California’s Great America
San Jose / Santa Clara, CA
Cedar Fair Entertainment
Park News - (5/23/13) California’s Great America has announced that they are adding another fireworks show that will take place on Saturday night as well as the Sunday show for this holiday weekend.
(5/22/13) California’s Great America reports that, “For Memorial Day Weekend, California’s Great America will be providing free admission to all current or retired military personnel, along with providing $19.99 tickets for attending family members (up to 6). We’ll also host a patriotic fireworks display at 9:30 pm on Sunday. We’ll additionally be presenting a color guard with the national anthem each morning in front of our guests.”
(10/3/12) Westcoaster ventures up into CGA this week to check out the Haunt, Gold Striker construction, and even comes across the construction work already under way for the new football stadium for the 49ers in the park’s overflow lot.
(7/26/12) Screamscape sources tell us we can expect an announcement for the new coaster at California’s Great America on or near August 29th. Also, setup work for Halloween Haunt is already under way at the park, with a brand new haunt set to go in behind the old Invertigo location that will be called something along the line of “Massacre Manor”. Stay tuned!
(1/9/12) Cedar Fair is said to have signed an agreement that will allow for the 49er’s to build their new stadium in the park’s overflow lot, as well as park in the main lot on game days. In return the city will give them a great lease extension deal on the land under the park. The existing deal will see Cedar Fair pay the city $5.3 million a year through 2039, afterwards the park will only pay between $5.7 to $6.3 million annually through 2074. The park will also be able to keep it’s profits until it exceeds $64 million in revenue provided that the park makes at least $10 million in capital investments, so Cedar Fair now has some good incentive to invest in new attractions for the park at last.
2013 - Gold Striker / Happy Feet: Mumble’s Wild Ride - (5/3/13) The first reviews of the new Gold Striker coaster has been posted CGAInsider and ThemeParkOverload. So far everyone says that the ride is fantastic!
(4/17/13) Good news came a few hours ago from CGA as the park tweeted that Gold Striker just made it’s first run along with a picture and then later a POV video from the front of the train! Sweet! One request though... make the tunnel pitch black (top, sides and bottom!) and make it another 100-200 feet longer. It looks a bit too short when you blast through it so fast.
(4/12/13) A new GCI video showing off a POV run on Gold Striker, now featuring the big mine shaft tunnel on the first drop, has been posted.
(4/1/13) An opening day report from California’s Great America has been posted to GCAInsider, with plenty of views of Gold Striker, including the newly enclosed first drop. They also confirmed that the new film added to the Action Theater replacing SpongeBob is Happy Feet: Mumble’s Wild Ride.
(3/4/13) California’s Great America offered a Hardhat construction tour of Gold Striker over the weekend and the crew over at CGA Insider (formerly AU13Watch) took some great pictures of the new coaster, as well as other park improvements under way. For example, it was confirmed that while the park’s Action FX theater was replacing Spongebob 3D, it wont be the rumored white water rafting one. The supports for the tunnel over the first drop are already in place on Gold Striker. So far the park does not have an official opening date for the new coaster, though I’ve heard from outside sources that it is unlikely to be ready in time for the park’s opening day in three weeks.
Meanwhile ACE Northern California reps were on hand as well and have posted a great video of Gold Striker shot by a Quadricopter with a mounted GoPro HD video camera, giving us a really unique view of the new ride. Aerial still photos have also been posted to their Facebook page.
(2/21/13) According to this news report Gold Striker will add one more odd feature that could be very interesting. It claims that the coaster’s entire first drop will now be covered and turned into a dark tunnel... with wooden sides, a corrugated metal roof and “in-fill” under the tracks to make it dark all around during the 174 foot long twisting spiral first drop. (They said this will set a record for “the longest covered initial descent tunnel on a wooden coaster.”) While I do enjoy a good steep drop in utter darkness (nod to Dollywood’s Tennessee Tornado) the addition of the tunnel here seems oddly placed, as the track was designed to spiral around the observation tower, so the tunnel will block riders view of the tower, and the tower rider’s view of the coaster spinning around the tower.
I also am painfully reminded of the “covered” first drop slapped together by Cedar Fair on GhostRider down at Knott’s several years ago, ruining view from the top. This was said to be an attempt at cutting back on the noise levels from screaming riders as they plunged from bothering the nearby neighbors. We know Gold Striker was opposed and run through several legal challenges by the neighboring businesses which delayed the ride’s construction for several years. That said, I have my suspicions that the addition of this tunnel may have more to do with the appeasing of outside forces rather than rider enjoyment. The old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” seems to apply here.
Making the best out of this... if properly dark inside this could be a pretty fun element, despite ruining the awesome photo opportunity from the observation tower.
(2/9/13) PureCoaster has posted a new photo update of Gold Striker under construction, including shots of the ride taken from backstage angles. They also report that Spongebob 3D is likely to be leaving the Action Theater, possibly replaced by some kind of white water rafting movie instead. More on this as we find out.
(2/6/13) As promised, Gold Striker was topped out last week and
the local news was on site to check out the progress made on this fun looking coaster, including a look down on the coaster from the park’s sky tower. The park also sent us a few new pictures of Gold Striker as well. While the park opens for the season on March 29th, Gold Striker wont be quite ready yet, but is on track to open sometime in the Spring.
(2/4/13) A new construction update for Gold Striker has been posted to AU13Watch.
(1/29/13) I’m told that Gold Striker will be topping out the construction of the highest point on the ride this Wednesday. Stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll have footage or pictures to share soon after.
(12/31/12) A new Gold Striker construction update can be found over at AU13 Watch.
(12/20/12) Take a walk around California’s Great Adventure to see more of the Global Winter Wonderland lights and the latest work on Gold Striker. Click here to see it all over at Westcoaster.
(12/11/12) A new construction update on Gold Striker can be found at AU13Watch.
(11/28/12) California’s Great America posted an incredible view of Gold Striker on Facebook earlier today. Quite a bit of the structure is now complete and it looks fantastic.
(11/27/12) A new Gold Striker construction update can be found here at the Au13 Watch site. A separate update showing off the Global Winter Wonderland event put on in the park by a private group who rents it out has been posted to ThemeParkReview.
(11/21/12) PureCoaster has posted a new construction report on Gold Striker at California’s Great America.
(11/5/12) Some semi-new pictures from the Gold Striker construction site can be found here.
(10/18/12) A new report on Gold Striker can be found here.
(10/2/12) A reader has sent in some great new pictures of Gold Striker under construction this week. You can see a few more posted to ThemeParkReview as well as a report on the park’s 2012 Haunt.
(8/30/12) Gold Striker was confirmed as the name for the park’s new wooden coaster, along with the claim of being the Tallest and Fastest Wooden Coaster in Northern California... which isn’t saying much. Gold Striker will be 108.2 ft tall and run up to 53.7mph. Two nice animated preview videos were also released... so check it out below as we finally get to see this great GCI creation come alive at last!
(8/6/12) CGA has posted some very nice construction images of the Gold Striker (aka: Au13) project on their Facebook page this week.
(8/1/12) California’s Great America has started their online teaser for the 2013 coaster on Facebook and sent out an image of a miner that says Striking New Records, August 29th. There is also a small box that says “Au13” in it. “Au” is the symbol given to Gold in the periodic table, but the atomic number is really 79 not 13, so I can only assume this is a reference to 2013. (Fun Fact: If you count all the coasters removed from the park over the years, this new coaster will also be the park’s 13th coaster.) Now if that wasn’t enough, Cedar Fair has also just filed a trademark for the name “Gold Striker” this past week, which fits right in perfectly as the name for this new ride. We’ll find out on August 29th.
Oh… and in case anyone was wondering, Gold Striker has now gone vertical according to this latest picture sent in.
(7/20/12) A reader has sent in some new pictures of the construction site at California’s Great America taken this week. They have also posted a larger photo trip report from around the rest of the park which can be seen over at ThemeParkReview.
(6/12/12) While the future coaster site at CGA is still in the ground work phase, new pictures posted to Theme Park Review show that lumber deliveries have already started for the new wooden coaster.
(5/7/12) Ground clearing has begun at CGA for the new 2013 coaster. Thanks to one of our readers for sending in a picture of the site.
(5/3/12) A construction permit was filed by CGA just yesterday to begin the early ground work to make way for the new coaster. Looks like they are ready to get this project under way as soon as possible.
(4/20/12) Some good news for CGA’s wooden coaster project this week, as it looks as if the park’s permit has been approved and everything is ready to go.
(2/16/12) Screamscape sources have confirmed that CGA’s plan is indeed to revive the old GCI wooden coaster plans, pretty much as is. The project was so far along when it was stalled out by noise complaint concerns years ago, that it is said to have a complete set of plans and ready to go into production as soon as they get the permits.
(2/15/12) A Screamscape reader did a little digging and came across an interesting document just submitted to the city of Santa Clara a few hours ago, described as a new “Architectural Review of revised plans for a wood coaster ride structure to be constructed in northern portion of park; Reference previous planning cases: PLN2008-06835 & PLN2009-07829” The meeting is set for March 7th for what sounds like the long awaited revival of the park’s GCI wooden coaster project. While the location only says it is for the Northern section of the park, that sounds like same basic area they were hoping to build in before, where it would include a helix spiral around the park’s Star Tower ride. Pleasure Note... I’ve only dug up the pictures of the old plans from IAAPA 2007 to serve as a visual reference. These exact plans have not been resubmitted for the new ride.
(12/8/11) Screamscape sources tell us that Cedar Fair management may have privately confirmed to GCA management that the park would get a new roller coaster for 2013. So the question remains… is it the long delayed GCI wooden coaster or something new?
(8/1/11) Remember that awesome GCI wooden coaster project that was all but approved at one point for California’s Great America before getting tangled up in a mess with a local neighbor over noise issues? There may be life in the old girl yet… as the park applied in June for a two year extension to the previously approved height-variance needed to install the ride, and was approved for it at a meeting in June. Could the park be preparing to finally deliver this great looking coaster, or are they just keeping the variance alive for a new unknown project in development? Either way, it sounds like something big may be on the way.
(10/26/07) In 2009 Cedar Fair has already confirmed plans to add a new GCI wooden coaster to the park. The new coaster will stand 104 feet tall and send riders on a 2 minute ride at 52 mph ride through a twisting first drop, a low to the ground S turn and a high speed station fly-by.