Santa Clara, California: California’s Great America has created a new wave of entertainment innovation by introducing their latest attraction featuring Mass Effect Videogame Series. Located at Santa Clara, the park will open on its 40th anniversary, March 25, Friday with the most extensive attraction lineup in park history. In an exclusive interview with AmusementParks News, Raul Rehnborg, Vice President & General Manager of California’s Great America, shares the concept of WinterFest, a winter event designed for the guest and future plans. Over to him:
What are your expansion plans with new rides and attractions in 2016?
For Mass Effect: New Earth 4D Holographic Journey, Great America has teamed up with Electronic Arts (EA), a global leader in interactive entertainment, to create a first-of-its-kind guest experience at Great America. The dynamic new attraction will feature settings and characters from EA’s critically acclaimed Mass Effect™ videogame series. Riders will climb aboard motion-based seating and wear 3D glasses as they are taken on a thrilling adventure. A live performer will curate the journey and appear to interact seamlessly with the next generation 3D visuals. These elements will be integrated with motion seating, high tech sound and other 4D effects to create a truly compelling and immersive attraction. It will utilize the largest and highest resolution 3D LED screen anywhere.
Also, Great America will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland during WinterFest where guests can skate in front of the iconic Carousel Columbia, admire magnificent displays of lights and décor, view spectacular live holiday shows, experience 18 rides and attractions, see Santa’s workshop and Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, and enjoy scrumptious holiday fare at numerous food locations. The winter scene will be dominated by one of the Bay Area’s tallest Christmas trees adorned with hundreds of twinkling lights accompanied by giant toy soldiers greeting guests. The five-week WinterFest celebration begins November 25 for weekend operation. Daily operations run December 19-23 and 26-30. WinterFest will be one of Northern California’s most spectacular winter events, delivering a unique experience where friends and families can create memories and traditions during the holiday season and admission is free for 2016 Gold and Platinum pass holders. Mass Effect and WinterFest are the first of many exciting additions planned for Great America in the coming years.
What is the current entry fee for the park and will the fee structure remains the same for this year?
Our current fee structure works very well for us. Our Gold Pass is one of the Bay Area’s best entertainment values and includes a full year of Great America, Boomerang Bay Water Park, free parking, Halloween Haunt, WinterFest and admission to Gilroy Gardens, our sister park located about 30 miles south of us. Gold Passes can be purchased for as low as $87 online.
Last year which ride was most popular among the visitors? Any specific reason?
We introduced Gold Striker to the park in 2013 and it is still our most popular ride and currently rated the 7th best wooden coaster in the world. It has the look of a classic wooden coaster, but rides like a modern steel coaster. The first drop features the Mine Shaft – the longest initial decent tunnel on any wooden coaster. It was built by GCI and has ushered in a new era for the wooden coasters. Guest are always surprised at the thrills they experience on Gold Striker.
What is the park USP apart from rides?
In addition to the rides, Boomerang Bay Water Park is included with a visit from Memorial Day until mid-September. Families can enjoy our wave pool, shoot down the water slides and rides or simply relax in our lazy river. We are very proud of our entertainment division as well. Our signature show feature aerial artist flying through the air and of course our kid friendly shows feature Snoopy are always a favorite.
Image courtesy: California’s Great America