California’s Great America
San Jose / Santa Clara, CA
Cedar Fair Entertainment
Park News - (12/12/16) According to an article posted by the NoCal ACE website California's Great America is gearing up a new 20-year Masterplan for the park that would see a number of new 200 foot tall (and taller) rides into the park's future as well as an expanded waterpark and some remodeling of the park's main entrance. In fact, it seems a 200+ page report on their future plans has already been published for public viewing on the City of Santa Clara's website ahead of a planned meeting to go over it that may take place as early as December 19th.
(12/5/16) J-Forces has posted a great video showing off the look of the WinterFest celebration at California's Great America this year. Check it out below.
(10/12/16) A full review of the Halloween Haunt action at California's Great America has been posted by KoasterKaosNews, which includes a review of the now closed FearVR experience.
(3/31/16) Cedar Fair and California's Great America made a huge announcement a few hours ago regarding the park's future. Not only did they announce their intention to buy the land under the park that will soon be put up for sale by the city, but they have also applied to make zoning changes for the property that will allow them to add more new tall rides to the park (over 200 ft) without jumping through as many hoops as before, or annoying complaints from neighboring office buildings.
Add onto this a new plan that would see a new entertainment complex built just outside the park's main gate that would incorporate the existing amphitheater, but would be open to the general public. In other words, it looks like they intend to build their own version of a Universal CityWalk project, which certainly would help keep the site alive and active all year round, though size-wise a better comparison may be to think of it being more like the Marketplace outside Knott's Berry Farm. Some great images of the new proposed use map for the property and other important notices can be found at GreatAmericanThrills.
Looking at the new map, a few interesting items stand out to me right away, such as #10 where they plan to build a "Major Attraction" such as a "Steel Roller Coaster" or "Water Coaster" on the site of the old Invertigo. There are several spots listed as #11, where they are planning new family attractions (kiddie coasters, climb & play structure or family flat rides), plans to build a Ropes Course and Dinosaur's Alive attraction in the Grizzly / Demon area of the park, further expansion of Planet Snoopy, a re-branding and expansion of the waterpark, as well as plans to build a new dedicated entrance to the waterpark from the new Entertainment District, and plans to "Re-market" the Vortex Roller Coaster (likely the rumored conversation from Stand-Up to a Floorless coaster).
Late 2016 - WinterFest - (2/17/16) While California's Great America is preparing to open for the 2016 season on March 25th the park is also working on a new event as well, WinterFest! Yep... WinterFest will kick off for a 5-week run starting November 25th on the weekends only and going daily from Dec. 19-23, and 26-30th.
"The park will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland during WinterFest where guests can skate in front of the iconic Carousel Columbia, admire magnificent displays of lights and décor, view spectacular live holiday shows, experience 18 rides and attractions, see Santa’s workshop and Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, and enjoy scrumptious holiday fare at numerous food locations. The winter scene will be dominated by one of the Bay Area’s tallest Christmas trees adorned with hundreds of twinkling lights accompanied by giant toy soldiers greeting guests." Admission to WinterFest will be free for 2016 Gold and Platinum pass holders.
2017 - Patriot / Vortex Floorless Conversion - (10/27/16) A new construction update about all the changes taking place at CGA to transform Vortex into Patriot has been posted to CaliforniaCoasterKings this week. Check it out.
After being rumored as being in the works for the past two years the park is finally going to pull the trigger and convert Vortex into a new Floorless coaster to be renamed as Patriot for the 2017 season. This will be the same layout as Vortex is now, just converted to use B&M Floorless trains which will provide a much more comfortable ride experience. The new trains will be blue and white and from the look of the concept artwork the coaster itself will be repainted to have some nice blue tracks as well.
(10/4/16) California Coaster Kings has posted an update on the transformation of Vortex into Patriot at California's Great America this week. Check it out.
For now you can get your “Last Stand” on Vortex now through September 5th, then Vortex will close down to being the transformation.
(9/17/15) According to the latest rumor, the proposed plan of converting Vortex into a Floorless coaster has been pushed back until at least 2017 at this point. That’s if it happens at all. It’s one thing to convert Mantis into Rogarou as a modern and much bigger Stand-Up coaster, but Vortex is old and very small by comparison and is hardly worth the effort or cost in my opinion.
(6/16/15) According to a news clip sent to me by a reader, Cedar Fair apparently confirmed to one media source their plans to convert Vortex at California’s Great America into a Floorless coaster.
Meanwhile it has also been reported at CaliforniaCoasterKings (near the bottom) that some repainting on Vortex has already begun, though in this case it is just a repainting of the grey supports with a nice new grey coat, though I wouldn’t be surprised if this leads to some new colors going onto the track itself as the summer progresses. Keep your eyes peeled for small patches of test paint on the coaster showing off new colors.
(6/15/15) The latest rumor going around claims that Vortex at California's Great America may get the Rougarou treatment, and be converted from a Stand-Up coaster into a B&M Floorless coaster design over over the off-season, reopening in Spring 2016 with new colors and a new name.