• Poorly managed in general (food concessions and parking especially)
  • Disinterested employees
  • No magic, bland spirit or feel about the park
  • Criminally negligent parking lot pedestrian management
  • Theme Park without a "Theme"*

* Great America has changed hands many times. Current Parmount owner sprinkles a very few movie artifacts and posters around the park, but little else.

I'm disappointed with nearly every visit to the Great America park...but I have a son, and it's close to home, so I keep going. Clearly, it's not well managed: food concessions are inefficient; pedestrian management in the parking lot is criminally negligent--really! It's a total free-for-all in the parking lot at closing time! Pedestrians have no clear path or protection when crossing to the main lot. Horrific danger to pedestrians with small kids and drivers.

The Great America park is fairly clean, though in the end it's just a bunch of rides without any strong theme. Look at the new Survivor ride: it totally misses the boat and doesn't build on the theme in any strong way. Very poor execution. Great America cut corners and chose not to built a strong concept and theme into the ride.

Bonfonte Gardens (now Gilroy Gardens), on the other hand, is a terrific park with a botanical garden theme. However, Bonfante Gardens/Gilroy Gardens was built for leisure and relaxation, not adventure. Fine for small kids and parents, and more mature folk, but no good for pre-teen/teens looking for coasters and barf bags.

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