About Great America:
Originally opened in 1976 for the U.S. bicentennial by the Marriot company in Santa Clara, CA. (with its sister park near Chicago IL). The theme park has been under several owners. In the mid 80's Marriot was selling off its amusement parks, but could not find a buyer for its park in Santa Clara, so it was just going to shut it down and sell the land. Santa Clara residents did not want to see their beloved park torn down so they dug deep into their own pockets so the city could buy the amusement park. They contracted out with King's Entertainment (the company that owned King's Domininion and King's Island) to manage the park. King's Entertainment eventually bought the park from the city and they in turn were eventually bought by Paramount. While the park was originally themed after different eras of American past with a patriotic bent, Paramount has totally removed the theming convention and just stuck rides named after movies all over the place. Both Kryis and Bryan at one time worked in this park, so some of the stories you are about to read are 2nd hand accounts. The park was purchased in 2006 by Cedar Fair, the same company that owns Cedar Point and Knott's Berry Farm, and renamed California's Great America.
In 1983 a 13 year-old boy died when he stepped off of the ride and another train ran into the back of his train. It is said that he now wanders the now unoccupied spot where the ride (The Willard's Wizzard) once stood. One Graveyard shift employee had reported hearing footsteps crossing the wooden bridge that crosses over the splash zone of Whitewater Falls, which occupies one half of the old Whizzer ride area.
For coaster enthusiasts as well as ghost hunters: The reason that the train had not stopped before it rammed into the station-parked train, was that the electric eyes did not register that the space was already occupied.
For years after the accident, if the ride had been stopped for an emergency, the ride computer would show "ghost trains." (The electric eyes registered trains on the track where it was not physically possible for there to be one, especially in the helix.)
The Theater in Orleans Plaza is said to be haunted. Most stories tell of cold-spots.
Katie, an 8 year old blonde girl has been seen going into the one time Fort Fun maze, only to never be seen coming out again.
There is also a tale of a 10 year old boy, Doug, who died in a house/barn fire that took place when the area was a ranch. That spot was supposedly where the Tidal Wave/Greased Lightning once stood. He has been know to cause things to knock over in merchandise shops in Yankee Harbor & New Orleans Place. (when the park actually had themed areas)
One report read that an employee had seen a little boy and a little girl walking into light, then vanishing in Orleans Place.
It is also said that these two children were brother and sister.
As a rollercoaster nut (Bryan) and a theme park enthusiast (Kryis) this park is a big bitter disappointment to us. We also both used to work here, and it was much better then. The park has substandard roller coasters (They took out their one breakthrough coaster the first "true flying" coaster to put in a waterpark). The only semi-good coaster left is "Top Gun." It is a shame that they just cannot seem to get good rides. Now with the competition from Marine World (which has much better rollercoasters, and theirs aren't even that good) I hoped Paramount would get the clue and do something right. Oh well. So much for that. I would rather drive for 5 hours and go to Magic Mountain. Hopefully now that the park is owned by Cedar Fair its rides and theming will improve.