So I did a little “surprise” visit to Charlotte, North Carolina this weekend. Hunter and I hit Lake Compounce and Six Flags on Saturday. Then it was off to Charlotte on my 5am flight to Charlotte, which was about two hours long. Let me just say, Charlotte is the nicest city I’ve ever visited and I was totally blown away with North Carolina in the two full days that I was there. So three parks in about 15 hours within each other. Not too shabby!
Fury 325: 13x
Carolina Cyclone: 2x
Drop Tower: 3x
Carolina Goldrusher: 1x
Carolina Cobra: 1x
Southern Star: 1x
Scream Weaver: 1x
Space Spiral: 2x
We arrived at the park thirty minutes early and were surprised to see that guests were already riding Fury. We walked right in at 9:30, got our fast lane plus and headed right to Intimidator as I was told to ride this before Fury, because it would ruin my experience. Walking down the main street of the park, I was greeted with friendly characters and employees who showed plenty of that “southern hospitality” everyone always talks about. Intimidator and Nighthawk are the first two major coasters that you encounter at Carowinds. And we’ll start the reviews right here…
I’ve kept my expectations for the Intimidator very, very low considering the fact that it gets shoty reviews. Another huge reason is because I really don’t care for Nitro, even though most people do. I think it’s boring as hell and it does absolutely nothing to me. Heading down the first drop was just okay, nothing special. But the second hill is what changed my whole view on this ride. After that it was fun floater air time and great drops. The turnaround was whacky, yet awesome and the whole ride is butter smooth. The operations on the ride were top notch and the NASCAR theming was nice, but not as good as KD’s in my opinion. Overall, one of the best surprises of the day and it was very re-rideable. 9/10 A-
I’m a minority for saying this but I loved Batwing at Six Flags America, so I was hoping the same for this one. Unfortunately it was only running one train and the line was already an hour plus. (Thanks Fast Lane!) We waited two cycles which was about ten-twelve minutes so not too bad of a wait. The ride itself was awesome. I loved how they constructed it over the water and it has an abundant amount of trees around it providing “fly-by” effects. Fast, intense and really not rough at all, sure it was a little shaky but nothing brutal. Overall it was one of my favorite rides in the park. 9/10 A
People who know me personally are aware that I am a huge B&M invert fan. I’ve been on plenty of good ones including Talon, Montu, Great Bear, Dueling Dragons and Raptor, hearing that this was one of the best, I was excited. The ride itself is INTENSE. The loops are fast and forceful while the layout has plenty of near miss effects. The ride is a little rougher than some of the other B&M’s that I’ve been on but nothing major at all. Another very re-ridable coaster and it ranks closer to the top. 10/10 A+
Can somebody please paint this ride? Seriously it looks hideous but it rides amazingly. By far the smoothest and most enjoyable boomerang I’ve been on thanks to those awesome vest restraints. It seemed like a crowd favorite as it pulled quite the line. But pleeeeaseeeee paint it new colors soon! 8/10 B+
Another mine coaster to check off my list. I loved the theming in the station and it was actually one of the smoother old school mine rides that I’ve been on. Great tunnel at the end provided for a little bit of a surprise. 8/10 B-
Arrow coasters go two ways in my book….bearable or un-bearable. This one was great! Smooth transitions compared to Canobie Corkscrew and the layout was nice. I think the best part was the final helix at the end, providing a little bit of force and a smooth ending. 8/10 B
Everything it is hyped up to be. This ride is incredible. The layout is perfect, the drop feels never-ending and the speed is unreal. I’m still trying to figure out if it’s better than my previous #1 (I305), I think it’s going to be determined once I go back to King’s Dominion this summer. The dispatches were every thirty seconds, along with intimidators making it some of the best operations that I’ve ever seen. They let us wait front row and I will say this, it’s absolutely a front seat coaster. I found it funny how both I305 and Fury had trim brakes on their biggest airtime hills. But overall this ride is so worth the trip alone and is extremely re-ridable. Ridiculous. 10/10 A++
This was the only bad ride in the park. The roughness wasn’t really the issue, it was more of the fact that it’s super boring. The first turn after the drop was fun and smoother than KD’s but there was zero airtime and all it did was just shake the crap out of you. Hopefully whatever is done to King’s Dominions will be eventually done here. Surprisingly a very popular ride regardless. 6/10 D
This was my second intamin 2nd generation free fall and it was just as good as the first! Although I will admit, this ride is really looking quite sad. They need to repaint it and maybe give it a cool new name. Or maybe just get a gyro drop. 9/10 A-
My second windseeker ride and still very fun and relaxing. I will say that this park has nicer views that King’s Dominion, with the mountains and charlotte close by. Painfully slow opperations on it unfortunately. 9/10 A
This was actually my first observation ride and it was actually pretty awesome! The views are spectacular and it’s a very relaxing ride. North Carolina is a beautiful state, you could see Charlotte and the mountains perfectly in the distance. 10/10 A+
These old-school looping pirate ships are a guilty pleasure of mine. I’d say out of the three that I’ve been on, this had the best program. It was always really popular with the guests. 10/10 A+
The final credit of the day. It was just…..meh. My second least favorite ride in the park. It was much more tolerable than Apocalypse but still not that good. Stand-up coasters don’t do it for me. Floorless trains and maybe a tunnel would make this ride more pleasing for guests. 6/10 D
I also did the slingshot and the ripcord, for the first time ever. I always walk past these and say to myself, “I’m gonna do that someday.” They were so much fun! Especially the sling shot!
As for the food, we ate at the Harmony Hall, which was quite impressive in size but poor in food quality. I’d say out of the four Cedar Fair parks that I’ve visited, Carowinds had the worst food. It was also incredibly packed in the cafeteria of the hall with very slow moving lines.
As for the park appearance, I was actually pretty impressed. It had much more landscaping and charm that I was expecting, with plenty of fun out going employees to make the experience even more enjoyable. There’s certainly a number of rides that could be repainted like Cobra, Cyclone, Drop Tower and Nighthawk. King’s Dominion is the better east coaster park in my opinion, it just seems a little more “well-rounded” with rides and overall appearance. But overall I’d say this was a great park and I will definitely be back again soon!