Tidal Wave at Twenty-Five, 2002 Documentary Video

The Tidal Wave roller coaster in Santa Clara, California reached its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2002. As part of the anniversary celebration, I created this documentary video on the history of the Tidal Wave. The premiere showing of this video was at the American Coaster Enthusiasts’ Coaster Con XXV in Southern California. It was also shown at the park, then Paramount’s Great America, during the celebration on the actual anniversary date of July 8, 2002. The Tidal Wave video project led directly to the creation of the GREATAMERICAparks.com website with the park’s blessing.

This video is a tribute to Anton Schwarzkopf and Werner Stengel, the joint creators of the classic Tidal Wave shuttle loop roller coaster and many other. It should be of interest to all Tidal Wave fans, Gurnee included. The video should also be of interest to all Anton Schwarzkopf and Werner Stengel roller coaster fans. For its online debut, the song for the Tidal Wave “music video” portion has been switched out from the original video because I don’t have a license to use the song online.

Please enjoy the video and let me know your comments!

For more information about the Tidal Wave, see the Tidal Wave page here.

11 Replies to “Tidal Wave at Twenty-Five, 2002 Documentary Video”

    1. This was at Great America in Santa Clara, California. The Great America in Gurnee, Illinois also had the Tidal Wave roller coaster.

    2. Marriott’s Great America Theme Park. Santa Clara, CA. The video was made In 2002 and it was a 25 year anniversary of a ride called Tidal Wave, which debuted in 1977. The reason I know this is because I watched the video. 🙂

  1. What was the music you had to cut out of the video? Was it a special song made for the ride (like the demon song)? I LOVE that “Drunken Sailor/Preview Center ” music medley! Man, I wish we had specially written music for the parks still.

    1. Lucas,

      The song originally used had nothing to do with the ride or the park. We decided to use it at the time because we liked it and it sounded great, a relatively little-known commercial pop song completely unrelated to the park.

      Regarding original music created for the park, it was first-rate for sure. That music was the work of Gene Patrick and Tom Merriman and their teams. I wish that I had the complete collection of all of it.

  2. Thank you for the many years of fun adventure excitement thrills and wonderful memories I shared growing up summer times always at the park ! Great America to me personally was like my play ground in my very own back yard. I always raised enough money mowing lawns when I was a kid every summer for my season pass it was a proud special feeling to walk on through the season pass entrance then to wait in a long sun blazin line to purchase a ticket. I literally knew the whole park like the back of my hand and probably still do. I even had friends which were my neighbors next door that worked there in the fair games area down the way from The Edge !! AWESOME !! I would go just to say hi and thought it was cool they had a job there and also an excuse because I had a crush on her lol.
    The Tidal Wave was one of my favorite rides I always got there early when the ropes were still up on both sides of the park anxiously waiting for the ropes to drop hearing please no running as I speed walked around a corner out of site DASHED! to the ride. If you were lucky you could maybe ride three times before the lines became grid locked full of waiters lol. Get it? I share a memory I will always have riding The Tidal Wave It was awesome when I got a seat of my own no one sitting next to me I use to play imagine it was a space rocket I pressed the screws of the back seat in front of me like they were ignition buttons I listened and paid close attention to the operator and got good at press launching ignition at the same time as if I did it my self. Too awesome!! The Tidal Wave never got old it was a ride that bravely gradually graduating to both arms raised above to the sky scary excitement and proud!
    The smell of the park standing at the yellow line next to ride the smell of grease from the track the roaring sounds a sudden gust of wind WHOOSH! as The Tidal Wave speeds passing through the house awesomely backwards a loud wave of screams fills the room and as quickly it fades away it quickly returns coming to a stop finally it’s my turn! “THE TIDAL WAVE” a legend an awesome ride truly one of the best all time favorites of mine thank you very much as an adult today I had an opportunity to ride once more like home away from home it brought me a huge smile to my face and much joy as it did back then fond memories cant say thank you enough and as they say over the intercom when coming in on “The Demon” keep both hands and feet inside the car remain seated until the ride comes to a complete stop exit to your right down the wooden ramp and have a ‘GRRR EAT DAY HERE AT GRRR EAT AMERICA’ ! Seconds before Launching off on “The Tidal Wave” they said ‘SEEEE YA’ LATER !
    It will always be “MARRIOTT’S GREAT AMERICA” . to me !
    Hope you and anyone else enjoy my long but short story down memory lane ???

    1. Thanks, James! It was great to read about your fond memories of the park and the Tidal Wave. You’re making me miss the Tidal Wave even more!

  3. I remember the Tidal Waver very fondly. It was my favorite ride at Great America and I managed to work in the Rides Department after my first year of Law School. Loading Tidal Wave was a fun experience. Before I was hired, I spent time watching the ride to figure out the mechanics. I eventually worked out the weight drop system. I know that’s not impressive now but at the time, I was delighted to have worked it out for myself.

    I’m glad to have found this site, as Tidal Wave. I have been a coaster fan for many years. In fact, now that I have retired from teaching law, I’m working as an EMT at Kings Island, near where I live. I just can’t seem to get too far from coasters.

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