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Carowinds Discussion Thread

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

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^It's going to be placed in a portion of White Water Falls plot. I hope they save the ride entrance that was once the entrance for the Hillbilly Jalopies and use it for the flyers.
Alleged location. All the park has said is its moving closer to the county fair.

 

Theoretically, the Yo-yo is closer to county fair, correct? Does the park really need two versions of the same ride with the addition of Zephyr?

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Carowinds is weird that way, they have two of several attractions. If you look at the waterpark, there are two wave pools, two large tipping bucket interactive play structures and two (almost) identical smaller kids splash and play areas. As for the park, I agree that there is no need for Yo-Yo any longer with the addition of Zephyr but they do seem to enjoy having duplicate rides for some reason lol!!

 

We used to have duplicate wooden coasters for quite some time as well. (awwww..too soon?)

 

My hope was that with the removal of both the log flume back in '09 and White Water Falls recently that CF would invest in some sort of water coaster or 21st century log flume attraction on the lines of Chiapas Fantasialand. Heck, I wouldn't even object to a Journey to Atlantis type ride.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Was just looking at the map for Winterfest. Is there any reason Afterburn is the only big coaster running? I understand at other parks how they block off areas for holiday events, but this one seems to go throughout the park and all the thrill coasters are closed. Carowinds has to have one of the mildest climates of all CF parks, so surely it isn't weather related?

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Was just looking at the map for Winterfest. Is there any reason Afterburn is the only big coaster running? I understand at other parks how they block off areas for holiday events, but this one seems to go throughout the park and all the thrill coasters are closed. Carowinds has to have one of the mildest climates of all CF parks, so surely it isn't weather related?

 

Cedar Fair has decided to go a different direction with their winter events than Six Flags, has, focusing more on family rides and less on coasters. They could run every coaster in the park on most (if not all) days if they really wanted to and didn't mind shifting around maintenance schedules a bit.

 

Personally I have very little interest in Cedar Fair's events because Six Flags is putting them to shame in the thrill ride department, but I'm clearly not the target market. The lights look outstanding though...

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Winterfest is a family-geared event. Not an enthusiasts wet dream. Sorry. Plus while the climate is milder than most other CF parks, it does actually get cold at night during December...and it's a night time event where the temps are already dropping. Many other parks are open during the day where the coasters have been operating already. Operating a coaster less than half the height (Afterburn) is doable...weather permitting of course.

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The Winterfest ride lineups probably wouldn't get as much hate if Six Flags Great Adventure didn't run Nitro during Holiday in the Park. It's an easy thing to compare Cedar Fair to Six Flags, and in the case of ride lineups during the winter time events in the eyes of many enthusiasts, Six Flags wins hands down.

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Winterfest is a family-geared event. Not an enthusiasts wet dream. Sorry.

 

This is 100% correct.

 

Plus while the climate is milder than most other CF parks, it does actually get cold at night during December...and it's a night time event where the temps are already dropping. Many other parks are open during the day where the coasters have been operating already. Operating a coaster less than half the height (Afterburn) is doable...weather permitting of course.

 

...but I disagree with this. The rides aren't open because the park is choosing to go a different direction with the event and focus on families. If they wanted to run more (or all) of the coasters, they could. Weather wouldn't be an issue on most nights, and even if it was they could easily throw some money at the problem and figure out a way to run them if they wanted to. Thrill seekers aren't their target for the event. That's fine.

 

I've heard plenty about how unpredictable the weather is in South Carolina this time of year and I totally respect that. I have no idea how anyone can live in such a frozen, unforgiving wintry hellscape. Anyway if you need me riding coasters in the winter in Massachusetts at Six Flags.

 

[fbvideonew]

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PS: Six Flags opens at 5PM on Fridays (generally at which point it's already dark out) and runs the coasters.

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We (my family and I) have been twice. The kids don't even ask to ride anything because there is so much other things going on. We went the first night of Winterfest and I even made the comment that it was the first time we have been to Carowinds and didn't ride anything. The kids keep asking to go back again. I am really impressed with the amount of effort they have put into this event. To be honest I was not expecting much being Cedar Fair is not much on Theming, but they went over the top with it. Here is a video I made...

 

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I don't get opening Afterburn rather than Fury. Fury screams through its layout, so there can't be a concern about valleying, and Fury is the top-ranked coaster in the world.

 

Fury actually runs a LOT slower in the cool weather when the trains are empty. It would make it with people on it, but there is a high risk of it valleying when trains are empty, which they have to be when all the safety tests are being done. Afterburn does not have that issue because it uses different wheels then Fury. Fury can't run under 40 degrees anyway and most nights when the sun goes down, the temperature drops below 40.

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Alright, being serious for a minute... I see that you're a Fury ride associate so I don't know how much you can answer but I have a few questions.

 

Fury actually runs a LOT slower in the cool weather when the trains are empty. It would make it with people on it, but there is a high risk of it valleying when trains are empty, which they have to be when all the safety tests are being done.

 

Out of curiosity, why would they train need to be empty during test runs? I know Cedar Point can run test trains with water dummies and switch right to riders (never sending empties) if need be so you would think Carowinds could do the same. In addition, you would think that Fury would have a massive advantage over a coaster line Nitro in that they could run 2 trains and never have to send an empty at the end of the night (even though once it's been running for hours the ride would haul anyway regardless of weather conditions... as Nitro has proven time and time again). Couldn't they just dispatch a train, park it on the transfer (since it's after the station and before the lift), pull the second train in, unload it and then transfer both trains off?

 

Aside from a mechanical issue / sick guest, why would they ever need to send a truly empty train?

 

PS: I understand you couldn't do this when running 3 trains, but my guess is that if they ever did open Fury for Winterfest they would do what Great Adventure does and take one train into rehab and have a maximum of two for the event which is really more than sufficient.

 

Afterburn does not have that issue because it uses different wheels then Fury.

 

I'm under the impression that Nitro (which is MUCH more valley prone than Fury as the layout is loaded with high, slow points like Intimidator and the ride has actually valleyed before) has harder wheels on it. Fury has exactly the same trains, why can't it run those same wheels (or am I mistaken?).

 

Fury can't run under 40 degrees anyway and most nights when the sun goes down, the temperature drops below 40.

Again, Nitro has been running on nights where the temperature dips into the 20's. On Friday nights, Holiday in the Park opens at 5pm (which in New Jersey, is after dark since they're much further East than Carowinds). Generally it's in the low 30's at park open on those nights. Nitro always runs.

 

At this point it's really hard to take that 40 degree thing seriously when Six Flags exists. And let's not forget that even if Carowinds didn't want to cold start the ride they could do what Six Flags New England did on all of their coasters and heat the wheels while the ride is parked in the station.

 

I still subscribe to the notion that the ride isn't open because the park is choosing to focus on families and probably doesn't want to open that back portion of the park and pay to decorate it and staff it. I have no doubt that they could run Fury (or any other coaster in the park) if they wanted to since on Fury's opening day it was in the 30's all morning and they managed to run every single coaster that day.

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Fury and Nitro actually have quite different trains. Fury’s road wheels are much larger, thus having a different sized chassis too, I believe. That’s not to say they couldn’t get harder wheels on it, I’m sure they could, but the newer generation 4-across Hyper trains (Leviathan, Fury, Mako) are actually pretty different than the older standard 4-across trains, from I have noticed. If you put them side by side in a photo, it’s quite noticeable. Kinda interesting.

 

At first I thought it was a giga thing, but Mako has essentially the same trains as Fury and it is definitely not a giga, so who knows.

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^It's probably worth noting in all of this that there is a 15 year difference between when the coasters were built so who knows how much B&M has changed the inner workings of their mega coasters since Nitro was built.

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Out of curiosity, why would they train need to be empty during test runs? I know Cedar Point can run test trains with water dummies and switch right to riders (never sending empties) if need be so you would think Carowinds could do the same. In addition, you would think that Fury would have a massive advantage over a coaster line Nitro in that they could run 2 trains and never have to send an empty at the end of the night (even though once it's been running for hours the ride would haul anyway regardless of weather conditions... as Nitro has proven time and time again). Couldn't they just dispatch a train, park it on the transfer (since it's after the station and before the lift), pull the second train in, unload it and then transfer both trains off?

 

Aside from a mechanical issue / sick guest, why would they ever need to send a truly empty train?

 

PS: I understand you couldn't do this when running 3 trains, but my guess is that if they ever did open Fury for Winterfest they would do what Great Adventure does and take one train into rehab and have a maximum of two for the event which is really more than sufficient.

 

You make a good point with the issue of transferring the trains off, but the only time I have ever seen water dummies on Fury was back in early March when they ran the ride for the very first time of the season. The water dummies are actually quite heavy, so they had to drain them out, which took quite a while, before they could pick them up and take them back downstairs. There is no convenient place to store them without causing a safety hazard to employees or guests because they'd just be in the way. A lot of people throw up on Fury. Not a day goes by where we don't get a protein spill. We may have to send an empty train for that, other bodily fluids, a computer error, etc. And because the water dummies were either drained out or completely out of reach, we will be forced to send out an empty train.

 

I'm under the impression that Nitro (which is MUCH more valley prone than Fury as the layout is loaded with high, slow points like Intimidator and the ride has actually valleyed before) has harder wheels on it. Fury has exactly the same trains, why can't it run those same wheels (or am I mistaken?).

 

Yes, nitro has the hard nylon wheels on it. Fury cannot run those wheels, because it will speed the train up too much. Fury only has one trim, which the trains usually just fly through. If the trains continuously make it to the block brake too fast, the ride will eventually shut itself down, which it already does with the soft polyurethane wheels on it. Also, Fury was desgined to regularly run with soft yellow wheels. Had it been designed to run with the hard wheels, it wouldikely be open along with Afterburn, which runs the hard white wheels all season long.

Again, Nitro has been running on nights where the temperature dips into the 20's. On Friday nights, Holiday in the Park opens at 5pm (which in New Jersey, is after dark since they're much further East than Carowinds). Generally it's in the low 30's at park open on those nights. Nitro always runs.

 

At this point it's really hard to take that 40 degree thing seriously when Six Flags exists. And let's not forget that even if Carowinds didn't want to cold start the ride they could do what Six Flags New England did on all of their coasters and heat the wheels while the ride is parked in the station.

 

I still subscribe to the notion that the ride isn't open because the park is choosing to focus on families and probably doesn't want to open that back portion of the park and pay to decorate it and staff it. I have no doubt that they could run Fury (or any other coaster in the park) if they wanted to since on Fury's opening day it was in the 30's all morning and they managed to run every single coaster that day.

Although Fury's opening day was in the 30's in the morning, the ride did not run until it hit 40 degrees and neither did Intimidator. Afterburn and Vortex, being older I don't believe it is a Carowinds thing, but a manufacturer thing. On the last day of Scarowinds, both Fury and Intimidator had to shut down early because it dipped below 40 and maintenance said the trains would've valleyed when we sent the empty trains out at the end of the night had we kept it open. Fury and Nitro although made by the same manufacturer, are different. No ride is exactly the same!

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Awesome, there's definitely a lot of good information in that post.

 

If they really can't swap out wheels then hopefully they're willing to invest in some wheel heaters to put under the track in the station like Six Flags New England has down the line (or just run the ride, but close it if it gets too cold). Crowd levels during Winterfest seem like they've been impressive so hopefully they extend their hours and ride lineup for next year. If they opened earlier it would be well above Fury's start up temperatures anyway a large chunk of the time. Kings Island already extended their Saturday hours for the rest of the event. Maybe Carowinds will do the same (if not this year, then next year).

 

As of now, the daily high is over 40 degrees every day between now and the 24th (which is as far as this chart goes). If they open earlier next year (which they probably will anyway) and feel like decorating that area and running the ride, I'm sure they could almost every day (even if they close it early some days, which Dollywood does almost every day in December with their coasters).

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Analogy: The owner's manual for every new vehicle says that if the check engine light comes on you should take the car it in for servicing ASAP to prevent possible long term damage to the vehicle. This does not mean you have to take the vehicle in immediately, but you can risk long term damage.

 

One park might be willing to take that risk with a 15 year old coaster in cold weather while another park might not take that risk with a newer coaster. No one is certain what the long term effects will be at this point nor how long they could take to appear. There is clearly more to these decisions than guest expectations or worrying about a coaster valleying and I don't know enough about cold metal fatigue to elaborate on my hypothesis.

 

If the locals make the event a success and advocate for more coasters through park feedback things could change in the future. Winterfest (with rides) is a new opportunity for Carowinds (as it is relatively new for CP and even SF). Carowinds will be looking for feedback from attendees to improve the event.

 

Every market is also different, in the late 1980's, Charlotte was the first cities I had heard of throwing a first night event on New Year's Eve for families. So I'm not surprised Carowinds started with family friendly approach to Winterfest.

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Awesome, there's definitely a lot of good information in that post.

 

If they really can't swap out wheels then hopefully they're willing to invest in some wheel heaters to put under the track in the station like Six Flags New England has down the line (or just run the ride, but close it if it gets too cold). Crowd levels during Winterfest seem like they've been impressive so hopefully they extend their hours and ride lineup for next year. If they opened earlier it would be well above Fury's start up temperatures anyway a large chunk of the time. Kings Island already extended their Saturday hours for the rest of the event. Maybe Carowinds will do the same (if not this year, then next year).

 

As of now, the daily high is over 40 degrees every day between now and the 24th (which is as far as this chart goes). If they open earlier next year (which they probably will anyway) and feel like decorating that area and running the ride, I'm sure they could almost every day (even if they close it early some days, which Dollywood does almost every day in December with their coasters).

 

That’s a good idea because as soon as the sun sets the temp drops, so if they opened earlier, it definitely would be fine to run before then. With how their hours are set now, Fury would hardly ever run.

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One park might be willing to take that risk with a 15 year old coaster in cold weather while another park might not take that risk with a newer coaster. No one is certain what the long term effects will be at this point nor how long they could take to appear. There is clearly more to these decisions than guest expectations or worrying about a coaster valleying and I don't know enough about cold metal fatigue to elaborate on my hypothesis.

 

I don't know. I don't pretend to be an expert on this either (theintimidator just dropped some knowledge on me for sure in that last post), so I don't know enough to completely refute what you're saying but I have a hard time believing any park would knowingly do something that could cause structural fatigue / damage to one of most popular and most expensive attractions.

 

That’s a good idea because as soon as the sun sets the temp drops, so if they opened earlier, it definitely would be fine to run before then. With how their hours are set now, Fury would hardly ever run.
If the locals make the event a success and advocate for more coasters through park feedback things could change in the future. Winterfest (with rides) is a new opportunity for Carowinds (as it is relatively new for CP and even SF). Carowinds will be looking for feedback from attendees to improve the event.

How has the turnout been so far?

 

One would think that good attendance / in park spending numbers might (hopefully) translate into longer hours and more ride / entertainment offerings down the line. I know it's doing well at Kings Island since they've already extended their hours but I haven't followed Carowinds as closely.

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