California's Great America

★★★★☆
A short road trip out of town to a great adrenaline fix.
  • 4701 Great America Pkwy

    Santa Clara, CA 95054

    Map & Directions
  • 408-988-1776

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I've visited this park over the last 4 years, and it's very obvious to me they're not doing much to keep it up and running. I hear they're in financial trouble. I understand they've wanted to build new "E-Ticket" rides in the park, but the city commission has voted them down every time, because the surrounding large corporations say the noise and screaming would distract their employees from their work (as if the current screaming doesn't do that already). They took out two great rides - "Stealth" (to put in Boomerang Bay) and the great "Invertigo" (because the lift froze up ONE TIME -how pathetic of a reason to ship it off to another Cedar Fair park), and now the only really enjoyable coaster they have is "Flight Deck". The other coasters are INCREDIBLY uncomfortable and rough on the body - and I have ridden coasters all over this country. I give this park two years before it's gone if they don't do something about its upkeep. Every time I visit it gets dirtier and dirtier. My friend got sick on a little hot dog too that I think he paid, like $4 dollars for. Parking was $12 in 2011. What a farce!
I love amusement parks, and it's worth the $400 for a three day trip to Magic Mountain any time. The only positive thing I have to say is, if you are going for your SMALL children's sake, you might like Great America. There's a lot more stuff geared toward them than us grown-ups.

3
★★★☆☆

I've visited this park over the last 4 years, and it's very obvious to me they're not doing much to keep it up and running. I hear they're in financial trouble. I understand they've wanted to build new "E-Ticket" rides in the park, but the city commission has voted them down every time, because the surrounding large corporations say the noise and screaming would distract their employees from their work (as if the current screaming doesn't do that already). They took out two great rides - "Stealth" (to put in Boomerang Bay) and the great "Invertigo" (because the lift froze up ONE TIME -how pathetic of a reason to ship it off to another Cedar Fair park), and now the only really enjoyable coaster they have is "Flight Deck". The other coasters are INCREDIBLY uncomfortable and rough on the body - and I have ridden coasters all over this country. I give this park two years before it's gone if they don't do something about its upkeep. Every time I visit it gets dirtier and dirtier. My friend got sick on a little hot dog too that I think he paid, like $4 dollars for. Parking was $12 in 2011. What a farce!
I love amusement parks, and it's worth the $400 for a three day trip to Magic Mountain any time. The only positive thing I have to say is, if you are going for your SMALL children's sake, you might like Great America. There's a lot more stuff geared toward them than us grown-ups.

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A difficult park to review. When Paramount owned the park, it at least got some love, albeit not very frequently since it was the red headed step child of the company's theme parks. With Cedar Fair, it has gotten less love as CF has had its share of financial problems over the past few years. The park is in desperate need of a major new attraction, and we are not talking about a silly flat ride (Survivor) a small water park, or a brand new show. It needs a major, earth shattering E-ticket (to borrow from Disney) type of ride. The rides it has are all old and outdated including the Grizzly which is universally panned as the worse wooden coaster on the face of the earth, and a stand up and suspended coaster where the lift hill takes longer than the 50% of the ride time. Lift hill, big drop, curve, loop, curve, corkscrew, curve, ride over. The one big ride it did have (Stealth) was torn down for that stupid water park. Again, park operations/logistics are a joke. We are talking about a highly inefficient theme park. single trains used on some of the coasters, slow loading rides, too many water rides, log, rapids, giant flume, and of course, perpetually corny shows. Add to that food that is on par with WW2 concentration camp food, you have a very challenging theme park to give a great review. Now the good news is that Great America basically knows all this and says deal with it and we will give you a great price on the season pass and lots of promos. Still with that being said, it's hard to justify the cost for mediocre rides.

2
★★☆☆☆

A difficult park to review. When Paramount owned the park, it at least got some love, albeit not very frequently since it was the red headed step child of the company's theme parks. With Cedar Fair, it has gotten less love as CF has had its share of financial problems over the past few years. The park is in desperate need of a major new attraction, and we are not talking about a silly flat ride (Survivor) a small water park, or a brand new show. It needs a major, earth shattering E-ticket (to borrow from Disney) type of ride. The rides it has are all old and outdated including the Grizzly which is universally panned as the worse wooden coaster on the face of the earth, and a stand up and suspended coaster where the lift hill takes longer than the 50% of the ride time. Lift hill, big drop, curve, loop, curve, corkscrew, curve, ride over. The one big ride it did have (Stealth) was torn down for that stupid water park. Again, park operations/logistics are a joke. We are talking about a highly inefficient theme park. single trains used on some of the coasters, slow loading rides, too many water rides, log, rapids, giant flume, and of course, perpetually corny shows. Add to that food that is on par with WW2 concentration camp food, you have a very challenging theme park to give a great review. Now the good news is that Great America basically knows all this and says deal with it and we will give you a great price on the season pass and lots of promos. Still with that being said, it's hard to justify the cost for mediocre rides.

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.

What a fun place you take your family here. There is some thing for every one to do from the big roller coasters to the water park. It is a lot of money but if you bye a pass and go a few times it pays for it self. Try it you will like it.

5
★★★★★

What a fun place you take your family here. There is some thing for every one to do from the big roller coasters to the water park. It is a lot of money but if you bye a pass and go a few times it pays for it self. Try it you will like it.

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.

I went there when I didn't have my son and I enjoyed every second I was there. Last year, I took my son and wow ! we had the most amazing time. They don't just have those boring carousels when it comes to kids rides. They even have a mini roller coaster for your little ones :) and a whole lot of other fun kids rides. I am looking forward to go there again this summer.

5
★★★★★

I went there when I didn't have my son and I enjoyed every second I was there. Last year, I took my son and wow ! we had the most amazing time. They don't just have those boring carousels when it comes to kids rides. They even have a mini roller coaster for your little ones :) and a whole lot of other fun kids rides. I am looking forward to go there again this summer.

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.

I have been taking my kids and grandkids to this park for years - I love the rides - there is rides for every age group - the new water park is really great on a hot day - the food isn't so great - the show are good and the kids really enjoy them - the staff is friendly and helpful.

4
★★★★☆

I have been taking my kids and grandkids to this park for years - I love the rides - there is rides for every age group - the new water park is really great on a hot day - the food isn't so great - the show are good and the kids really enjoy them - the staff is friendly and helpful.

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.

WOW GREAT AMERICA IS A GREAT PLACE TO HAVE TONS AND TONS OF FUN THEY ALSO HAVE A NEW WATERSLIDE AREA IT IS GREAT THE RIDES AT GREAT AMERICA ARE THE BEST LIKE I SAID FUNNNNNN

4
★★★★☆

WOW GREAT AMERICA IS A GREAT PLACE TO HAVE TONS AND TONS OF FUN THEY ALSO HAVE A NEW WATERSLIDE AREA IT IS GREAT THE RIDES AT GREAT AMERICA ARE THE BEST LIKE I SAID FUNNNNNN

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.

it used to be tons of fun but i got sick of it because they never get any new rides and their water park is really tiny. its kind of dirty there. most of the rides are kind of uncomfortable (the headrests kind of hurt) the only reasons i go now is because of the classic favorites like top gun and well...to scope out the guys. hehe.

3
★★★☆☆

it used to be tons of fun but i got sick of it because they never get any new rides and their water park is really tiny. its kind of dirty there. most of the rides are kind of uncomfortable (the headrests kind of hurt) the only reasons i go now is because of the classic favorites like top gun and well...to scope out the guys. hehe.

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.

My middle school celebrated our graduation by taking the entire class to Great America. The roller coasters are absolutely unbeatable and the prices aren't too bad. The WOW cards are totally worth the money, since you'd be able to go back all season! Great America is an assured great time!!!!

5
★★★★★

My middle school celebrated our graduation by taking the entire class to Great America. The roller coasters are absolutely unbeatable and the prices aren't too bad. The WOW cards are totally worth the money, since you'd be able to go back all season! Great America is an assured great time!!!!

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.

Great America is a great place for family fun. You can catch live shows, mingle with the park characters and enjoy the thrills of the many rides in the park. Boomerang Bay is my favorite area in the park.

4
★★★★☆

Great America is a great place for family fun. You can catch live shows, mingle with the park characters and enjoy the thrills of the many rides in the park. Boomerang Bay is my favorite area in the park.

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.

This park is so much fun now that they have a water park. I love that you can buy a season pass and enjoy the park for days on end for about 50 bucks. The water park insn't huge, but it is just enough to keep you entertained.

PROS: Water park.
CONS: New survivor ride.

5
★★★★★

This park is so much fun now that they have a water park. I love that you can buy a season pass and enjoy the park for days on end for about 50 bucks. The water park insn't huge, but it is just enough to keep you entertained.

PROS: Water park.
CONS: New survivor ride.

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.

We love the new water park. It is a great place to spend the day. I love the lazy river. The lines at the park can be very long but the kids always have a great time. I suggest buying a season pass.

4
★★★★☆

We love the new water park. It is a great place to spend the day. I love the lazy river. The lines at the park can be very long but the kids always have a great time. I suggest buying a season pass.

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.

This is a great place to take your family and excellent for the kids they have awsome ride and plenty of things for the kids its always a blast everytime we go!

5
★★★★★

This is a great place to take your family and excellent for the kids they have awsome ride and plenty of things for the kids its always a blast everytime we go!

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.

Great America the best theme park ever. It's a perfect place for families to enjoy.If you go with a child your child would love to go over there again.

5
★★★★★

Great America the best theme park ever. It's a perfect place for families to enjoy.If you go with a child your child would love to go over there again.

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.

What can I say... I love Great America. Awesome rides, fun things to do. We especially live they're new water park. I can spend the whole day on the water half-pipe. I suggest getting the season pass... it's a good deal, and parking is included.

3
★★★☆☆

What can I say... I love Great America. Awesome rides, fun things to do. We especially live they're new water park. I can spend the whole day on the water half-pipe. I suggest getting the season pass... it's a good deal, and parking is included.

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.

My family are roller coasters fanatic. We have gone to alot of amusement parks in California and top gun is still my favorite. GA is the best amusement park in the bay area so this place gets packed during the summer. WOW card is a must for G' Force lovers.

4
★★★★☆

My family are roller coasters fanatic. We have gone to alot of amusement parks in California and top gun is still my favorite. GA is the best amusement park in the bay area so this place gets packed during the summer. WOW card is a must for G' Force lovers.

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A fun place to take the family. Just 30-40 minutes away. Great rides and tons of things ofr kids of all ages to do. Weather is usually nice, but a sweter is needed at night.

4
★★★★☆

A fun place to take the family. Just 30-40 minutes away. Great rides and tons of things ofr kids of all ages to do. Weather is usually nice, but a sweter is needed at night.

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WE only visit on days the park is slow because it gets so crowded. We love the new water park and always get season passes. Sometime the park is dirty and has too many fights if you stay later at night.

3
★★★☆☆

WE only visit on days the park is slow because it gets so crowded. We love the new water park and always get season passes. Sometime the park is dirty and has too many fights if you stay later at night.

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.

The first time I went there, it was fun, though it was mostly becuase it awas a new experience. Demon was cool and the other coasters were exciting. But the second time I went,everyythign just seemed lackluster compared to other amusement parks like sixflags. Parks without the heavy movie theme. But its a good place to take the family for some fun, I wouldn't recomend this as a park for its rides. It's more for hte over- all experience.
If your looking for a thrill park, look else where for sure.

3
★★★☆☆

The first time I went there, it was fun, though it was mostly becuase it awas a new experience. Demon was cool and the other coasters were exciting. But the second time I went,everyythign just seemed lackluster compared to other amusement parks like sixflags. Parks without the heavy movie theme. But its a good place to take the family for some fun, I wouldn't recomend this as a park for its rides. It's more for hte over- all experience.
If your looking for a thrill park, look else where for sure.

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.

I first went to Great America when I was in High School, and now I go there with my family. I really like the rides like Top Gun, Invertigo and Drop Zone. There is a very nice kid area with a lot of Spongebob kind of stuff. I don't like that they put a waterpark in there, but I guess some people do. My favorite ride is Delirium.

PROS: Fun Rides
CONS: Kind of dirty and marked with graffiti

4
★★★★☆

I first went to Great America when I was in High School, and now I go there with my family. I really like the rides like Top Gun, Invertigo and Drop Zone. There is a very nice kid area with a lot of Spongebob kind of stuff. I don't like that they put a waterpark in there, but I guess some people do. My favorite ride is Delirium.

PROS: Fun Rides
CONS: Kind of dirty and marked with graffiti

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Great America is great for teens--lots of "extreme" rides. However, it always seems really crowded and is very expensive. Maybe I'm just not a big enough amusement park person to endure all that.

PROS: lots of rides, fun for teens
CONS: expensive

3
★★★☆☆

Great America is great for teens--lots of "extreme" rides. However, it always seems really crowded and is very expensive. Maybe I'm just not a big enough amusement park person to endure all that.

PROS: lots of rides, fun for teens
CONS: expensive

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If your kids love Nick and Nick Jr. then this is the place. The water areas are great and seemed to keep the kids happy for some time.

Food is so so and over priced and during the week it's crowded during the summer.

And lots of trash all over the place

3
★★★☆☆

If your kids love Nick and Nick Jr. then this is the place. The water areas are great and seemed to keep the kids happy for some time.

Food is so so and over priced and during the week it's crowded during the summer.

And lots of trash all over the place

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We went to Great America in June for the first time in 15 years and brought our 6 yr. old. The place looks dirty and run down. Most of the staff were unfriendly and lazy. The food choices are unhealthy and, of course, overpriced. And the lines were incredibly long for most rides. There?s nothing real special about this place. Although the water park looks fun, I wish it was not connected to the rest of the park so we could just go there and maybe pay less.

2
★★☆☆☆

We went to Great America in June for the first time in 15 years and brought our 6 yr. old. The place looks dirty and run down. Most of the staff were unfriendly and lazy. The food choices are unhealthy and, of course, overpriced. And the lines were incredibly long for most rides. There?s nothing real special about this place. Although the water park looks fun, I wish it was not connected to the rest of the park so we could just go there and maybe pay less.

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.

It's a good place to go especially for the older children. I find for the younger bunch, it's hot, not real clean, has too long lines, and has an uptight feel. Great America has a long way to get even close to the Disney feel. Something just seems to be missing.

3
★★★☆☆

It's a good place to go especially for the older children. I find for the younger bunch, it's hot, not real clean, has too long lines, and has an uptight feel. Great America has a long way to get even close to the Disney feel. Something just seems to be missing.

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Each year we get the WOW card and it's always a great deal. The rides are the best and I love that they keep adding things, such as the new Boomerang Bay. There are 2 things that I don't like...the over-priced food and the lines. But this is a problem in all theme parks. During the day the park seems safe enough to drop off younger teens on their own, but I would not allow them to stay after dark. Still fun for families as well due to the variety of rides and some shows. We'll keep getting our annual passes!

PROS: Great Rides; New Stuff each Year
CONS: Lines; Food Prices

4
★★★★☆

Each year we get the WOW card and it's always a great deal. The rides are the best and I love that they keep adding things, such as the new Boomerang Bay. There are 2 things that I don't like...the over-priced food and the lines. But this is a problem in all theme parks. During the day the park seems safe enough to drop off younger teens on their own, but I would not allow them to stay after dark. Still fun for families as well due to the variety of rides and some shows. We'll keep getting our annual passes!

PROS: Great Rides; New Stuff each Year
CONS: Lines; Food Prices

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.

My kids like coming to Great America because of the fun rides, but I honestly hate coming here. The place seems tired and dirty. Also, the crowds seem to be getting more unruly. For example, on the raft ride, two kids who shared the ride with me and my kids would not stop splashing us no matter how much I told them to stop! The park employees couldn't care less if parkgoers don't follow the rules. I really don't care to visit this park again.

2
★★☆☆☆

My kids like coming to Great America because of the fun rides, but I honestly hate coming here. The place seems tired and dirty. Also, the crowds seem to be getting more unruly. For example, on the raft ride, two kids who shared the ride with me and my kids would not stop splashing us no matter how much I told them to stop! The park employees couldn't care less if parkgoers don't follow the rules. I really don't care to visit this park again.

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The only reason we go there is for the little kids water park. Everything seems so expensive there these days. Not like when we where kids, it used to be fun there. It's not a place where I feel safe with the kids either.

3
★★★☆☆

The only reason we go there is for the little kids water park. Everything seems so expensive there these days. Not like when we where kids, it used to be fun there. It's not a place where I feel safe with the kids either.

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.

I don't have the urge to walk into Great America for a very long time. The lines are long, the food choices are unhealthy and it is overpriced. They charge $10 for parking on top of it all.

PROS: some fun thrill rides for older kids
CONS: overcrowded, no healthy food choices

2
★★☆☆☆

I don't have the urge to walk into Great America for a very long time. The lines are long, the food choices are unhealthy and it is overpriced. They charge $10 for parking on top of it all.

PROS: some fun thrill rides for older kids
CONS: overcrowded, no healthy food choices

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.

What can I say. I think we all know about theme parks but having one so close to home is excellent. Their season pass offering is great for kids in the summer time especially if the kids are older and you can drop them off for the day. The park is kept in nice condition.

4
★★★★☆

What can I say. I think we all know about theme parks but having one so close to home is excellent. Their season pass offering is great for kids in the summer time especially if the kids are older and you can drop them off for the day. The park is kept in nice condition.

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This amuzement park lacks the diversity and depth of Marine World and the notoriety of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, but it's still not a bad place to take the kids once a year or so. The best part of it is that you don't have to drive forever, and for younger kids it can be pretty thrilling.

PROS: Convenient and good for younger kids
CONS: Not as fun as some of the other parks in the Bay Area

3
★★★☆☆

This amuzement park lacks the diversity and depth of Marine World and the notoriety of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, but it's still not a bad place to take the kids once a year or so. The best part of it is that you don't have to drive forever, and for younger kids it can be pretty thrilling.

PROS: Convenient and good for younger kids
CONS: Not as fun as some of the other parks in the Bay Area

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I was disappointed on my last visit to this park. It looked dirty and unkept. Sure, it isn't Disneyland, but there should be a level of cleanliness and maintenance that reflects the Paramount image.

I was amazed at the spider webs and dirty buildings that could be seen while standing in line for rides. Sure, these areas aren't a focal point, but it was grimey and dirty to look at. It sure isn't the same park that I visited in my childhood.

3
★★★☆☆

I was disappointed on my last visit to this park. It looked dirty and unkept. Sure, it isn't Disneyland, but there should be a level of cleanliness and maintenance that reflects the Paramount image.

I was amazed at the spider webs and dirty buildings that could be seen while standing in line for rides. Sure, these areas aren't a focal point, but it was grimey and dirty to look at. It sure isn't the same park that I visited in my childhood.

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Great America was a great time. The park isn't big enough to visit for more than a few days, but there is plenty to do. Like Disney or similar parks, there are themed cartoons and rides for all ages. Teh big draw is definately the rollercoasters though. There are tons of thrill rides, and some of the wildest coasters I've ever been on. From old wooden coasters, to newer inventions were riders are standing up or flying in the superman position. I definately recommend Top Gun, that was the best coaster there by far.

3
★★★☆☆

Great America was a great time. The park isn't big enough to visit for more than a few days, but there is plenty to do. Like Disney or similar parks, there are themed cartoons and rides for all ages. Teh big draw is definately the rollercoasters though. There are tons of thrill rides, and some of the wildest coasters I've ever been on. From old wooden coasters, to newer inventions were riders are standing up or flying in the superman position. I definately recommend Top Gun, that was the best coaster there by far.

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Editorial from

In Short
There's no question about it, the thrill rides at Northern California's most elaborate theme park are spectacular: the Vortex--the West's first stand-up roller coaster; the Demon, featuring two 360-degree loops and a…

 

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