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P. 403 - Park opening for a limited Holiday Event!

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I'm planning on taking my first trip to Carowinds on Thursday, May 18. For the first time, I have a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass. I checked Carowinds' website, but I wasn't able to find any information about (1) early entry, or (2) exclusive ride times for Platinum Passholders on that date. Would anyone be able to help me? Thanks.

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Unfortunately there's no early entry that day, probably since the park opens an hour earlier than normal anyway. Here's the early ride time schedule if you're curious.

 

The good news is, I expect that day to be dead. I can't promise anything since I don't even know why they're open and the 9 AM opening leads me to believe they've booked a ton of school groups but I still have a hard time believing they'll have much of a crowd that day.

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^^ & ^^^ That day is an education type day and opens at 9 to accommodate school groups that would need to leave early afternoon. They do tend to get busy for those...not weekend, peak summer or holiday busy, but there will be some waits at the lower capacity rides.

 

They also usually don't have any early access during those days.

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Fury pretty much never has a line (glances at webcam... well except for today), if I were you I'd ride Nighthawk first, followed by Ricochet if you want to ride them.

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The reason for the line at Fury is the unusually large amount of school groups that are in the park today. There were lots of buses in bus parking when I got there at 9:30 and security was a mess. By the time I left, buses were still coming in and it looked like bus parking was almost full.

 

Also, I am happy to report that all the effects on Boo Blasters are working again!

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Fury pretty much never has a line (glances at webcam... well except for today), if I were you I'd ride Nighthawk first, followed by Ricochet if you want to ride them.
Something else to consider about Fury's line is that it moves quicker than you would expect for the number of people in it. At least when I was there last year, the crew was determined to get trains out of there as soon as they could, and these are big B&M trains with 32 people per train.
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Help for first-timers! We're planning a trip to NC this summer and will be in the Charlotte area these dates:

 

SAT JUL 8

SUN JUL 9

MON JUL 10

TUE JUL 11

 

What do you think will be the least-crowded day? Based on the some of the research I did (much of it outdated), it seems like the least-crowded day would be Tuesday, July 11. Do you agree?

 

We are a family of seven with kids ages ranging 6-16. We are going with my sister's family (locals) and their kids are all teenagers.

 

Here are some other questions:

 

1. What are the must-see attractions?

2. Is there a "right" or "wrong" way to do the park. For example, do X attraction in the morning and Y attraction in the evening.

3. How much of a hassle is it to bring a picnic? It's vacation so I don't mind biting the bullet on food (to a certain degree) it I have to parade a family of seven a mile to the car, eat, and then back again.

4. What are the best food places? Best food deals (if any)?

5. Anyone have experience with special-needs kids at the park? My son has Down Syndrome and we can get an assistance pass, but I only do that (1) if the park is super-crowded and (2) for certain rides only. It's usually only good for 4-5 people, and we will be a group of 12.

6. Two of my boys love PVZGW. How is the ride/show?

7. Any hidden gems/secrets to know about? Simple fun stuff to do that out-of-towners might not know about?

8. Weather in Charlotte in mid-July? Hot and humid, right?

9. Average wait times?

 

That's all I can think of for now. Thanks!

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What do you think will be the least-crowded day? Based on the some of the research I did (much of it outdated), it seems like the least-crowded day would be Tuesday, July 11. Do you agree?

Yes, Tuesday will generally be the slowest of those days. Monday would be good as well.

 

1. What are the must-see attractions?

Fury 325, Afterburn, Intimidator, New flats in County Fair, Woodstock Gliders

 

2. Is there a "right" or "wrong" way to do the park. For example, do X attraction in the morning and Y attraction in the evening.

If you want to ride Nighthawk, do it first as the line moves slow and often has one train operation on slower days. Ricochet (wild mouse coaster) has very low capacity so I would try and knock that out early as well. Fury 325, Afterburn and Intimidator are all people eaters usually so those lines move pretty quickly and can be ridden later in the day.

 

3. How much of a hassle is it to bring a picnic? It's vacation so I don't mind biting the bullet on food (to a certain degree) it I have to parade a family of seven a mile to the car, eat, and then back again.

There's really not a designated picnic area outside the park. I believe you can sit in the entrance plaza (on the ground) or perhaps lay a blanket in one of the grassy areas, but there isn't much shade. It's also pretty hot with all that asphalt and concrete laying around. Personally for me it's too much hassle having to go out of any park to eat and go back through security again (even on a slow day...but I can be impatient a times...lol).

 

4. What are the best food places? Best food deals (if any)?

Harmony Hall will likely be the best place considering your large group. There are multiple cuisine choices there set up like a food court so everyone would likely find something they like. It's also the largest eating facility in the park.

 

8. Weather in Charlotte in mid-July? Hot and humid, right?

I grew up in Charlotte so I know this all too well: Hot- likely in the mid-upper 90s and very humid. There is also greater chances of quick rain/thunderstorms that usually roll through mid-late afternoon. They usually pass very quickly and rides open back up fairly quickly.

 

9. Average wait times?

Many rides will be walk-on. Only ones that will generally be more than 20-30 minutes or more are Nighthawk (likely an hour except at opening), Ricochet & Flying Cobras. A good portion of the people that come to the park are in the water park. The dry side is generally very manageable on weekdays.

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I've only been to the park once on a Saturday in July, but will give some thoughts.

 

The four best coasters in the park are Fury (my personal favorite anywhere), Intimidator, Afterburn, and Nighthawk. Outside of the coasters, Drop Tower, Windseeker, and Woodstock's Gliders (they encourage snapping) are the best flats. I also recommend the Plants vs. Zombies simulator/shooting ride since that ride was a lot of fun.

 

Even on a Saturday in peak season, most rides didn't have terrible waits and I imagine a weekday would be less. Fury and Intimidator seemed to be 30-45 minutes at worst and are people eaters. Afterburn was a walk-on. As others have said, ride Nighthawk early since that one easily got a line over an hour and loaded very slowly. Ricochet and Carolina Cobra didn't seem to get long waits, but their one train waits could lead to a longer wait than some of the other coasters. The river rapids ride had an almost 2 hour wait when I visited. I had Fast Lane so I tried it, but I thought it was one of the worst ones I've been on so I'd skip it.

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I've only been to the park once on a Saturday in July, but will give some thoughts.

 

The four best coasters in the park are Fury (my personal favorite anywhere), Intimidator, Afterburn, and Nighthawk. Outside of the coasters, Drop Tower, Windseeker, and Woodstock's Gliders (they encourage snapping) are the best flats. I also recommend the Plants vs. Zombies simulator/shooting ride since that ride was a lot of fun.

 

Even on a Saturday in peak season, most rides didn't have terrible waits and I imagine a weekday would be less. Fury and Intimidator seemed to be 30-45 minutes at worst and are people eaters. Afterburn was a walk-on. As others have said, ride Nighthawk early since that one easily got a line over an hour and loaded very slowly. Ricochet and Carolina Cobra didn't seem to get long waits, but their one train waits could lead to a longer wait than some of the other coasters. The river rapids ride had an almost 2 hour wait when I visited. I had Fast Lane so I tried it, but I thought it was one of the worst ones I've been on so I'd skip it.

 

Good to hear. I'll be at the park for two full days on Thursday and Friday, July 27 and 28, so I'm expecting manageable crowds. We're hoping to not have to buy Fast Lane, but if it means significantly more rides on Fury, we may splurge.

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I appears that I have scheduled a trip to Carowinds on a day for school groups (Thursday, May 18). I think this calls for a change in the usual tactics. Since my interest is in Intimidator, multiple rides on Fury, Hurler (!), Woodstock Express, and Electro Spin, what should my strategy be? I'm planning to be at the front gate by 8:30 (they open at 9:00) and stay as long as I'm having a good time and the lines aren't too long. I have a CF Platinum Pass. Thanks!

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I appears that I have scheduled a trip to Carowinds on a day for school groups (Thursday, May 18). I think this calls for a change in the usual tactics. Since my interest is in Intimidator, multiple rides on Fury, Hurler (!), Woodstock Express, and Electro Spin, what should my strategy be? I'm planning to be at the front gate by 8:30 (they open at 9:00) and stay as long as I'm having a good time and the lines aren't too long. I have a CF Platinum Pass. Thanks!

 

Can you just buy FL+? The park isn't that big and the operations are stellar. I really can't express this enough. I didn't believe it myself until my first visit. We went on an unbelievably busy day the middle of July last summer and then again during Halloween, when lines were easily 1-2 hours each. With FL+ we waited no more than 5 minutes for any ride the entire day. Actually I take that back, we waited 20 minutes several times for Woodstock Gliders which sadly doesn't have a FL entrance. It was 109 deg the one day and FL+ allowed us to take our time and do plenty of resting Harmony Hall which has seriously great food, AC that's cranked up all the way and a really good band that plays every 30 mins or so. The entire park had frequent announcements due to the heat in July reminding everyone to seek AC and stay hydrated, oh and to please stop by the water carts stationed all around the park for complimentary ice water. Never in my life have I had that kind of treatment at an amusement park! It was great.

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Can anyone confirm that Carowinds is still running this (sad) program on their new swings? I remember the old Carowinds waveswinger and it ran at a pretty good clip... but look at what they've opened this year...

 

For comparison here's the same model of ride operating (normally) outside of the United States:

 

Is this just a Cedar Fair obsession with running lame cycles on their flat rides to save maintenance money? Electro Spin also seems to be running at half speed.

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I appears that I have scheduled a trip to Carowinds on a day for school groups (Thursday, May 18). I think this calls for a change in the usual tactics. Since my interest is in Intimidator, multiple rides on Fury, Hurler (!), Woodstock Express, and Electro Spin, what should my strategy be? I'm planning to be at the front gate by 8:30 (they open at 9:00) and stay as long as I'm having a good time and the lines aren't too long. I have a CF Platinum Pass. Thanks!

 

If those rides are your priority, the I suggest riding in this order:

  • 1 Intimidator
    2 Woodstock Express
    3 Electro Spin
    4 Hurler
    5 Fury 325

Basically go to the left and clockwise around the park. Don't miss out on Afterburn; the park's second best coaster. Whatever you do, be sure to ride Intimidator before Fury 325. You'll thank me later. I also will suggest if you plan on riding Nighthawk at all to ride it immediately as it will have the longest coaster line all day. Fury 325 eats people so you should have no problem getting multiple rides throughout the day.

 

You shouldn't need a Fast Lane even with the school groups. Of course if you get to the park and lines start getting longer than you care for then you could get one. I wouldn't buy one before going. Most lines won't be very long. The school groups should be gone mid-afternoon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

Can anyone confirm that Carowinds is still running this (sad) program on their new swings? I remember the old Carowinds waveswinger and it ran at a pretty good clip... but look at what they've opened this year...

 

For comparison here's the same model of ride operating (normally) outside of the United States:

 

Is this just a Cedar Fair obsession with running lame cycles on their flat rides to save maintenance money? Electro Spin also seems to be running at half speed.

 

Yes they are!!!!

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Quick question:

 

What is Carowinds' loose article policy? Are they strict with the use of l-o-c-k-e-r-s, or am I okay carrying a drawstring backpack in the queue and putting it in cubbies (if any) before boarding?

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Can anyone confirm that Carowinds is still running this (sad) program on their new swings? I remember the old Carowinds waveswinger and it ran at a pretty good clip... but look at what they've opened this year...

 

For comparison here's the same model of ride operating (normally) outside of the United States:

 

Is this just a Cedar Fair obsession with running lame cycles on their flat rides to save maintenance money? Electro Spin also seems to be running at half speed.

 

 

Here is the Zephyr at KI so I'm not convinced it's a Cedar Fair thing and more likely a Carowind's thing....

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Quick question:

 

What is Carowinds' loose article policy? Are they strict with the use of fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo, or am I okay carrying a drawstring backpack in the queue and putting it in cubbies (if any) before boarding?

 

Unless they've added any new of those storage things that you pay for this year, the only coaster that had them was Fury 325. The rest of the rides have bins available in the station.

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