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California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread


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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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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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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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^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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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. 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.

 

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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

 

Wonder Woman has never NOT broken down exactly once when I've been in line for it, but it's also never taken more than 10 minutes to come back up.

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Railblazer seemed to be very reliable the one day I was there a few weeks ago. Aside from a late opening where we couldn't ride until 11am (which really isn't a big issue), I don't recall it ever breaking down the entire day.

 

Also, despite running two trains (which I feel will be the usual), the ride really pulls through its line more than I expected it too. Every train went out with 8 riders, and there was absolutely zero stacking the vast majority of the time. Still not a "high capacity coaster" by any means, but I think this type of ride would work fine at most amusement parks that have good operations and manageable crowds.

 

Also, I saw on Instagram that the black/green train is now in operation. I'm not sure if it got switched out with the red or yellow one, or if they're running three trains now, but it's back.

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Also, despite running two trains (which I feel will be the usual), the ride really pulls through its line more than I expected it too. Every train went out with 8 riders, and there was absolutely zero stacking the vast majority of the time. Still not a "high capacity coaster" by any means, but I think this type of ride would work fine at most amusement parks that have good operations and manageable crowds.

 

I don't know how things were when you were there but I didn't feel like a third train would have made much difference at all. It was rarely stacking but I think I only saw once or twice where a train dispatched before the other one was hitting the brake run.

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Also, despite running two trains (which I feel will be the usual), the ride really pulls through its line more than I expected it too. Every train went out with 8 riders, and there was absolutely zero stacking the vast majority of the time. Still not a "high capacity coaster" by any means, but I think this type of ride would work fine at most amusement parks that have good operations and manageable crowds.

 

I don't know how things were when you were there but I didn't feel like a third train would have made much difference at all. It was rarely stacking but I think I only saw once or twice where a train dispatched before the other one was hitting the brake run.

 

Yeah, it is usually very difficult to make three trains efficient on any coaster that doesn't have a MCBR or a freakishly tall lift hill (Fury and Leviathan). That's why I said two trains works out just fine and wouldn't be much of a problem for most medium-sized parks. They would have to be SUPER fast and have the lift hill go very slowly along with a continuous loading station to make three trains worth it (see: Wonder Woman).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Haven't done a trip report in a while, and finally gathered the motivation to talk about my trip to CGA on August 5th.

 

I'd never been to California before going out to visit family earlier this month, and had an amazing time. Though I hoped to visit CGA while I was there, I didn't expect that we would, as it hadn't been brought up much prior. It was very exciting finding out that my family would be cool with going to the park, as I haven't been to a new park since I first went to Lakeside here in CO (back in 2015 I think ). I'll also note that I've been to SFGAm, so it interesting to see the other "Great America".

 

THE PARK ITSELF

 

I was genuinely pleased with the park's appearance as I'd heard from many people that it would be a little sketchy. No such vibe was found, as the park was clean and had few areas or buildings with any sort of "run down" look. It wasn't super crowded, but enough that after riding the coasters with shorter lines, we decided to buy Fastlane for the remaining rides. Staff were mostly friendly and operations were a miracle in comparison to Elitches. The landscaping was great and I think the park looked very well put together. The layout of the park was a lot smaller than I imagined (I guess I thought it'd be closer to SFGAm's size), but was a convenient loop. Food wasn't amazing, but better than what I'd get for the same price at Elitches, and was sufficient. The workers at the American Cafe gave my family member some

difficulty regarding their veggie burger to the point where they got it refunded, but other food staff were pretty kind and quick. Another grip would be not getting to pick your row on most coasters, but I see why it worked for station crowding/capacity. Overall the park had a really nice, relaxed atmosphere and I had a really good time.

 

COASTERS

 

Gold Striker (x2):

We rode this coaster first, and it was another genuine surprise. It was my first GCI, and a lot more out of control than expected. I didn't think it'd be tame or mild, but I also didn't think it would become my favorite wooden coaster (surpassing Timber Terror & Tremors), or to be such an awesomely wild ride. I'd say it whooped my ass in a good way. My first ride was in row 4 I think, and the second was front row. Both were filled with crazy pops of ejector air, hard laterals, and had me all mixed up with the amount of direction changes. For those who've been on other GCI's, let me know if a lot of them are a similar experience, because that would definitely raise their priority on my want-to-ride list. 8/10

 

Patriot (x1):

This coaster was a mixed bag for me. Iron Wolf, this ride's sole B&M predecessor, was my favorite roller coaster back when I lived near SFGAm (hence my name). Patriot is similar but obviously is no longer a stand-up coaster. It was also my first floorless coaster experience. I was expecting a rough or rattle-y ride as many people had noted since the conversion (and prior), but found the ride to be completely smooth in my one ride in row 4. I did enjoy the bit of positive G's from the first drop into the loop, as well as the snappiness of the corkscrew. On the flip side, I thought the layout overall was lackluster and short, and didn't think the floorless aspect contributed as much to the experience as standing would have (though that may be to me not riding in the front row). Patriot to me is the perfect "average" or "meh" coaster. 5/10

 

Demon (x2):

As the only coaster at CGA that has a counter part at SFGAm, and also giving a kick to my Arrow nostalgia, I really enjoyed the Demon. I oddly found the roughest part to be the loops, which now makes me curious how Sidewinder's loop is so smooth. Definitely bumpy but not as bad as the nearby Grizzly or Elitches own Twister II or Mind Eraser. It was a classic with a fun drop, retro themeing, and hardcore SFGAm flashbacks. 6/10

 

Psycho Mouse (x1):

First proper modern wild mouse (only previously been on Mount Olympus' Opa or Lakeside's Wild Chipmunk), and a rarer Arrow one at that. Brakes were on a little bit with a few of the MCBR's but didn't really detract from the experience. All the turns had more laterals than I thought there would be, and the drops were sharp and fun. Definitely a perfect family coaster. 5/10

 

Flight Deck (x2):

We rode this after buying Fast Lane, as it'd been down all morning and the line was long after it reopened. This was my most highly anticipated coaster of the park, even with Railblazer, as I don't remember a lot of B:TR at SFGAm, haven't been on Aftershock since 2013, and have been subjected to a sub-par invert in Mind Eraser for the past 5 years. This was the only coaster where we got to choose our seat, and we got a solid back row & front row ride. People don't lie when they say this ride gets very intense, very quickly. The turn over the station is the only break you get, as the rest of the ride is crazy positive G's and two incredible snaps in the zero-g roll and corkscrew. Aside from the snaps, the ride is smooth as butter and lots of fun. It joins Patriot with being on the shorter side, but makes up for it with doing more and doing it better. Thought it was right alongside with Gold Striker as a really solid coaster. 8/10

 

Grizzly (x1):

This ride was on the disappointing side, but not outright awful. The layout is boring but kinda aesthetic, load times were abysmal but not much worse that Twister II, and definitely some pretty harsh jolts and consistent bumps but not unbearably rough. I did not expect great or terrible, and received neither. I think it is a great step up from kiddie rides to the more intense coasters. 4/10

 

Railblazer (x3):

We were a little worried that we would not get to ride this, as it had a 90+ minute line all morning and went down just before we bought the fast lane (we didn't know it when we bought the passes). It stayed closed most of the afternoon and fortunately we got a decent use out of our fast lane with the Flight Deck rides, our second Gold Striker ride, Grizzly, and our second ride on Demon. Around 9:15 (the park closed at 10) the coaster reopened with one train, and since we were at Demon we literally ran over. All I can say is WOW. First RMC did not disappoint. Every second is jam packed, and you go through every element so fast it doesn't look or feel real. The best airtime I've ever experienced, crazy positive G's, feeling the Zero-G throughout that whole roll, a killer transition going through the dive loop, everything about the ride was absolutely incredible. Fast crew with the one train, and cool themeing that added to the night rides. I really hope more of these Raptors pop up, as Railblazer is assuredly my favorite coaster thus far. 10/10

 

OTHER RIDES

 

Drop Tower (x1):

What surprised me the most here was this ride being a walk-on. Tower of Doom, another Intamin drop tower at Elitches, always has one of the more significant waits in the park, so being able to get on immediately was great. May have something to do with capacity, as this ride was running 5/6 sides with the sixth car sitting in its spot on the platform, while Tower of Doom runs 2/3 sides and the third car hasn't been on the ride in years.

 

Mass Effect: New Earth (x1):

Never been on one of these "4D" rides, but I really enjoyed it. The "host" was funny and didn't break character, and the actually effects were really interesting with a few surprises. I don't know if these always have the same program, but it'd be cool if they could switch up the routes/effects/something to not make it appear as a one-and-done.

 

Carousel Columbia (x1):

I never got to ride this ride's twin at SFGAm, so of course we had to ride it on the second deck. Was cool to be elevated like that on a carousel. The ride was running a dreadfully slow and short program but I don't think most kids would notice.

 

Orbit (x1):

Loved the Orbit at SFGAm, and was under the impression that CGA removed this ride (maybe because I believe SFGAm took out theirs). Was a very short cycle, got to fully inverted and then came back down, but very fun and the most dizzying experience of the day.

 

Tiki Twirl (x1):

Also never been on any of these "Disco" rides, and I actually really enjoyed it. It was odd to feel the spinning motion while facing outwards on the motorcycle-esque seats. Definitely a good (and popular) family ride.

 

Didn't ride anything else but I would like to try the Berserker next time I visit, hopefully next summer. May upload some pictures at some point, but I didn't get any very good shots. Hope you all enjoyed!

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  • 2 weeks later...

^ Great report! Reading about it makes me a little bummed out that I missed out on visiting it a month ago. But on that note....

 

I'm floating the idea of driving back up to NorCal in about a month to visit this park and check out Haunt. I see this park typically charges for Haunt admission, but free Haunt admission is listed as a perk for 2019 Gold and Platinum Pass holders. Does this include Platinum Passes from other parks, or is this a perk solely offered for passes bought through CGA? I bought my Platinum Pass at KBF. Thanks!

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^ Great report! Reading about it makes me a little bummed out that I missed out on visiting it a month ago. But on that note....

 

I'm floating the idea of driving back up to NorCal in about a month to visit this park and check out Haunt. I see this park typically charges for Haunt admission, but free Haunt admission is listed as a perk for 2019 Gold and Platinum Pass holders. Does this include Platinum Passes from other parks, or is this a perk solely offered for passes bought through CGA? I bought my Platinum Pass at KBF. Thanks!

Platinum is Platinum and works for CGA Haunt just like a Gold Pass would. I think KBF is the only CF park to charge a separate Haunt admission even for passholders.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The park is slowly but surely making their Winterfest lineup less terrible even though the park up the road is fully open year round so I don't get this at all and never will.

 

Railblazer will be open and they've added the Wild Mouse and Berserker so most areas are open now except the area from Demon to the Sky Ride. The Sky Ride is still closed for some reason (they know that these are almost always one of the most popular outdoor rides during Christmas events since people want to see the lights from the air right?) as is Mass Effect... the indoor ride with heat in an area of the park that's open anyway.

 

... they'll get there eventually.

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Here is a trip report for yesterday. I did RailBlazer for the first time and found it intense, with a strong amount of g-forces. I really enjoyed the airtime aspects. The two times I wanted to ride Drop Tower it wasn't operating. The lines all moved fast.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I went to the park today. It was my second time this year but the last time I went in May, Railblazer was not open yet. My main goals were to get on Railblazer for the first time and to process my gold pass. I got four rides total on Railblazer. It did not disappoint, especially my first ride on it. Non-stop intensity and positive/negative g's. The second and fourth times I rode it, I got a really bad Charley Horse in my leg. I am not sure if it was from putting my hands up, or slouching in the seats to accommodate the restraints. I am just above average height-wise, yet I still felt uncomfortable in the trains. I was in agony from the cramp from the cutback element until I exited the train in the station. The pain was to the point that it spoiled both of those rides. I am going to make sure I watch my posture on future rides on it.

 

Another unfortunate occurrence was that the ride was only running one train mid-afternoon. The line moved excruciatingly slow which is understandable since only eight people can ride at a time. Honestly, I think they should just close the ride if only one train is available instead of making people wait in the baking sun. To give you an idea (if you are familiar with the queue), I timed with my phone stopwatch and it was an hour wait from the stairs descending below the brake run to when I got on the train. Ugh.

 

Other than that, I did enjoy my rides on Railblazer and the rest of the coasters. Goldstriker was just as exhilarating as I remember it and Flight Deck is still its awesome intense, old-school B&M invert self. Those three coasters make the 2019 gold pass I just bought worth it. I also got some rides on Patriot, Demon, and Grizzly. Those three are good for what they are, supporting coasters to the top three mentioned above. It was a beautiful, warm, fall day in Silicon Valley. The park was pretty slow in the morning but got busier as the day went along in anticipation of Haunt. I didn't wait longer than 10 minutes for anything else besides Railblazer.

 

Overall, I had fun today at the park. I am going to try to return two weekends from now in its last weekend of normal day operation. I hope to get some more good rides on Railblazer without any Charley horses or getting caught in a slow moving line due to one-train operation.

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This last weekend (Sunday to be specific) seemed like a good time to head out to the Haunt. Unlike previous year’s had heard next to nothing about what was going on there. And, in this instance, wound up going with a rather large group of family and friends (13 in all, including my 17 month old and my friend’s 8 year old). While I plan to always be in the main place well ahead of opening, the large group and much more of a crowd than I expected on a Sunday meant it was just after the 7pm opening when we got in.

 

Neither Goldstriker nor Railblazer were operating when the Haunt started… though the later worked out well with our delayed entry. We had planned to head there first, since even if crowds were light, the low capacity would probably make this problematic. Just after being told it was closed, but would open at some point, they started cycling trains… and waiting it out turned out to the be the right thing, as 10 minutes later everyone in our group that wanted to was able to try it out. It was the first time I had rode it after dark, and I can’t say the experience seemed that different. Still a wild ride, and one that was enthusiastically received by those riding it for the first time.

 

By the end of the night we’d make it on Goldstriker a couple times (I think the darkness definitely adds something here), Flight Deck, and a few others. Given the heavier than expected attendance, and just sticking with picking out lines when they weren’t too bad, this was pretty good. Took a similar approach to the mazes… though ultimately wasn’t able to make it through Corn Stalkers or the Wax Museum (both of which have been enjoyable in previous years).

 

The only all-new maze was the Tooth Fairy, which had some creepily cool costumes and similar atmosphere. It replaces Toy Factory, although I think I may still have the Toy Factory song stuck in my head from last year (though surprisingly missed it when I approached that area of the park).

 

Masacre Manor returned in slightly different form this year… it is still running “backwards” as it did last year (likely to accommodate Railblazer’s construction), but was done without any lights other than small flashlights that are handed out as you enter the maze. Was a nice way to change things up, though a shame as this maze has always been one with lots of nice details to see.

 

Zombie High is still fun. I don’t get scared, and rarely am even started by the performers, but the mascot character here did give me my first startle of any kind in years! It is always fun to see the character on the bungie scare people too (similar set up appeared in a few of the other mazes where I hadn’t seen them in previous editions).

 

Chaos House was a new edition last year, and was more disorienting that I recalled (or maybe just that I did it at the very end of the night?)… nothing that I would think is even remotely scary here (if you find these things scary), but quite trippy!

 

Roadkill Roadhouse was much as it was last year, though a little better lit (still among the darker mazes), and Backwoods was back as well (and some great sets, though personally wind up a bit sad when I think of Pictorium being gone).

 

Jester Town and the Fairy Tale themed scare zones returned, with the one near the Demon having a Londish/Jack The Ripper sort of theme. All in all, Cedar Fair seems to put a lot in to getting their special events together and the effort shows.

 

And while this event certainly wasn’t one designed for kids, my tiny one seemed to have much fun wandering around and not knowing things were supposed to be scary (although, it is not like anyone tried to scare him, even if he was oblivious to any such attempts). My friend got his 8 year old a “no Boo” necklace (a light up necklace that signals to performers not to try and scare you), and she took in her first real roller coasters (a couple rides on Grizzly and Pyscho Mouse).

 

All in all, a pretty fun evening, and likely my only visit to the Haunt this year (though will be back for Winterfest before too long).

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