California's Great America - Railblazer Opening Day

California's Great America - Santa Clara, California 

HEEEEYYY YOU GUUUUUUUUYS! 

Intern here! I got out of the office for a day. Jim didn't approve it, because I wrote my name in on a media request to check out Railblazer at California's Great America. Shhhh don't tell him, because I think he really wanted to come up here, but I needed a mental health day after he yelled at me for eating his burrito. 

Anyway, I flew up for the day to check out Railblazer. Now, if you've been living under a rock, here's the deal. This is one of TWO rollercoasters made from Rocky Mountain Construction. It's known as a 'raptor track', and is a prototype coaster. The track itself is about 15 inches wide, and a solid piece of steel, compared to the traditional tubular track you see on nearly every other steel coaster ever built. You sit single file on an eight train car, and you FREAKING FLY THROUGH THIS COURSE. More on that in a bit, here's photos. 

 Oh hi, this is where I need to be! 

Oh hi, this is where I need to be! 

 Early morning park shots are my favorite, because NO ONE GETS IN YOUR WAY.

Early morning park shots are my favorite, because NO ONE GETS IN YOUR WAY.

 All is calm, all is bright...because y'know, sunrise.

All is calm, all is bright...because y'know, sunrise.

 CGA really is a good looking park, and it's only getting better. 

CGA really is a good looking park, and it's only getting better. 

 The next series of photos will detail a incredible feat. Y'know that raccoon that climbed up the building in Minnesota? Well, A SQUIRREL CLIMBED THE SIDE OF GOLDSTRIKER. Here is its harrowing journey..

The next series of photos will detail a incredible feat. Y'know that raccoon that climbed up the building in Minnesota? Well, A SQUIRREL CLIMBED THE SIDE OF GOLDSTRIKER. Here is its harrowing journey..

 Look closely, and you'll see our furry protagonist. 

Look closely, and you'll see our furry protagonist. 

 CLIMB, LITTLE DUDE, CLIMB! YOU CAN DO IT!

CLIMB, LITTLE DUDE, CLIMB! YOU CAN DO IT!

 FOR CHRISSAKE, THIS IS SILICON VALLEY, SOMEONE GET A WATER DRONE UP TO THIS SQUIRREL, HE NEEDS HYDRATION!

FOR CHRISSAKE, THIS IS SILICON VALLEY, SOMEONE GET A WATER DRONE UP TO THIS SQUIRREL, HE NEEDS HYDRATION!

 DID HE MAKE IT? HOW WILL HE GET DOWN? I didn't care to find out because I wanted to go blaze rails. So I left him to an uncertain death by seagull invasion and headed over to Railblazer. 

DID HE MAKE IT? HOW WILL HE GET DOWN? I didn't care to find out because I wanted to go blaze rails. So I left him to an uncertain death by seagull invasion and headed over to Railblazer. 

 Goodbye squirrel. 

Goodbye squirrel. 

 OH HAI BLAZIE.   seriously, whoever came up with that name, you need to be punished. So if I find you, I'm kidnapping you and strapping you into riding Green Lantern with the brakes turned ALL THE EFFING WAY ON SO YOUR BALLS FEEL THE MOST AMOUNT OF PAIN. 

OH HAI BLAZIE. 

seriously, whoever came up with that name, you need to be punished. So if I find you, I'm kidnapping you and strapping you into riding Green Lantern with the brakes turned ALL THE EFFING WAY ON SO YOUR BALLS FEEL THE MOST AMOUNT OF PAIN. 

Now here comes the part where I drool and bloviate about a coaster that's hands down one of the funnest and most intense coasters out there. Seriously, it's a small footprint, but the thing hauls ass and doesn't let up once it starts. 

 schexy curves 'n stuff.

schexy curves 'n stuff.

 Seriously, this thing is a lot of fun to photograph because of how many different angles you can play with. So for the next few shots, I'll shut up and let you look at them. 

Seriously, this thing is a lot of fun to photograph because of how many different angles you can play with. So for the next few shots, I'll shut up and let you look at them. 

So I really love this ride. Like, it's stupid fun, because it's such a unique experience. The entire train doesn't really have a bad seat because you're sitting single file with not much surrounding you, offering up great view points. The front obviously has the most view, and you really feel the speed. However, the backseat has an INSANE amount of airtime, especially over the first drop and through the first inversion. I haven't had that much ejector airtime in a long time. In fact, I would dare say that my butt didn't land back in the seat until we were already under the rocks of the first drop. You really do stay out of your seat for a long time on that drop, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. 

 This hill after the first inversion that takes you to the back part of the lot flies in going right, and leaves going left. At this point, you're moving so fast through the paces, your body really does get tossed like a rag doll in the best way through the hill. It actually caught me by surprise the first time riding it because of how fast you fly up and over the hill. 

This hill after the first inversion that takes you to the back part of the lot flies in going right, and leaves going left. At this point, you're moving so fast through the paces, your body really does get tossed like a rag doll in the best way through the hill. It actually caught me by surprise the first time riding it because of how fast you fly up and over the hill. 

 These photos are great and all, but I can't tell you how much this thing twists until you ride it in person. It's incredible. 

These photos are great and all, but I can't tell you how much this thing twists until you ride it in person. It's incredible. 

 TWISTY BITS.

TWISTY BITS.

Now, to chat about the design of this...

Six Flags in Tex-ass decided to buy the same coaster. They opened theirs first, yay whoo-hoo, big whoop. 

The difference on why CGA's is better is this: they didn't just drop their ride in a quarry and call it a day. Here, there's theming and a design that, after speaking to some people who've already ridden Wonder Woman and now Railblazer, claim that this feels faster and better because of the environment around it. 

Overall, this area of the park is transforming into a Northern California 'mountain' zone, and it's awesome. It's new-age, but still feels rustic. Also unlike Six Flags, you get to get a lot more up close and personal with the rollercoaster (shut up, you dirty bird you...)

 

 The queue offers up some great views in a really close way, while also focusing on keeping the inevitable idiot safe from doing idiot things like going where they shouldn't. 

The queue offers up some great views in a really close way, while also focusing on keeping the inevitable idiot safe from doing idiot things like going where they shouldn't. 

They focused a lot on utilizing space here. The queue wraps in and around the coaster, and actually at one point under the track to pop up into the station to board. 

 It's really awesome to wind your way in and around this thing. 

It's really awesome to wind your way in and around this thing. 

 WHO PUT AN ICE BLOCK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SUN. DON'T YOU KNOW WE'RE IN A DROUGHT?! 

WHO PUT AN ICE BLOCK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SUN. DON'T YOU KNOW WE'RE IN A DROUGHT?! 

 BUT IT'S SO PRETTY. 

BUT IT'S SO PRETTY. 

 CGA always has quality food at their events. Like, there hasn't been bad food ever here. 

CGA always has quality food at their events. Like, there hasn't been bad food ever here. 

 YAY MUSIC AND ATMOSPHERE.   In all seriousness: they've got a bluegrass band that's playing throughout the day on a stage near Railblazer now (no, not this stage, nerd), and it's great to see Cedar Fair and CGA up the game on not only building a great ride, but providing a quality themed environment for it to live in. 

YAY MUSIC AND ATMOSPHERE. 

In all seriousness: they've got a bluegrass band that's playing throughout the day on a stage near Railblazer now (no, not this stage, nerd), and it's great to see Cedar Fair and CGA up the game on not only building a great ride, but providing a quality themed environment for it to live in. 

 Getting back to how close you can get to the ride, they opened the spaces up under some of the turnarounds, and it's REALLY fun to watch the trains whizz by. 

Getting back to how close you can get to the ride, they opened the spaces up under some of the turnarounds, and it's REALLY fun to watch the trains whizz by. 

 Also note, CGA upped their bathroom game. This is like, theme park luxury. 

Also note, CGA upped their bathroom game. This is like, theme park luxury. 

 SOYSTER! HI JASON. YOU LOVE US, DON'T YOU. SORRY FOR GIVING YOU THAT WEDGIE FRONT OF SNOOPY, BUT IT HAD TO HAPPEN.

SOYSTER! HI JASON. YOU LOVE US, DON'T YOU. SORRY FOR GIVING YOU THAT WEDGIE FRONT OF SNOOPY, BUT IT HAD TO HAPPEN.

So after a while they held the grand opening ceremonies. The teams said some fantastic pleasantries, and BOOM. Ribbon cut and Railblazer was open! 

Then, as soon as it was open, the general public did what they do best: ignore the walkways designed for them and climb over where they shouldn't. This is the only shaming we'll do. BE SHAMED, PEOPLE. 

This is exactly why we can't have nice things. On a happier note, we'll close out with more glamour shots of this awesome new ride. I can't say enough great things about it, and they're all accolades that are very well deserved for this team and park. I'm saying it now. California's Great America is going to have a great future ahead of them if this is the direction they're headed. I can't wait to see what comes next...

On a final note...

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