A visit to California’s Great America

California’s Great America

A visit to California’s Great America was the main reason for coming to California in the first place. The park opened by Marriott in 1976 is one the great American theme parks constructed in the 70s. For the first years of operation, the park offered the same line-up as its sister park in Gurnee, Illinois (nowadays known as Six Flags Great America). In 1985, Marriott sold the park to the City of Santa Clara with Kings Entertainment to operate the park. Four years later, the city sold the park to Kings Entertainment. In 1993, the group was purchased by Paramount and in 2006 by Cedar Fair.

Carousel Columbia

From opening day, the Carousel Columbia is the icon of the park. This double-decker carousel sits majestic at the end of a large pool featuring all kinds of water fountains. It is the first ride guests see when entering the park.

Gold Stiker

The GCI wooden coaster Gold Striker is probably the most popular ride at California’s Great America, due to its location right next to the park’s entrance. Gold Striker’s first drop gives the Star Observation Tower a very nice backdrop.

Like many GCI, the ride starts with a small pre-lift section. With best views onto the observation tower, we then climb the lift hill. When approaching the top of the lift, we then enter a tunnel and shortly thereafter, we take the first drop. After a righthand curve close to the ground, we race over a small bunny hill right next to the station. Following a large incline, we now race through a large left-hand turn consisting of multiple hills. After changing direction, we race over a series of small airtime hills. An inclined left-hand turn then leads us into a series of close to the ground turns before reaching the brake section of the ride.

So far, Gold Striker is probably my least favorite GCI wooden coaster. Albeit the ride maintains its velocity until the end, the ride lacks a bit the airtime and out of control sensation many GCI wooden coasters are known for. Furthermore, it did not run smooth on my day of visit. To be fair, I could only ride it once, so my perception might have changed when experiencing the ride more often.


When filming Berverly Hills Cop III, the Vortex was Paramount’s Great America’s newest roller coaster and hence can be seen a few times within the movie. In 2017, the ride received new trains, transforming the old Stand-Up coaster into a floorless Sit-Down coaster. 

After leaving the station in a lefthand turn, we immediately reach the ride’s lift hill. Once at the top, we plunge down the first drop in a steep curve and into a vertical loop. This is followed by a horseshoe turn around. After a short bend to the right, we take a helix travelling through the loop. Back on the ground, we then take another bend to the right, diving into a corkscrew immediately after. A turn to the right then leads us into the final incline. After a short straight section, we then hit the brakes.

Albeit being the second oldest B&M coaster, Patriot still feels great. I just wish, I could have experienced the ride in its old configuration, as I truly enjoy Stand-Up coasters, yet I don’t mind the fun floorless coaster it currently is.

Whitewater Falls

The Shoot the Chute Whitewater Falls is the large water ride in the front section of the park. The ride made to soak every rider features a nice double drop descent. Interestingly, after my turn, the ride broke down for the day.


California’s Great America has a surprisingly large collection of flat rides made by the German company Schwarzkopf. The very nice looking Berserler is one of them. Unfortunately, the ride was down on my visit to the park.


Railblazer is the second installation of a Raptor Track coaster by RMC: a roller coaster which due to its Monorail-esque track design, allows for very tight and compact elements. Of course, the narrow track doesn’t come without downsides, as the seating arrangement within the cars is not optimal for a great throughput.

After boarding the vehicle, the ride starts with a very fast climb to the top of the lift hill. Once we reached the top, the train descents a small drop and moves through a curve. We now hit a small hill after which the vertical drop of the ride awaits us. As the top of the hill is very tight, we are immediately thrown out of our seats and experience an amazing airtime filled drop shortly after. Faster than we could possibly imagine, we already hit the next valley and make our way towards the top of the Dive Loop. A second later we twist ourselves sideways in a large camelback. Another second later, we initiate a curvy incline leading into the second airtime filled drop. This is followed by a Cutback element and a classic Corkscrew. After another curve we already slam into the brakes and the 50s long journey of endless insanity comes to an end.

Railblazer is absolutely awesome and together with Wonder Woman: Golden Lasso Coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas is the best RMC roller coaster I’ve ridden so far. You simply cannot describe the insanity of the layout – you have to experience it. It is just awesome.


The Demon is the classic roller coaster of California’s Great America. Born as Turn of the century, the ride first featured a set of camelbacks which later got replaced by the vertical loops.

The ride starts by entering a dark tunnel. After a short bend, the lift hill is reached. Once at the top, we soon enter a long bend to the left, before taking the big drop. After hitting the ground, we directly hit the vertical loops one after the other, only slightly interrupted by a short straight section. After this breathtaking sensation, we then race through a very funky tunnel featuring some very awesome old-school light effects. Soon after, we take a gentle incline, race through a braking section and initiate our return to the station. A short drop into a rather demonic rock formation is followed by the two iconic corkscrew inversions directing us into the ride’s final helix. Shortly thereafter, we reach the brakes and our great ride comes to an end.


The Grizzly is the park’s large scale wooden roller coaster. The ride based on Coney Island’s Wildcat design starts its journey with a curve leading towards the lift hill. Once at the top, we directly take the big drop of the ride. Interestingly, the valley is slightly bended, leaving us with a rather odd sensation when racing through. After a incline, we take a wide turning curve. After the second drop, we take a very gentle hill with a slight bend to the left. This is followed by another elevated turning curve featuring a ramped entry and exit. After a curve close to the ground, we initiate the second lap through the layout by going parallel to the already experienced track for a while. After the valley following the large turning curve, we then climb into the brake section of the ride.

Pacific Gliders and Drop Tower

Even though California’s Great America is closing in a few years, the park is still adding a few rides here and there. With the addition of the Pacific Gliders flat ride this year, the whole section of the park got a small make-over and even the old Intamin Drop Tower shines in a new light. The ride on the drop tower is a delight, even though not all gondolas were available during my visit.

Psycho Mouse

One of the rarest roller coaster models is Arrow’s Psycho Mouse. Born during the big popularity boom of the modern Steel Wild Mouse roller coasters in the 90s, this Arrow creation sure takes some adventurous new routes. While the first half of the ride does not differentiate too much from its German role model, it’s the part after the hairpin bends which characterises this model.  After the sloped curve, we directly take the large drop of the ride. Then, after passing through a brake section, we take a slightly inclined curve to the right which directs us into a medium sized drop. Another brake section is followed by a curve and two back-to-back drops. Last but not least, our return to the station in initiated by two inclined curves with a straight middle section in between. Soon after, we hit the brakes and our great ride comes to an end.


The second classic Schwarzkopf ride on our tour through the park is the Centrifuge. Interestingly, the ride is one of the last remaining Calypso rides by the German manufacturer and hence a ride everyone should enjoy on his visit to the theme park.

Woodstock Express

I normally don’t struggle to get into a roller coaster, yet the belts on the Woodstock Express were extremely tight. The small family roller coaster is one of the oldest rides to be manufactured by Intamin and features very gentle slopes and a helix.

Planet Snoopy

I always enjoy the large Snoopy areas in the Cedar Fair parks, as they always provide a good amount of rides for the whole family. At California’s Great America, the most noticeable among them are the HUSS Break Dance Peanuts Pirates, the children’s roller coaster Lucy’s Crabbie Cabbies and the seesaw Gr8 Sk8 – a ride which many people might have experienced as X-Scream at a height of 264 m on top of the Statosphere Tower in Las Vegas, Nevada. 


The swing ride Delirium is right next to the entrance to the water park South Bay Shores – which was already closed for the season. The ride on the Chance Rides Fireball offers a great and intense cycle.


Next to the Rip Roaring Rapids – a Rapids Ride by Intamin, which was not in Operation during my visit –, you can find the Orbit. This treasure of a flat ride, is one of the last Schwarzkopf Enterprise rides left in operation and therefore an absolute must-do ride for every enthusiast.

Flight Deck

Flight Deck, originally known as Top Gun, is the park’s medium sized Inverted Coaster. After climbing the lift hill, the ride directly guides us into the vertical loop after a steep curve to the left. After experiencing a lot of pressure, we then gain some altitude in a very tight helix. After another drop, we then fly over the entrance area of a nearby theatre in a nice Zero-G Roll. We then turn left, race through an elevated bend and take a drop into the ride’s final inversion – a very powerful corkscrew. After being whipped to the side, we then experience a very tight helix over a lake, whereupon we take a curve into the brakes and our very powerful rides soon comes to a stop.    

Pictures California’s Great America

Conclusion California’s Great America

My visit to California’s Great America was a delight. It was the last park on my trip through California and I truly enjoyed the park, as it has a very nice family-friendly atmosphere. The park still feels like one of the Great American theme parks built in the 70s and has a great line-up of rides on offer. It’s sad to see it gone in a few years of time; especially since its only competitor is a rather underwhelming Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.  

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Luna Park Melbourne

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Theme Park:Luna Park Melbourne (since 1912)
Address:18 Lower Esplanade
St Kilda VIC 3182
Operated by:Luna Park Melbourne Pty Ltd

Scenic RailwayLuna Park Melbourne right next to the beach in St.Kilda is one of the most traditional amusement parks. Opened in 1912, the park hosts a selection of family-friendy rides, as well as the world’s oldest wooden roller coaster Scenic Railway.


Highlights of the Theme Park


Enterprise • HUSS Enterprise



A true classic


Pharaoh's Curse • Fabbri Kamikaze


Pharaoh’s Curse

A breathtaking experience


Scenic Railway


Scenic Railway

The world’s oldest roller coaster



Home of the Lech Coaster


Balerina and Tea Cups

As soon as you enter the park and leave the nicely designed Main Street behind you, you immediately find yourself on the banks of the central lake. Following the clockwise direction, you will come across the remains of the Circus Hoppla flat ride and two classic family rides. These include the Hully Gully Balerina and the Tea Cups ride, which still looks the same as it did at Heide Park.


The main attraction in the front part of the park is the Bazyliszek interactive dark ride. Interestingly, the ride’s queue is partly used as an expansion of the family restaurant in the entrance area and there is also a bouncy castle. However, the ride itself is definitely great and offers a successful mix of elaborately designed scenes and big screen action.

Dream Flight Airlines

Passing the large Legendia Flower Ferris wheel, we are now drawn to the Flying Machines Dream Flight Airlines. This old flying carousel from 1956 is an incredibly great experience and one of the reasons to visit the theme park. Unfortunately, there is only a ride every 10 minutes as the ride is incredibly inert and takes several minutes to accelerate and decelerate per cycle. However, the actual flying experience is great and should definitely not be missed.

Dream Hunters Society

The Dream Hunters Society is one of the two classic Zyklon / Galaxy roller coasters in the park, whereby the Scary Toys Factory in the front section of the park has not been in operation for years. The 335 metre long roller coaster is particularly impressive with its two longer descents and an endless helix in the middle section of the ride and is ideal as a larger entry level roller coaster for younger park guests. As the only real family coaster in the park, it always has the longest queue in the park.

Phoenix and Dragon Temple

The two rides Phoenix and Dragon Temple already have a very eventful history behind them. The HUSS Enterprise Phoenix and the HUSS Rainbow Dragon Temple first became stationary in Serengeti Park, where they entertained visitors for years before both were moved to the Danish Sommerland Syd, which was closed for good shortly afterwards. The two rides are now entertaining the Polish public and will hopefully continue to do so for a very long time to come.

Diamond River

Also coming from Sommerland Syd is the large Diamond River log flume. The relatively long ride offers two breathtaking descents that will leave you soaking wet when you get off the ride.

Giant Water Pump und Dragon Wresting Tournament

One of the most interesting rides at Legendia is the small Frisbee Giant Water Pump, which throws a handful of people around in a fairly tight radius as it swings comfortably back and forth.

Things were not quite so cosy at the Dragon Wrestling Tournament, of which unfortunately only the remains can still be seen today. This was a HUSS Flic Flac – a merciless and extremely fun upside-down carousel.

Lech Coaster

The most famous roller coaster at Legendia is the Lech Coaster. Built by Vekoma, the ride impresses with its very intense first drop, which is highly twisted on the descent. This is immediately followed by a reverse sidewinder, which at first looks like an Immelmann, but in its exit is more reminiscent of a corkscrew. After an extremely wild turn and an airtime hill, you approach the station building, which you ride through in a roll. A very tight turnaround follows at the back of the station, which then turns sharply into a bend close to the ground. We then make our way over hill and dale to another corkscrew. After a short turnaround, there is a combination of bends close to the ground shaped like an eight before we reach the final brake and the surprisingly dynamic ride comes to an end.

The Lech Coaster is one of the best roller coasters from Vekoma and one of the best roller coasters in Europe. The ride is extremely dynamic and offers a large number of incredibly wild manoeuvres in a very compact space. Chapeau!

Dolina Jagi

The Dolina Jagi water ride is a very modern wild raft ride from the manufacturer Hafema. In addition to all kinds of rapids, the water ride impresses above all with its very fast ride and lovely presentation.

Diabelska Pętla

Once known as the Tic-Tac Tornado, the Diabelska Pętla is a classic French looping roller coaster from Soquet, which you can experience backwards in the rear carriage. The ride itself is mainly characterised by its two loops, but also features several intertwining right-hand bends towards the end of the ride, which immediately leads to the brakes after a final dip.

Sky Flyer

I’m a big fan of Mondial and Vekoma rides. Reason enough to like the Sky Flyer – after all, a ride that was created in co-operation between the two companies. Here at Legendia, however, the ride on the upside-down swing doesn’t stop at all, and after a short time, the bar starts to put a lot of pressure on your stomach. So much so, in fact, that at some point it becomes quite difficult not to vomit. In other words, shorter is sometimes better. Nevertheless, the Sky Flyer is a really neat ride and is a lot of fun to watch.

Pictures Legendia

Conclusion Legendia

Legendia Śląskie Wesołe Miasteczko is a really nice city park with a great feel for rides. If you’re on your way to Energylandia, it’s definitely worth stopping by. Although the park is quite small, it has a lot more history to show for it.

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