they are going to expand the Pavilion area, so it's not going anywhere.

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