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Carowinds Discussion Thread

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

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^^^ Lightning Rod is far more intense than Fury and honestly it does feel faster. Fury does have the added height though. My girlfriend was apprehensive trying Fury, but she loved it once she overcame the height.

 

Good to know! LR is pretty intense and the thought of another 20 mph sounded pretty scary! But there are no quick turns on Fury like on LR... that has to account for something. But that's a seriously HUGE drop!

 

^I think it's almost unfair to compare the two parks. Dollywood is a THEME park and Carowinds is an AMUSEMENT park. Glad your visit worked out for you! Enjoy both parks for different reasons!

 

I think I've come to that conclusion too. We enjoyed Carowinds a lot and had a great time! It's just different. And we enjoyed that it's an hour closer to us than Dollywood.

 

Do you guys like Wild Eagle? Not a ton of difference with that and a suspended coaster. Feet are dangling on both with nothing under you. Give it a go. Afterburn is a good one.

Woodstock Express is a great little kids coaster. I rode it last visit for sure.

I love Thunderhead like you. Hurler is ok. Seems most of the hate is the trim break that was installed later on.

Try Intimidator next time. After you conquer that, Fury is just the big boy version. Same seats, same type of coaster, just a little more speed and height.

 

I've been pretty apprehensive about Wild Eagle due to dangling over the sides like that! But I've told myself that I'll ride that thing one day. That's the only coaster I haven't ridden in Dollywood. Maybe I'll get in the Kiddy Hawk ride at Carowinds or the new Vekoma Dragonflier at DW to see if I can overcome that!

But dang I love Thunderhead. It's just intense from start to finish! You really feel like you rode something when you get off that ride. Definitely gonna have to brave up for Intimidator next trip! Can't wait!

 

Been lurking of this forum all of last year, reading up on Dollywood, Disney World, and both Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Tampa. Now this year that we decided to take a chance on Carowinds been following this thread in the forums. And it's just a great community of Theme Park / Amusement Park fans! Thanks to all of you!

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The wife and I took a trip to Carowinds on Sunday and we had a really good day. Here's a brief report of what we did:

 

It was a rather overcast morning and the forecast was not promising, though not really threatening either. It's honestly a good type of day to visit a park so it really worked out for us. We arrived around 10:15, got in with no problems, and headed toward Copperhead Strike.

 

They still have all of the temporary ques set up, though the real queue itself is pretty lengthy. I found it odd that in all of the switchbacks, they do not have a way to cut them off to allow for a straight shot to the station. The wait was already at the "1 hour" sign; however we were to the station in about 40 minutes. We requested the front row, and the grouper was happy to oblige. Of course between the time we entered the station and dispatched from the station, it had started to rain a little bit, but not enough to ruin the ride. I was really looking forward to this ride, but I had my expectations set to a reasonable level. This ride really has a good pace, it goes from one element to the next quicker than almost any ride I've ridden and it's hard to take it all in.

 

At this point, since it was raining, we went over to the new and improved Blue Ridge Kitchen. Food was very good and the much-needed facelift that this place received looks great. We especially enjoyed all of the Easter Eggs in the signs all over the eatery. It’s nice enough to pull me out of Harmony Hall for a meal here and there. I don’t know who’s idea it was to fry a biscuit, but they need to be slapped, nun style.

 

We immediately rode Copperhead Strike again in the back row since the rain had died off. The latter half of the ride I actually found to be somewhat disorienting in the back. I was kinda surprised by that. Overall, I really like the ride and I think this is a great fit for the park. It's deceptively intense in some of its maneuvers, though it is a ride that anyone can enjoy. Also, fantastic theming! Definitely a thumbs up!

 

We went over towards Afterburn where I received the biggest headache of the day. Hang on! Don’t rage yet! Sheesh… The ride was kicking all sorts of tail and running phenomenally as always. The Queue line TV’s however… OMG… have they lost the volume control on these things? I could not hear myself think while even in the vicinity of the ride station. Someone please!

 

We headed back through Blue Ridge Junction to hid Copperhead Strike. No, not that big orange steel thing this time… the frothy liquid one this time. It was quite a tasty brew and we stood and chatted with the bartender for a little bit. He explained to us why there’s Beer Jail in this park, interesting but irritating red tape. Also, there was some effort by upper level park management to “hide” the alcohol in the park. Hopefully they get some of this smoothed out in the future and can expand these options.

 

Over to Fury to get a couple rides on it and man, she’s running especially well this year. I don’t know if it’s off-season maintenance that does this thing so much good or what, but it was glass smooth and hauling the mail.

 

I rode Hurler with the first turn re-track and trim removal. I’m in the minority here, but I’ve never hated on Hurler that much. We used to marathon the one at KD (along with Grizzly) at park close back in the day and the airtime was insane. The ride I had Sunday reminded me of those days a little bit. Some shuffling in the later turns, but not horrible though the airtime was really good. I recommend not just skipping over Hurler this year. It may surprise you!

 

On our way to get in line for another Copperhead Strike beer, we noticed that the line for the Copperhead Strike coaster was barely at the bottom of the stairs. We abandoned the beer mission to get a ride really quick. We soon found out why the line was so short. The ride greeter was announcing to everyone that the current wait time was 60-90 minutes. Lol. So he was chasing everyone off and we rode it 2 more times in 20 minutes total. Not to worry, we returned for our beer after these two rides.

 

We then got BBQ at Harmony Hall and two great rides on Intimidator on the way out. This park has really developed a lot of charm over the past few seasons. Each year I feel like it is a little less of an asphalt jungle and a little more personality. If Cedar Fair continues this trend (and they seem to be) I have no beef with that.

 

Rides:

Copperhead Strike – 4

Fury – 2

Afterburn – 2

Intimidator - 2

Drop tower – 1

Hurler – 1

Beer - 2

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^Sounds like a great trip. I enjoyed your addition of the beer count. I find that the old inverts like Afterburn 'can' sometimes be rough. But, I've found what works for me is to grab the handle bars and stick my neck out pretty far forward. You have to be a little mindful of the snaps in order to prepare yourself for them. I hear you, though.

 

We're not much on suspended coasters as we're a little nervous with heights so being suspended is quite scary to us! LOL. And we're not quite brave enough to try Fury 325 yet. The fastest coaster we've been on is Lightning Rod, so we're work our way to that! Still pretty new to coasters.

I mean no offense, but you did yourself a pretty big injustice at Carowinds by not braving Fury or Afterburn. They're commonly thought of as the best rides in the park. Both are incredibly well respected in the industry, especially Fury. I can understand why leaving those rides out and choosing to ride your other selections might leave you scratching your head compared to Dollywood.

 

Just remember, these rides are all safe. My biggest fear is how bad the crappier rides are going to beat the sh*t out of me. Fury, Afterburn (mostly), Intimidator, and I'm assuming Copperhead Strike, will not do this. Hopefully, next time you'll be ready for the bog boy rides.

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^^FWIW, I can lap Fury a dozen times in a row and be fine. For some reason 2-3 in a row is all I can handle on Intimidator before getting the uneasy stomach.

 

Having ridden a lot of B&M inverts in the last year and a half, Afterburn is one of the best, if not the best out there. There is one snap that gets me near the end if I forget to ride defensively for it. But even that one isn't bad. Fury and Afterburn are the stars of the park for me.

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I hate to keep comparing it to Dollywood, but Dollywood does seem like a much nicer park. Carowinds doesn't have much theming to it and the over-all look of Dollywood is much nicer with trees and such. Plus the rides just didn't seem to be in as good of shape... at least the ones we rode. Me and my son LOVE Tennesee Tornado, so we were somewhat excited to try Carolina Cyclone since it's another Arrow and looks very similar. But it's not near in the same league as Tennessee Tornado. Hurler is another that shocked me. SOOOO many people down Thunderhead as "rough", however I thought the Hurler was way more rough, but everyone getting off of our train LOVED it.

 

Haha! No amount of maintenance is going to turn one of Arrow's first into one of Arrow's last and best! Tennessee Tornado was designed by the same man that designed Lightning Rod.

 

Hurler is also an earlier generation, glad to see it's getting some TLC and love. I think one issue with the one at KD was a sort of resentment, when it came along it seemed the park could use another one of those fancy new steel coasters a lot more. But that one's THE wood coaster at that park now.

 

One thing about parks with big B&Ms, usually they're the most comfortable rides in the park while also the most intimidating. The non-intimidating rides are usually old and rattly.

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Try Intimidator next time. After you conquer that, Fury is just the big boy version. Same seats, same type of coaster, just a little more speed and height.

Tried telling my son that after we rode Intimidator this past weekend. He's still not braving Fury yet.

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I find that the old inverts like Afterburn 'can' sometimes be rough. But, I've found what works for me is to grab the handle bars and stick my neck out pretty far forward. You have to be a little mindful of the snaps in order to prepare yourself for them. I hear you, though.

 

I see my joke fell a little flat. The headache was because of the extremely loud volume of the TV's in the queue line, like seriously... ridiculously loud. Afterburn was running great and I don't have issues with the inverts. Before any of the snappy transitions I actually push my head back against the headrest. I haven't gotten an earslap on an invert in years. B&M stand-ups on the other hand... those restraints were made to box some ears.

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I find that the old inverts like Afterburn 'can' sometimes be rough. But, I've found what works for me is to grab the handle bars and stick my neck out pretty far forward. You have to be a little mindful of the snaps in order to prepare yourself for them. I hear you, though.

 

I see my joke fell a little flat. The headache was because of the extremely loud volume of the TV's in the queue line, like seriously... ridiculously loud. Afterburn was running great and I don't have issues with the inverts. Before any of the snappy transitions I actually push my head back against the headrest. I haven't gotten an earslap on an invert in years. B&M stand-ups on the other hand... those restraints were made to box some ears.

Ah. Yeah sorry bro. I read it after less than five hours of sleep while prepping for testifying in a homicide trial at 9am. Needless to say, my focus was a little off. Even more so than usual...

 

Glad you had a good time.

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I had a business trip in Charlotte last week and with the weather being great, I got to sneak off for a few hours at Carowinds. This was my first ever visit to the city and park. Amazing town.

 

Fury had been taunting me during the duration of the trip, as my conference was only a couple miles away from the park, and it was visible to me the whole time.

 

When I got to the park, I only had a couple hours so I grabbed a Fast Pass Plus. Didn't even grab a map or anything....just made a beeline for where I thought Fury was. Given that it's the size of a skyscraper, it wasn't hard to find.

 

The park was really crowded on the Saturday night that I went, but thanks to the Fast Pass I just had brief station waits all night (even on Copperhead Strike!). As I sat in the train for Fury, my heart was pounding. Several years ago I was scared of roller coasters. I'm terrified of heights, you see. Ever since getting over that fear and learning to love the rides, height never really bothered me much. 325 feet is different though, and I was terrified. Up the hill I went. As it crested, I could see the curvature of the horizon and the planes landing at Charlotte airport seemed to be at eye level.

 

It's hard to describe what happened next. Fury 325 is just a fucking amazing piece of roller coaster design. Break neck speed (but VERY smooth!), amazing overbanks, the underground tunnel buzz, and finally those awesome airtime hills. Astounding ride. I rode it two more times, once in the rear, once in the middle (first ride was up front). I actually liked it best in the front. My coaster count isn't what some of you guys are as I'm newer to this, but Fury is EASILY my #1, supplanting Mako.

 

I next made my way to Hurler. Uh, yeah. One ride was more than enough. My home park is Six Flags St. Louis, so it's not the roughest woodie I've ever ridden (hello Boss, you nasty rough bastard), but it was still super rough in the corners and I knocked my knees pretty good. I'll take the credit, but it made me sore enough where I kinda was hoping I just had passed.

 

Next major coaster on deck was Copperhead Strike. I loved pretty much everything about this. Smooth as glass, super fun inverts and all sorts of interesting elements. Love this coaster! Great theming throughout as well. A real winner.

 

My next major coaster in the park was Afterburn. Solid invert. Nothing really to say other than I really enjoyed it.

 

Final highlight for me was Intimidator. This is a badass coaster! It felt like I was out of my seat the entire time. Just an airtime machine. Super fun coaster.

 

Then yeah I did some of the other rides, but those were the major ones worth talking about. Carowinds is a really cool park. Wish I had more time to spend, but I made the absolute most of the time spent.

 

Three of the coasters in the park are world class. Copperhead Strike, Intimidator and Fury. Fury isn't just world class, it's top of the class. Seriously, what a freaking ride that beast is. I have never so thoroughly enjoyed a ride as that one. It's almost the perfect coaster to me.

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I liked your description of my favorite roller coaster. It's a beast. Intense, smooth, and it's a beautiful structure to look at.

 

It really is a specimen. It's a masterpiece of design, both architecturally and as a coaster. The problem with riding it first (and again, and again) was that as great as the others coasters I rode were....they just aren't Fury 325. You know what? That's fine. Sometimes the best song on a record comes first. The others are no slouches though. Intimidator or Copperhead would easily be headliners at many parks. It just so happens that Carowinds has a bunch of headliners.

 

If any of you have wondered about visiting Charlotte to ride that coaster, do it. Fury is amazing (and you get a cadre of other cool coasters with it).

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This smile don't lie! That was after my first ride. What a rush.

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Glad you loved Fury! I agree Intimidator is a fine coaster, but after 1-2 rides I feel like I'm missing out if I ride it again over Fury.

 

Haha, funny you say that. That's kind of what I felt. Fury is like a bigger, badder, more intense Intimidator. I think I'd actually slot Copperhead above it because at least that is quite unique. Again though, I'd kill for my local park to have a quarter of one of those bad boys (SFSL, ha!).

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Three of the coasters in the park are world class. Copperhead Strike, Intimidator and Fury. Fury isn't just world class, it's top of the class. Seriously, what a freaking ride that beast is. I have never so thoroughly enjoyed a ride as that one. It's almost the perfect coaster to me.

Glad you had fun! I moved from St. Louis to Charlotte last year. I feel Carowinds is a much better park than SFSL.

 

I will say that many, many people will add Afterburn to that world-class status. It's considered one of the best invert coasters.

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I feel Carowinds is a much better park than SFSL.

Captain Obvious. haha

 

Good on you for getting out of this... place... We really enjoy Charlotte and it seems like there is so much less of a cultural/racial divide. It's a very comfortable place to be compared to St. Louis.

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I have a unique story about my first ride on Fury as well...But have to set the table before serving the meal, and why it was just, soo funny. My youngest son, after riding Cyclone a few years back (2012?) was feeling extra brave when we headed down to SFGAd while we were visiting New York. Before we got in line for El Toro, I told him- "Look-this thing is on another level. No big deal if you sit this one out..."

 

"I got this", he said.

 

The screams could be heard in Philadelphia, and he never got on anything over 80 feet (Except for Beast) since then.

 

We arrived about a week early for Coastermania, and he got more and more accustomed to the thrill that myself and his older brother are so addicted to. We went down to KI for the less intense variety and he dubbed it "the no-fly zone". As in,this place has zero airtime. We laughed it off and returned to Cedar Point. Stopped by the Dayton Air Museum and it was so worth it.

 

He rode just about everything when we got back...TTD, Millie, and SV are still on his list but we made serious progress. So after Coastermania we beelined to Holiwood Nights' 2nd day. So we get there and its not near as busy as I thought it would be. We get lots of laps on everything except Legend, which we all thought was unrideable. They just retracked it, or so I heard. Beyond rough.

 

So the big dinner goes on and they keep us hostage as the regular crowd gets the boot. No biggie, we head straight for Voyage as soon as they let us go we're set for coaster Nirvana. Except...they waited for about 45 minutes longer than posted. We race to Voyage, the first train is loaded, we're next to go. Asked the guy if the brakes were off and he said "yeah!"

 

So we're waiting. And waiting. Finally they said there's lightning in the vicinity. Checked my phone and its 25 miles away. Great, not a short wait.

 

So we wait some more...its cost us a small fortune to be here at this exact moment. (Wish I had a cheaper hobby)

 

Check my phone and its tracking NE of where we were. Tell the station guy its heading towards Cincinnati. Word from above is that we wait. I'm starting to get pi#@ed, and we break out of line to find someplace to sit it out. No place to sit indoors. The Gobbler thing is making folks wait outside for an indoor ride.

 

I finally had enough and told the boys we're leaving. We walk up to the front gate...How long until the shuttle for the Campground?

 

Uhhhhmmm....11 o'clock. It was 9:30 at this point. We had waited 3 1/2 hours to not do anything and was looking at a 3 mile walk because weather had not entered the big event equation. We did the campground on purpose because they said shuttles were available.

 

We start walking off, determined to never come back and we come upon a Lake Rudolph employee doing something in one of the common buildings. We explain what happened and begged her for a ride. Thankfully she obliged...10 minute golf car ride from that point, that's how far it was.

 

So we get to our state of the art 1979 rented Camper, and I need some beer to just deal with the situation. We get in our car and head towards civilization. Can't get cold beer on a Saturday night. I buy hot beer, ice, and salt, and get a cooler from the store next door and we head back.

 

We make our instant cold beer machine and start discussing our options. We had paid handsomely to be there and the next day, headed to Dollywood Monday morning. At this point the beer was cold and I started pounding as if they weren't gonna make any more.

 

We had the most fun doing what enthusiasts do...complain...but it was more than that. It got hysterically funny most of the night. I looked up how far Carowinds was and brought it up that it wasn't that much further to just go ride a big boy ride. We had Platinum Passes, all we had to do was drive and convince our newly minted Coaster Warrior that it would be worth it.

 

He said let's do it without hesitation- and so we went the next morning early. Too early, if I remember right. We got there around 9 pm. Too late to do any real damage, so we got some sleep and planned our attack. Be there when it opens and work our way clockwise. Intimidator, Afterburn, the gnarly woodie and the stand up. Fury time at last...

 

Station wait plus a little. I was more nervous about my son losing his mind being up so high as we waited or turn. We get on, the lift goes really quick so that before you know it, its time to let gravity do its thing...

 

Good god...the thing is an engineering masterpiece. Our new Coaster Warrior is now immune to heights, inversions, and speed because he friggin' loved the thing. All of us did. It may seem crazy, but the side air just works better when its at a right angle to the ground.

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The crew

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Plane lower than lift hill!

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Quick question about Cedar Fair platinum passes - I'm headed to Carowinds this week and I see there is an option to get an all season drink cup added to your platinum pass which I'm interested in doing. My question is does the drink pass work at all other Cedar Fair parks too? I'm curious since we are headed to Cedar Point in June and KD in August.

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Quick question about Cedar Fair platinum passes - I'm headed to Carowinds this week and I see there is an option to get an all season drink cup added to your platinum pass which I'm interested in doing. My question is does the drink pass work at all other Cedar Fair parks too? I'm curious since we are headed to Cedar Point in June and KD in August.

 

If you have a meal plan / drink cup added on to a Platinum Pass, it works at all parks. The benefits are tied to the pass, so if your pass works elsewhere, so will your benefits. In 2017 my family did a Carowinds - Kings Dominion - Kings Island - Cedar Point trip (with our home park and Platinum Passes from Knott's) and our meal plans and drink cups worked at all parks no problem.

 

I suppose it's possible things have changed in the last two years, but I am certain the option exists!

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Im stoked to finally get on Fury, and visit this park! Its another park I never bothered with, but like many others I feel like its lineup has really become solid. Im excited to visit.

 

Some quick questions:

Im not expecting crowds to be bad on a weekday in early June. Specifically a Thursday. Is this fair?

 

Is there a way to get from Charlotte airport to the park without a rental car? I got time to kill, got a good 3 hours between flight landing and park open.

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When I went to the park in 2016, I took an Uber. I think it was about $25-30.

 

You may need them to drop you off at a nearby gas station, hotel, or Wendy's. Carowinds hasn't been opening the parking lot until 10 minutes prior to opening. If you are dropped off, you can walk to the entrance and be one of the first there.

 

I've only visited on weekends so I can't speak to weekday crowds. I will say the FastLane line brings you right into the station for all major coasters. Since they assign seats (they seem to take requests if you ask nice), you walk right on.

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Quick question about Cedar Fair platinum passes - I'm headed to Carowinds this week and I see there is an option to get an all season drink cup added to your platinum pass which I'm interested in doing. My question is does the drink pass work at all other Cedar Fair parks too? I'm curious since we are headed to Cedar Point in June and KD in August.

 

If you have a meal plan / drink cup added on to a Platinum Pass, it works at all parks. The benefits are tied to the pass, so if your pass works elsewhere, so will your benefits. In 2017 my family did a Carowinds - Kings Dominion - Kings Island - Cedar Point trip (with our home park and Platinum Passes from Knott's) and our meal plans and drink cups worked at all parks no problem.

 

I suppose it's possible things have changed in the last two years, but I am certain the option exists!

To add to this:

 

You have two options: the plastic souvenir sipper cup or a paper cup every time you get a drink. We opted for the paper cup. You might get less drink per visit, but you don't have to walk around with the plastic cup, which can't be stored at Fury or CS. You also have to remember to bring it every time you visit, and clean it between visits. Too much work when I know I can walk up and get a cup without any worries.

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Quick question about Cedar Fair platinum passes - I'm headed to Carowinds this week and I see there is an option to get an all season drink cup added to your platinum pass which I'm interested in doing. My question is does the drink pass work at all other Cedar Fair parks too? I'm curious since we are headed to Cedar Point in June and KD in August.

 

If you have a meal plan / drink cup added on to a Platinum Pass, it works at all parks. The benefits are tied to the pass, so if your pass works elsewhere, so will your benefits. In 2017 my family did a Carowinds - Kings Dominion - Kings Island - Cedar Point trip (with our home park and Platinum Passes from Knott's) and our meal plans and drink cups worked at all parks no problem.

 

I suppose it's possible things have changed in the last two years, but I am certain the option exists!

To add to this:

 

You have two options: the plastic souvenir sipper cup or a paper cup every time you get a drink. We opted for the paper cup. You might get less drink per visit, but you don't have to walk around with the plastic cup, which can't be stored at Fury or CS. You also have to remember to bring it every time you visit, and clean it between visits. Too much work when I know I can walk up and get a cup without any worries.

 

 

Great - I definitely am going to do the drink option - and get the paper cup - I don't want to try and deal with hiding my cups in a bush or try to travel with them - paper cups are the way to go.

 

Thanks for the responses!

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