Patriot (California's Great America)

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Patriot Logo, California's Great America, 2017.png
Previously known as Vortex (1991–2016)
California's Great America
Park section Celebration Plaza
Coordinates 37°23′48.11″N 121°58′23.61″W / 37.3966972°N 121.9732250°W / 37.3966972; -121.9732250Coordinates: 37°23′48.11″N 121°58′23.61″W / 37.3966972°N 121.9732250°W / 37.3966972; -121.9732250
Status Operating
Opening date March 9, 1991 (1991-03-09)
General statistics
Type Steel – Floorless Coaster
Manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard
Designer Werner Stengel
Model Floorless Coaster
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 91 ft (28 m)
Length 1,920 ft (590 m)
Speed 45 mph (72 km/h)
Inversions 2
Duration 2:14
Capacity 1200 riders per hour
Height restriction 54 in (137 cm)
Trains 2 trains with 7 cars. Riders are arranged 4 across in a single row for a total of 28 riders per train.
Fast Lane available
Patriot at RCDB
Pictures of Patriot at RCDB

Patriot is a floorless roller coaster located in Celebration Plaza at the California's Great America amusement park in Santa Clara, California, United States. The roller coaster originally opened as Vortex, a stand-up roller coaster designed by Werner Stengel and produced by Bolliger & Mabillard, on March 9, 1991.[1] On August 19, 2016, the park announced that Vortex would be converted to Patriot for the 2017 season, officially retiring Vortex on September 5, 2016.[2]

Patriot opened to the public on April 1.[3][4] The inspiration for the coaster’s name was taken from the fact that the ride is nestled adjacent to All American Corners within a park whose name and theme celebrates America.[2]


Vortex (1991–2016)[edit]

Vortex (California's Great America) 1991–2016.

Vortex was a stand-up roller coaster that officially opened on March 9, 1991[1] as Bolliger & Mabillard's second ever coaster after Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America. Although the layout differs, Vortex is generally the same size as its (former) namesake, Vortex, located in the Carolina Showplace park section at the Cedar Fair owned and operated, cross border amusement park Carowinds, situated in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Fort Mill, South Carolina.

As the ride had gotten rough with age and wasn't particularly smooth anymore, it made a good conversion candidate to improve the experience in the space constrained park.[3] At the time of closing, on September 5, 2016, the coaster had a paint scheme of purple track with yellow rails and gray supports.

Patriot (2017–present)[edit]

On August 18, 2016, the park announced Vortex would be converted to Patriot for the 2017 season, including new Bolliger & Mabillard floorless trains[2] and a new color scheme consisting of (repainted) blue track and white supports.[5][2][6] Although this is the first floorless coaster in the park’s 41-year history[6][7] it is the second floorless conversion in the Cedar Fair chain, following Mantis turning into Rougarou at Cedar Point back in 2015.[3]

"Patriot will be an outstanding addition to our family of roller coasters and we’re honored to provide active and past military service members free admission through Memorial Day (March 25 - May 29, 2017) weekend." — California’s Great America Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg[3][7]

The park opened on Saturday, March 25 for the 2017 season, with Patriot opening to the public the following Saturday on April 1.[3][4] In celebration of the opening (and name) of the coaster, the park offered free entry to all current and past military service members through Memorial Day (May 29, 2017) weekend with up to 6 of their guests being offered discount tickets.[4][7] Season pass holder previews were announced to start on March 31, 2017, a day before the official opening of the ride.[3]

When looking at the logo of the ride, it closely resembles the logo of its namesake, Patriot (Worlds of Fun), which is located at the Worlds of Fun amusement park in Kansas City, Missouri, which also forms part of the Cedar Fair chain of amusement parks.

Ride experience[edit]

Track elements[edit]

The coaster takes riders to a 91-foot height after which it makes an initial left hand drop into its first loop.[2] It then executes a left turnaround to travel into another left turnaround through its loop. The train then travels to the other end of its layout into the corkscrew element and another left turnaround after which it enters into the final brake run.[8]
The course used to cross over the park train's railroad tracks by the corkscrew. The coaster's lift hill stands parallel to the footers of the former Tidal Wave looping shuttle coaster.


  1. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Patriot (California's Great America)". Database Entry. Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Great America Introduces Patriot Floorless Coaster for 2017". California's Great America. Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Patriot Gets an Opening Date, and more from CA Great America". COASTER101. Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c "NEW PATRIOT FLOORLESS COASTER TO OPEN AT CALIFORNIA'S GREAT AMERICA SATURDAY, APRIL 1". Interstate 5 Exit Information Guide. Retrieved March 25, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Patriot (California's Great America)". Coasterpedia. Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Patriot – Floorless Coaster for California’s Great America!". California Coaster Kings. Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c Pizarro, Sal. "Pizzaro: Great America's new roller coaster Patriot — and what it replaced". The Mercury News. Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Patriot Cycling". California's Great America. Retrieved March 25, 2017.