California’s Great America
San Jose / Santa Clara, CA
Cedar Fair Entertainment
See our WinterFest 2017 Report Here
Park News - (10/25/2023) Cedar Fair has changed their mind about offering year-round operations at three of their parks after just switching over to weekend operations during the colder months just last year. This list would include Carowinds, California’s Great America and Kings Dominion.
The official word would seem to be that all three parks failed to attract enough attendance on those new dates, which are mostly weekends in January, February and some of March. However, based on guest reactions from those who did attend on those dates, guests frequently reported encountering those parks with what appeared to be a limited staff, a good number of rides unable to operate (due to a mix of limited staffing or maintenance closures) and a couple of days where the weather was just too iffy and the parks opted to close early for the day.
Of course, all of these reasons were also anticipated to happen when Cedar Fair first announced that these parks would be switching to year-round operations, so I’m not entirely surprised by this move. After all, even in Los Angeles where competitor Six Flags operates Magic Mountain year-round, but only on weekends in the colder months of the year, that park also suffers from many of these same issues, but in an environment that typically offers better weather.
Now if any Cedar Fair park was going to have a good go at it, I’d give the nod to California’s Great America, but the park’s attendance numbers have always been a little limited, and some potential guests may be less likely to visit with a pending permanent closure looming by 2033, limiting the number of new attractions we might see added there. Carowinds stood a chance as well of making it happen, but as I live in the region, the off-season weather can be a little fickle… sunny and warm one day and freezing cold, feeling like snow is about to fall the next. So the success of off-season weekends at Carowinds would definitely be something that varied from year to year. Kings Dominion in Virginia is a bit further North and East from Carowinds, so I’d expect even colder weather with a greater possibility of snow.
So according to the park schedules posted for the months after WinterFest, look for Carowinds to open for the 2024 season on March 9 where it will begin Fri/Sat/Sunday operations, and California’s Great America and Kings Dominion will begin weekend operations two weeks later on March 23rd.
2024 - Nothing is known at this time...