Great America’s Gold Striker Roller Coaster

California’s Great America amusement park in Santa Clara, CA, is getting a new wooden roller coaster called the “Gold Striker” in 2013. After watching the video a few times, it looks like the old Lockheed IMAX Pictorium building will be demolished after being closed for a decade. If you wanted to see an IMAX movie, this was the only place to go to for many years before IMAX theaters became commonplace in recent years. On a middle school field trip in 1984, I saw a short video of the Space Shuttle Challenger being launched into space at night, where the roar of the engines shook the six-story tall building. Nice to see this part of the amusement park finally being renovated.


I’m not a fan of roller coasters. I have fear of heights and hate surrendering control, which is what makes roller coasters fun for most people. I prefer roller coasters that go up and down without too many variations in between. Plain and boring works well for me.

A college roommate tricked me into riding “Montezooma’s Revenge” at Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California in 1994. That roller coaster does a loop and goes straight up before going backwards in reverse. My guts felt like it was hanging out through my mouth on the return trip. This wasn’t a “beginner” roller coaster as he had promised.

The “Gold Striker” makes the venerable “Grizzly,” the other wooden roller coaster at the park that I rode twice before, look tame in comparison by being taller, longer and faster. I’m looking forward to riding the new roller coaster next year. I might even ride it more than twice.