The Great America is in California
It's a BAD place. Bad in both ways the word is used. If you live in the Southern California area, there is no need to drive north to San Jose, you have your own awesome fun parks. In Northern California, there are really only a few major ones: Great America in San Jose, Raging Waters in Sacramento and Concord, Marineworld in Vallejo. Raging Waters is a water ride park with some great 3-4 rides. On hot days it is perfect for family fun. Marineworld in Vallejo is a combo ride-animal park, with a only a few thrilling rides. It is not a water park, so once you have tired of the rides, you are left with marine and wild animal park. It is really the most limited of the fun parks sitting on the bay. Santa Cruz has a small park on the ocean, cute but fairly lame.
That leaves us the largest and best in San Jose. This is the size of Disneyland and California land in Anaheim. One ticket allows you to go to the ride park or Bommerang Bay, which is very much like Raging Waters! Great America is a ride park for those mostly 45" tall and more, but be prepared to mostly tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings. Be prepared for hot afternoons and many less than desirable characters hanging about in gangs because there is nothing else to do. There are a ton of foul mouthed, gangster wanna be teenagers. You might stay in line for 30-45 min. in line to get on the ride but the ride is less then a 45 seconds. But, what a thrill, like no other, within that time. Most likely, you will want more.
Be prepared to leave all food and fluids at the entrance station, none are allowed in because they want you to pay for the abnormal high prices inside. Be prepared to take off hats and sunglasses for nearly all of the thrill rides, you will be asked to stow them. To give you an idea of the pricing, they have a Panda Express located in the park and the plates average over $11 each. These same portions would be $6 or $7 outside of the park. A hotdog, chips, drink-$15. They charge nearly $4 for a single soda (no refills). The water fountains are sparse and usually have low pressure. Parking is $10-12, unless you have a Gold Pass.
But for all the money you spend, most of the time its just waiting in line with all the teenagers kissing and getting all public affection. I like all the rides except drop zone. The ride takes you hundreds of feet into the air and within seconds you drop. It feels like death is pending. What a rush that lingers LONG after the ride! Be prepared to wait 40 minutes and then be told the ride is broke down, or, only doing two rides in 2.5 hrs because of crowds and lines. It can be REALLY bad. We went on a fair amount of the rides: Tiki Twirl (one of the better ones), Demon roller coaster, Psycho Mouse (headache inducing ride), Flight Deck, Vortex, and Star Tower (great view of Silicon Valley). The water park has some fun rides to cool you off. The down side is that you need to bring towels along with you.
Scary: Top Gun, Drop Tower, Demon, Invertigo, and Revolution
Fun: Psycho Mouse, Firefly, Grizzly, and Survivor Ride
Water: Rip Rode Rapids, Logger, and White Water Fall
Boring Rides: Orbit, Flying Eagles and Vortex
One can avoid long lines to some degree by buying a Fast Track pass for $30. At D-land, it is free. So, instead of waiting 60 minutes for a 30 second ride, you wait 30 min. If you are disabled, I would avoid the park, it is just too much hassle.
Overall, the place seems worn or aged. The teens they hire to work there have ghetto attitudes and will steal from you if an opportunity exists. The restrooms are to be avoided for as long a possible. So, for about $60 person to get in, at least another $15 person for food, and $12 for parking, even for one person to go alone runs $90.
Once is enough for the memories embedded from the rides.
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