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Non-Disney Theme Parks
Topic: Any Hope/Future for California's Great America??

Thu 11/3/2011 12:43p
I have been going to this park since the very beginning when it was Marriot's Great America. It was actually rather well themed, had a nice mix of family and thrill rides. The shows were good, and the food was actually really good (after all, Marriot was running the place). Paramount took over, and for awhile, it looked like it might become more of a movie-based park, but it turned out that the theming was only loosely based on some Paramount features via some ride names and the tiniest bit of overall themeing (minor paint jobs). Food quality dropped, prices increased, then Cedar took over. There was hope again that maybe they might invest in this park, but the investment turned out to be minimal (at best) - They actually removed two coasters and the train ride. It's become so "sad" that we haven't gone there in 3 or 4 years, and we live less than 20 minutes away (we'd rather drive 7 hours to Disneyland/ Knotts/USH than go to CGA).

With the new management team coming in, is there ANY HOPE that CGA will get any better, or will they simply run it into the ground, declare it to be a big mess, and quietly close it down and use it as a parking lot for the 49ers stadium?

i sure HOPE that it's not the latter...but I don't have high hopes...

Your thoughts??

Schmitty Good Vibes
Thu 11/3/2011 1:03p
I believe I read that there is a contractural clause that this land HAS to be used for a theme park. If so, I hope that, instead of renegotiating the contract to remove this obligation, the new lessees work to make it a much better park so that it will turn a profit for them.

I loved Great America when Marriot operated it.
Thu 11/3/2011 1:15p
That's what I had read as well. But I know that if things don't go well for CGA, the lawyers will find a loophole that will allow them to shut it down. Unfortunately, it really needs a good infusion of theming; some good family rides; and BETTER FOOD (if nothing else, do what 6-flags has done and get various Chains to take over some of the concessions).
Thu 11/3/2011 1:16p
I worked at Great America when Marriott owned it. There are a few of the basic elements from that era still there, but not a lot.

I have no idea what's ahead. There's been talk that the park will be football-themed in some way. I'd be surprised if very much was invested in it -- perhaps a new off the shelf coaster or something, but I wouldn't expect much else. They've aimed squarely at the teen market and gave up on it being a family park years ago for some reason.
Thu 11/3/2011 1:17p
Oops - I left out one very important sentence....And all of that will cost some money. I sure hope that the new owners understand that it will take some investing in order to bring that park back to where it will be profitable.
Thu 11/3/2011 1:20p
I also live a short distance away and haven't been in at least 5 years now. Maybe next season I'll give it a whirl, just to see what, if anything, has changed since my last visit.

Knowing what it once was makes it very difficult to fully enjoy a day there for me. It seems "less" in terms of theme, food quality, variety. I try to keep in mind that I'm almost 50 now, and worked there from age 16 - 19.
Thu 11/3/2011 1:26p
My last visit, one 20-something dude was wearing a t-shirt with a truly profane statement on it. I had to strategically block him from view as we wound through one of the queues so my kids wouldn't see it.

There was a time when that sort of thing would have been stopped at the front gate. (During the Marriott era, employees that didn't meet grooming standards were sent home for the day.)

I know times change, but this shirt was profane by any measure. (I can't even think of a way to hint at what it said that is decent, so you'll have to trust me.) You sure don't attract families when you allow guests to wander the park displaying that kind of garbage.
Thu 11/3/2011 1:26p
A few years back, when my son was in the 8th grade, we went there twice - once for "Physics Day", and once for the 8th Grade Graduation Trip. The teachers and parent chaperones basically sat around in the food court, while the kids ran off and rode on rides. Unless you are into being spun in several directions at the same time, getting soaked for the sake of getting soaked (these rides are about as themed as getting hosed down in your neighbor's front yard while they water their lawn). By the end of the day, even the teachers were grumbling about NEVER going back there again. Even the FREE FOOD that they had for us was not worth the price!
Thu 11/3/2011 1:28p
I was listening in on the Cedar Fair Quarterly Investors Call this morning and the sale is expected to close by December 31st.

It seems like the stadium and the theme park could coexist. You are only talking a handful of home games in a season anyway (and I suppose some specialty events). There are theme parks out there that are closed for one or even two days a week...even during their season. (Legoland, Kennywood off the top of my head.)

I still think there is plenty of room for the Disneys and Universals along with the Six Flags and Cedar Fairs.
Schmitty Good Vibes
Thu 11/3/2011 1:50p
I agree, but this place has declined so badly that it's heart breaking.

All times are Pacific Time (US)

Note: Information on the discussion boards is sometimes based on rumors or incorrect information and should not be assumed true. Messages do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or its editors.

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