Sunday, March 2, 2014

California's Great America 2014 Offseason Tour with ACE NorCal



The offseason for California's Great America (link) is approaching the final brake run at a rather quick pace. The American Coaster Enthusiasts Northern California Region (ACE NorCal) was invited to an offseason tour and 2014 season preview to see what is in store for the 2014 season. Starting off our visit, we got to take a look at the hard work that's gone into restoring the park's iconic Carousel Columbia. For those unaware, the structure was repainted last year and this year, the upper floor has been replaced with brand new wood!



After taking a peek at Carousel Columbia, we got the pleasure to see many things not many people get to see including a visit to the Consulate, a room that is used for important meetings, located right above the Trending Now store. The consulate's origins were from the Marriott days and served as an apartment for the Marriotts to stay at while the park was being constructed. Prior to our trip to the upstairs room, we were treated to a funnel cake and deep fried Oreo breakfast.






A view from the terrace above at the newly painted
Flight Deck coaster.
 After having some funnel cake and something to drink we kicked off the tour. We headed over toward Flight Deck. Flight Deck celebrated it's 20th in March 2013. For it's "Big 21" it received a new coat of paint. Needless to say, this new paint job really stands out! In fact, when those 49er games take place in the new stadium, if Flight Deck happens to be in the background it should be quite visible!







Many Great America fans continue to refer to this
ride as Top Gun. Regardless of its name, the ride delivers
quite an experience!



After viewing Flight Deck, we headed toward the back of the park where we saw several rides finishing up their rehab process. In 4 short weeks, this park will be coming to life after all!

Rapids boats sit along the pathway between Rapids and Flight Deck.

Firefall looks like it's ready to run!

Logger's Run was receiving some attention as crews work on the lift.
Parts were replaced as well.

As we made our way back, we took an impromptu visit to Boomerang Bay water park. While there wasn't a whole lot of activity going on back there, it provided some photo opportunities of a water park in the dead of winter.

Boomerang Lagoon - probably the only time you will ever see this pool empty.


Empty wave pool. In a few months, the surf will be up again :)

White Water Falls boat pieces were
staged back here as they get work done.

Looking back at the original water slides. Down Under Thunder (green slide)
is definitely one of our favorite slides!

As we head back out, Flight Deck decided to say "hi" to us. Again,
this ride stands out!
We proceeded over to the Joe Cool cafe for a 2014 season presentation - what we can expect in 2014. While 2014 will not feature any new rides, 2014 will be one of those years where the park wants to spice up its offerings and create a better experience for its guests. Some of the new things we will see:
  • New food options - Auntie Anne's Pretzels and Churro Factory
  • Gold Pass holder food discounts at most food locations now (Excluding Subway, Panda Express, and Auntie Anne's)
  • 2 brand new shows: #Playlist (pronounced as "Hashtag Playlist," reflecting today's techie culture in the bay area) and Aerial Ice (from the crew who put on the All Wheels Extreme) show back in 2009
  • Grizzly continues offseason track work - replacing track laminates between the 2 turnarounds
  • Friday Night Flicks will be returning - On a larger screen!
  • Fireworks EVERY Friday and Saturday during the summer months
  • New birthday party location - the shooting gallery in KidZville will be the new site. The former birthday part location was at Maggie Browns.
  • And more surprises that are yet to be announced!
 The tour continued with a quick visit into the coaster shop - a coaster enthusiast's paradise! Many rides trains were undergoing their winter rehab and rebuilding process.






Great America's newest coaster is in the process of being rebuilt. Flight Deck
trains in background are also getting reassembled.





Back rest assemblies for Vortex

Wood runner boards for Gold Striker's train

Working hard at getting wheel assemblies back together

Notice anything different with Flight Deck's train?
It received some new paint along with the track!


Great America is proud of their history and they tend to have old signage on display
inside of their coaster shops. An Angry Beaver (somewhat covered up) is also visible,
was in the park during the Paramount/Nickelodeon era.

More parts of Flight Deck's train awaiting assembly.

Assembled Vortex cars
Coming back up the County Fair side of Great America, we were able to see some of the work that was done to Grizzly as well as some other improvements along that side of the park.

Backside of Psycho Mouse


Drop Tower was cycling cabins throughout the day.

As you can see by the lighter-colored rails, these are the sections that received
some work over this offseason. This will produce a more enjoyable ride for families!


More wood for Grizzly!

Other improvements done included cutting some of the trees back, making
Demon's loops more visible on the midway.

Flight Deck yet again stands out from clear across the park!

A tree was removed, opening up the path leading to what will be Auntie Anne's

Our friend over at Great American Thrills tries his hand
at a mock ride control panel and successfully dispatched Demon 2.0

The park surprised us with a free ride on Xtreme Skyflyer, a great way to finish
off the day's event.

Season Pass processing center is receiving a major overhaul!

Soon this ride will be thrilling riders once again!

Flight Deck hides out in the background with its white primer :)

Until next time!


We will end it here with Levi's Stadium, sporting similar colors to Flight Deck
We would like to thank California's Great America including Ryan Davies, Roger Ross, Tyler Currie, and Clayton Lawrence for making this event happen yet again for the coaster enthusiast community! It's things like these that means a lot to us!

Be sure to follow Thrills by the Bay on Facebook for updates!

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