California's Great America

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This article is about the Santa Clara, California park originally known as Marriott's Great America. For the Illinois park that was once known by this same name, see Six Flags Great America.
California's Great America

California's Great America Logo.svg

CA Great America rocks fountain carousel 2008.jpg
Slogan Thrills Connect
Location Santa Clara, California, United States
Coordinates 37°23′45.4″N 121°58′20.1″W / 37.395944°N 121.972250°W / 37.395944; -121.972250Coordinates: 37°23′45.4″N 121°58′20.1″W / 37.395944°N 121.972250°W / 37.395944; -121.972250
Owner Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
General Manager Raul Rehnborg
Opened May 20, 1976 (1976-05-20)
Previous names Marriott's Great America 1976–1985
Great America 1985–1993 and 2006–2008
Paramount's Great America 1993–2006
Operating season Late March through early November
Area 100 acres (40 ha)
Total 55
Roller coasters 8
Water rides 3
Website Official website

California's Great America is an amusement park located in Santa Clara, California that is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. It is one of four major amusement parks that operate around the Bay Area. The other three are Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, and Gilroy Gardens in Gilroy. California's Great America is the only amusement park in northern California that has a water park within, although there are several other dedicated water parks in the area such as Raging Waters in San Jose and Waterworld in Concord.

In 2014, Levi's Stadium opened in an area that once served as a parking lot. Due to the subsequent need of the theme park's remaining parking space for those attending San Francisco 49ers games and other events at the stadium, California's Great America is now closed on 49ers game days.


Marriott & KECO Era (1976 - 1992)[edit]

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.[1] 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.[2]

View of California's Great America from above

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 city-wide 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.[3] In 1989, the city decided to return the park to the private sector and sold it to Kings Entertainment.[4] In the agreement, the city would earn 5% of all revenue that exceeds $56 million.[citation needed]

Paramount Parks Era (1992 - 2006)[edit]

Logo used from 2003 until its sale to Cedar Fair.

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. Unfortunately because the park was literally landlocked being 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)[edit]

Logo used in 2006. This logo is still seen on the litter bins in and around California's Great America.

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.[5] The transaction includes licensing agreements with Nickelodeon and Paramount, providing the park the option to retain its Nickelodeon and Paramount theming for several years.[6]

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.[7]

On January 27, 2011, the park announced Invertigo would be removed and relocated to Dorney Park, another Cedar Fair property.[8]

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.[9] However, on December 6, 2011, JMA Ventures cancelled its plans to purchase the amusement park.[10] 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.[11][12]

Current attractions[edit]

Intensity rating[13] (out of 5)
  1 (low)   2 (mild)   3 (moderate)   4 (high)   5 (aggressive)

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". 

Action Zone[edit]

Ride Opened Manufacturer, type Height restriction Chaperone Notes
Centrifuge 1976 Schwarzkopf
Less than 46" Originally known as Fiddler's Fling. It's Six Flags counterpart retains that name as of today. 3
Drop Tower: Scream Zone 1996 Intamin
Giant Drop
54" min 4
Eagle's Flight 1976 Von Roll
Gondola lift
Less than 48" Eagle's Flight is the name for the Action Zone gondola station 2
The Grizzly 1986 Wooden roller coaster 48" min 4
Psycho Mouse 2001 Arrow Dynamics
Wild Mouse roller coaster
44" Less than 48" The last Mad Mouse to be produced by Arrow Dynamics. 4
Thunder Raceway 2001 Go-kart track 58" min (or 40" under special conditions) Less than 58" 4
Tiki Twirl 2006 Zamperla
48" min Originally known as Survivor: The Ride! 4

All American Corners[edit]

Ride Opened Manufacturer, type Height restriction Chaperone Notes
Action Theater 1994 4-D Theater 4
Delirium 5
FireFall 2008 HUSS Park Attractions
Top Spin
The ride was sold from Geauga Lake. 5
Flying Eagles 2002 Larson International
Flying Scooters
H.M.B. Endeavor 1987 Intamin
Looping Starship
Originally the Revolution. 4
Loggers Run 1976 Arrow Dynamics log flume 36" Less than 46" 4
Orbit 1976 Schwarzkopf
Originally the Orleans Orbit. 4
Rip Roaring Rapids 1988 Intamin river rafting ride 46" 5

Roller coasters[edit]

Ride Picture Opened Manufacturer, Type Height minimum, notes[13] Park Section
5 The Demon Demon Roller Coaster.jpg 1980 Arrow Dynamics 48" min. Originally opened as "Turn of the Century" in 1976. Reconfigured and renamed "Demon" in 1980.[14] County Fair
5 Flight Deck Flight Deck at California's Great America.jpg 1993 Bolliger & Mabillard
inverted roller coaster
54" min. Originally opened as "Top Gun". Renamed "Flight deck". Orleans Place
4 Gold Striker Great America 26 2013-07-15.jpg 2013 Great Coasters International
wooden roller coaster
48" min Celebration Plaza
4 Grizzly Great America 1 2013-07-11.jpg 1986 Wooden roller coaster 48" min Action Zone
2 Lucy's Crabbie Cabbie 1999 E&F Miler Industries
Kiddie roller coaster
36"–60", 60"maximum unless w/child, <40" need adult Planet Snoopy
4 Psycho Mouse 2001 Arrow Dynamics
Wild mouse roller coaster
44" min, <48" need adult Action Zone
5 Vortex Californias-Great-America-Vortex.jpg 1991 Bolliger & Mabillard
Stand-up roller coaster
54" min Celebration Plaza
3 Woodstock
1987 Intamin
Family roller coaster
40" min, <46" height need adult Planet Snoopy

Celebration Plaza[edit]

Ride Opened Manufacturer, type Height limits Chaperone Notes
Carousel Columbia 1976 Chance Rides
Double Decker Carousel
Less than 46" 1
Celebration Swings 2001 Zierer Wave swinger 48" 3
Gold Striker 2013 Great Coasters International
Wooden roller coaster
55"-77" 4
Star Tower 1979 Intamin Gyro Tower Less than 46" 2
Vortex 1991 B&M
Stand-up roller coaster
54"+ 5
Whitewater Falls 4
Xtreme Skyflyer 1997 Skycoaster 48"+ up-charge attraction 5

County Fair[edit]

Ride Opened Manufacturer, Type Min.
Need chaperone[13] Notes
Barney Oldfield Speedway 1976 Arrow Dynamics Less than 48" 3
Berserker 1976 Schwarzkopf Bayern Curve 44" Less than 48" Originally known as Yukon Yahoo. 3
The Demon 1976 Arrow Dynamics 48" min. Originally opened as "Turn of the Century" in 1976. Reconfigured and renamed "Demon" in 1980. 5

Orleans Place[edit]

Ride Opened Manufacturer, type Notes
Delta Flyer 1976 Von Roll
Gondola line
Delta Flyer is the name for the Orleans Place station. 2
Flight Deck 1993 Bolliger & Mabillard
Inverted roller coaster
Formerly known as Top Gun and Afterburn. 5
Rue Le Dodge 1976 Bumper Cars 4

Planet Snoopy[edit]

Main article: Planet Snoopy

Planet Snoopy is California's Great America's kids area which opened in 2010.

Ride Opened Manufacturer, type Height limits[13] Chaperone Notes
Flying Ace 1999 Zamperla Originally known as KidzAir 2
GR8 SK8 2015 Originally at Knott's Berry Farm as Joe Cool's GR8 SK8. 3
Joe Cool's Dodgem School 1999 Kiddie bumper cars 35"–53" Originally known as Fender Bender 500. 2
Kite-Eating Tree 1999 S&S Worldwide
Frog Hopper
Originally known as Junior Jump Club. 2
Lucy's Crabbie Cabbie 1999 E&F Miler Industries
Kiddie roller coaster
Originally known as Taxi Jam. 2
Peanuts 500 2015 Zamperla
Originally operated at Knott's Berry Farm as Charlie Brown's Speedway. 2
PEANUTS Pirates 2003 HUSS Park Attractions
Breakdance 4/Rodeo
44" min less than 48" Originally known as SpongeBob's Boat Mobiles. 2
Planet Snoopy Construction Zone 2014 Playground Originally known as KidZ Construction Co. 1
Pumpkin Patch 2003 60" max less than 44" Originally known as Wild Thornberry's Treetop Lookout 2
Sally's Love Buggies 2003 Eureka 44"-60" unless chaperone[13] Originally known as Dora's Dune Buggies 2
Sally's Swing Set Originally known as Swing Swing Swing 2
Snoopy's Space Buggies 2015 2
Snoopy's Space Race 54" max Originally known as Ghost Chasers. 1
Snoopy's Splash Dance 1995 60" max Originally known as Green Slime Zone
Woodstock Express 1987 Intamin 40" min, less than 46" Originally known as Blue Streak 3

Boomerang Bay[edit]

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.

Defunct attractions[edit]

Past rides and attractions include:

  • Invertigo: A Vekoma Invertigo shuttle coaster, was North America's first inverted face-to-face roller coaster. Invertigo was one of the tallest roller coasters in Northern California; however, it was not the fastest. Invertigo was removed due to reliability issues; topped by three breakdowns that made the news. As of May 2013, Invertigo is now known as Stinger at sister park, Dorney Park.
  • Stealth: A Vekoma Flying Dutchman that was removed for construction of Boomerang Bay, and relocated to Carowinds as Nighthawk.
  • Great America Scenic Railway: A custom-built, 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railroad around the perimeter of California's Great America. The roadbed can still be seen in many places. Great America Scenic Railway was rumored to have closed to make room for Hypersonic XLC, a coaster that was later cancelled and moved to sister park, Kings Dominion.
  • Yankee Clipper: An Arrow Dynamics Hydro Flume that used to interlock with Logger's Run. Yankee Clipper was removed to make room for Stealth.
  • Greased Lightnin': Originally The Tidal Wave, was a shuttle loop roller coaster manufactured by Anton Schwarzkopf. A model of The Tidal Wave exists in the park office.
  • The Edge: First-generation Intamin Freefall
  • Skyhawk: An Intamin Flight Trainer that was rumored to be removed for its maintenance issues such as clear canopies on the cabins that would frequently fall off mid-ride. Skyhawk was replaced with the Three Point Challenge basketball game.
  • Sky Whirl: A Triple Tree Wheel supplied by Intamin, later known as Triple Wheel, then removed to make room for Invertigo.[citation needed]
  • Lobster: An octopus/spider ride that was removed to make room for the Action Theater.
  • Bottoms Up: A classic amusement ride known in the industry as a Trabant.
  • Triple Play: A Huss Troika ride that was next to Vortex.
  • Nickelodeon Central: A themed area containing rides, mascots, and attractions that were based on shows from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. It was closed in 2009 and changed into Planet Snoopy.
  • Whizzer: Originally named Willard's Whizzer, the original steel family roller coaster was made by Anton Schwarzkopf. Whizzer was removed because of maintenance issues and declining popularity. Gold Striker and Xtreme Skyflyer were eventually built on the site.
  • Trolley Cars: In early years, Trolley Cars traveled in the Hometown Square area and other parts of California's Great America.
  • Dolphin and Seal Show: During the Marriott era, dolphins and seals were kept to do daily shows. The show was removed when Paramount took over, and today it's now known as Peanuts Playhouse Theater.
  • Smurf Woods: A Smurf-themed small kids area with small Smurf mushroom houses. Today, this area is now Planet Snoopy.
  • Cajun Carpet: A large rotating platform ride located near the Orbit and Rip Roaring Rapids.[15]
  • Gulf Coaster: A steel kiddie coaster
  • Ameri-Go-Round: A PTC carousel that was removed for Drop Tower.
  • Hilltopper: A classic Himalaya ride located just to the right of the Demon's entrance adjacent to the lift hill. Whitewater Falls' station roughly occupies the space now.
  • Saskatchewan Scrambler: A classic Scrambler ride in the original Yukon Territory area, and later moved to the County Fair area and renamed Industrial Revolution.

Fast Lane[edit]

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. Other patrons discourage its use with dirty looks and snide comments.[16]

Halloween Haunt[edit]

Halloween Haunt California's Great America logo.jpg

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 haunts such as Knott's Scary Farm and SCarowinds. The annual Haunt includes over 500 monsters placed in various haunted mazes and scare zones throughout the park.

Current attractions[edit]

For 2014, Halloween Haunt features eight haunted mazes, three scare zones, three shows and two haunt attractions. It also features a new addition: Skeleton Key. It gives guests with the Fright Lane pass an extra room to go through in 5 mazes. These rooms are interactive.[17] [18]

Attraction Type Opened Location Skeleton Key Access (Mazes Only)
CarnEvil Maze 2007 Rue Le Dodge Yes
CornStalkers Maze 2008 County Fair Yes
Ironworx Scare Zone 2014 All American Corners
Dia de Los Muertos Maze 2013 Celebration Plaza No
The Gauntlet Scare Zone 2008 Orleans Place
Madame Marie's Massacre Manor Maze 2012 Celebration Plaza Yes
Roadkill Roadhouse Maze 2014 Hometown Square Yes
Toy Factory Maze 2009 Action Zone Yes
Underworld Alley Scare Zone 2008 County Fair
Wax Museum Chamber of Horrors Maze 2014 All American Corners No
Zombie High Maze 2013 Action Zone No
Fun House Express Haunted Ride Experience 2013 Action Theater
Mirror Mirror Haunted Maze Attraction 2014 KidZville
Nytewalkers Show 2014 Celebration Plaza
Blades of Horror Show 2013 Great America Theater
Academy of Villains Show 2014 Showtime Theater in Orleans Place
Ghostly Glow Party Show 2012 50's Gazebo

Attraction history[edit]

California's Great America's timeline[edit]

The former Invertigo coaster (Removed 2011)
Complete View of the former Invertigo coaster
  • 2014: Flight Deck re-painted red and white, Grizzly Loading Dock painted red and white (there is a public campaign pleading with management requesting they please don't paint the grizzly like everything else in the park has been over the years, it is supposed to be wood, and paint always looks terrible after a few years [19]), Fun TV added to most rides, Grizzly re-tracked and new flooring in Carousel Columbia. Picnic Pavilion make-over, and new entrance from the parking lot. All 6 Drop Tower cabins operating, and KidzVille Shooting Range removed for birthday party area. All Day Dining Pass and new food options added. Halloween Haunt expansion with more monsters, two new Haunted Mazes for 2014, and one new Haunted Attraction. Werewolf Canyon and Slaughterhouse: Annihilation mazes removed. The Overlord is removed as Haunt icon. Skeleton Key is added, giving 5 mazes a new interactive room.[20]
  • 2013: New Great Coasters International wooden coaster, "Gold Striker" added; Happy Feet: Mumble's Wild Ride in the Action Theater; Subway added, Halloween Haunt expansion
  • 2012: Several park improvements such as a repaint of Carousel Columbia, Demon and Flight Deck. ADA improvements including an elevator lift entrance for Loggers Run and Vortex. Also, The Grizzly is retracked, Fast Lane. Construction commenced on Levi's Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, in the former Great America overflow parking lot.,[21] Construction of 2013 attraction, Gold Striker (wooden coaster), in former Whizzer site, and Halloween Haunt expansion,
  • 2011: Invertigo removed to be sent to Dorney Park; Three new live shows. Halloween Haunt Expansion.
  • 2010: Planet Snoopy (Retheme of Nickelodeon Central); Hanna Barbera references removed in KidZville; Panda Express
  • 2009: All Wheels Extreme Stunt show; Chipper Lowell Experience show; expanded Halloween Haunt
  • 2008: Park is renamed to California's Great America; FireFall; Dora's Sing-Along Adventure; Endless Summer On Ice show; Halloween Haunt
  • 2007: Park is renamed to Great America; Great Barrier Reef Wavepool added to Boomerang Bay; Ed Alonzo Misfit of Magic; Twistin' to the '60s Show
  • 2006: Tiki Twirl (Formerly Survivor: The Ride); Park is sold to Cedar Fair
  • 2005: Boomerang Bay expansion to include lazy river, two other waterslides and a large swimming pool.
  • 2004: Boomerang Bay is added including a complex of children's water slides/play area, a 4-person adult raft/tube ride, a two-person inner-tube water slide and a fully enclosed two-person inner-tube water slide. Triple Play is removed
  • 2003: SpongeBob SquarePants 3-D in the Action Theater; Nickelodeon Central (expansion of Splat City); Stealth (flying steel coaster) is removed and sent to Carowinds as Nighthawk
  • 2002: Delirium; Flying Eagles; Greased Lightning (shuttle loop coaster) removed
  • 2001: Psycho Mouse; Celebration Swings; Thunder Raceway; Stan Lee's 7th Portal 3D/ Smash Factory in Action Theater
  • 2000: Stealth (flying steel coaster) opens to the public; Scenic Railroad and Skyhawk are removed
  • 1999: KidZVille; Tidal Wave renamed Greased Lightnin'; Stealth is constructed and tested all season; Logger's Run modified to allow construction of Stealth
  • 1998: Invertigo; James Bond: License to Thrill;[15] in the Paramount Action F/X Theater Yankee Clipper is removed
  • 1997: Xtreme Skyflyer; Triple Wheel (originally Sky Whirl) is removed
  • 1996: Drop Tower Scream Zone (Formerly Drop Zone Stunt Tower)
  • 1995: Nickelodeon Splat City; The Edge and Ameri-Go-Round are removed
  • 1994: Action Theater featuring Days of Thunder
  • 1993: Park is renamed Paramount's Great America; Flight Deck (Formerly Top Gun); Lobster is removed
  • 1992: KECO is acquired by Paramount, and renamed Paramount Parks; IMAX Pictorium Theater received a $1.5 million upgrade allowing it to screen 3-D films.
  • 1991: Vortex
  • 1990: Whitewater Falls
  • 1989: Skyhawk; Park is acquired by KECO from the City of Santa Clara.
  • 1988: Rip Roaring Rapids. Whizzer is removed
  • 1987: Woodstock Express (Formerly Blue Streak/ Green Slime Mine Car Coaster/ Runaway Reptar); Smurf Woods; Fort Fun; HMB Endeavor (Formerly known as The Revolution)
  • 1986: The Grizzly; Redwood Amphitheater with the Miami Sound Machine
  • 1985: Park is renamed Great America;
  • 1984: Park is sold by Marriott corporation to the City of Santa Clara; management transfers to Kings Entertainment Company (KECO)
  • 1983: The Edge
  • 1982: Atari Video Adventure
  • 1980: The Demon (remodeled from Turn of the Century)
  • 1979: Star Tower (formerly Sky Tower)
  • 1978: IMAX Pictorium Theater, with film Man Belongs to the Earth
  • 1977: Tidal Wave
  • 1976: Marriott's Great America opens

On film and television[edit]

  • Though appearing under the name "Wonder World", Paramount's Great America was used as the theme park in the 1994 film Beverly Hills Cop III (itself released by Paramount Pictures).

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 (now a roller coaster) have since been removed. Also, the carousel at the back of the park (a single story one, not the Columbia Carousel) was altered. The single story one was removed for Drop Zone. 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.

  • Paramount's Great America was also used as the theme park Macaulay Culkin visits in the 1994 film Getting Even with Dad (ironically not released by Paramount, but rather Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer).
  • California's Great America was featured in a 2007 Excedrin commercial with the park's inverted steel coaster, "Flight Deck", as the main star.
  • Marriott's Great America was used in the 1983 George Lucas and John Korty animated feature "Twice Upon A Time". It was used both as a background for animated scenes and for a short live-action shot at the end of the film.

Injuries and accidents[edit]

There have been a number of notable injuries and accidents at California's Great America, some of which are listed below. Please see Incidents at Cedar Fair parks for additional information on these and other incidents.

  • In 1980, a 14-year-old boy was killed and several others injured on the Willard's Whizzer roller coaster.
  • In 1989, two boys intentionally jumped out of the Loggers' Run ride. One was killed and the other fell onto a platform and was injured.[22]
  • In 1991, two couples were injured on the Yankee Clipper as their boat hydroplaned then capsized, leaving the riders temporarily trapped under the upside-down boat. The attraction was later modified to include a bump at the bottom of the drop in order to prevent hydroplaning.
  • In 1998, after riding Flight Deck, a 24-year-old Spanish-speaking man, who could not read the English-language warning signs, entered a locked, gated area underneath the ride to retrieve his hat. He was hit by the foot of a passenger on the Flight Deck train and later died. The passenger suffered a broken leg.[23]
  • In 1999, a 12-year-old boy fell to his death on Drop Tower after slipping from the ride's restraints which were still locked at the end of the ride.[24][25]
  • On July 12, 2007, a 4-year-old boy drowned in the Boomerang Bay's Great Barrier Reef wave pool.[22][26]


  1. ^ "Marriott to Sell Park to Bally". NY Times. April 27, 1984. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ Flattau, Edward (August 19, 1977). "Marriott's high-powered approach". The Free Lance-Star. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ "A New Start At Great America". The Modesto Bee (Modesto, CA). June 20, 1985. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Firm Acquires Big Theme Park". Merced Sun-Star (Merced, California). June 6, 1989. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Press Releases :: Cedar Fair Entertainment Company". Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  6. ^ "EDGAR Filing Documents for 0000811532-06-000054". 2006-06-06. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  7. ^ Great America | San Francisco's Themed Amusement Park
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Cedar Fair to sell California's Great America park for $70 million". Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. September 19, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  10. ^ "JMA cancels $70M California Great America purchase". Business Journal. December 6, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  11. ^ Young, Eric (December 6, 2011). "JMA drops plan to buy Great America, but 49ers stadium plans proceed". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Great America to remain with current owners; 49er stadium spat averted". The Examiner. December 6, 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f Ratings assigned per California's Great America, where "1" is the least intense and "5" is the most. See their "Guest Assistance Guide". Michigan's Adventure.  for more specific details.
  14. ^ "Demon — California's Great America (Santa Clara, California, USA)". Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ "Why nobody likes fast lanes"
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Please don't paint to wood"
  20. ^
  21. ^ " | Stadium Groundbreaking Slated for April 19". Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  22. ^ a b Rosales, Erik (2007-07-12). " 7/12/07". Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  23. ^ "– 1998 Accident Reports and News". Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  24. ^ "Thrill ride lawsuits". Courier-Journal. June 23, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Drop Zone death: no charges, no explanation". November 5, 1999. Retrieved December 4, 2011. 
  26. ^ "4-Year-Old Drowns In California's Great America Wave Pool – News Story – KNTV | San Francisco". Retrieved 2012-06-04. 


  • Michelson, Herb. (June 7, 1984). "City will purchase Marriott's". Sacramento Bee, p. A.
  • "Santa Clara drops Great America pact". (February 7, 1985). San Francisco Chronicle, p. 4.
  • Ewell, Miranda. (June 6, 1985). "Santa Clara assumes ownership of Great America". San Jose Mercury News (CA), p. 8B.
  • Kava, Brad. (March 15, 1989). "Great America reopens". San Jose Mercury News, p. 1.
  • Eng, Sherri. (August 1, 1992). "Paramount to buy Great America owner". San Jose Mercury News, p. 1E.

External links[edit]