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
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
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
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
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. 10/10OTHER 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.
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!