Hello, horror fans. Today we bring you a look at the premier theme park for Haunt in Norther California… in the off Haunt season!
California’s Great America is known for it’s rather large yearly Haunt, boasting new and fan favorite mazes ready to scare frighten you. But certain recent events have had a major impact on this historic park, and it’s all good! In January, the city voted to rezone the park! This means longer seasons for operation (year round is a possibility), taller rides (bigger is better, right?!), and the addition of an entertainment area outside the park (think City Walk at Universal). Couple this with a promise from it’s parent company, Cedar Fair, to significantly invest in the park over the next 20 years! It’s safe to say Haunt will see a part of this boost in park vitality, but what about the rides?! We need other ways to get the old juices flowing when it’s not Haunt season.
Back in 1991, the park opened it’s first stand up coaster named Vortex. Standing at 91 feet and reaching speeds of 45mph, the compact design of the Bolliger & Mabillard coaster added a thrill to the parks ride profile that the whole family could enjoy. But times are a changin’ and the ride had seen better days. But just like the caterpillar, the ride has emerged from its cocoon as a beautiful butterfly. Welcome in, Patriot. The parks first floorless coaster. Yes, that’s right. The once proud stand up has lost its floor, and riders are introduced to a totally new experience.
Along with various members of our nation’s military, we were treated like patriotic royalty to experience the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony. The cities mayor, park management, and of course, Snoopy, all helped launch the coasters first ride featuring our military members. Fireworks shot into the air as the coaster made its first loaded run of its course. Afterward, we were treated to some new food items that the park will offer (the Tri-tip, pulled pork, and spicy chicken sandwiches were delicious), along with the new Patriot themed Dippin Dot’s to keep people cool this spring and summer.
We had the chance to experience the new floorless make-over, and I must say, it’s a vast improvement on the previous version. Being over 6 foot tall, the stand-up version wasn’t too kind on the jewels if you know what I mean. The seats are nice and comfortable, and the head bashing of yester-ride are long gone. The tight loop gives some great G forces, while the corkscrew is more enjoyable with the new reimaging.
We were a tad let down by the lack of theming in the queue (unlike flight deck), but like we said, things are changing for the better at CGA.
With the new zoning vote passing (Patriot was the last project, pre-rezoning) we can only hope they can improve on their current queues. I know most of you are thinking what I’m thinking. How about some covered queues for us trying to limit our UV exposure?
But all-in-all the park’s future is bright, and Patriot is a clear sign of great things to come from this classic Bay Area park.
Ryan is a long time horror movie lover, and Haunt enthusiast from the San Francisco Bay Area. When he's not watching his favorite foreign horror flicks, you can find him singing in his metal band, studying Muay Thai, sipping on fancy cocktails, or taking random Theme-Park and Roller Coaster trips with his group of friends, dubbed, "The Theme Park Fun Brigade".