What's up with the site?

my authentic GREAT AMERICA name tag

For lots of new updates, check out our GREATAMERICAparks.com Facebook page. Be sure to "Like" GREATAMERICAparks.com on Facebook!

Updates here on the main site will resume after a full site remodel / renovation has been completed.


For newer updates, please see the Questions, Suggestions, and Site Updates forum.


1 March 2009

Opened new multimedia albums.


11 June 2008

Added a photo album to honoring Astroworld.


26 May 2008

Delta Flyer / Eagle's Flight and its associated photo album have been added to the rides section.


23 April 2008

Loggers Run and its associated photo album have been added to the rides section.


4 July 2007

The Lobster and its associated photo gallery have been added to the rides section.


31 January 2007

Added a 1981 television commercial for the American Eagle roller coaster to the multimedia page. Also added a 1978 television commercial for Marriott's GREAT AMERICA to the multimedia page.


2 April 2006

Added a short video of Santa Clara's new-for-2006 Survivor The Ride to the multimedia page.


19 February 2006

The Demon and its associated photo gallery have been added to the rides section. The short version of the Demon song is included. In addition, site members have continued to add lots of great photos to the personal photo albums.


30 November 2005

The Orleans Orbit and its associated photo gallery have been added to the rides section. Meanwhile, site members have been adding lots of great treasures to the personal photo albums.


2 November 2005

Added a Marriott's GREAT AMERICA musical slide show to the multimedia page. Also started a special tribute to Astroworld.


16 October 2005

Opened the GREAT AMERICA personal photo albums feature.


27 September 2005

The Edge and its associated photo gallery have been added to the rides section.


20 September 2005

A set of 1981 press information and photos has been added to the history section. These materials were kindly supplied by a site visitor. Thank you!


18 September 2005

The Whirligig ride and its associated photo gallery have been added to the rides section.


12 September 2005

The links page was updated with a link to Mark Rosenzweig's excellent "Six Flags and Paramount -- A Great America Comparison", an online photo album comparing the two Great America parks as seen within a two-week period in 2005.


28 August 2005

Looking at the present and remembering the past: selected images of the Santa Clara park as it appears in August of 2005 have been added in a new photo album.


16 August 2005

The Buzzy Bee ride and its associated photo gallery has been added to the rides section.

New photos have also been added to the Grand Music Hall photo gallery, starting with this photo.


7 August 2005

The last Marriott's GREAT AMERICA advertising song -- "Get Carried Away" from 1984 has been added. It's available on the home page. Also, an instrumental portion of the Carousel Song has been added to the Carousel Columbia page.


28 July 2005

The 1982 Marriott's GREAT AMERICA advertising song has been added. It's available on the home page.


19 July 2005

A television commercial featuring the Grand Music Hall show "Silver Screen" has been added. It's available on the home page.


16 July 2005

Can you survive the Tidal Wave at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA? That was the marketing theme for the newest roller coaster sensation when it was added to Marriott's GREAT AMERICA. Come take a look back at this cherished roller coaster. The Tidal Wave has been added to the rides section along with forty-eight photos in the accompanying photo gallery.


9 July 2005

The Marriott's GREAT AMERICA discussion forums are now open! Share your memories of the parks, discuss the rides, shows, food, merchandise, games, and more. Employees are encouraged to share memories of working at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA.

I have the long-awaited update featuring The Tidal Wave roller coaster still on hold. It will be coming soon now. Really!


30 June 2005

The planned update featuring The Tidal Wave roller coaster is still on temporary hold. Meanwhile, the links page has been updated to include a link to the MGA Show Ops reunion site.


30 May 2005

The next ride scheduled to be added to the site is The Tidal Wave roller coaster. That addition is being temporarily postponed. Meanwhile, the full text of a 1976 press release featuring historical details of the Carousel Columbia has been added today.


19 May 2005

The next planned update to the site has been delayed. In consolation, I've added a 1980 television commercial introducing the Demon roller coaster. It's available on the home page.


18 April 2005

Willard's Whizzer roller coaster has been added to GREATAMERICAparks.com in the rides section. The Willard's Whizzer photo gallery has also been added, starting with thirty photos.


15 March 2005

The Sky Whirl triple Ferris wheel has been added to GREATAMERICAparks.com in the rides section. The Sky Whirl photo gallery has also been added, starting with fifty photos of this magnificent ride.


20 February 2005

The Southern Cross skyride has been added to GREATAMERICAparks.com in the rides section along with a corresponding photo gallery. The Southern Cross photo gallery also includes views of classic rides such as the Turn of the Century and the Tidal Wave.


14 February 2005

The Turn of the Century roller coaster has been added to GREATAMERICAparks.com in the rides section along with a corresponding photo gallery.


30 January 2005

GREATAMERICAparks.com's second update of 2005 features the addition of the GREAT AMERICA Scenic Railway and the Cajun Cliffhanger to the rides section along with their corresponding photo galleries.


27 January 2005

GREATAMERICAparks.com's first update of 2005 features the addition of the Carousel Columbia to the rides section along with a photo gallery including sixteen photos of this GREAT carousel.


17 December 2004

By request, the classic Yukon Yahoo ride has been added to the site. While you can still take a spin on this ride in Santa Clara, it disappeared from Gurnee many moons ago. In Santa Clara, however, it's been moved and renamed. Do you remember which ride the Yahoo is?


8 December 2004

Marriott's GREAT AMERICA has a suggestion for the perfect stocking stuffer. Check out the 1981 television commercial for "the gift that keeps on thrilling". The video link, added to the home page just below the cover photo, is available through December only!


14 November 2004

Ever gotten dizzy on the fast-spinning Fiddler's Fling? Come take a look at a rare Marriott's GREAT AMERICA original that still spins in the same places today in both Gurnee and Santa Clara. The Fiddler's Fling page and photo gallery have been added to the site.


23 October 2004

Remember your first time behind the wheel at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA? Relive the memories with a look back at the popular drive-it-yourself ride in County Fair. The Barney Oldfield Speedway page and photo gallery have been added to the site.

For those who would like an easy way to be informed about site updates, I encourage you to take advantage of the site's new RSS feed. For an introduction to RSS, see the 18 October 2004 entry below. The popular (and free) Mozilla Firefox browser lets you create a live bookmark that makes it simple to see the site updates. You can also add RSS headlines to your My Yahoo! page. Or you can read them via Feedster's web interface.


18 October 2004

Because of prolonged extenuating circumstances, the site has been on hiatus. Thankfully, I am able to resume some site development now. I recently moved the entire site to a new host. I've cleaned up the links page. And I have added the Ameri-Go-Round page and associated photo gallery. I will soon be catching up on my email backlog. Your patience is much appreciated, as is your feedback.

To make it easier for readers to be notified of site updates, I've added an RSS feed. Not familiar with RSS? Check out this introduction to RSS.


28 April 2004

Let's see what this does to my monthly bandwith usage... I added a 1978 Marriott's GREAT AMERICA television commercial to the home page. Enjoy!


17 April 2004

I added a photo gallery of miscellaneous 2004 photos taken at the Santa Clara park today.


14 April 2004

I've added a 1977 radio commercial promoting the new Southern Cross skyride to the home page. Enjoy!


7 April 2004

I've been away and otherwise overloaded, hence the lack of updates to the site. I hope to have more regular updates coming along shortly. Meanwhile, I've added an old audio mix of 1976 radio and television commercials for Marriott's GREAT AMERICA to the home page. Enjoy!


11 March 2004

I added an exclusive audio interview with the "inventor" of the Tidal Wave at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA. The interview is currently available on the home page. Your comments are encouraged!


23 February 2004

I added the Triple Play page and opened the Triple Play photo gallery.


6 February 2004

I added the Davey Jones Dinghies page and opened the Davey Jones Dinghies photo gallery. Comments and suggestions are welcomed!


5 February 2004

I added the Bottoms Up page and opened the Bottoms Up photo gallery. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed!


3 February 2004

I sneaked in a quick addition of ten photos of the 1977 Gurnee production of "Holiday" to the Grand Music Hall photo gallery.


28 January 2004

Okay, there's not much new today. I just changed the photo on the home page. I also moved the remaining clutter on that page to the about page. More new content is on the way! Thanks for your interest.


20 January 2004

I added the Traffique Jam page and opened the Traffique Jam photo gallery. I also added the photo of my authentic Marriott's GREAT AMERICA employee name tag to the top of this page. As always, your feedback is encouraged and appreciated!


19 December 2003

I opened the Yankee Clipper photo gallery. Your feedback is encouraged!


6 November 2003

I started up the Sky Tower photo gallery.


4 November 2003

I opened up the Grand Music Hall photo gallery with a starter set of photos. I need help from some of you shows people out there to identify some of the shows and add more details to the descriptions.


3 November 2003

I opened up the Merry Mardi Gras Parade photo gallery with a starter set of six photos.


2 November 2003

The games photo gallery has opened with eleven photos for starters.

During the recent scanning marathon, I ended up scanning about 300 photos. I'll be putting them into the photo galleries as quickly as possible.


30 October 2003

Lots of much less fun stuff prevented me from getting a lot of work done on the site this month. To help compensate for the lack of progress, I recently started a scanning marathon. I've already scanned over 150 photos to add to the galleries. I'll be scanning more and cleaning them up shortly so that they can start populating the photo galleries. Meanwhile, I couldn't resist putting one of the new scans up on the home page right now. Stay tuned. More are on the way!

I also moved this change log to its own page, making the home page a little less cluttered. It could still use some more "de-cluttering", which will come in time.


5 October 2003

I converted all remaining pages -- except the photo galleries -- to the new CSS. I also updated the links page.


4 October 2003

I have finally started the rides section. Beginning with the more obscure, the first ride added is the all-but-forgotten Gulf Coaster. The gallery includes four photos of this rarely-seen ride.


3 October 2003

I added three new aerial photos that are worth seeing. One is of Santa Clara and two are of Gurnee. I also tinkered with the new CSS a little.


20 September 2003

Okay, I've been away for a while. I'm back and have just added a gallery featuring a starter set of aerial photos. Also visit Six Flags Great America aerial photos to see lots of great aerial photos of the Gurnee park taken in 2001.


3 September 2003

In an effort to spruce up appearances, I'm trying out some new CSS on the home page (i.e. this page). The new look you see here is the result. I will tweak it some more to fix up a few things that could stand improvement. Meanwhile, the rest of the pages still have the old look. Once I've gotten the home page settled, I'll switch the other pages over to the new look.


25 August 2003

I added seven new photos of the park model, including views of Willard's Whizzer, the Turn of the Century, Sky Whirl, Logger's Run, Yankee Clipper, the circus, and a large mystery building in Yankee Harbor. You can see them in the park model photo gallery.


24 August 2003

I've done a little tinkering with customization of the photo galleries to properly integrate them into the site. The first two preview galleries have now been linked off of the history page.


22 August 2003

aerial photo of Gurnee park in 1976

I added some more links to other sites of interest today. The above aerial view of Gurnee in 1976 is offered as consolation for the lack of any new photos in the galleries today. This is the last big photo that I will put directly onto the home page, which will eventually be cleaned up and streamlined once I get out of "sandbox" mode here. After that, photos will mostly always be added to the galleries, where they belong. I hope you enjoy today's photo. Don't forget to check out the new links, too.


18 August 2003

To experiment with the nested gallery support in the new release of singapore, I have nested two galleries now in the history gallery. The previous test gallery featuring photos from the R. Duell and Associates offices has been moved to the Duell gallery. A new test gallery featuring photos of a park model from Gurnee has also been added. The Gurnee park model photos were kindly contributed by Brian Plencner. You can view these preview galleries here.


17 August 2003

The problem experienced on the 16th has been fixed. The thumbnails in the preview photo gallery are properly displayed once again. Customization of the galleries is again the next task.


16 August 2003

I upgraded to the new version of the singapore script for the photo galleries. Unfortunately, it presently broke the display of the thumbnail images. It also reset the viewing counter for each image. As soon as the thumbnail problem is fixed, I'll go back to work on customizing the look of the galleries and will start adding new photo galleries.


12 August 2003

"Advance tickets available at Jewel, Osco, and Turn-Style."

I've not had a chance yet to do any more work on the photo galleries. I hope you enjoy the prototype gallery that was put up on the 6th of August. Meanwhile, I'll throw up another bit of audio for you. I've had several requests for the classic "It's the country of fun..." song which was used for Marriott's GREAT AMERICA advertising starting in 1976. Click on "The Fun Country." below to hear the song. This particular clip is in RealAudio format. The voice-over at the end is your clue that this was from Gurnee. Advance tickets for the Santa Clara park were available at Safeway. Enjoy! Don't forget that your feedback is welcome.

click to listen to RealAudio

6 August 2003

Given the number of photos that stand to be uploaded and displayed on this site, I knew that I would need some sort of image gallery management system. Otherwise, creating and updating the photo galleries would quickly become unmanageable. I shopped around and decided on a simple gallery system called singapore. I selected singapore because I wanted something simple, yet elegant, that produces valid XHTML output, and is easy to use. I've just now installed it and have set up a first gallery. Next up is the task of customizing and integrating the galleries into the "look and feel" of the overall site (and I haven't fully determined just what the look and feel of the site will be just yet -- remember "open during construction"). Meanwhile, if you want to take a peek at the site's first gallery, sporting the "singapore-right-out-of-the-box" look and feel, you can preview it here.


1 August 2003

Recent progress on the site has been slowed while resolving some technical problems related to getting message boards and photo galleries set up. Further progress has been slowed because of an unavoidable lack of available time. As a form of consolation, recently I quickly threw the music for the 1979 commercial onto the home page. I got some great feedback on that addition. Thanks!

In a similar move, today I've added a view of a park model to the history page.