Great America is ready to welcome guests back into the park. On May 22, the theme park will reopen its doors after forgoing the 2020 season because of COVID-19.
“It was certainly tough at times, at the beginning of the pandemic, to watch the opening date of the park kind of go back by two weeks at a time and then three weeks at a time. We kept pushing it back because it was evolving so quickly. By August, I think everyone knew that there was a little too much uncertainty in what 2020 could throw at us,” said Great America Communications Manager Danny Messinger. “That was tough because we like to see the park full of people. We like to see the rides running and hear the screams and look at the smiles and everything.”
Great America managed to keep all of its full-time staff on the payroll. During the shutdown, crews spent a lot of time improving the look of the park and bringing some of the older rides up to date.
“I think that’s one of the coolest parts of the big curveballs that we faced in 2020. We took the opportunity to really focus on aesthetic components of the park,” said Messinger. “I think when people come through the gates for the first time in a year and a half, they’ll notice a lot of improved landscaping. Building facades are going to look brand new.”
“We’ve also had the opportunity to really focus in on some of our more classic rides like the Demon roller coaster,” continued Messinger. “We are reintroducing a lot of old effects from [the 80s] that have faded over the years. We’re bringing back some of the lighting in the tunnels that hasn’t worked in a little while.”
Great America does not anticipate any ride shutdowns due to COVID-19. It is also getting ready to open its new South Bay Shores Waterpark later this year. No matter where you go in the park, social distancing will be required.
“We are putting down social distancing markers similar to what you see at the supermarket when you’re checking out…If you’re lining up to grab food, or in the lines themselves for the rides, those markers will be put down on the concrete so that you know exactly where you should stand to keep your social distance,” said Messinger. “There’ll be alternate row seating on certain roller coasters to make sure that people stay six feet apart even when they’re on the rides.”
There will also be frequent cleaning.
“Everything will be sanitized periodically throughout the day and then there will be a deep clean once we are closed every night,” said Messinger. “There are areas in the park that we know are places that gather more germs. So, areas like restrooms and hand railings and the lines. Those are going to be sanitized by our associates frequently throughout the day.”
Great America says it will honor 2020 season passes throughout the 2021 season. People with single-day tickets from 2020 can use them to purchase new 2021 tickets. Visit Great America’s website, www.cagreatamerica.com to make a reservation. You will not be allowed into the park without a reservation. Capacity within Great America will be capped based on Santa Clara County Public Health guidelines. Masks will be required at all times.
Great America is still hiring seasonal employees. You can find more details on the company’s website.