Gurnee, Illinois

The greatest family entertainment in the Midwest returns on Saturday, May 2, when Marriott’s Great America begins its sixth season of fun, highlighted by the premiere flight of the American Eagle, the world’s largest double-racing wooden roller coaster.

The American Eagle features the longest drop of any coaster in the world (147 feet), the longest total length of track in the world (9,300 feet) and more fun and excitement than any other thrill ride in the world. After the initial 147-foot drop, the Eagle’s twin trains race over a series of smaller hills and climb to the double-helix turnaround point, 117 feet above water. The race continues at a 60-mile-per-hour pace back to the starting point. A ride aboard the American Eagle belongs at the top of every thrill-seeker’s checklist.

Outside the American Eagle ride area, an array of special shops, restaurants, games, entertainment, and seating areas create a delightful spot to eat, relax, and meet friends. A wide selection of merchandise and the best new electronic games can be found in the American Eagle Arena, Great America’s new addition to County Fair for 1981. A delicious menu at the new Arena Restaurant includes submarine sandwiches, bratwurst, and freshly-baked pies, with snacks and assorted beverages available.

Great America’s 1981 musical spotlight shines on favorite songs from favorite American cities as the Great America Singers lead guests on a melodic coast-to-coast journey in “Music! Music! Music!”. Presented daily in Hometown Square’s Grand Music Hall, “Music! Music! Music!” features outstanding performances by eighteen young singers and dancers, accompanied by a six-piece ensemble onstage.

Meanwhile, Bugs Bunny and his mischievous pals premiere a brand new show full of delightful songs and silly antics in “The Bugs Bunny Show”. This all-character revue blends live action and animation, and is presented daily in the Theatre Royale in Orleans Place.

Way down yonder in the Wilderness Theater, the talented dolphin duo of Nemo and Neptune premieres a hootin’, hollerin’, country-style revue of amazing aquatic acrobatics amidst the rustic setting of the Yukon Territory; and, over in the Snowshoe Saloon, the park’s resident piano player, the fully-animated Foghorn Leghorn, delights guests as they enjoy delicious snacks and sandwiches and cool refreshments. Experience the spectacular vision of the IMAX film system in Great America’s Pictorium Theater, featuring the world’s largest indoor motion picture screen. Located in the park’s Entrance Plaza, the Pictorium runs continuous performances throughout the day.

The new 1981 attractions at Great America and the park’s perennial favorites — The Demon, Logger’s Run, Fort Fun, and the Columbia carousel — combine for a special and memorable visit to the Midwest’s greatest family entertainment center.

Marriott’s Great America, located midway between Chicago and Milwaukee on Interstate 94 in Gurnee, Illinois, opens for its sixth season on Saturday, May 2, 1981.


Return to 1981 press releases, Marriott’s Great America