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Carowinds Discussion Thread

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

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The Comfort Inn next to the park is about a 5 minute walk and the only one without crossing a multi-lane busy road. It's not a bad hotel either. Save yourself parking and have an escape close by if you book there. Wendy's next door, too.

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I was originally planning for a 2 day trip, possibly going on to Dollywood, but the forecast for Sun.-Mon. was bad all week. I was somewhat doubtful of the forecast as a lot of T-storm forecasts have turned into rain, or at least been gentle recently. However looking at the future radar Sat. night and early Sunday looked like the storms were small but almost continuous, with little break in between and many of them concentrated right through Charlotte with the odd east to west movement that day. I did look at a weather map once on Monday and there was a storm over the north side of town, while the park is down at the SC border, so some of that may have been misleading. What with indecision I wasn't really prepared to leave early Sunday, and the original plan assumed normal crowds so I intended to get there late afternoon and stay 'til close, possibly go back next morning. Also indecision about Dollywood made planning a problem, plus I didn't want to spend the money to stay over. Turns out I made a good call because apparently Carowinds closed at 6 on Sunday, vs. the 10 PM scheduled. New plan was to leave early Mon. and do the trip from central Virginia as a day trip. If they closed early, at least I'd get a lot of rides anyway and get home early with a good meal along the way. I didn't.

 

On the trip down, rain was bad enough in Virginia I considered turning around. But it got better and I even saw the sun. It didn't rain a drop while I was at the park, although it started 5 minutes after leaving. They probably would have closed early too, but had no excuse.

 

Arriving around 12:30, I immediately went to Fury 325 and got 5 rides. At this point I found it a fine ride, but didn't feel that blown away, which was a little odd considering I had the rest of the day ahead. Moving on, Hurler was right there. I was certainly curious after hearing some good reports on how it is running this year. This was my second visit to the park, and the first after probably 1997. At that time Hurler was the newest and best coaster in the park, believe it or not. I'm not sure I'd even ridden the KD one after finding it not worth the first year wait, and that trip was when I discovered the ride to be good. Seeing tons of new wood, new upholstery and refurbed trains, I had high hopes. Yet there was no air in the back car on the drop and then the trim brake was back on. Completely pointless ride. A young enthusiast I talked to later on CS said it was really good for the first 2 months this year, and still was worse last year.

 

Moving on, I came by Carolina Goldrusher, their mine train and gave it a spin. This was actually the second best coaster in the park on that first visit, but we didn't ride it due to the line then. It is steel track on wood supports, often a single railroad tie plus track and footers. The restraints are archaic, hand operated and all 3 rows of the car tied together. This is a very edge of your seat ride -- literally, the foam cushions stop almost 2 inches from the edge of the bench and it feels like you could end up in the floor. But it's a very cool coaster for what it is, and occupies a lot of ground in the center of the park with sights of the rest of the park. Even though GAdv's RMT is larger and a good night ride, this is my new favorite mine train. I took another spin later.

 

On to Copperhead Strike. I can see how this complements the rest of the park, because their other coasters with inversions are older and there's little ejector air. It's a fun coaster but super thrilling. The most intense element to me was a Stengel dive, a sharp curve-hill combo. It also reminds me of TTimbers with its sharp small yank on the last hill, but with the smaller yank into the brake run of TT's back rows. The comparison is somewhat apt also because they're both very active to ride, but not very intimidating or fast. The trains look great but the lap bar is huge. Comfortable but blocks the breeze. Line was short but all on the unshaded section -- maybe they didn't consider it hot by their standards -- so by the third ride I was starting to feel the slight queasiness from the heat and power riding that would be an issue much of the rest of the day.

 

The bumper cars looked cool, shaded and oddly a perfect circle. There's even an island in the middle where you can leave your bags. The cars looked new, matched and have the logo for Marathon gas stations on them, oddly. They also sucked or they turned down the power because no one obeys the (odd) clockwise traffic pattern. If 2 cars even touched each other, they'd both stop until someone could figure out how to get clear. Coming out of there, I was still hot and collapsed a moment until seeing the Rita's. I splurged and had an Italian Ice and Rita's for the first time, in Copperhead Strike flavor (mango pineapple). I've never had brainfreeze that burned before. One advantage of not upgrading my dining plan to Platinum, try something different.

 

Afterburn went down right as a sat down to eat in the shade, but came back up right after I finished. I rode it 3 times, but none in front and didn't warm to it, inverts are subjective. Hot again, I tried Plants vs. Zombies. This is pretty fun. After the seat belts of Action Theater, it seems odd the little horsies are easier to fall off of and have no restraints at all, although they don't move a lot. The guns are kind of heavy and somehow I gouged my thumb, but would do it again to escape heat. This concluded my flat rides for the day.

 

Intimidator was pretty good, I really like the tilted helix, strong Gs. It is a little weak after the MCBR, but it is late in the ride, like I305's it makes you wonder why they have one at all. The staggered seating makes it the only B&M I know of with 16 row lines, and it's really good when riding alone. At the this point I was considering it maybe better than Fury, with its tall hills. After a chill session in one of Starbuck's chairs, I went back to Fury for my first front row ride. Dayum. Fury doesn't have the forces of I305, but it does have its blistering pacing. The lower hills don't slow it down much at all and the elements come at you fast, bam-bam-bam. At this point it was time to GTHOOTP a while and get some cheap lunch too (it was late afternoon). Found a Jack in the Box, which I've eaten at maybe once before. Good stuff, at least hot and fresh as this was. There is a Wendy's near the entrance but my exit through the almost endless parking lot didn't send me that way.

 

Back at the park, I think I rode Intimidator again. Kitty Hawk was finally open, their older Vekoma family suspended. The tiny track and trains were cute, but it doesn't do much, more like something to get the kiddies used to the idea of coasters. Also the strange (new looking) OTSRs distracted me half the ride -- if I was much shorter the top of my head wouldn't even touch them. I'm not sure why I didn't ride again -- would have earlier -- but was starting to feel the time running short.

 

Another round on Afterburn, starting with front row, was much better. I like the trenches and the second was running mist this time. It's not as intense as Batman or huge as Alps but is still very good. Station looks old though. (Looks like they were giving the other train a brake pad job, guessing they'll want it ready by July 4.)

 

Another round on CS and Goldrusher. Finally found the Ricochet entrance. This is different than KD's, with lots of intense little bunnies, even one dip-hop after the first brakes before the final brakes. Rode Flying Cobras, wow a Boomerang with vest restraints. Laughed at some kids that sounded like they'd never ridden it before, been a long time for me and was really fun with no headbanging, but they can be a bit sickening and no way was I reriding. Took my second and third rides of the day on Vortex, not sure why. The corkscrew headbangs like crazy but I like the low to the ground turns. These were solo rides, mostly they were sending around empty trains. My first B&M haha.

 

I'm not sure when I rode Carolina Cyclone, the Arrow corkscrew, but actually enjoyed it and rerode once. Do watch out for banging against the headrest. I like the airtime pop into the curve.

 

One coaster left, Nighthawk. I kept missing the entrance, which is practically right inside the front gate. Get distracted by Intimidator and you could miss it. The initial swoop over the lake was great and and for a second I thought I could come to like flying coasters. Then it flips you back to your back for the loop and the torture begins. I might would have liked the top of the loop if I hadn't already felt crushed and was dreading the next part. Then it just seemed to flip you the whole rest of the ride. By the point they leave you laying there waiting for the seats to tilt back up, I was so assimilated I almost didn't care. If they're going to build flying coasters, why not just let you fly?

 

This is mostly a pretty park, with a series of (blue dyed) ponds. One exception, they use the infields of their biggest B&Ms for Scarowinds storage, which looks a bit Flagsian. It has a compact circular layout, broken up and not always obvious of course. At this point I collapsed in a big rocking chair for awhile, then the Busker Jam Band show started in front of me, which was OK/silly.

 

On to night rides. I had been told CS was good due to the headlights. I never saw them on though. Even after 9 PM it really wasn't very dark. This park is unusually close to a big city and surrounded by warehouses and suburbs. Finally, more Fury. I was almost too ragged to appreciate it, but like B&M hypers dark does give it that extra edge. However, again it doesn't get all that dark, so even with a night ride I'm not sure I like it better than I305. If it is better, it's by the amount it is longer. It does have a lot more elements and the intensity is closer than I expected. I have to wonder if that first ride of the day would have been more impressive if their positions were reversed, though, with Fury being the coaster I already knew.

 

By this point my running total, if correct, was at 41 rides for the day and I got off the ride not sure I could handle any more. And then this song came on which I dislike and can stick in your head, so with hands clamped over ears and going la-la-la I went back to the coaster hoping its noise would drown out that other one. Shared 2 front row rides with an enthusiast from Minneapolis and then really had to stop. As I was walking out, the park closed. I somehow made a left coming out so cut across the grass under the now silent Fury 325.

 

Dinner was Wendy's chili at exit 58 in VA at 3 AM. Got home at 4:30 and immediately passed out.

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Are there any particularly good discounts to Carowinds available? We were planning on going there next week but after getting back from Cedar Point a few days ago we’ve been thinking about possibly skipping Carowinds entirely. The main reason is more about a disagreement on how to spend our family vacation, given my mother’s despise of amusement parks, but I've also have been thinking that after two days of Cedar Point the park might underwhelm me. I would still like to go just because I personally don’t want to travel back to Charlotte anytime soon and I’m tempted enough by the big four here to give the park a shot (I’m also not convinced there enough for a family to do in Charlotte to fill a whole week, so when we initially took it out our plans looked very empty).

 

I will be going to WoF later this summer if that helps, but we elected to get the Wildcard deal for Cedar Point over Platinum Passes so there’s that.

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One of the online coupon sites (Groupon? Living Social?) had an all-in pass that included parking for $40 or so. Bojangles, a fast-food chicken joint around here, has -- IIRC -- $22 off a ticket for up to 6 tickets.

 

Don't know if either has black-out dates.

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, but I've also have been thinking that after two days of Cedar Point the park might underwhelm me.

 

I just spent a day at KI followed by a day at CP this past weekend. I would go to Carowinds and have a great time today if I could. As a matter of fact, my daughter went on the same Midwest trip and she just went to Carowinds yesterday and had a blast. I've been five times this year and it's always a good time.

 

The US National Whitewater Center is also a good spot. There is rafting, climbing walls, zip lines, ropes courses, good food and beer, hiking & mountain biking trails, live music, etc.

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Had a improptu night to go Carowinds got there at 7 left around 9, Was able to ride pretty much everything I wanted.

 

1. Fury is always amazing day or night

2. Intimidator with 2 trains rides ops were moving only stacked once because of person complaining they didnt want to ride

3.Copperhead is always fun. People talk about a rattle I have never felt it, I do hear a rattle and I think its the floor on the trains vibrating.

4. Afterburn after 20 years is still strong as ever

5. Dodgems - First i made a little kid cry because I bumped him. Whoops. Also Is it really difficult to put the straps on the bumpercars. Saw a kid almost choke himself because he couldnt figure out how to put it on.

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^ Great pictures! Thanks for sharing them. I found Copperhead Strike to be just a FUN ride. Not super intense or anything, but a laugh a minute and everyone gets off with a huge smile on their face.

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I booked my trip for August 16-18th and I'll be doing the park immediately from the airport Friday, and all day Saturday. I'm so excited.

 

Does anyone have tips? Favorite seats for the coasters?

I rode Intimidator on the back row for the first time yesterday (have only done front row rides before) and it was a blast back there. Other than that, I'm a front row guy.

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I booked my trip for August 16-18th and I'll be doing the park immediately from the airport Friday, and all day Saturday. I'm so excited.

 

Does anyone have tips? Favorite seats for the coasters?

 

I'd recommend trying all major coasters in both the front and back. The grouper at Fury does sometimes do assigned seating, so it's always worth asking if you see the employees change.

 

If the park is packed, FastLane gets you right into the station and on the major coasters almost immediately.

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I booked my trip for August 16-18th and I'll be doing the park immediately from the airport Friday, and all day Saturday. I'm so excited.

 

Does anyone have tips? Favorite seats for the coasters?

 

My Opinions

 

Fury 325 Front RIght Seat

Intimidator Front Left or Rear Back (Outer Seats not inner)

Afterburn Right Rear back seat, (It Whips)

Copperhead Strike (Front seats)

 

These are my opinion of course but I feel you can feel the most out those seats when I ride.

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Does anyone have tips? Favorite seats for the coasters?

 

Ride Carolina Cyclone, Hurler, Vortex, and Nighthawk on youtube. Much less painful that way.

 

I love Fury as much in the last row as the first. I like front row on Copperhead Strike and Intimidator. I love Afterburn in any seat.

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Another question. Does Carowinds have larger lockers that will hold a decently sized backpack? I'm coming straight from the airport because my Airbnb doesn't allow check in until 6pm and I get in at 11am.

 

For reference this is the bag, and it's only gonna have small toiletries and like 3 outfits.

 

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Does Carowinds have larger fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo that will hold a decently sized backpack?

 

You should be fine. These are the ones in Carolina Harbor:

lockers-blog.jpg

 

On the 16th, it's open from 11-5. I'll check when I'm there this evening, but I'll bet they have similar-sized outside the waterpark, too.

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