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California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread


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If the park got a rebrand, the population would still refer to it as California's Great America. Many Minnesotans still refer to Nickelodeon Universe as Camp Snoopy, even though the licensing and themeing was dropped nearly a decade ago and replaced. I'm sure some people still refer to it as a Paramount park.

You have no idea how many people I've met who still call Flight Deck, "Top Gun".

 

Makes sense to drop the "California", I'd guess the majority of patrons have no idea there's another Great America 2,000 miles away. No need to distinguish it, I hope they just keep it as Great America.

Eh, I don't know, I've known a lot of people who confuse CGA for the Six Flags one in Gurnee. Heck, one time my neighbor bought the wrong Great America ticket, just because he wasn't being too careful which park it was. Honestly IMO, as long as they keep the name "Great America" I'm okay with a change of name/title.

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If people would say , “The capital originally intended for CGA was repurposed for KI instead”, that makes more sense. But saying a coaster went to park A instead of park B... there’s absolutely no way

Oh yeah, no complaints alright. I just hope all this virus crap doesn't affect our 2021.

Just found out not too long ago the parks in our area can reopen but Santa Clara county is forcing them to stay shut. In other news, scbb might be the first to open under newsoms new guidelines. 

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If the park got a rebrand, the population would still refer to it as California's Great America. Many Minnesotans still refer to Nickelodeon Universe as Camp Snoopy, even though the licensing and themeing was dropped nearly a decade ago and replaced. I'm sure some people still refer to it as a Paramount park.

You have no idea how many people I've met who still call Flight Deck, "Top Gun."

 

image.gif.d39ad962a67dbe6536a2a9a1173e6820.gif

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Eh, I don't know, I've known a lot of people who confuse CGA for the Six Flags one in Gurnee. Heck, one time my neighbor bought the wrong Great America ticket, just because he wasn't being too careful which park it was. Honestly IMO, as long as they keep the name "Great America" I'm okay with a change of name/title.

Reminds me how people still think Boise is a city in Iowa, as if there is just a great big nothing between Oregon, Washington and Montana.

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I'm interested in serious thoughts on this, but NorCal may be the one location where Six Flags carries a better reputation than Cedar Fair (or at least the local Cedar Fair park, Great America). A lot more funding in the last decade has gone into SF:DK, not just for thrills but to maintain the family qualities that Marine World Africa USA was known for. It felt like for a good decade (2002 - 2012), Great America really slogged along. With exception of Boomerang Bay, the park gradually saw sections/hallmark attractions removed, coasters taken out, flats not replaced, rides not repainted until Cedar Fair stepped in, and even a four year stint where the only additions were changes in live entertainment, a wave pool, and a garden in place of where the Triple Wheel and Invertigo used to stand.

 

I remember when SF:DK first ran Christmas in the Park in 2009 and Gilroy Gardens in 2011. Both were done really festive and staff were of such great spirit. I was shocked how pitiful Great America's first go at a Winter Wonderland in 2013 (think county fair with Christmas lights. Quite tacky/makeshift and almost something I would expect from the Oakland Zoo). I think continuity from the old parks really makes a difference for SF:DK (Marine World since 1980s) and Gilroy (many employees are the same as when Bonfante opened in 2001) as culture and staff family from the old parks is very much sensible/felt in the experience whereas really feels like a true Six Flags-type seasonal operation.

I agree with this!

 

Cedar Fair's Great America.

Eh, I don't know. It would be weird as no other Cedar Fair property is branded that way. Unless they plan on rebranding all the parks, like Six Flags has. Cedar Fair's Cedar Point. Cedar Fair's Valley Fair. Cedar Fair's Knott's Berry Farm. Um, no. Plus Cedar Fair parks all their own unique identities, unlike Six Flags parks. When you think of Six Flags you think of two things. Big coasters and parking lots. No one really expects or cares the lack of overall themeing. Landscaping sucks. Food sucks. Shopping sucks. Atmosphere sucks. Ambiance sucks. People go to Six Flags for big thrills. That's it. Though to be fair the company has realized more recently that that model just isn't sustainable and they are finally doing something about it. That something is copying Cedar Fair, because I don't think that most people really identify individual Cedar Fair parks as being part of a bigger company. There is not really one identity that typifies what you get at each park. Mostly due in part to the name not being tacked onto the front. I know people, coaster people, who still aren't really aware that Knott's Berry Farm and CGA and Cedar Point are all part of the same company. And that could actually be in the company's benefit. At least in my mind.

Dishing on Six Flags so much and extolling Cedar Fair when Six Flags Great America has a better ambience than Cedar Fair CGA. There are still some nicely themed areas at Six Flags parks and some crappy theming at Cedar Fair park.

 

If the park got a rebrand, the population would still refer to it as California's Great America. Many Minnesotans still refer to Nickelodeon Universe as Camp Snoopy, even though the licensing and themeing was dropped nearly a decade ago and replaced. I'm sure some people still refer to it as a Paramount park.

There are still a handful of us that call SFDK "Marine World." In general, GP refer to it as just "Six Flags" and maybe know it as Discovery Kingdom. There is a growing pains stage but eventually the new name would catch on. I don't hear anyone calling CGA "Paramount's" or even "Marriot's."

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For those knocking on CGA/Cedar Fair's theming, sounds like they haven't been to the park in a while. The park has been ramping up its atmosphere the past couple seasons. Last year they introduced Taste of Orleans, a special festival with food tasting and live entertainment. Their first WinterFest event blew SFDK's long-existing Holiday in the Park out of the water. This year continuing the trend of improvements, the park added Red, White and Brews to the mix which was yet another great event with some fun atmosphere. Once again, WinterFest continues to raise the bar (especially with being ranked among the top 10 holiday theme park events in the country).

 

Food and live entertainment has grown a lot since Cedar Fair purchased CGA. Maggie's Smokehouse underwent some changes and has become a go-to restaurant for many as it tends to get busy. Shows like Hot Rhythm Nights (was new this year, consisted of a live band and a pretty cool stage set complete with video wall panels) was what I felt was a game changer for theme park shows as it was very well put together. Can't forget the other shows that were a hit this summer like Vertical Impact and Nytewalkers (during Haunt).

 

Moving forward with the rezone, we can expect much more improvements down the pipeline.

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For those knocking on CGA/Cedar Fair's theming, sounds like they haven't been to the park in a while. The park has been ramping up its atmosphere the past couple seasons. Last year they introduced Taste of Orleans, a special festival with food tasting and live entertainment. Their first WinterFest event blew SFDK's long-existing Holiday in the Park out of the water. This year continuing the trend of improvements, the park added Red, White and Brews to the mix which was yet another great event with some fun atmosphere. Once again, WinterFest continues to raise the bar (especially with being ranked among the top 10 holiday theme park events in the country).

 

Food and live entertainment has grown a lot since Cedar Fair purchased CGA. Maggie's Smokehouse underwent some changes and has become a go-to restaurant for many as it tends to get busy. Shows like Hot Rhythm Nights (was new this year, consisted of a live band and a pretty cool stage set complete with video wall panels) was what I felt was a game changer for theme park shows as it was very well put together. Can't forget the other shows that were a hit this summer like Vertical Impact and Nytewalkers (during Haunt).

 

Moving forward with the rezone, we can expect much more improvements down the pipeline.

 

All true. Taste of New Orleans and Red White & Brews were great offerings from the park, and only more good things are to come. I over heard park management confirming the soon to come hyper coaster at Winter Fests media day to another participant. They are very excited for the future thanks to the rezoning.

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^^Those are events. I can't deny that Haunt is much better than Fright Fest and I'm not surprised that WinterFest blows Holiday in the Park out of the water. However, I thought we were talking about general theming. Not that SFDK has great theming, just that there are Six Flags parks that do.

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^^Those are events. I can't deny that Haunt is much better than Fright Fest and I'm not surprised that WinterFest blows Holiday in the Park out of the water. However, I thought we were talking about general theming. Not that SFDK has great theming, just that there are Six Flags parks that do.

I'll have to agree completely with you. Growing up in the Bay Area, my family loved SFDK growing up & is a beautiful park today. Great America was seen as the tenny-bopper park with fun but short coasters (no Medusa-like rides in this park). Their Fright Fest season is pretty bad though especially once Great America started their festivities which is clearly better. After visiting Winterfest last year, looks like Great America will be leading in both seasons soon enough. Winterfest being only half open was a bummer but at the same time worked for me as all the rides I would go on were open & lights were just found everywhere due to the limited space being used well.

 

I actually caught myself in a surprise due to actually wanting to go to Great America outside Halloween or Christmas as SFDK was always the winner. Gold Striker & Top Gun (yes I still call it that) are still amazing, Trailblazer looks like fun, & the park just has so much potential for amazing additions. SFDK has been feeling like it peaked a while ago & as much as I wish they could put a coaster over that lake it seems like they've ran out of room for a while now. I'm expecting flats, rebranding, & "coasters" that only go back and forth until SFDK can finally get some more room or take down everyone's favorite ride Kong. Patriot, Trailblazer, Mass Effect, Winterfest, & Goldstiker all just seem like great investments. Just add a hyper, waterpark expansion, continue the events, and build that rumored shopping district & there will be no competition no my end.

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I may be in the opposite spectrum here. I go to CGA more often since it's closer to where me and my family live. We never really go out of our way to go all the way to Vallejo and SFDK for some reason. I only went there twice: once when I was really little and before it was bought by Six Flags, and the last time which was in 2007 I believe, just when it was renamed Discovery Kingdom. I enjoyed it, but because I haven't visited it often as CGA, I can't really say or appreciate much about the SFDK or the way they use its theming.

 

Yes, I do think CGA has been in a bit of a rut between the 90s and 2010s, but like what everyone else has been saying, stuff like Gold Striker, Mass Effect, Railblazer, and the new events are really helping bring new life into this park. I kinda feel like they're trying to return some of its greatness (pun not intended) that was once lost from the Marriott days. I'm still excited to see these new developments coming in the future, most especially the hyper coaster and entertainment district. I feel like CF is really starting to take this park in the right direction, and I still wish them the best of luck.

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I feel like the only people complaining about CGA are the ones who have not been in a while. Same goes for SFDK. It's also not wise to turn this very opinionated discussion of SFDK vs CGA into an argument over who is right and wrong. Both SFDK and CGA are enjoyable, in my mind, but both also have their problems. Arguing against the latter point is pointless. Both parks are far from the level of their respective owners flagship properties. Nonetheless, both have improved by leaps and bounds in the past couple years. Even this year saw noticeable improvements in these parks. I mean, I guess I'd give the slight edge to SFDK, but only slightly, and frankly, that may change after Railblazer. So yeah, I don't see either as being significantly better than the other.

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I feel like the only people complaining about CGA are the ones who have not been in a while. Same goes for SFDK. It's also not wise to turn this very opinionated discussion of SFDK vs CGA into an argument over who is right and wrong. Both SFDK and CGA are enjoyable, in my mind, but both also have their problems. Arguing against the latter point is pointless. Both parks are from from the level of their respective owners flagship properties. Nonetheless, both have improved by leaps and bounds in the past couple years. Even this year saw noticeable improvements in these parks. I mean, I guess I'd give the slight edge to SFDK, but only slightly, and frankly, that may change after Railblazer. So yeah, I don't see either as being significantly better than the other.

 

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I feel like the only people complaining about CGA are the ones who have not been in a while. Same goes for SFDK. It's also not wise to turn this very opinionated discussion of SFDK vs CGA into an argument over who is right and wrong. Both SFDK and CGA are enjoyable, in my mind, but both also have their problems. Arguing against the latter point is pointless. Both parks are far from the level of their respective owners flagship properties. Nonetheless, both have improved by leaps and bounds in the past couple years. Even this year saw noticeable improvements in these parks. I mean, I guess I'd give the slight edge to SFDK, but only slightly, and frankly, that may change after Railblazer. So yeah, I don't see either as being significantly better than the other.

^ This. Very good point made. I do think we shouldn't really argue over which park is better. They're already the two biggest and most well known parks in the NorCal region anyway.

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I feel like the only people complaining about CGA are the ones who have not been in a while. Same goes for SFDK. It's also not wise to turn this very opinionated discussion of SFDK vs CGA into an argument over who is right and wrong. Both SFDK and CGA are enjoyable, in my mind, but both also have their problems. Arguing against the latter point is pointless. Both parks are far from the level of their respective owners flagship properties. Nonetheless, both have improved by leaps and bounds in the past couple years. Even this year saw noticeable improvements in these parks. I mean, I guess I'd give the slight edge to SFDK, but only slightly, and frankly, that may change after Railblazer. So yeah, I don't see either as being significantly better than the other.

 

I feel like it was more of a discussion of the value of re-branding CGA. The conclusion would be that it would do little to change the sentiments of the locals on either park. The criticism was less so of the present days CGA, but the slog that the park went through in the previous decade. We've grown up with these parks, so there's little value rebranding (as seen with Marine World-->SF:MW-->SF:DK | Marriott's-->Paramount-->CGA e.g. we've been through so many re-brandings in the Bay Area) versus actual improvements to the parks. That's all the point was.

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I feel like the only people complaining about CGA are the ones who have not been in a while. Same goes for SFDK. It's also not wise to turn this very opinionated discussion of SFDK vs CGA into an argument over who is right and wrong. Both SFDK and CGA are enjoyable, in my mind, but both also have their problems. Arguing against the latter point is pointless. Both parks are far from the level of their respective owners flagship properties. Nonetheless, both have improved by leaps and bounds in the past couple years. Even this year saw noticeable improvements in these parks. I mean, I guess I'd give the slight edge to SFDK, but only slightly, and frankly, that may change after Railblazer. So yeah, I don't see either as being significantly better than the other.

 

I feel like it was more of a discussion of the value of re-branding CGA. The conclusion would be that it would do little to change the sentiments of the locals on either park. The criticism was less so of the present days CGA, but the slog that the park went through in the previous decade. We've grown up with these parks, so there's little value rebranding (as seen with Marine World-->SF:MW-->SF:DK | Marriott's-->Paramount-->CGA e.g. we've been through so many re-brandings in the Bay Area) versus actual improvements to the parks. That's all the point was.

My exact thoughts as both parks are great. I think the comparisons are mostly coming from many realizing how far California Great America is coming along. SFDK has always been an great park in my opinion. Naturally we are going to compare new events to ones that have been out for a while. Great time to live in the Bay Area for theme park lovers! This year it was nice to have two Holiday offerings that deliver.

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I feel like the only people complaining about CGA are the ones who have not been in a while. Same goes for SFDK. It's also not wise to turn this very opinionated discussion of SFDK vs CGA into an argument over who is right and wrong. Both SFDK and CGA are enjoyable, in my mind, but both also have their problems. Arguing against the latter point is pointless. Both parks are far from the level of their respective owners flagship properties. Nonetheless, both have improved by leaps and bounds in the past couple years. Even this year saw noticeable improvements in these parks. I mean, I guess I'd give the slight edge to SFDK, but only slightly, and frankly, that may change after Railblazer. So yeah, I don't see either as being significantly better than the other.

 

I feel like it was more of a discussion of the value of re-branding CGA. The conclusion would be that it would do little to change the sentiments of the locals on either park. The criticism was less so of the present days CGA, but the slog that the park went through in the previous decade. We've grown up with these parks, so there's little value rebranding (as seen with Marine World-->SF:MW-->SF:DK | Marriott's-->Paramount-->CGA e.g. we've been through so many re-brandings in the Bay Area) versus actual improvements to the parks. That's all the point was.

 

Oh don't worry! I'm not saying that's specifically what you were doing. I'm just saying if things were to start going in that direction of comparison, it wouldn't be worth it most likely. You're all good, and I'm glad you brought up the points that you did!

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I do like that since all the rumors of CGA closing are gone they are really stepping up the park. It was definitely a neglected park in the past, but with Railblazer and all their great events, they're really starting to step it up. I'm excited to see what they do with the park in the near future.

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Hey all!

I'm going to be visiting CGA for my first time on 12/30.

I'm sure the obligatory "what should I expect" post has seen it's rounds on here already so I'll scan through the thread to find it.

In the mean time, are all of the coasters open for winter fest? On the Winterfest website, Patriot, Flight Deck, Gold Striker and Woodstock Express are the only coasters advertised.

 

Update: Nevermind all. I found the answer a little further back. A little sad I'll be missing Demon but oh well. Another time I suppose.

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Really?! It seemed to me like it was going up the same way as wonder woman... what parts are going up differently?

 

The one that sticks out the most is they've already started the Raven turn on Raiblazer, whereas WW it was one of final elements they installed.

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The parts have definitely gone up in different order. I believe GLC began with the final turnaround before the brake run while RailBlazer started with the upward helix leading toward the mid course drop, followed by the midcourse drop...then they began going "backwards" to build the off-axis airtime hill. I guess different contractors... As long as they can get the track pieces in without another interfering/being in the way, then probably doesn't matter too much. I see construction (in person) practically every day and has been fun seeing it go up. With this said I've nearly memorized the order the track segments went in.

 

Part of the raven turn went up this morning, followed by putting up the cutback. RailBlazer has yet to have the vertical drop installed which I look forward to seeing soon. Yesterday, the off-axis airtime hill was finished and base of the "coming out" of the raven turn was done.

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The parts have definitely gone up in different order. I believe GLC began with the final turnaround before the brake run while RailBlazer started with the upward helix leading toward the mid course drop, followed by the midcourse drop...then they began going "backwards" to build the off-axis airtime hill. I guess different contractors... As long as they can get the track pieces in without another interfering/being in the way, then probably doesn't matter too much. I see construction (in person) practically every day and has been fun seeing it go up. With this said I've nearly memorized the order the track segments went in.

 

Part of the raven turn went up this morning, followed by putting up the cutback. RailBlazer has yet to have the vertical drop installed which I look forward to seeing soon. Yesterday, the off-axis airtime hill was finished and base of the "coming out" of the raven turn was done.

I am probably am completely wrong, but could it possibly be due to the theme going around the coaster?

Considering they have to build rock-work, a cave, and water elements, maybe certain parts of the construction need to be done first in order for it to be completed on time. WW obviously doesn't have to worry about plumbing as RR would. WW literally can just be plopped and just have a station build around it.

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