Tuesday, June 17, 2014

ACE and Thrills by the Bay makes a Splash at Waterworld California!

It's June, school's out, and the temperatures are starting to rise. You could always crank up the AC to stay cool. Or....you could visit Waterworld California in Concord, CA. WaterworldCA opened in 1995 with a decent collection of slides and attractions to start off. Throughout the years, the park has slowly expanded, but adding an even better overall experience to their park! Waterworld CA is situated right in the middle of a commercial/industrial zone and is set back behind some office complexes just off of Willow Pass Rd.

Thrills by the Bay joined ACE (American Coaster Enthusiasts, Northern CA Region) for the 3rd annual Summer Splash event. Summer Splash was also a "Pre-Coaster Con" event, which happened to be taking place right here in the bay area this year. With this said, Waterworld went well above and beyond to provide a quality experience for us attendees. Our hats are off to Waterworld for pulling this off, and then some with added surprises!

Cliffhanger Speed Slides. Fun fact: These
two slides have the shortest waits in the park!

On the same tower are 4 serpentine body slides known as Hurricane. These
slides can pick up some good speed, especially the fully enclosed ones!

Attendees make their way toward the first part of the park tour.

We started off the day with a back stage tour of the park. This included going behind that wall situated at the back of the wave pool. We got to see how the waves are generated, as well as the filtration system that covers multiple attractions in the area. Word of warning: If you ever step back there (on an authorize tour, or if you work for the park) it is insanely noisy once the fans turn on.

Bill Werner and Al Garcia take us back toward the Wavepool. Just prior to the tour
there was a mini general Q&A session.

We make our way behind Breaker Beach wave pool's back wall

Filtration and chemistry system, and CO2 tanks are just part of what's back there.


Park staff explains the pool's filtration system

One of the attendees/friends representing our friends over at Great American Thrills :)

How does their wave pool generate the waves anyway? Well, there are a series of powerful fans that turn on, and valves that open/close pulsing the powerful blasts of air onto the water to generate a disturbance. Hearing the equipment running is almost rhythmic as you hear the pistons open and close the valves. The rhythmic pulses of air is what causes the waves to generate!

Behind these gates are what generates all of the noise when the wave pool
is running.

Powerful fans are responsible for generating the waves.

The group heads back out from behind the wave pool

The underside of some of our favorite slides: the Typhoon slide complex!

Next on our tour was being able to enter the Break Point Plunge construction site. If you're unaware, Break Point Plunge is a dueling Proslide Super Loop slide, utilizing the "Skybox" launch capsules. A Skybox launch capsule looks reminiscent of a shower stall (or if you want to be on the morbid side, looks like a coffin standing vertical).

Riders climb inside the capsule and the door is secured shut. Riders lean against a near vertical wall as their arms and legs are crossed. The countdown begins and the floor they stand on drops from right below their feet.

The trap door segment: the trap door is to the right and is in the open position

The outside/mechanical parts that open the
trap door

Skybox launch capsules provide a terrifying experience as you are nearly freefalling for a split second. At the same time, this technology actually provides a safer experience as riders can't dispatch themselves prematurely, accidently slip down the slide, or slide in an unsafe position. The slide is completely controlled by a control panel much like a regular amusement ride and the slide attendant won't dispatch riders until they are in a safe riding position.

We were so excited about the slides that wewanted to ride them as
they were in their disassembled state :)

A POV of the loop, dry of course :)

More attendees and Thrills by the Bay crew taking in their early rides in :)

Fiber glass sections were assembled to save time on costruction.

The concrete footers and foundation were poured last week and we can expect vertical construction to happen this week. Once vertical construction begins, slide assembly will happen fast! An interesting thing to note about the slide's layout: Both loops/helices are positioned to the left of the tower as opposed to the "Butterfly Configuration." This was to save space in the large vacant plot of land the park still has for expansion, for the purpose of future expansion. Very few parks in general still have undeveloped land that they can use and often have to resort to tearing out an older attraction for something newer. Others are forced to be creative and keep building things off of existing towers and empty into the park's lazy river.

Rebar for foundation work

Concrete footers were poured, going as far as 60 feet into the ground.
Note the descending columns off in the background toward the left.
This is where the duel loops will be.

Construction site

Overview of the slide segments assembled.

Can you tell we're excited to ride these when they open?

After the tour, we had a little bit of spare time before lunch so we took a dip in the lazy river. After doing a lap around, we headed over to the Luau Picnic Grove for our catered lunch. We were served your typical picnic food, but the food itself was really good! One can't go wrong with Nathan's Hot Dogs :)

This is what the backside of a waterfall looks like :)

And where there's waterfalls, there is always something hiding behind it :)

During this time, the park had a Q&A session where we learned several interesting things...Things such as that if it's too hot outside, the park will have light crowds. If it's cooler out, the park will have light crowds (naturally). There's a certain "magic tempurature" where the park will experience heavier crowds. We also learned about the unfortunate event of when one has an accident in the pools :)

Waterworld surprised us with complimentary
souvenir cups, good for all of the 2014 season

Q&A session

We were then surprised with our post closing ERT session not only being extended to an hour, but opened up 5 additional slides for us. The original offerings were Honolulu Halfpipe (Waterfun Sidewinder slide) and Tornado (Proslide Tornado). We also got to enjoy the rather intense family raft slide Big Kahuna and the Typhoon slide complex (a series of serpentine double innertube slides). We will have to say that the slides on the Typhoon tower are actually quite intense! Our favorite would have to have been the "Monsoon" slide where we felt some good forces, a pop of airtime, and overall out of control feeling all in total darkness!

Guests catch wall time on the Proslide Tornado

Thrills by the Bay crew taking on the lily pads, and very determined to stay on.

Little did he know he was about to slip right off the pad!

In line for an insanely fast ride on Big Kahuna

Fellow ACE members get ready to fly down BK!

BK utilizes a lift hill system to carry the heavy rafts to the top.

BK also provides great views of the rest of the park.

More attendees taking their ride on BK

Getting ready to slide down one of the Hurricane body slides

And, the event comes to a close - an hour after normal operating hours :)
 We would like to thank the staff at Waterworld including Al Garcia, Park Director of Sales and Marketing, for making this event happen, Bill Werner, Director of Maintenance and Construction for the wave pool tour, and the slide attendants who stayed after normal hours to run the slides for us! This is an event that we will never forget!

We put together a fun video showing some of the activities going on at the park!

Feel free to follow us on Facebook for Bay Area park updates, and stay tuned for the next park update right here!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A General CGA update

Great America is now in full time operation and is running in its summer hours mode. This means that you can now start riding coasters and such after dark! There's been several things happening at CGA over the past few weekends that we thought we'd like to share. While many of these are "small things" it really makes the whole big picture look even better!

Our friend and site partner Great American Thrills shared some images with us, as well as a few images we took.

Let's start with a look at Flight Deck. The obvious change at Flight Deck would be it's paint job but there's even more! The only way you'll see it is if you actually have to wait in line! If there's no line, you'll walk right by it.

The props behind this bay appear to be working, minus the windshield wipers.
It has sat dark for many seasons.

 Moving along, some improvements have happened over at Rip Roaring Rapids. They restructured the queue significantly as you now pass by Lake 2 (and the coin op geysers) as you enter the Rip Roaring Rapids line.

Along the way, we couldn't resist a ride on the Flying Eagles ride :)

During reconstruction

Finished and open!
© Great American Thrills - Used with permission
As we venture further toward the back end of the park, we noticed that one of CGA's star flat rides is still down. By the looks of it, this could be down for quite a while! Notice anything strange here?

As you can see, the floor isn't sitting level, but sloping downwards.
© Great American Thrills - Used with permission
On a more positive note, Drop Tower seems to be running better after having a rough start of the season.

Since we're in the area, there's some stuff to check out over at the park's other wooden coaster, Grizzly! As we said, the minor improvements goes a long way!

We'd like to point out that Grizzly is running great this season! Really smooth
and feels like it's running a little faster!

Not is only the coaster getting TLC, so are its queue handrails! No more chipping
wood or splinters!
© Great American Thrills - Used with permission

Heading back to the wooden coaster up front, Gold Striker, there's a few things we'd like to share, as well as a few fun photos! We took the fish-eye lens to the park and wanted to capture the feel of Gold Striker's drop wrapping around the plaza and Star Tower :)

Let's get the not-so-fun out of the way first. Gold Striker's fencing
got some (not so nice) artwork over the past few weeks.
© Great American Thrills - Used with permission

We had some fun with the fisheye lens and the Gold Striker structure :)

Feel like you're on top of the world yet?

Lastly, we'd like to end the update with some night-time activity and changes. First off, we'd like to point out that Delta Flyer/Eagle's Flight (Von Roll sky ride) was running after dark! This offered some nice evening aerial shots of the park!

Notice anything on Star Tower? Well, let's check out the rest of
the aerial shots first!

A closer look at Star Tower - LED flood lights were installed
on top of the cabin, illuminating the tower as the cabin ascends!
This looks really neat at night!

© Great American Thrills - Used with permission

And that's it for this update! Stay tuned for more bay area park updates and be sure to follow us on Facebook! Also be sure to visit Great American Thrills and give them a like!