California’s Great America
San Jose / Santa Clara, CA
Cedar Fair Entertainment
See our WinterFest 2017 Report Here
Park News - (5/24/21) Special thanks to NorCalThrills.com who sent us a few great pictures of the Whitewater Falls rehab this week, showing off what I previously mentioned. The entire conveyor belt lift hill system has been removed entirely from the ride as part of the current refurbishment project for the ride. While your at it, follow the link to their website to see their full photo update from the park’s opening day to see what other changes have been made since the park was last open in 2019.
This includes new paint on Psycho Mouse, new paint on many Planet Snoopy rides, and a slew of new improvements, big and small, across the entire park, from seating areas to new signage and more. Don’t forget a good look around the newly expanded waterpark, which is currently set to open in June.
(5/22/21) Is yet another water ride being removed from an American theme park? Screamscape was sent a picture of the Whitewater Falls flume ride at California’s Great America where it appeared that the lift hill was being removed. These kind of rides have been coming down in record numbers over the past decade or more at parks across the country, including at Six Flags Magic Mountain to the South which is currently in the process of coming down right now.
If true, the park’s Rapids ride may be the last water ride in the park, as the park has already removed their two more traditional flume rides in previous years. Yankee Clipper was removed first around 1998 to make room for Stealth (which has also since been removed) and then I believe Logger’s Run was removed around 2018 to make way for the waterpark expansion.
That said… I actually don’t believe Whitewater Falls is being removed at this time. The ride is still listed on the park’s website, as well as in a listing on the park’s Schedules Ride Closures page which has it listed as being closed from now through to “Early Summer”, which definitely seems to indicate this is a refurbishment.
If you visit the park in the near future, take some pictures of what’s going on over there so we can follow along with the progress on the refurbishment.
(5/15/21) Cedar Fair has announced the appointment of Barbara-Lea Granter as the new Vice President and General Manager of the California’s Great America theme park. She is taking over the top spot from Manny Gonzales who has now taken over the VP/GM spot at the company’s Carowinds theme park in Charlotte, NC.
Granter has had a long career with the parks, coming up originally through the Paramount Park system in the Entertainment and Operations departments at Canada’s Wonderland, serving in management at the famous “Star Trek: The Experience” attraction in Las Vegas before moving on to California where she has spent the past 19 seasons as GM of Gilroy Gardens.
California’s Great America will reopen at last to all guests starting on May 22. You can get your tickets and reservations through the official website now.
(1/30/21) According to Cedar Fair the plan is to open California’s Great America on May 22, 2021. Of course this is is California, so the state’s own regulations and restrictions could play a hand in if this is allowed to take place or not.
(8/5/20) California's Great America has confirmed that the park will now remain closed for the rest of 2020. Confirming the rumor we posted last week, they are now focused on reopening the park in 2021.
2021 - South Bay Shores (Waterpark Expansion) - (10/15/20) The local news was taken on a tour of South Bay Shores, the newly expanded waterpark inside California’s Great America that is now set to open in 2021. They’ve posted a large batch of images from the park showing off the current progress of things which is mostly complete at this point.
(9/7/20) While California’s Great America was not able to reopen in 2020, the park has released a new blog update showing off all the construction process on the new South Bay Shores waterpark experience that is now set to open in 2021. Follow the link to see for yourself.
(8/10/19) California’s Great America has announced that their waterpark will be expanded and transformed into “South Bay Shores” for the park’s 2020 season. The upgrade plans include six new waterslides, new and upgraded food and merchandise locations, premium cabanas and a new sandy beach play area.
The new slides will feature:
Shark Reef Plunge - Four new slides will start off with a near vertical drop experience that will start off when you climb inside one of the trap-door pods.
Feeding Frenzy - Enclosed tube slide that will end in a giant ‘bowl’ element at the bottom.
Barracuda - A high speed tube slide that will feature a tight constrictor style series of spins and end with a steep plunge at the end.
Other features to be added include the Tide Pool (family lagoon play area with eight kiddie slides), Barefoot Beach (sand beach and play area), the Pier 76 Cafe restaurant and Sand Bar, a new entrance, new changing areas, more shade, more lounge chairs, more landscaping, and new premium cabanas to rent for the day.
(7/30/19) A collection of new photos from California’s Great America were posted yesterday and finally we have some vertical construction progress for the 2020 waterpark expansion. Steel tower structures are now rising on site. Follow the link and see for yourself.
???? - New Steel Coaster - Planning - (3/31/19) Some new rumors are starting to float in about the next coaster planned for California’s Great America. Some of this is in contrast to the previous details leaked out when the park filed for (and was granted) a height variance with the FAA for a new coaster up to 210 feet tall. That variance was good for a project that would start construction during 2019, which would be for a new 2020 attraction, but the latest rumors suggest the park may opt to wait to open a new coaster in 2021. The new rumors also suggest it could be a multi-launched coaster, not unlike the new Copperhead Strike that just opened at Carowinds, but if that was the case it may not even need the 210 foot height variance if the entire project has changed. That doesn’t mean they could built something totally unique instead up to 210 feet in height, but if they wanted to wait until 2021, they would have to get some kind of extension on the FAA variance.
Of course, they could opt to build new coasters in 2020 and 2021, but I highly doubt that is the case, but either way it looks like they have some options open at the moment. So keep your eyes peeled for clues when visiting the park this season, as we also know they were planning a waterpark expansion as well that has yet to happen.
(6/21/18) If you scroll down to the latest update (6/5/18) at Coaster-Nation, they show off an approval from the city of Santa Clara for CGA to build a 210 foot "steel roller coaster ride".
(6/17/18) While the previous FAA details had vanished, a reader pointed out a new revised application from the park to the FAA for a height variance for a new attraction. A few little things have changed as well, as instead of a 240 foot attraction, the new application lists only building a structure 210 feet tall above ground level and appears to be complete this time, with the park given permission to go ahead with the project with some new timeline dates for construction to be done between March 1, 2019 and finished by December 31, 2019, which would make this a new attraction for the 2020 season.
The location is coming up slightly different as well, as the old coordinates seemed to indicate putting it on the Peanuts Pirates location, instead the coordinates now show it taking over the site of Snoopy's Splash Dance water play attraction.
???? - Future Park Plans - (1/26/17) Good news for California's Great America as CoasterDemon reports that the Santa Clara City Council has unanimously approved of the park's new master plan and needed rezoning. Meanwhile Coaster101 got a look at the expanded final proposal from the park, as presented to the council, which offers a few more details about just what they have planned for the park. Items of interest include mention of a launched coaster, a steel hypercoaster, as new flume ride, suspended family coaster and even a new family/child friendly sized wooden coaster.
(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.
(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).