Photo TR: Cedar Fair Trip 2017

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Photo TR: Cedar Fair Trip 2017

Postby thrillseeker4552 » Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:59 pm

Hello everybody,

I am usually not one to do big trip reports like this, but I just got back from a fantastic vacation with my family that involved several awesome roller coasters, so I thought I'd put together a four-part photo trip report.

We live in Southern California and tend to alternate between Six Flags and Knott's season passes every year. Last summer we took a vacation to a few Six Flags parks on the East Coast, so this year we decided to splurge on Cedar Fair Platinum Passes (with meal and drink plans) and visit some Cedar Fair parks on the other side of the country. We visited four Cedar Fair parks: Carowinds, Kings Dominion, Kings Island, and of course, Cedar Point.

Only two of these parks were new to me (Carowinds and KD) since I visited both KI and CP back in the summer of 2014. However, three years was enough time to convince us to head back to these awesome parks, being that Rougarou, Valravn, and Mystic Timbers would all be new hotness for us.

Including the two travel days, our trip was 10 days long. That may seem long, but for four Cedar Fair parks, each a good distance from the other, that means a lot of driving and not much room for error. Luckily, we were quite lucky with weather--at least until Cedar Point. But more on that later.

The vacation was actually pretty straight forward. We flew into Charlotte, worked our way to each of the four parks, and flew out of Cleveland. We passed by a few close-by parks (particularly Dollywood and BGW), but in an effort to minimize costs for the trip, we decided that doing a Cedar Fair-only vacation was the way to go. Those other parks are all the more reason to visit again in the future.

Enough rambling. Let's get started with Part I of the trip report: CAROWINDS.

Part I - Where the Carolinas Come Together

Our flight landed in Charlotte on the evening of July 26th, and we arrived at Carowinds that night to catch a little "preview" before our full day at the park on the 27th. We spent time in the park for about four hours that night, all day the next day (from open to close), and a few hours in the morning the day after (the 28th).

First impressions were GREAT. The park has a wonderful atmosphere. It has a gorgeous skyline (massive B&Ms :lover: ) and really something for everybody to enjoy. Oh, and, you know, Fury. Yeah, that's why we were here.

I figure I'll just give my brief review of each coaster below before moving on to photos. Enjoy!

Afterburn: HOLY CRAP. This ride completely blew me away. I was expecting a fairly average B&M Invert with some intense moments, but it was so much more than that. This ride instantly jumped up to the top of my list for B&M Inverts, at least until I was able to get on Banshee again and re-evaluate. But until then, it blew every other Invert I've ridden out of the water. Love it, love it, love it.

Carolina Cyclone: This was a fairly average Arrow looper. As expected, it was rough. It was still tolerable though. It pretty much turned out exactly how I expected.

Carolina Goldrusher: It's a mine train. Nothing else much to say about it.

Flying Ace Aerial Chase: Yuck. What a poor excuse for a "family" coaster. It was rough. Like, really rough. How do children ride this without getting headaches? The one at KI is at least a little better due to the less bulky restraints.

Flying Cobras: YAY! I finally rode a Boomerang I enjoyed! It was quite good. It is by far my favorite Boomerang and very re-rideable. I love the trains, the theme, the colors--everything. It fits perfectly in the area. All Boomerangs should be like this.

Fury 325: WOW! What an amazing ride. This is by far the best B&M of the 2000's, at least that I have ridden. It's tall, fast, long, smooth, and comfortable (yes, I know, that's what she said). It is by far my favorite B&M out there and is easily a top 5 coaster (even though I don't keep a list). Millennium Force doesn't even compare. Bravo, Carowinds. You have a winner.

Hurler: Probably the most mediocre wooden roller coaster I've ever ridden. It's not very rough but not very smooth. It has a little bit of airtime but nothing crazy. It's a forgettable ride. RMC! RMC! RMC!

Intimidator: This ride turned out much better than I was expecting. It has some really solid airtime and is much better than Diamondback, IMO. It's very different than Fury, and the rides complement each other very well. Nitro is still my favorite B&M Hyper that isn't Fury, though.

Nighthawk: Bleh. Having now ridden all 3 Vekoma Flying Dutchmans, I can proudly say this is by far the worst. Firehawk and Batwing are much better. The first half of the ride is alright; it's the second half that killed me. It sure has a nice placement in the center of the park, though.

Ricochet: Definitely one of the better Wild Mice out there! It's very hard to top Hershey's, but this one comes awfully close. However, it has a TERRIBLE loading procedure. This is the first mouse I've seen that loads ONE car at a time and has both a seat belt and a lap bar. Even Coast Rider at Knott's is more efficient. But aside from the atrocious throughput, it's a really good mouse. Love the colors as well.

Vortex: EWWW. PLEASE Carowinds, slap some Floorless trains on this sooner than later. It's right there with Apocalypse at SFA for my least favorite B&M and probably least favorite coaster. It's tired, old, clunky, and rattly. It needs help ASAP.

Woodstock Express: Your basic Cedar Fair kiddie wooden coaster. It was actually quite fun in the back row! But those cars sure are a tight fit.

I'll briefly mention my thoughts on the flat rides as they come. On to photos!

En route to Charlotte!

I see you!

It's so MASSIVE!

But I promised myself I would ride Intimidator first! It was difficult, but I did it!

NOW it's time!

I've waited two years to walk in this queue! The ride was AWESOME!

I had no desire to immediately hop on Vortex yet...

Decided to check out Ricochet!

GREAT mouse with a TERRIBLE loading procedure.

We then checked out Windseeker. Anyone know why the ride runs such a weak cycle? The other Windseekers on this trip ran WAY faster. This one barely spins fast enough to let the cars swing out.

We then went to Afterburn! The entrance is a little hidden and "off the beaten path."


Pretty much the worst family coaster I've ridden.

We ended the night with our first and only ride on Nighthawk. Ouch!

That's about all we rode on our little "preview" night. Now on to photos from our big full day at the park.

Good morning, Fury! Up bright and early for early entry.

I'm ready!


What a beautiful sight!

After ERT we gave Carolina Cyclone a shot. It was "bleh." But my little sister got over her fear and rode it!

Electro-Spin was fun and had no line. My third Top Scan! I love these rides.

I needed some more Afterburn. This ride really was the "underdog" of this park for me.

Best Boomerang I'd ridden!

Oh boy...

I can tell you that this line was NOT worth it.


A surprisingly good drop tower! The ones at KD and KI are obviously better, but it's better than Power Tower!

This place had GREAT food. And it was a great deal for the meal plan. Not just quality but quantity too! The brisket was AMAZING.

Back to Intimidator! Better than Diamondback, but not as good as Nitro.

Love Nighthawk's location, but hate the ride.

More Fury!

Cirque Imagine was also quite good! I'm not much of an "entertainment" person when it comes to theme parks, but I enjoyed this one. And it was nice to sit in the AC and take some time off the feet.

Back at Afterburn because it is THAT good!


Front row on Intimidator was actually very good! Maybe even better airtime than in the back row?

My first enterprise ride. It was lots of fun! I wish the cycle was longer, though.

Holy crap. That was amazing! Terrifying, but amazing. Worth the money!

Back at Fury because it's Fury.

Rides at dusk were even better!

County Fair has a great atmosphere at night.


I took this photo when it was in the middle of flashing. Good timing, right?

Last ride of the night! And it was awesome!

We then spent just a few hours in the morning in the park before driving up to Doswell. We mainly just went for ERT and some last rides on our favorites.

Such a unique turnaround.

Nice to look at, but not to ride.


Goodbye, Carowinds. Not sure when I'll be back.

Overall, I REALLY love this park. But the one thing I couldn't help notice was that the rides were either awesome, or mediocre and rough. Fury, Intimidator, and Afterburn is a GREAT top 3, but after that point, the rest of the rides are Flying Cobras was a solid Boomerang, and I love Drop Tower, but the rest of the rides were pretty forgettable. Floorless Vortex would help tremendously, and I'd love to see a big GCI at the park one day, but considering how much the park has grown in the last 5 years, I can't help but be impressed. Those top 3 B&Ms make the trip worth it alone, so get out to Carowinds and RIDE!

Thank you for reading! PLEASE post your thoughts below. This is my first major trip report (even though I've been around here for almost 5 years :lmao: ), so let me know what you think!

Last edited by thrillseeker4552 on Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:43 am.
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Re: Photo TR: Cedar Fair Trip 2017

Postby Canobie Coaster » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:15 pm

Great report! I loved my visit to Carowinds last year. Fury is truly an amazing coaster, but the rest of the park isn't too shabby either.

I didn't notice Windseeker being any slower than the ones at Kings Island and Cedar Point when I rode them within a week last year. Not sure if they slowed it down recently or if you rode on a bad day.

Intimidator is the only B&M hyper I actually prefer in the front. The back row's airtime is killed by that trim brake.
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Re: Photo TR: Cedar Fair Trip 2017

Postby John Peck » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:25 am

Weird about Windseeker.

I haven't been there since 2005, but then I noticed that their coasters (besides afterburn and the new beemers) were really so-so.

Vortex was okay but painful as was Cyclone... and I love Arrows, but that bumped and vibrated like crazy... so disappointing. Hurler did nothing for me, which is weird because Thunder Run at KK is so good.

I would also love to see a GCI in the back of the park.

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Re: Photo TR: Cedar Fair Trip 2017

Postby PKI Jizzman » Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:12 pm

Afterburn should never be slept on.

I'm a fan of the front over the back on the newer B&M Hypers!

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Re: Photo TR: Cedar Fair Trip 2017

Postby Nrthwnd » Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:41 pm

Your Windseeker photo comment, makes me wonder how slow yours was actually going? When we rode the one at Cedar Point
back in June, I thought it was "painfully slow" and none of the seats "swung out," as I thought they would. It was a "nice ride,"
and easy for seeing the scenery, etc. But that's it. Very disappointed by it, and I would take a StarFlyer (for more excitement)
over this, any day.

Great TR. Looking forward to your visit to KD. :smile:
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Re: Photo TR: Cedar Fair Trip 2017

Postby thrillseeker4552 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:12 pm

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Windseeker was VERY slow. In fact, for about half of the trip up and down the tower, the gondola wasn't even spinning. It definitely felt like a glorified observation tower, and it became even more noticeable once we rode the ones at KD, KI, and CP, which all ran at regular speed.

Intimidator was definitely stronger in the front row, but weirdly enough, I think I prefer Fury in the back. Just goes to show that you can't judge anything until you ride it!

Part II (Kings Dominion) should be up tomorrow evening. Glad you guys enjoy it so far.
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Re: Photo TR: Cedar Fair Trip 2017

Postby Samuel » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:11 pm

Nice TR! I'm looking forward to reading your report from the rest of the parks. I think Carowinds, Wonderland, and King's Island are all pretty top-heavy in terms of quality modern coasters. These parks have solid headlining thrills from Cedar Fair & great family sections, but also a lot of middling rides from the Paramount days that haven't aged too well or are just kind of there now. I appreciate Paramount for biting on a lot of prototypes and early renditions of coaster styles, but rides like Vortex and Nighthawk get exposed for how relatively unrefined they are with Fury now in the same park.

The 6th- and 7th-best coasters at Cedar Point, whatever your ranked list looks like, are still pretty darn good coasters. At the former Paramount parks, there's a pretty big drop-off after 3 or 4 solid coasters. I think they're all good parks, but they still have some updating/rounding out to do. At Carowinds, the vest restraints on Cobra are a nice example, and I hope there's an RMC Hurler conversion and floorless Vortex before another brand-new coaster is added.

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Re: Photo TR: Cedar Fair Trip 2017

Postby jynx242 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:02 am

Great report so far! Thanks for posting it. I've always love Carowinds, but haven't been in a few years (no Fury for me yet.)

I, also, absolutely love Afterburn. That batwing is just amazing.

One thing about the park, I've always ended up going to at least one show every day I've visited just to get in out of the heat. ;)

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Re: Photo TR: Cedar Fair Trip 2017

Postby jtaudioacc » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:53 am

i was there the 24th, 25th and some of the 26th. Fury is a beast. I also like Intimidator more than Diamondback. But both are awesome, and I can only wish either was at SFMM over Goliath.

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Re: Photo TR: Cedar Fair Trip 2017

Postby thrillseeker4552 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:35 pm

Thanks for the comments, everybody. I really appreciate it. As promised, here is Part II.

Part II - The Greenest Cedar Fair Park

Seriously, this is one of the first things that caught my eye with Kings Dominion. It's so GREEN!

Then again, I am from Southern California, so I am used to brown, brown, brown, and more brown, but Kings Dominion's landscaping and vegetation really took me by surprise. It is WAY more "foresty" than its Ohio counterpart.

I really enjoyed my visit here. Some areas have so much theme and charm that you forget you are in a Cedar Fair park. This is what really separates it from Carowinds for me, since that parks feels much more..."Cedar Fair." It really is a well-balanced park, and I would say that it exceeded my expectations by quite a bit. It also helps that we had GORGEOUS weather for our "big day" at the park.

As always, here are my brief reviews for each roller coaster in the park. I will post my thoughts on the select flat rides throughout the report.

Anaconda: This was a pretty average Arrow looper. To be honest, the more of these Arrow coasters I ride, the more they start to all feel the same. I'm 5'9", so I sit at a perfect height where the harness rests perfectly on my shoulders to prevent any headbanging, but not tight enough to staple me. It had some rough spots, and the whole butterfly element is really awkward, but I do think people make this ride seem way worse than it really is. Honestly, I would ride this over any crappy B&M Stand-Up like Vortex or Apocalypse. The slow corkscrews over the water were, by far, the best part of the ride.

Avalanche: This ride was pretty interesting because I've never ridden anything like it before. It was a fun family coaster, and my little sister had a blast on it, but it's pretty much a bunch of helices. I was surprised they were running three trains on it, though.

Backlot Stunt Coaster: I love these rides. It's just like the one at Kings Island (which I rode in 2014), and they are great family coasters. Smooth, fast, exhilarating but not terrifying, and all around a fun ride. The first helix is pretty forceful as well.

Dominator: This was a great Floorless. But to be honest, I'm not completely sure what to think of it. I like that the layout has the inversions spaced out with other elements in between, but I also really wish the ride had a zero-G roll. If it had that one element, it would be my favorite Floorless by far, but I think for that reason, I still prefer Bizarro at SFGAdv. Still a great ride and VERY photogenic!

Flight of Fear: Based on my ride in 2014 on the one at Kings Island, it felt exactly the same. Very forceful and fun, but also quite jerky and uncomfortable in some spots. I definitely prefer Joker's Jinx at Six Flags America. Wow, I can't believe I actually prefer a ride at Six Flags America. That's suprising.

Grizzly: Honestly, this ride didn't impress me too much. It was quite jerky (not exactly rough, but more like the ride had square corners and turns), and it threw me around quite a bit. I LOVE the setting though. It is the Beast's little brother.

Intimidator 305: ALKDJDALSKDJLSAKFJLASKDJLAKSJDLKASJFLKJSD. Sorry, but that is my reaction to the ride. This ride completely blew away every expectation I had. This is the ONLY ride I have ridden that made me black out. I've ridden MANY forceful elements on coasters (Tatsu's pretzel loop, Skyrush, El Toro, KK / TTD, etc.), and NONE have made me black out except for freakin' I305. Seriously, this ride kicks your a$$ about 50 times. I really can't decide if I like this ride or Fury more, but when given an opportunity to ride either one, I think I would pick this one. I don't rank rides because it is so difficult for me to put a list together, but I think I may have just found my new #1. I think I need to ride Skyrush again to make that final, but who knows when that will happen. We seriously need more Intamins in the US. I305 kicks all sorts of a$$, and I love it. Although, side note, I did notice that the train runs much faster during the day when it is "warmed up" rather than in the morning. Everything after the trim braked airtime hill is much better in the middle of the day, and that is when it kicks you butt even more. Seriously, I know this ride is 7 years old, but bravo to Intamin and Kings Dominion. I didn't think I could black out, but the freakin' Intamin gods made it happen. I305, you sonuvabitch.

Rebel Yell: This was actually REALLY good! I mean, it's nothing to write home about, but it was super smooth on both sides, and it had some solid airtime. It's the perfect "medium" wooden coaster, and racing makes it all the more fun.

Ricochet: Definitely a better loading procedure than its sister at Carowinds, but not quite as good of a ride. It's a mirrored version of my home Wild Mouse (Coast Rider), and it makes me wish Knott's ran their mouse like this one. It's pretty average though. Not super slow, but I wouldn't call it fast either.

Volcano the Blast Coaster: This ride was pretty much exactly how I expected it to be. The launch is great, and shooting out of the Volcano is awesome and gives some great hang time, but everything after that is fairly repetitive. I even got some ear bashing in some places since it isn't quite as glossy smooth as the B&M Inverts. Still a solid "second-tier" ride.

Woodstock Express: No different than the one at Carowinds. Fun little ride, especially in the back.

Alright, now on to the photos. We visited the park for 1.5 days. We spend about a half day at the park in the afternoon/evening of the 29th, and our beautiful full-day at the park was the 30th. Enjoy!

I can already tell how green this park will be by the sign alone.

If Kings Island had 100% more trees, this is what it would look like.

We headed to Dominator first. It had no line, and we walked right on the back row.

It's a great ride; I just really wish it had a snappy zero-G roll.

Volcano was next up. This ride unfortunately had more of a line, but it only took about 45 minutes.

Fun, but a little rattly and repetitive. I'm glad it was open though!

We wanted to ride I305 next, but it was having some hiccups with the restraints on one of the trains. We decided to check out other stuff and come back later.

This was just like the one at Kings Island, although it was only running two trains.

I love this ride's sign and placement in the park, but the coaster itself was quite jolty and violent.

We then headed to the opposite side of the park to check out Avalanche. It was alright, albeit unique.

We got to I305 just in time. It opened up about 10 seconds after I took this picture!


Drop Tower opened up as well. This is definitely my favorite drop ride that isn't Lex Luthor or Zumanjaro.

Ricochet was solid. The ones at Carowinds and Hersheypark are better, but at least this one loads two cars at a time AHEM CAROWINDS.

RMC Hurler update as of 7/29/17. I didn't really pay attention if there was anything new or not since I was so busy checking out the rest of the park.

Mondial sure does great light packages.

Oh, and this Windseeker sure was seeking wind. It ran full speed, unlike its sister at Carowinds.

Delirium was FUN, especially at night. Not quite at the same level as KI's Delirium or MaXair though.

Eiffel Tower at night.

We then headed back to our hotel to get some sleep for our big day at the park tomorrow, and boy was it a good day.

Back at the park the morning after, and it was BEAUTIFUL outside. The best weather on this trip was this day.

We trekked back behind Dominator to get to I305, since we wanted to ride that during ERT to beat the crowds. I don't know if it was a "shortcut" or not, but it seemed shorter, and we wanted to book it to Volcano and I305 as fast as possible.

Intimidator was HAULING A$$ today. Holy sh*t.

We also rode Drop Tower again because it had a short line and we loved it.

We wanted to ride Dominator again, but the line was spilling out of the queue, so we passed. The beautiful weather really drew crowds.

But it's still fun to take pictures of. And I was too impatient to wait for a train to come.


Again, too impatient for a train.

I then headed to Anaconda...alone. Nobody wanted to ride, and I can't blame them.

*heart eyes*

Swingin' high on Delirium.

Sorry Coasterbill, but we couldn't get a ride on Shenandoah Lumber Company. The line was a little too long, and we wanted to check out other things. It's all the more reason to come back in the future.

We then headed up to the Eiffel Tower to take some photos. This park really is beautiful.



I really can't emphasize how beautiful the weather was this day.

This is one of my favorite photos I took on the trip, oddly enough.


We wanted to ride Volcano again, but the line was well over an hour. I was content though, since I had had four rides on it already, which was enough for me.

Dominator ended up being our last ride of the day. We started and ended in the same place!

Goodbye, Kings Dominion. You were good to us!
Credits: 170, give or take, depending on how one counts
Top 5: (1) Skyrush (2) Fury 325 (3) Intimidator 305 (4) El Toro (5) Maverick
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