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California Great America (CGA) Discussion Thread

P. 476: Cedar Fair sells park land, CGA to close within the next 11 years

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Cedar Fair has completed the purchase of the land upon which California's Great America sits after leasing the land for over 43 years!




Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and immersive entertainment, announced today it has completed the purchase of land upon which its California’s Great America amusement park is located, for approximately $150 million. Cedar Fair purchased the land, totaling 112 acres, from the City of Santa Clara, California, which has leased the land since the founding of the park in 1976.


Cedar Fair President and CEO Richard A. Zimmerman said, “Our purchase of the land on which the park operates underscores Cedar Fair’s long-term commitment to California’s Great America, a unique, family-friendly entertainment destination serving those who call Northern California home. I want to thank the City of Santa Clara for being a valuable partner since our acquisition of the park in 2006, and we look forward to building upon that relationship as we continue to focus on the development of California’s Great America.”


In conjunction with the closing of the acquisition of the California property, Cedar Fair recently completed the issuance of $500 million of 5.250% senior unsecured notes, due 2029. In addition to the acquisition of the California’s Great America land, Cedar Fair will use the net proceeds from the notes offering to fund the acquisition of two iconic water parks in Texas, the payment of fees and expenses related to the transactions and the offering, repayment of a portion of the Company’s senior secured revolving credit facility and for general corporate purposes. Further details regarding terms of the notes offering were outlined in Cedar Fair’s Form 8-K filed on June 18, 2019, with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Trip report for California's Great America this past saturday 7/27.


This is my home park and i have gone 3 times previously but never stayed all day my typical routine is go in for ERT and leave once the lines get too long, this time i decided sense i had nothing to do to do a full day so I was there from ERT opening at 9 AM till near close at 10 PM. ERT was Top Gun (Flight Deck) and by 1 PM it was packed so i bought a fast lane which sealed the deal for me staying all day.


Rides and experiences in no peticular order.


Goldstriker (4x) Early morning rides seem smoother to me, it was really flying by late afternoon but roughness factor also increased. i got in a front seat trip once a near back seat once and mixed middle rest of the time. I never realized before today how much airtime potiental this ride has probably because before today i never made sure to not let them staple me. what i did was i slouched a bit so when the lap bar went down and hit my stomach i left it there and stayed that way till they checked restraints. laster on in the day on a ride the ride op even acknowledge what i was doing and just made a wew sound when he checked me lol. i also found that in order to keep my freedom of movement in the car i had to keep a hand on the bar and keep it pushed up so i had those few inches of free movement or it would ratchet down on me half way though the ride and i'd be near stapled. this method though greatly improved ride experience as I got lifted out of my seat at least 6 or 7 times throughout the track and it was awesome! I did one night ride and it was great. Operations are doing what they can to speed things up there from what i saw but sadly its still running one train so if your not getting fastlane get on it EARLY if its a weekend as the line can be 1+ hour easily.


Railblazer (5x) I mean its Railblazer, the ride really seems to speed up as the day goes on and i did rear so much my shoulders are hurting from the restraints and that insane ejector. it was running 2 trains solid all day Ops in the morning were a tad sluggish but by afternoon onwards they were dispatching trains before the last one was ready to pull into station but fast laners like myself i'm sure were killing the normal queue at that point and the normal wait i'm sure was brutal.


Top Gun (aka Flight Deck) i lost count but i think 7 rides. did it 3 times during ERT including a front row zen ride on the 2nd train to go out first thing in the morning. did a sunset ride as well. Still my favorite B&M invert but only other one i have done is Batman at SFMM. its just so intense and whippy and slams into the brake run at high speed its always a great ride. I think rear left seats might be slightly better than anywhere else but front as the forces and effect of swinging over the pond at the end are a bit higher but no matter always a fun one.


Demon (3x) the old Arrow is running nicely with two trains wheels look near new on both trains and its a smooth as ever outside of the typical jerky arrow transisiton points. if you know arrow loopers you know how to ride em


Drop Tower (3x) I'm somewhat afraid of heights and only rode this once when i was a teenager peer pressued by friends but i decided that it was time to see if it really scares me still or not and after one ride i knew i had to come back to it again later on in the day and did so twice! such a great drop. i belive it briefly went down middle of the day and after that another car on the tower was closed so its currently down to 4/6 4 person cars in operation as of yesterday, additionally each car has a weight limit so if your planning on doing it with friends make sure there is not 4 of you if your all full size adults in the 200 lb range or they will make someone move to another seat on the tower if one is open.


Patriot (2x) it went down when i was in line for it early on in the day, looked odd like it got E-stopped right after dispatch and the train was only 1/3 way out of the station. upon riding it later i saw the floor light curtains i forgot where there so likely the cause was someone tripped it when the train started leaving stopping the ride. as usual not the best ride in the park but far from the worst ride. its short but the drop is decent and you do get some airtime in the middle transition after the overbank turn and right before the corkscrew that jerks your head sideways as it always has lol.


Grizzly (1x) went out on the first train of the day front seat. boring as usual the entertainment is hearing ppl on it actually scream on the first two drops lol.


Tiki Twirl (1x) Neat flat ride, i took the advise i read from someone to ride in the 2-3 o'clock position seats facing the county fair picknick area as those always end up facing up at the ends and indeed it did was quite fun if your into moving spinning rides, somewhat freaky when its going full speed over the middle hump because it seems to move a bit like it might fall off its rails but i'm sure it wouldn't lol.


Psyco Mouse (1x) starts off kinda slow and boring with the switch backs but makes up for it with the mini hills after that, overall a solid little compact coaster though and something everyone of all ages can and do enjoy i'm sure.


Rip Roaring Rapids (1x) weakest rapids ride in the west as far as wetness factor goes probably. it also broke down while i was on it but they got it back up and going within 10 minutes so it wasn't major, sense its kinda boring on thrills they really could do some themeing on this to make it much better than it is.


mid day i went to the waterpark to cool off and did the wave pool and ripsnort ridge slide, even though it was very busy over there it was a better experience than raging waters in sacramento was the previous weekend thats for sure but i'm not a huge water park person so won't really add more than that.


Atmosphere: in general very good, the summer weekend events they put on are good, this month it was taste of orleans. i think this one was possibly a bit better than the red white and brews one last month, they had many different music stages, lots of costume performers out and about and sidewalk chalk artists doing their thing and of course the best part an abundance of beer and food tasting stands. i skipped the food tastings based on red white and brews experience knowing i wouldn't get my 35$ worth most likely so just bought beer and grabbed some pizza for lunch.



Shows: i decided to catch the 7:30 showing of Elevation Extreme and it was a very good show! I had on a previous trip did the mass effect 4D show as well and have to say i'm quite impressed with how good of a job Cedar Fair is doing with these sorts of things, to cap the night off they did fireworks and i headed out of the park after getting off a goldstriker night ride during the fireworks so i could beat the rush of people leaving the place.


all in all a great time solo at my home park but i sure am paying for it today but thats ok no work for me on sundays


Bonus: image gallery of the waterpark expansion progress

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  • 2 weeks later...

That's a great slide complex, Knott's added a very similar tower two years ago and it's a lot of fun. I personally love the drop capsule slides, however they aren't great on capacity. But having a tower with 4 separate drop capsules really helps alleviate the capacity issues.

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Looks like a fun complex. Are they rebranding there old waterpark?


Yeah renaming it to a local theme South Bay Shores. tons of additions and changes beyond just the major drop slide complex https://www.cagreatamerica.com/explore/south-bay-shores


as for the Hyper, there was plenty of Hype over it because CF did request and get granted planning permits for a 210 foot rollercoaster and even went as far last year as starting up a building permit for the Hyper but then canceled the building permit, mind you this was all after Railblazer as well. best guess at this point is the Hyper probably will be re-started in a year or two I think they were trial running it to see if they could get past red tape sense getting the park rezoned to planned development and really besides space and possible minor complaints from neighbors i think it can happen still but zoning change is what has allowed them to start fast tracking changes to the park in the past 3 years.

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So much for that hyper.

Wait, people thought they would get a coaster like a year after their last one???

When I spoke to the parks upper management during the RailBlazer media day, they projected the hyper (mentioned in their 20 year plan) would come around 2020 - 2021ish.

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The purchase of the land under the park also put current projects in flux. I think this waterpark park expansion was going to be for 2019, so that would have meant the hyper in 2020, so everything has shifted up a year.... but they own the land now and can have a little more free-reign. Hyper in 2021!

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Looks good! The park's water park always seemed a little drab (I think I've only been on two of the slides?) but drop slides are a lot of fun and should fit in great at CGA!


I hope no one actually thought the park would get the hyper in 2020 especially with work already being done in the water park and tons of slide pieces on site, but as someone else said, it's nice to see the picture of it all put together!

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CGA's water park desperately needed to either be overhauled or removed so I glad they're doing something. At least it will be a somewhat worthy included water park now and it looks like they are localizing the theme and going with the Shores branding like what Cedar Point did with its Soak City water park. I still think the hyper will be coming within a few years so just be patient. CGA has really been on the upswing the last several years with the additions of Goldstriker and Railblazer and will continue to be so with the expansion of their water park and future additions and with Cedar Fair buying the land underneath them you know they are here to stay.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Today I visited CGA for the first time. I was very excited for this park and pumped it would be free to get in with my platinum pass(Knotts) but knew I had to get a Fastlane pass. At first I was a little upset because the park was not that busy and thought I wasted $160 for me and my girlfriend to get one. But it paid off immensely for one reason and one reason only.... Railblazer!!! I’ll get into that in a second, but first thoughts were it was a nice park but lacking rides. I just visited SFDK the day before and felt that park had a lot more big and good rides. This park just felt lacking in the ride department. I know from history that it was a paramount park and It did not seem reminiscent of that really at all. Let’s get into the rides.


Railblazer is AMAZING!!! Maybe the one of the best I’ve ever been on. I’ve been on steel vengeance and maverick and this one might have a fighting chance against them. The only reason why those beat this is because they’re longer. Other than that this ride kicks your ass, literally!! The airtime hill after the dive loop is the best hill I’ve ever experienced, so fast and hard hitting you don’t know what just happened. And it doesn’t end there, the relentlessness is unreal. For a prototype I’m in awe. It gets me so excited for the future, and honestly I don’t think the jersey devil will be better. It poses the question, what park will shell out the probably $40 million to build the first giga T-Rex?? Whoever does will no doubt have the best coaster in the world. Back to railblazer, it’s just an absolute crazy amazing ride and made my fastlane purchase so worth it. Me and my girl literally rode it over 15 times and wanted more!!! 10/5


Goldstriker was pretty good. I’ve head a lot of great reviews on this ride but those were also when it first debuted. Now it’s just rough, straight up. My brain rattled the whole ride and honestly it was pretty unpleasant. I wish I rode it it the heyday because the layout and laterals are really good. I’m going to say it apocalypse is better... yup fight me!!! Look, GCI makes amazing rides they just don’t hold up. And also I’m a HUGE Ghostrider fan and I’ve heard people say this ride is better in which I don’t agree. If GCI could just figure out how to make their rides last longer they’d be one of the best(their retrack of ghostrider has been been A+ so far). 3/5


Flight Deck was actually great. I loved it and feel it’s very underrated(or maybe it’s not, just never hear anything about it). It’s the second B&M invert ever and I thought it packed a very nice punch. 4/5


That basically ends the ride reviews. That’s my only negative to this park is that there’s so few big rides. The park is very clean and nice but just lacking on rides. If they RMC’d grizzly (which I think has a very RMC’able layout) and added the long rumored hyper this park can be really good. In the meantime Railblazer is the one reason to check this place out and that’s about it. If you disagree please let me know and why!!! Otherwise you’re just going to walk out of here with a big headache (I’m looking at you patriot, demon, grizzly and goldstriker)

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Nice report. I mostly agree with your sentiments. I LOVE Railblazer as well and think Gold Striker is extremely overrated. I will take GhostRider over it in a heartbeat. It's still a solid woodie though. The park is very nice, but like you said, it's simply lacking in major rides.


Railblazer, Gold Striker, and Flight Deck is a solid top 3, but after visiting two summers in a row ('18 and '19), I likely won't be back until they get their B&M Hyper. It will happen, one day...

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Good review and as a local i agree with your sentiments. the supporting cast of coasters is nice but not good enough to bother re-riding (demon, patriot and of course boring slow loading grizzly) CGA actually sent me a survey to fill out today in my e-mail while i was at SFDK (lol) and i gave em high marks everywhere but thrill rides and stated they should add a hyper and RMC the grizzly and it'll be hands down the best park in northern California bar none.


On GS, i agree its getting rough but if you make sure to not get stapled so you can get air out of your seat it is still a really fun coaster but easily ghostrider is well above it, its smoother, has more solid airtime and those laterals in the helices are crazy too

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I wasn't impressed with Goldstriker when we visited last month. It has a great deal of potential and a great layout, but it was vibrating the entire length of the track. Not enough to be painful, but enough to notice and discourage re-rides. I tried once in the back and once in the front in order to rule out it being just a "back seat" issue, but I felt it strongly in the front, too.

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So, I finally got myself married a few weeks ago and we took our honeymoon in NorCal the following week. After camping at Portola for a few days, my wife (who likes coasters, but isn't a die-hard enthusiast like I am) let me bring her to CGA before heading home.

This was a first visit here for both of us, but an easy one to make since we both have Platinum Passes and go to Knott's several times a year. Crowds were fairly light that day, since most parkgoers were at the water park. Our first impression was that CGA is a small park that has its own charm. Walking into the park, you're greeted with a fountain, decorative flower bed, a two-story carousel, and a monstrous wooden coaster.



The monstrous wooden coaster - Gold Striker - was our first ride of the day. I had heard great things about it, with some even preferring it to Ghostrider (my favorite woodie). I asked the grouper for back row, but he instead filled both the front and back rows with Fast Lane riders and placed us in the 3rd row. While Gold Striker had decent speed and a fun layout, it had a rattle that detracted from the ride experience. I still really enjoyed it; my wife hated it. We both agreed that Ghostrider is still #1. I wanted to ride again in hopes of sitting in the back, but my wife commented something about needing to have my head examined for wanting to ride again. So we decided to come back later if we had time (spoiler alert: we didn't). 7/10

Next up was the carousel. Sitting high up on a carousel was definitely a neat experience. Per the "weight limit" sign at the entrance, my fat @$$ was too heavy for the horses, so we rode a chariot instead.


Next up was Flight Deck - which was temporarily renamed Hurler, as a kid lost his lunch after exiting the train ahead of us. I love old-school B&Ms, and this one did not disappoint. The first drop delivered a surprising amount of airtime, and the inversions had that classic B&M intensity. It reminded me of the Batman clones - short and sweet. But I still slightly prefer the Batman clones, simply because they do more with their short layout. Flight Deck had several sections between inversions where nothing really happened. 7/10


I was pleasantly surprised to see this park had a sky ride. The one at Cedar Point gave great views of the park, but only went about halfway across the park. Since CGA is way smaller, it spanned the whole park and made for some great photo ops.





New water slides are here!


Next, we hit Psycho Mouse. It had one of the longest lines in the park, and I couldn't help but think I could be standing in line for Railblazer right now instead of credit whoring the wild mouse. Still, we stuck it out and rode it. We ended up sitting with two little kids who were comforting each other the whole time - while my wife watched them and kept saying, "Aaawwww." As for the ride itself, there's not much to say about it... it's a wild mouse. They're always fun, and the restraints are definitely more comfortable than Coast Rider. 5/10

Next stop was the world's worst wooden coaster - Grizzly. This one had a 20-minute wait and I began to again think about skipping this and going to Railblazer, but curiosity got the best of me. I had to find out how bad this coaster was. And hoenstly, it wasn't that bad. It was completely devoid of any airtime or lateral forces, but it was butter smooth - probably because it was devoid of any forces. My wife enjoyed it. My only complaint was the Morgan trains - in which the tight lap bar and lack of leg room left me sitting in an awkward position and gave me a backache. 5/10



Finally, we headed over toward Railblazer before I noticed the familiar clickety-clack of an Arrow looper emanating from the trees near the midway. I'm a sucker for Arrow loopers, but just thinking about an Arrow looper gave my wife (who is a foot shorter than me) a headache, so she sat this one out.

Demon definitely felt like an Arrow - two intense vertical loops, followed by two corkscrews - but this is the first one I've ridden that takes the corkscrews faster than a crawl. It was a nice change. That being said, it was definitely the roughest Arrow looper I've ridden. While most of them shuffle from side to side, Demon also lurches forward and backward through the loops. While I usually avoid headbanging, Demon smacked the back of my head into the headrest a couple of times. That being said, I must be a glutton for punishment because I enjoyed it. 6/10


Finally, I had made it to Railblazer. Ho-ly cow, this thing is bonkers! It's non-stop intensity from the first drop to the final brakes. It packs quite a punch for a ride with such a small footprint. My only complaint is I wish it was longer. Hopefully we'll see one of these at one of the SoCal parks in a few years! 9/10


After grabbing some dinner, I then grabbed the last credit of the night - Patriot. I went in with low expectations, due to reviews by other enthusiasts, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was surprisingly smooth, and the inversions had the old-school B&M intensity, but the layout was "meh". But that's not too surprising, given it was, what... the 2nd coaster that B&M ever built...? I did really enjoy the theming, though. The rock work was well done, and the patriotic marches playing in the queue line were fun. 6/10

That's a wrap for this park. While it had a decent ride collection, it could definitely benefit from the rumored 2021 hyper coaster. The ride ops (save for Railblazer) were some of the slowest I'd ever seen, as well. I mean, really... they made Knott's and SFMM ops seem like Cedar Point.

CGA is probably my least favorite Cedar Fair park thus far, but it is by no means a bad park. The other parks were just that much better. Thanks for reading!

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