California's Great America Update - July 18th, 2021
Taste of Orleans, White Water Falls Reopens & Other Updates
After about a month of not being at CGA (having to get a reservation instead of just popping by after work really throws me off) I made my way back. A good bit has changed since then which we'll get into in this update! Expect some info about Taste of Orleans, White Water Falls reopening, updates on Orbit and Berserker, my review of South Bay Cantina and other updates. So let's get into it!
The biggest change since I'd last been to the park was definitely Taste of Orleans! ToO was the first special event that CGA has had since 2019 and was a fantastic way to kick off the busiest season at CGA! Let's take a look at some of the things the park did for the event!
Orleans Place is home to the celebration!
As you walk in, you're greeted by this sign telling you all of the things going on at the event! In this case the event times and food tasting cards
...some show times and live performer details...
...the food tasting stands...
... and the drink options!
We'll hop around and take a look at the food available at each stand! At A we have gumbo and wings...
At B we have jambalaya and sliders
C has some alligator and catfish
D had crawfish and sausage
E had pizza and hush puppies. F was in the funnel cake shop and served king cake, plantains and beignets
As far as the food I tried, let's start with crawfish! It was surprisingly spicy
Then I had to give the alligator a try. Wasn't quite as flavorful as the crawfish but it was still delicious
After that it was dessert time. I started with the plantains
Quickly I moved on to the king cake
And I finished off with some delicious beignets. The food was all fantastic!
Interestingly, the card didn't have tabs to keep track of the amount of dishes you had left, instead there was a QR code to scan
Let's talk music! ToO continues to feature some great Cajun music. That starts at the big stage near Flight Deck
But there was also this smaller stage near Rue Le Dodge. Great to see live music at the park again!
Walk around characters entertained guests
And of course the Peanuts gang was out and about too
Kids could decorate some masks
The old photo location in Orleans Square has temporarily become a souvenir stand and games store. Spin the wheel and win a prize!
The merch from this year looked great as well!
And of course, the night ended with fireworks! I didn't stick around to watch them but Flight Deck was shutting down early in anticipation of them
The park did a great job decorating the area
All the signs were decorated
With banners across the midway
It just looks good, you know?
Love these banners that fly on Pizza Orleans
This mural greets guests as they enter the area
Is that what I think it is?
Yes it is, Mardi Gras crocodile has returned!!!
A massive voodoo doll sits in the entrance of Orleans Candy Kitchen
As you leave a sign reminds you to let the good times roll!
Overall, I really enjoyed my time at Taste Of Orleans. The park always does a fantastic job with the atmosphere of the event and this year was no different. It was great to get live music back in the park and I enjoyed just getting to sit, relax and listen. Although the food tasting cards are expensive, I was surprised with how big some of the portions (like the beignets) were. If you can, make sure you come down to the park for ToO, I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did!
The other big news this time around was the reopening of WWF! It looks new and fresh and on such a hot day it was great to see it running again!
They're just about to get soaked!
The boat climbs the lift
And heads toward the splashdown
Delighting some very warm park guests
The other closed rides at the park weren't so lucky. Berserker looks like it did last month
But with a cool new sign that tells us a little more about the history of the ride and why it's special
Like Berserker, Orbit sits in more or less the same state as it did last month
But also with a cool new sign! Loving the retro aesthetic they're using
Since I was last at the park, South Bay Cantina finally opened!
The serving setup looks kinda like a Chipotle with the same assembly line style
Liking the little bit of theming that got put up on the walls
It's not a ton but it looks good!
And finally, I got a burrito and chips and salsa with my meal plan. I got the steak which was a bit chewy but the rest of the toppings were good!
I enjoyed my food at this new restaurant. With a big burrito and chips and salsa, this might be the best bang for your buck meal plan location at the park. I know I definitely plan on making it one of my go tos when I'm at the park!
Let's start with some Haunt talk. At the tooth fairy maze I noticed the entrance portal was back whereas I don't remember seeing it in June
A crane sits near the Massacre Manor haunt that wasn't there last month
Signs of life are a good thing as is this display near guest services. But interestingly unlike the WinterFest display (included below), the Haunt display doesn't have dates. I assume they're holding out for flexibility. Assuming the event does happen I'd assume that it would be at the end of September like it was in 2019
Several other food locations were open, like Pizza Company
And Game Time although GT didn't have a menu on display so I couldn't see if anything had changed since 2019
As you may have heard, the park has been slammed lately. Most big rides had nearly full queues
I have never seen the line this long!
Interesting thought as I walked by this sign for the trillionth time, has this location ever actually served *ice cream and candy? I don't think I've ever seen that
And finally let's end with a shot of Railblazer!
That's another update from CGA! ToO was awesome and I was really glad to see WWF reopening after a long break! The park is starting to hit its stride for the season although we're only a couple of months away from Halloween season hopefully. If it happens (and even if it doesn't), I'll be there to cover it! Expect my next update from CGA at the end of August!