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  1. #1

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    Talking Oogie's day at California's Great America

    Early this week Mrs. Oogie and I decided to play hookey from our respective jobs and go have some fun. We ended up going to California’s Great America in Santa Clara, being that neither of us had been to it in about 20 years.

    Mrs. Oogie’s sister was off work that day, so she decided to join us. The good thing about going at the end of the season (The last open weekday of the season to be precise), is that there are so few people there.

    The last time I was there, there was a large buffer between the park and the tech companies of the Silicon Valley. Since then it appears Cedar Fair sold off some of the land. You can see how close these companies are to the park now.

    You can see how empty the parking lot is.

    The park entrance

    Once past the metal detectors, we were greeted with a familiar sight, the double decker carousel.

    I guess all Cedar Fair parks have Snoopy now. The last time I was here they had Warner Brother’s characters wandering around.

    The Vortex and the swings as seen from the top deck of the carousel.

    From a distance, the carousel still looks beautiful..

    But as you get closer, you realize that this ride is in serious need of some TLC.

    But at least the grounds were tidy.

    Wow!!! An actual video arcade!!!!

    Looking up at the ceiling of the swings. It too needs painting and a good cleaning. You can’t really see it in the picture but the chains for the seats are all rather rusty, kind of what you mind find in the midway of a county fair.

    You can see how empty the park is.

    Whitewater Falls. Since there was no line we stayed in the boat and rode it twice.

    Invertigo. This is where The Sky Whirl used to be. It was a 3 armed ferris wheel that gave you a great view of the Santa Clara valley. I was sad to see it had been removed.

    Since the park employs a lot of high school and college students, they didn’t have enough ride operators to run Invertigo. After a few hours though they closed down The Vortex and moved the operators over to Invertigo.

    The Demon. This is one of the parks first roller coasters. Originally called ‘Turn of the Century’, it too has fallen into a state of neglect. The cars are full of graffiti, rebar and chicken wire can be seen in several places where facades have broken off, and the demon images on the front of the cars are looking weathered.

    The ‘mouth’ you enter before hitting the corkscrews on The Demon. There used to be ‘fangs’ in the mouth, but they have either broken off or have been removed. Also near the left hand ‘eye’, there is a giant chunk of rock façade missing.

    Great America’s version of ‘Autopia’, Barney Oldfield’s Speedway.

    Without any themeing (knowing how Mrs. Oogie drives, I tried giving her a lot of space)

    A view of ‘The Grizzly’ from the Speedway.

    Hey!!! They have Dole Whips here too!!!

    The Midway Games area. Again you can see just how empty the park was this day.

    If you ever miss the Maliboomer, you can always come to Great America and ride the Drop Tower.

    Whoot!!! Another arcade… with air hockey tables!!!! J J J

    Survivor, the Ride.

    There are signs like this throughout the waiting area, and they are all weathered and in bad need of painting.

    The ride is fairly simple. You sit facing outward on a disk that spins and rolls around on a ‘W’ shaped track. Along the sides of the track are various masks that every so often will spray water at you. It’s a fun little ride.

    The wild mouse coaster

    With a themed entry (one of the only themed entries in the park)

    The entrance to the Snoopy section

    Where you are greeted by a statue of Snoopy.

    This is a kids maze through a bunch of ‘leaky pipes’. It was rather hot this day and I found myself wishing they had an adult sized one.

    Mrs. Oogie (in the pink hat) and her sister have a seat with Snoopy and Woodstock.

    The stuff in the kids area looks great.

    Except for the restaurant. What does Cedar Fair have against paint?

    After paying almost $30 for a small cheeseburger, a side of fries, 4 chicken strips, and 2 drinks, we made our way over to the log ride.

    Originally there were 2 log rides at Great America. Loggers Revenge in The Yukon Territory (now Planet Snoopy), and The Yankee Clipper in Yankee Harbor (now Boomerang Bay). The channels that they used for the 2 rides were side by side, which on hot summer days, made it perfect for having water wars between the 2 boats as they passed by each other.

    Wow!! An actual skyway! I think those are even the original cars.

    Most of Boomerang Bay was closed that day.

    But the entrance to it was still open.

    Even Coke is helping to ‘Aussify’ the area

    Rip Roaring Rapids. Not quite on par with Grizzly River Run, but still a very fun ride. The ride operators were very laid back and let us ride it 3 times without asking us to get our.

    And yes, you get very very wet on this ride. The wettest you get though is when you pass by these machines.

    There are 2 spots where they have these jets, and whoever was using them when we were on the ride were experts at using them. Everyone in our raft got soaked.

    In turn I got off and spent $3 soaking people as they came by.

    Flight Deck, originally called ‘Top Gun’ during the time when Paramount owned the park. It’s a fun coaster, but there it’s the only coaster I found which has a size restriction on it, and no I don’t mean height. If you are big in the chest, shoulders, or upper torso, you will have problems on this ride and will probably be asked to get off.

    Yay!!! Bumper Cars!!!!

    Since it was getting late (about 5pm and the park closed at 6pm), we decided to take the sky way back across the park so Mrs. Oogie could ride Survivor one more time.

    The tracks for Vortex

    A scenic view of the park

    An arial view of the entrance to Boomerang Bay

    Remember, you’re having fun.

    The Psycho Mouse and the employee parking lot beyond.

    Unfortunately Survivor was closed due to ‘technical difficulties’. So after another round of Churros, Corn Dogs and Lemonade Icee’s, we made our way back to the front gate and home. I was a bit sad to see some of my favorite rides were gone, but the ones that were there were lots of fun. We are already talking about maybe getting a season pass for next year. Hopefully by then they will have painted a bit.
    Last edited by OogieBoogie; 08-29-2010 at 11:16 PM.
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  2. #2

    • Chicago Gal
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    Re: Oogie's day at California's Great America

    Thanks for the detailed trip report. I especially enjoyed your comment about the cars that you drive. I have a very hard time getting into the Autopia cars, and those cars at your Great America would be a whole lot easier.

    My son always talks about visiting California if he had the money. He would love this park. He is crazy for roller coasters.

    Thanks again. I am presently in the Dells, and stuck in my hotel room on a rainy morning, so your report and MiceChat in general has helped past the time.
    Disneyland Here I Come Again!
    October 1, to October 6, 2015

  3. #3

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    Re: Oogie's day at California's Great America

    Great stuff Oogie. We had a fun day at CGA when we were there last year, but opted to not go back on our bay area trip this year as nothing was really new (same could be said for Six Flags as well).

    It will be interesting to see what happens with this park over the next few years if/when the new 49ers stadium is built near the park.

  4. #4

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    Re: Oogie's day at California's Great America

    Thank for the report. It brought back some memories. I worked at the park back when it was called "Marriott's Great America". I believe it was the Summer of 1980. I was 16 and I work in the old fashon photography shop in the Hometown Square area of the park (I think that's what it was called back then). It was my first "real" job and it was a lot of fun. My friends and my two little sisters loved it because I could get them into the park for free. I have not been to the park in years (decades actually) so I'm not sure I would reconize the palce.

  5. #5

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    Re: Oogie's day at California's Great America

    Seems like Six Flags Great America is a much better park to be at than Cedar Fair's.

  6. #6

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    Re: Oogie's day at California's Great America

    Thanks for the TR! I live locally in the Bay Area but haven't been to Great America in YEARS. I didn't even know until recently that Top Gun changed names (makes sense with Paramount's departure), nor have I been on the Invertigo or checked out Boomerang Bay. DH is Aussie so he will probably get a kick out of Boomerang Bay (kind of like when we go to Outback Steakhouse). It's too late to visit now for this year, but your TR has convinced me that we must go next summer. DH and I are both coaster fans so there is really no excuse when we live only 20 min away!

  7. #7

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    Re: Oogie's day at California's Great America

    Love it, Love it, Love it.
    "You are watching FOX"

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