WinterFest at California’s Great America – 2017!

Sean: WinterFest has returned for a second year and has proven to be fair competition with the rest of the state’s major Holiday events, managing to offer a unique experience while limiting guests to just three of the park’s major coasters. The event offers quality entertainment, awesome lights all around the event, and unique attractions such as ice skating, character meet ‘n greets and faux snow of course! McLaren and I hit up the event, and would love to show off what the event has to offer! Oh and there’s a little RailBlazer construction for you all. 


– Over the years, many of our images have popped up on other sites and forums, awesome that our coverage spreads, not so awesome that not everyone mentioned where they got the images from. We are totally fine with our audience using our images, BUT ONLY IF credit is given to californiacoasterkings.com. Thank you! –


RailBlazer

Let’s start off with some RailBlazer construction pictures we took at the event! The track is much smaller in person than I anticipated it being, and the current S-Curve is very tight looking! 

The project is a few weeks behind Wonder Woman: Golden Lasso Coaster, but with Six Flags Fiesta Texas wanting a moving station, who knows which ride will open first. 

The support structure is very fascinating and weird, but overall the project looks great so far. We’re so excited!

The mid-course drop was added next, and a note regarding the tall structure of the ride, the top of the lift hill will face the carousel directly, and will  be in the exact same direction as most of the coasters lift hills at the park. Which really is quite hilarious. Also let’s appreciate the park’s placement of christmas trees next to the construction site. 

Here’s another great look at the funkiness that is RailBlazer!

Here’s another angle of the construction zone, really showing off the odd supports!

The ride will be engulfed in landscaping, including a large pond below the ride.

With half of the park blocked off during WinterFest there weren’t many more angles for us to look at, thus the following picture will be the last, showing off the quick and sharp transition in the S-Curve.


WinterFest

Let’s start with the fact that though the park has yet to be used/opened in its entirety for the event, the parts of the park that are open are all completely decked in lights, and the event’s entrance makes a great first impression!

Right at the entrance, on the fountain in front of the Carousel, we have Snow Flake Lake, an up-charge ice skating attraction. Something no other theme park event in California offers this Holiday season.

The event is very stylish, perfect for the location of the park, and thus ice-white lights and awesome projections on Snow Flake Lake are a reality!

This view from the entrance of the park should indicate how beautiful the event is, clean, yet elegant. California’s Great America really set itself apart with the event. 

One of the things we’re addressing this year is the Candy Cane Lane, which has much improved from last year. With better Candy Canes, projection mapping, synchronized lighting, and really all it is is a connecting way between the Sky Coaster and Delirium. 

There are some fun photo ops along the way! 

Including gingerbread men and a ginger bread house with live characters! 

Candy Cane Lane ends where the First Aid is located, near the front of the park.

One of my favorite attractions at the event is the North Pole, the WinterFest rendition of Star Tower, which offers a great view of the reindeer on top of Gold Striker. 

We have all seen Carowinds’ reindeer on Fury 325 this WinterFest, but we much prefer santa and his reindeer on an operating coaster 😉

Of course the North Pole offers a fantastic view of the light fest below as well. 😛

On the back side of the Carousel, one of the event’s main show venues is found, with the park’s largest tree. 

A beautifully large tree with a stage used for several productions. 

The tree has synchronized lights and the talent is just outstanding at the event. 

The WinterFest Trolley show has highly talented singers and dancers performing in the plaza in a fashionable manner. Which is really what sets this event apart, it’s very stylish with a classic feel while feeling incredibly modern. I really did not anticipate the event to be able to set itself apart as well, especially with only half (if not less) of the ride roster running.

It’s great to see that this event really is worth the separate ticket price just for the entertainment and lights. 

The plaza near Patriot, as seen from the North Pole earlier, is decked in original looking lights, but does a great job making it feel immersive. 

The lights are everywhere, feel warm and complete and really do not see a break in lighting at all. 

And of course the event features plenty of faux snow, something Knott’s Berry Farm, the park’s sister park, could learn from!

One of the major attractions running is Gold Striker, which ran perfectly smoothly with amazing two-train operations. In addition to which it spots some great decorations. 

One of the most prominent features around the entrance of the park are the numerous palm trees, which are beautifully lit up. 

#WinterFest <3

Another major attraction running during WinterFest is Flight Deck, which also operated two trains during our visit. 

In the theatre below the ride, the Theatre Royal, a seasonal show Tinker’s Toy Factory. 

But really we were just stoked to ride Flight Deck without waiting a second <3 

In the following years the event will feature more rides in attractions, RailBlazer for example will be on the roster for next year’s event.

New this year is the fact that the event is extended all the way up to Planet Snoopy. But before we get there we have several bridges to cross with awesome lighting, and the Artisan Crafts fair. 

Artisan Alley saw only a few guests during our quiet Tuesday visit, but luckily we were informed that the nightly attendance has doubled this year compared to last year. 

Let’s take a look at one of the new sections of the event… PLANET SNOOPY! 

Again featuring lots of original theming and lighting, really making this a very important addition to the event. Not to forget to mention that Planet Snoopy has all rides running including Lucy’s Crabbie Cabbies. 

The backside of Planet Snoopy is even more exciting, with lots of amazing lighting and really incorporating the whole area into WinterFest. 

One of our team members made the terrible mistake of running through the giant splash pad attraction in Planet Snoopy this summer, we were so much more comfortable with Charlie Brown’s Tree Lot that it was turned into for this year’s WinterFest. 

And as McLaren said during our visit “The OG Charlie Brown Christmas tree is here”.

Let’s move to another new area this year, the Coca-Cola inspired area, with awesome decorations and lighting.

The stage set up is the Polar Party, where the WinterFest Trolley stops for performances as well. 

And of course the giant Santa! 

But really I would like to finish this report with one of my favorite shots, the light reindeer below the 2016 attraction, Patriot, which was running for the event as well. Overall WinterFest manages to set itself apart and have a unique identity as a Holiday event that I would totally say is worthy of being a separately ticketed event. I am so excited to see this event grow. California has a set of amazing Holiday events and WinterFest is a major player! 


Thank you for checking out this WinterFest report with some RailBlazer sprinkled throughout. Stay tuned for more awesome NorCal coverage, including our year-end Top 10 <3 For now check out another one of our favorite Holiday events in the country: Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas!

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