|Slogan Thrills Connect|
Phone +1 408-988-1776
|General Manager Raul Rehnborg|
Opened 29 May 1976
|Location Santa Clara, California, United States|
Owner Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
Previous names Marriott's Great America 1976–1985 Great America 1985–1993 and 2007-2008 Paramount's Great America 1993–2006
Address 4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054, USA
Rides Flight Deck, Patriot, Grizzly, Columbia Carousel, Tiki Twirl
California s great america review santa clara amusement park
California's Great America is a 100-acre (40 ha) amusement park located in Santa Clara, California. Owned and operated by Cedar Fair, it originally opened as Marriott's Great America in 1976 as one of two parks built and operated by the Marriott Corporation. The park has appeared in 1994 films Beverly Hills Cop III and Getting Even with Dad and features over 40 rides and attractions. One of its most notable attractions, Gold Striker, has been featured as a top-ranked wooden roller coaster in Amusement Today's annual Golden Ticket Awards publication.
- California s great america review santa clara amusement park
- Flight deck front seat on ride hd pov california s great america
- Marriott KECO Era 19761992
- Paramount Parks Era 19922006
- Cedar Fair Entertainment Company 2006present
- Areas and attractions
- Planet Snoopy
- Boomerang Bay
- Defunct attractions
- Fast Lane
- Halloween Haunt
- Current attractions
- Californias Great Americas timeline
- On film and television
Flight deck front seat on ride hd pov california s great america
Marriott & KECO Era (1976–1992)
Marriott's Great America, built by hotel and restaurant operator Marriott Corporation, opened to the public on May 20, 1976. Less than two weeks later on May 29, the company opened a second Marriott's Great America – later known as Six Flags Great America – north of Chicago in Gurnee, Illinois. A third park was initially planned for the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area, but the idea was later abandoned after several failed attempts to sway local opposition.
The park, though profitable, was still an earnings disappointment for Marriott, leading the company in 1983 to explore options to sell. An interested party, Caz Development Co., appraised the land value at US$800,000 to $1 million per acre. Marriott also involved the city of Santa Clara in negotiations, which was already leasing 55 acres (22 ha) of parking space for the amusement park. Fearing development of the land by Caz Development would aggravate already congested roadways, the city council approved a $101 million purchasing agreement on January 31, 1984, by a 4–3 vote that also had to be approved by city residents. The citywide vote passed, approving the sale by a margin of 3 to 1. Caz Development then sued the city and Marriott in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County to block the transaction. The court nullified the sale, forcing the city to attempt to salvage the deal through negotiations with the other parties. Unable to broker a timely agreement, the city council voted 6–1 to scuttle the sale on February 5, 1985, though the city was still interested in owning the park. After Marriott refunded a $20 million down payment back to the city, negotiations were restarted. All parties were able to agree on a compromise, which was signed in marathon sessions taking place in early June 1985. The city acquired the park for $93.5 million from Marriott, which retained 20 acres (8.1 ha) from the sale for development. Caz Development settled and was allowed to build a hotel and office near the park, which the city renamed Great America.
Kings Entertainment Company, who owned and operated other amusement parks, was hired in 1985 to manage Great America for the city. In 1989, the city decided to return the park to the private sector and sold it to Kings Entertainment. In the agreement, the city would earn 5% of all revenue that exceeds $56 million.
Paramount Parks Era (1992–2006)
Three years later Paramount Communications (formerly Gulf+Western), the owners of Paramount Pictures, sought to join other entertainment companies as a theme park owner. The company acquired Kings Entertainment, owner of three parks including Great America, and one other park for $400 million and created Paramount Parks. Viacom, the parent of MTV Networks (including Nickelodeon), then bought Paramount in 1994, allowing Nickelodeon theming and merchandise into the park as well. During the Paramount era, attractions from the Action FX Theatre, Nickelodeon Splat City (later Nickelodeon Central), Drop Zone Stunt Tower, Invertigo, and many more modern thrill ride attractions were added in. Because the park is landlocked in the center of Silicon Valley, several rides including the classic train ride and the Sky Whirl, a Marriott's Great America signature attraction, were removed to make way for newer attractions.
In its last years as a Paramount Park, Great America was co-owned with several broadcasting stations in the Bay Area, including KPIX-TV and KBCW.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (2006–present)
After Viacom and CBS Corporation split, Paramount Parks became part of CBS. The merger did not last long, as CBS announced plans to sell the theme park division.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. announced in May 2006 that they are acquiring the amusement park division from CBS. The transaction includes licensing agreements with Nickelodeon and Paramount, providing the park the option to retain its Nickelodeon and Paramount theming for several years.
On October 25, 2007, Cedar Fair renamed the park California's Great America. For the 2008 season, the park saw the addition of a Huss Rides top spin ride called FireFall, a new ice show in the "Great America Theatre" (formerly The Paramount Theatre), and the addition of the Halloween Haunt event to the park.
In the summer of 2009, Cedar Fair announced that all the Nickelodeon themed areas would be replaced with Peanuts themed areas. In 2010, the newly rethemed Planet Snoopy opened in the park.
On January 27, 2011, the park announced Invertigo would be removed and relocated to Dorney Park, another Cedar Fair property.
On September 19, 2011, Cedar Fair confirmed reports that California's Great America would be sold to JMA Ventures, LLC for $70 million in cash. The sale required approval by the City of Santa Clara, and its city council was scheduled to vote on the matter on December 6, 2011. Cedar Fair, which purchased the park in 2006, expected to use the cash proceeds from the sale to reduce its senior secured debt. However, on December 6, 2011, JMA Ventures cancelled its plans to purchase the amusement park. In the same announcement, Cedar Fair also verified that a long-term agreement was reached with the San Francisco 49ers regarding parking and construction of a new stadium adjacent to Great America.
Areas and attractions
Note: Number ratings assigned per California's Great America, while the colors are unique to Wikipedia. For more details, see the California's Great America "Guest Assistance Guide" (PDF).
Planet Snoopy is California's Great America's kids area which opened in 2010.
Boomerang Bay is California's Great America's water park, opened in 2004. It is included with the price of admission to California's Great America.
Past rides and attractions include:
Fast Lane is California's Great America's virtual queue system. For $45, visitors get a wrist band that enables them to get to the front of the line on eleven rides and two shows without queueing.
Halloween Haunt is a seasonal event at California's Great America. It had a "teaser" maze in 2007, but officially began in 2008 and is patterned after other Cedar Fair HAUNT such as Knott's
SCarowinds HAUNT XL The annual Haunt includes over 500 monsters placed in various haunted mazes and scare zones throughout the park.
For 2016, Halloween Haunt features eight haunted mazes, three scare zones, four shows, and five Skeleton Keys. It gives guests with the Fright Lane pass an extra rooms to go through in which are scattered throughout the park. These rooms are interactive.
California's Great America's timeline
On film and television
Writer Steven E. de Souza originally wrote the story as more "Die Hard in a theme park". He was told that each of the rides he had designed would cost about $10 million to build and the whole film would cost about $70 million. When box office results for The Distinguished Gentleman came in, Paramount ordered the budget to be cut to $55 million.
Some modifications were made to the Columbia Carousel and Vortex roller coaster. Most of the Sky Whirl stunts were filmed in a studio. In this scene, George Lucas has a small part as the man Axel cuts in front of to get on the ride, also known as 'disappointed man' (this can be seen in the credits). The tunnels that supposedly ran under the park are a myth as well. No tunnels run under the park, as many thought after this was released. Many rides that were seen in the movie including Triple Play and the Sky Whirl have since been removed. Also, the carousel at the back of the park (the Ameri-Go-Round, not the Columbia Carousel) was altered. The Ameri-Go-Round carousel has since been removed and Drop Zone is now in its place. The ride featured in the rescue scene at the park was Triple Wheel (formerly known as Sky Whirl). Since the movie was made, the ride has been demolished and scrapped.
The Alien Attack ride featured in the Wonder World theme park was in fact the Earthquake: The Big One attraction from the Universal Studios Florida theme park in Orlando, Florida. The "aliens" featured in the ride are suited actors (and not animatronic as suggested in the film) which closely resembled the Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica.