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California's Great America, Santa Clara, California

For day two of our trip Andrew, Travis and Amanda were ready to go to tackle our second park of the trip and the first of three amusement parks that we were to visit this day. 

California's Great America, Santa Clara, California

Park number two is a park that I feel totally at home with like I had been visiting it for all of my life.  California's Great America opened in 1976 as Marriott's Great America.  If you have been reading my site for a while you will have heard how I grew up going to Marriott's Great America in Gurnee Illinois since the late 1970's.  This Great America and the one back in Illinois were duplicate parks built at the same time with the same rides by the Marriott corporation.  This Marriott's Great America opened in March of 1976 a month before its sister park in Illinois.

California's Great America, Santa Clara, California

The idea of having duplicate parks was an interesting cost savings measure.  Instead of having to design two separate parks with completely different buildings and rides Marriott just designed the basic template for both and got to work building duplicate parks.  They were identical for the the first few years until the Gurnee park added the Great American Eagle in 1981.  From that point on both parks took different paths to where they are today.

California's Great America, Santa Clara, California

While I was surrounded by similar things like the Orleans Place...

California's Great America, Santa Clara, California

...and the amazingly fun Rue Le Dodge everything was just a little bit different than what I was used to.  It was kind of like being in the "upside down" of the show "Stranger Things" but this reality didn't have demons chasing me.  It just had differences like a divider in the middle of the Rue Le Dodge bumper cars making you have to drive around in one direction instead of Gurnee's giant open floor anything goes layout.



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Paul B. Drabek