In Santa Clara, California a nice small park called Great America is bustling with locals. Most everyone that attends the park has an season pass because of its great location and family atmosphere. While the park is a good place to go every once in a while for a few hours, the name is misleading because this park is far from great. On my latest trip, I realized and discovered many things about the park and why it isn’t more popular. However, I did also find some great elements this park has to offer.
The park is truly beautiful. Everywhere you look the park is nicely landscaped. In the entrance plaza (pictures above) you can see all the detail and effort that the gardening team puts in to the park. The rapids area was covered with greenery and made it for a very enjoyable expierence.
However guest don’t come for the landscaping, guest come for the ride selection, and quite frankly Caifornia’s Okay America doesn’t have much to offer. Flight Deck is the parks signature coaster, a 1993, B&M Invert with a custom layout. The layout begins with a 91′ drop into a loop, helix, zero g roll, a few curves, corkscrew, turns; nothing to exciting. The layout is short, and only forceful at certain parts. To be honest, I prefer the Batman clones any day over this ride.
Vortex is so bad I forgot to take a decent picture of it! Opened in 1991, this stand up B&M really doesn’t have much to offer besides some pain. Tere is lots of head banging, airtime (not a good thing on a stand up coaster!), and your feet begin to hurt from the forces found on the ride. The park would be much better off with just seated cars.
Then we have Grizzly. This is the worst coaster in California. Not only is it rough, but rough without purpose. If a coaster is too be rough, it should have airtime, and an amazing layout, but not Grizzly. Built in 1986, this park made wooden coaster really doesn’t do it for me. A slow layout, one of the roughest rides you can imagine, and loud. The park recently did retracking to the turnaround which used to be extremely slow, is now just very slow and much more painful.
Demon, again, your typical head banging arrow. The layout is nice, the theming is pathetic, but the restraints, oh the restraints. They become your murderer during the double corkscrews. Totally not worth any wait.
The saving grace of this park is Invertigo. The ride is actually quite unique as many have been removed in the U.S. and there isn’t another one on the West Coast. The ride is as smooth as new glass. The over the shoulder, extra padded, restraints are just there to scare you. Not once did my head move to hit either side of the restraint. With back to back seating, it is also fun to see strangers faces when they first drop or see there faces when I first drop.
The only problem with Invertigo is, it wasn’t open! Infact, several rides weren’t open! Fire Fall was not open, Flight Deck broke down mid day, the rapids broke down for quite some time, and Grizzly didn’t even open until 12:00. The park needs to clean up their act because I heard a ton of complaints when the rapids broke down while I was in line.
Part 2 coming soon….