California's Great America
Santa Clara, California
Located just 45 miles from San Francisco, Marriott's Great America opened in 1976. (Marriott also opened a Great America in Gurnee, Illinois the same year.) The City of Santa Clara Redevelopment Agency purchased Great America from the Marriott Corporation in 1985. Kings Entertainment Company (KECO) was recruited to manage the park. The resulting five-year contract included an option for KECO to buy the park business and assets, which they did while the city of Santa Clara retained ownership of the land. A year later, the 10,000-seat Redwood Amphitheater opened. In 1992, Great America, along with three other U.S. parks owned by KECO, was acquired by Paramount Communications. The park was renamed Paramount's Great America shortly thereafter. In 2006, Cedar Fair purchased all five Paramount parks for a little over $1.2 billion. Great America's name changed to California's Great America for the 2008 season. In 2011, Cedar Fair announced they were selling the park, and the land was going to be used for a new football stadium, but a few months later, the deal was off. Cedar Fair purchased the park's land in 2019, but sold it to Prologis in 2022 for $310 million. The fate of the park is somewhat uncertain at this point. Cedar Fair has agreed to keep the park open until 2028, but may be able to extend the park's operations out to 2033. On the other hand, Prologis can terminate Cedar Fair's lease with only a two-year notice. The land is zoned for "theme park use" at the moment, so it is unclear what the future of this property will be.
In addition to renaming several of their coasters as the park has changed hands, the park has also removed five roller coasters over the years:
Demon (formerly Turn of the Century)
Greased Lightnin' (formerly Tidal Wave)
(formerly Runaway Reptar, Blue Streak, and Green Sime Mine Car)
Lucy's Crabbie Cabbies (formerly Taxi Jam)
Flight Deck (formerly Top Gun)
Patriot (formerly Vortex)
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