Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk & California’s Great America Trip Report!

After having an amazing time participating in Joker Media Day at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, we visited the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk the following day. Since it was a school day, only a few of the rides major were open. There were many school field trips on this day, making some of the lines huge! Overall I had a great time revisiting this park. It is a great stop for anyone in the area who wants something to do. Onto the ride reviews!


Giant Dipper: After waiting one hour for this ride, I finally got the front row. Although Giant Dipper is the 5th oldest coaster in the USA, it is very smooth and lots of fun! Front row gave many great floater airtime moments and an awesome pop of ejector. 7/10


Undertow: This Maurer spinner was a great addition to the park. With this, I was still disappointed by Undertow. The best part of the ride was easily going down the first drop backward. The rest of the ride consisted of slight rattles and pumps, with a side to side motion they call “spinning.” Not very impressed. 4/10


Double Shot: This S&S Space Shot is my favorite ride in the park! It has a great initial launch up the tower, giving amazing views of the ocean. It also has some insane ejector! Not only do you get airtime on the first time up the tower, you get even stronger airtime after the second shot! Easily one of my favorite flat rides. 8/10


After a great day at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk we headed to California’s Great America, home to the GCI masterpiece Gold Striker! We arrived at the park at about 11:00 AM and saw an enthusiast’s worst nightmare.. school busses, and a lot of them! We counted over 25 busses sitting in the parking lot. After renewing our Cedar Fair passes, we went in and bought their Fast Lane. At a reasonable price of $53, you could skip the line to all of their major attractions. This proved well worth the money almost immediately, with lines for all major attractions averaging 30 min to over an hour. The operations were pretty mediocre, not Cedar Point good but not Six Flags America bad. For dinner, we stopped at Frankie’s Pizza. It was surprisingly good! We had a great time at this park, and we’re happy with all of the new credits! Onto the rides!


Vortex: I originally boarded this B&M stand up with VERY low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised! I had a lot of fun and it became one of my favorite stand up coasters. Both inversions were great, especially the corkscrew which had an awesome B&M snap to it! Only downside for me was a but of head banging and a very short ride time. 7/10


Psycho Mouse: This is my favorite wild mouse. Although this isn’t saying much, Arrow did a great job at banking many of the turns and providing floater on the hills. Great for families! 4/10


Drop Tower: Before reading my review on Drop Tower, or any other Intamin drop tower, you should know I prefer S&S towers MUCH more than Intamin ones due to their amazing airtime. Now specifically for Drop Tower, I was very disappointed with it. Being 224 feet tall, it is somewhat short for a ride of this type. I honestly have a hard time finding something good to say about this ride, other than the brake fins are quite low on the tower, making the stop quite intense. It is definitely not a bad ride, but there are many better drop towers in my opinion. 6.5/10


HMB Endeavor: This Intamin Swinging Ship is a very weird but fun ride! The restraints, a short OTSR that digs into your chest and a HUGE lap bar, are pretty bad and very uncomfortable. That is really the only bad thing about this ride! The ride cycle was long, but not too long, featured lots of awesome hang time, and also had my favorite ride op of the trip! This ride op, George, was very enthusiastic and made all the guests happy before entering the ride. I wish more operators were like him! 7/10


Grizzly: This coaster is known for being the “worst wooden coaster in the world,” but I disagree! This coaster is butter smooth and great for families with younger children. What the coaster really lacks is something entertaining. I found Grizzly to be very boring. If RMC could come in and redo this ride, it would be amazing! It definitely has the potential. 5/10


Demon: This Arrow looper was pretty terrible. It is easily my least favorite looping coaster, and my least favorite at the park. I found myself being jackhammered at every point in the ride, except the corkscrews which were pretty smooth. We also got stuck on the brake run for about 10 min, nothing too horrible. If you had to miss out on a coaster due to time constraints, miss this one. 3/10


Flight Deck: This B&M inverted coaster is very underrated! I found it to be a little less intense then the famous Batman clones, but still a very good ride! I am also pretty sure that Flight Deck has one of the quickest zero-g rolls ever! It was insane! Same goes for the corkscrew, an unbelievable amount of that snapping motion only B&M can master. The dive around the lagoon is also great! 8.5/10


Gold Striker: Aside from Joker, this was the ride I was most excited for on my trip! It did not disappoint! What an amazing ride! It had such good pacing, lateral G’s, and airtime! This is definitely my favorite coaster made by GCI and is currently my 2nd favorite wooden coaster! The best part of this ride is easily the funky double up near the end if the ride, amazing ejector and lats at the same time! Easily the best ride at California’s Great America! 10/10


I had a great time at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and California’s Great America! I recommend both parks if you’re in the area and want to have a great time!

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