California's Great America Update - December 30th, 2023

WinterFest 2023!

I cut it a little close with visiting CGA for WinterFest this year but I made it! And just in time, closing day is tomorrow as of when I write this. Definitely a bummer that the park isn't year round this year but that's okay, abscence makes the heart grow fonder as they say! Without further ado, let's take a look at WinterFest!

Table of Contents


WinterFest Let's take a walk around the park and see what WinterFest is!

WinterFest In case you don't want to wait to see the map of entertainment!

WinterFest And same for food

WinterFest Also since I'm not 100% sure where to put this, I'll note here that this is a really cool idea. I didn't see any and I'm not sure how well it works in practice interacting with the park but I love the addition of more technology!

Entrance Plaza

WinterFest | Entrance Plaza The iconic carousel and skating rink greet you as you walk into the park!

WinterFest | Entrance Plaza If you turn right at the entrance, you'll get to the rental counter where you can rent a pair of skates and hit the ice

WinterFest | Entrance Plaza As always, I have to point out the fact that I think the park having a zamboni is amazing!

WinterFest | Entrance Plaza I ran into these walkaround characters near the entrance but you might find them in numerous locations around the park!

WinterFest | Entrance Plaza But if you keep going around you'll get to the big tree in the entrance plaza

WinterFest | Entrance Plaza Which has both the lighting ceremony and Cool Yule shows from last year

Orleans Place

WinterFest | Orleans Place Let's keep going to Orleans Place!

WinterFest | Orleans Place Let's start with our holiday bar: The Blitzen Bar!

WinterFest | Orleans Place The inside is suitably cheery

WinterFest | Orleans Place And here's the drink menu

WinterFest | Orleans Place As an aside, this area (and the whole park) looks so amazing for Christmas

WinterFest | Orleans Place These cool light projections are a good touch

WinterFest | Orleans Place Just like last year, the cookie decoration shop is back!

WinterFest | Orleans Place IT wasn't too busy when I stopped by!

WinterFest | Orleans Place But the cookies were looking as good as ever

WinterFest | Orleans Place Keeping going, as you expect from the park, there are stands set up throughout the area for food and drinks

WinterFest | Orleans Place The sky ride gets a little retheme as North Pole Parcel Company

WinterFest | Orleans Place With these cool package decorations in the station!

WinterFest | Orleans Place The stage at the back of Orleans Place was in use again

WinterFest | Orleans Place As was the Holly Jolly Trolley itself

WinterFest | Orleans Place Also in the area is the North Pole Post Master

WinterFest | Orleans Place Where you can write and send your own message to Santa

Tinsel Town

WinterFest | Tinsel Town Next up was Tinsel Town which takes over All American Corners!

WinterFest | Tinsel Town Of course, tinsel makes up a lot of the decoration like you'd expect

WinterFest | Tinsel Town The Mistletones return this year at the stage in Tinsel Town

WinterFest | Tinsel Town Merle's gets into the holiday spirit for the first time this year!

WinterFest | Tinsel Town Orbit always looks so good

WinterFest | Tinsel Town These characters were hanging out in Tinsel Town ready to meet guests!

WinterFest | Tinsel Town As always I have to show off the beautiful bridge between Tinsel Town and Candy Cane Lane

Candy Cane Lane

WinterFest | Candy Cane Lane Speaking of, let's take a look at it!

WinterFest | Candy Cane Lane This area is so cool!

WinterFest | Candy Cane Lane I adore the way it looks

WinterFest | Candy Cane Lane As usual, you can find some big props for pictures at the (closed) entrance to South Bay Shores

Planet Snoopy

WinterFest | Planet Snoopy This bridge takes you into Planet Snoopy which also is nicely decorated!

WinterFest | Planet Snoopy Snoopy's doghouse is all ready for Christmas!

WinterFest | Planet Snoopy As in years past, you can make some crafts in the area

WinterFest | Planet Snoopy Or if a show is more your speed, then you can see A Peanuts Guide to Christmas

WinterFest | Planet Snoopy I caught a little of it and thought it was very cute

WinterFest | Planet Snoopy New this year is an extra booth at the back of the area to get something to eat and drink at!

WinterFest | Planet Snoopy Over in the annex, Snoopy is all dressed up

WinterFest | Planet Snoopy The tree lot is still set up in the old water play area space

WinterFest | Planet Snoopy And like the past, Cahrlie Brown's little tree was the prize at the center of the maze

NorCal County Fair

WinterFest | NorCal County Fair Continuing onward, as you enter NorCal County Fair you are put into a gingerbread village

WinterFest | NorCal County Fair With everyone's favorite - okay, maybe just my favorite - jelly filling station!

WinterFest | NorCal County Fair You'll also see some walkaround characters for pictures here

WinterFest | NorCal County Fair As you'd expect, the other side of the sky ride also has the same little retheme

WinterFest | NorCal County Fair I do really like these little sets, they're so cute!

WinterFest | NorCal County Fair This decoration is new this year and I think it looks so great!

WinterFest | NorCal County Fair There's a little Merry Christmas sign in front of Grizzly

WinterFest | NorCal County Fair Even Larry is singing along to his favorite Christmas tunes!

WinterFest | NorCal County Fair Of course, the games in the area get a little overlay

WinterFest | NorCal County Fair Redwood Rally doesn't necessarily become 12 Days of Christmas this year but it still gets the overlay!

WinterFest | NorCal County Fair Expect lots of lights and signs along your route!

Hometown Square

WinterFest | Hometown Square Continuing from the top of Hometown Square, behind the garden tunnel are all of the fire pits to sit down and warm up at

WinterFest | Hometown Square And the garden tunnel is all lit up too

WinterFest | Hometown Square I love this little tree lit up in all Railblazer colors

WinterFest | Hometown Square Also like in years past, there are plenty of merchants setting up shop near Railblazer

WinterFest | Hometown Square Although since it was so late in the season, a lot of them were closed

WinterFest | Hometown Square Santa and the reindeer were back on White Water Falls!

WinterFest | Hometown Square Railblazer was thundering through its course with a full queue tonight

WinterFest | Hometown Square I have to assume that this dessert being served near Auntie Anne's is patterned after Dollywood's cinnamon bread?

WinterFest | Hometown Square I will say that I am surprised to see such an overtly religious view of Christmas at the park instead of the secular one that's everywhere else in the park

WinterFest | Hometown Square But regardless, the square was as beautiful as ever. My favorite is the lights in the trees

WinterFest | Hometown Square Like last year, It's Christmas, Snoopy, the ice skating show was playing in Great America Theater

WinterFest | Hometown Square The most random decoration in the park has to be Reindeer Round Up

WinterFest | Hometown Square Where you can watch a herd of animatronic reindeer perform popular Christmas songs

WinterFest | Hometown Square Celebration Swings are as beautiful at night as ever

Other Updates

Other Updates Here's the closed rides list. It's out of date since I know I saw a line for Mass Effect and I thought I saw Delirium running

Other Updates Tiki Twirl was still down

Other Updates The park was CROWDED tonight! Maybe more than I've ever seen it. Here Grizzly's line spills out of its entrance

Other Updates Only one more day at the park for 2023!

Thanks again for following all of my coverage from the park for 2023. I definitely slacked off a little bit on my coverage of both CGA and SFDK this year. I had big plans but I couldn't execute on them. But that's the beauty of a new year, it's a time for change and to right wrongs and failings from years past. This new year will be a great year for me personally, for this site and hopefully for you as well! Coverage from CGA will continue next year!