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Carowinds Discussion Thread

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

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I am considering visiting Carowinds for the first time next week on either Thursday (August 8?) or possibly Wednesday. I notice that they have a promotion with tickets and parking for $29.99. I am *assuming* it's because that's a typically slow day? Has anyone been to these promo Thursdays yet and have a sense of crowds?

 

I have read from earlier trip reports in this thread that fast lanes are probably not necessary on Wednesday or Thursdays?

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I have read from earlier trip reports in this thread that fast lanes are probably not necessary on Wednesday or Thursdays?

 

That would be correct. You never know for sure, but I wouldn't expect crowds. Don't buy Fastlane in advance unless you really, really, really like Vekoma flying coasters.

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Just wanted to add, we went on a Sunday in late June and had our longest wait of 20 minutes at dark for Fury. That included down time for a breakdown too. We skipped the Vekoma flyer and Ricochet due to those 2 rides having long waits, but we really didn't mind skipping those 2. Yeah, a mouse and a Vekoma device, been on those at other parks before, would rather ride Fury and Intimidater multiple times over just 1 on either of those 2. Our last 3 rides at closing were for Intimidater, which was basically walk on. I would wait to buy a Fastlane.

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Mirroring the others here. Thursdays are slow. You should have no problem without FastPass.

 

Unless Ricochet's line extends to the metal queue railings, the wait isn't more than 15 minutes. Nighthawk is only slow because there's approximately 65 minutes between each dispatch.

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Hit Nighthawk and Vortex first in that order and you'll be good.

 

If you have to get the credits, by all means do so and follow the advice above. But IMO, skip Nighthawk and Vortex and you'll be better. I skipped Firehawk at KI last year knowing that I would never get a chance to ride it again. That was based on my experiences with Nighthawk and Batwing.

 

Vortex is the worst of the three stand-up coasters I have done.

 

That said, some people like them both. Those people are masochists.

 

You will probably not have big crowds on a midweek day. FL+ should be a decision made in the park. If it does get busy, buy your FL+ at a store or ride gift shop. Lines at the front gate Fast Lane counter can get ridiculous. Again, unlikely on a Wednesday or Thursday.

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Just visited the park yesterday for the first time and had a great time! Crowds were super light and my friend and I didn't wait more than 20 minutes for any of the rides. Overall I got 26 rides in: 3x CS, 2x Afterburn, 2x Cobras, 1x Goldrusher, 5x Fury (great ride!), 1x Hurler, 1x Nighthawk, 2x Intimidator, 1x each per kiddie credit, 3x Cyclone, 1x Ricochet, 1x Vortex, and 1x Windseeker.

 

I see now why Fury is in most people's top 5; that thing is relentless! The drop is HUGE, right after the drop the thing hauls through it's twisty section, and after the trim you have a few nice pops of awesome ejector air before hitting the station again. It's a real masterpiece and has become my new #1.

 

Copperhead was awesome, too! It fits the park really nicely and has a few really cool moments. I take back what I said (a few dozen pages ago) about it looking like "Manta with inversions." They're completely different rides; Copperhead has less airtime but some AWESOME hangtime moments. I enjoyed Intimidator as well. The three B&M Hypers I've ridden (DB, Intimidator, Nitro) all have something special to offer, and in this case it's the turnaround. The twisty section on those long trains is a neat experience.

 

Vortex, Nighthawk, Cyclone, and Flying Cobras neither exceeded nor fell short of my expectations. Nighthawk gets a + for having better scenery than Firehawk in the first half, but a - for having a (comparatively) terrible ending, so I'd rank it about the same as the late KI version. I like flyers, so it's a fun ride, but I'd take a B&M any day over a Vekoma. Vortex is a solid stand-up, it's essentially a smaller version of Green Lantern. Definitely an enjoyable ride that I'd probably marathon if I lived nearby. I got to do three consecutive rides on Cyclone since nobody was riding; there's nothing quite like a classic Arrow. I like 'em for what they are: quirky, but with some fun forces on the inversions. Flying Cobras was only my second traditional boomerang. I actually really enjoyed the version at Knott's years ago, but the trains on the Carowinds version are significantly better, making for an overall excellent ride (Yes, I like boomerangs. Sue me).

 

And now the beef. The two rides that fell short of my expectations were Afterburn and Hurler. I'll start with Hurler. I was surprised by how smooth the ride was, especially the first turn was after the drop. The reason I didn't like it too much is simply that it doesn't do much. The hills don't have airtime, and there's nothing particularly forceful about any of the other turns or anything.

 

But Afterburn. This is probably an unpopular opinion, but it's my least favorite B&M invert of the ones I've ridden (Banshee, Raptor, Silver Bullet, and two Batmans). I generally enjoy these rides quite a bit, so I don't know why but it just didn't do much for me. It's a weird middle ground where it's not as smooth as Banshee or Silver Bullet but also not as forceful as Raptor or the Batmans. I did have fun on the ride, but as an enthusiast who's been to several parks and ridden 119 different coasters, I'd say that there's nothing to really look forward to about this ride. It's fun, but it's not the best of its type and certainly not a standout coaster at Carowinds.

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I have read from earlier trip reports in this thread that fast lanes are probably not necessary on Wednesday or Thursdays?

 

That would be correct. You never know for sure, but I wouldn't expect crowds. Don't buy Fastlane in advance unless you really, really, really like Vekoma flying coasters.

 

 

Both times I've been to Carowinds, it's been beautiful, hot days in the middle of the Summer, and I have yet to wait more than a half hour for anything there, besides the dreadful Nighthawk! Afterburn was only running one train the one time, and was pretty slow, resulting in the other half hour wait. So yeah, aside from that one coaster, I found Carowinds to be a nice park for smaller lines.

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I have read from earlier trip reports in this thread that fast lanes are probably not necessary on Wednesday or Thursdays?

 

That would be correct. You never know for sure, but I wouldn't expect crowds. Don't buy Fastlane in advance unless you really, really, really like Vekoma flying coasters.

 

My relationship with Vekoma flying coasters is probably best described as "abusive."

 

Thank you all for the responses. I can't wait to ride Fury 325.

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So much hate for Vekoma Dutchmans, and I’ve never understood where it comes from. You people are relentless ... but I get it. Vekoma has a bad rap and enthusiasts are babies. They’re not rough.

 

If B&M made more flyers like Sky Scrapper, Air, and Flying Dinosaur I’d be more interested, but all the B&M flyers in the United States at least don’t take full advantage of the system.

 

That’s why I said the Vekomas rock the socks off the US B&M flyers at least. 3/5 are complete snoozefests, and the other two are actually pretty awesome, but they’re not as impressive as the Vekoma’s with all the lie-fly transitions.

 

Oh, and Vortex is not bad at all. Ride it defensively (the same way you should approach any standup) and you’ll be fine. I got a perfectly smooth ride on it using the usual standup-riding technique, which came even to my surprise. Prozach supposedly got a perfectly smooth ride of Green Lantern using the same technique, something even I wasn’t able to pull off, so maybe it’s not so crazy after all. However, it’s layout is rather unexciting, so I wouldn’t defend it like I would the other stand-ups. Green Lantern might be rough, but forces considered, it’s at least got an interesting ride experience to tout, and Georgia Schorcher and Riddler are meanwhile in their own league as rides I thoroughly enjoy and find interesting.

 

TLDR; maybe skip Vortex, but don’t be scared of it. Don’t miss Nighthawk. Or, don't listen to me at all because maybe I’m a masochist.

Edited by RollerManic
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I don't mind them. I probably prefer them to Superman at Great Adventure and Great America, though the Georgia one is great and Manta and Tatsu run circles around them so I won't go quite as far as you.

 

Still, it's been a long time since I bothered with Nighthawk thanks to it's long wait times. When Fury and Afterburn are usually 10 minute waits tops it's hard to pry myself away to stand in an hour long line for a flying Dutchman.

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I think the Flying Dutchmen have superior layouts to the Superman clones, but they're definitely jerkier which is an issue in that riding position. That's why I prefer Superman overall.

 

Manta, Tatsu, and Flying Dinosaur are no contest.

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If B&M made more flyers like Sky Scrapper, Air, and Flying Dinosaur I’d be more interested, but all the B&M flyers in the United States at least don’t take full advantage of the system.

 

I don't think you're giving B&M a fair shake on that. They really haven't been given the opportunity recently in the US to build a new flyer to take advantage of the potential that B&M has discovered in that style in the last 17 years. It's been 10 years since one was built in the US.

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I think it’s more than fair since their first model (Air) did more with the style than the next four that followed (all the Superman clones).

 

Plus, I said at the get-go I’m only comparing to the US ones and that I think the newer models are indeed better rides.

 

I can embrace some of the sentiments here a little: they’re definitely way better than the SUF clones, and the difference may not be as big as I’m making it between them and Tastu/Manta, but I know I still prefer the Dutchman models before any of the US B&M flyer installations.

 

It’s been too long, admittingly, since I’ve ridden Tatsu, but I’ve had multiple experiences on each all the SUF clones and Manta individually over the years so I’m confident in my opinions of them.

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I actually liked Firehawk (and its incarnation as X-Flight before it), so I'm not automatically a "hater" of Flying Dutchmans. Heck, I've also championed the Flyer (either type - but not Volare's) as one of the most underrated and underappreciated coaster models out there by enthusiasts at least! So my take on Nighthawk comes from a place of liking the concept, and liking the execution on the S:UF's and Firehawk/X-Flight, and LOVING Tatsu and Manta, which are excellent coasters. And my take is that one of these things is not like the others (Hint: It's nighthawk.) It IS rougher than Firehawk/X-Flight ever was, and as much as I wanted to like the coaster, because I love Flying coasters, and the location at Carowinds is fantastic, I just couldn't be a fan of it due to the rougher ride. Given the fact you also somehow think Vortex isn't rough, which is literally the most painful experience I've ever had on a coaster since Son of Beast, I have to agree that you're probablyjust a masochist (as many enthusiasts tend to be when it comes to tolerating roughness for the sake of coasters that they like - hey, I still don't get why people think The Voyage is so rough, and defend Drachen Fire to this day!)

 

Everybody has different tolerances for "roughness" on coasters, and what they think is, or is not rough. It has nothing to do with some people being "babies". The reality is, there is an objective scale of roughness, that the vast majority of riders, especially among non-enthusiasts (who are also not babies), determine, since they are less accustomed to tolerating extreme forces than enthusiasts who ride a ton of coasters are. Number of coasters ridden actually makes a person less, not more, qualified to say what is or isn't rough, since there is a certain desensitization that happens with those of us who have ridden a lot.

 

In the case of both Nighthawk and Vortex, I think the problem is that they have some very jerky transitions, which for whatever reason on those particular coasters, weren't engineered as well as some of their counterparts. I think Stand-Up coasters in general are a bad idea, and haven't ridden too many that were objectively smooth. Riddler's Revenge comes to mind, as well as the beginning of Mantis. Green Lantern is not one of the better ones in that regard, and Vortex takes the poor transitions to a whole different level. But hey, if it rides comfortably to you, and anybody else who doesn't think it's that bad, then great for you! But it was awful when I rode it, and I really enjoy some coasters others think are very rough, so I don't think the problem is my tolerance levels...

 

(Also, S:UF gets WAY too much enthusiast hate. Every GP I know enjoys those coasters, as do I, and most people at parks seem to as well. Sure, they are uninspired layouts, but that doesn't mean they're bad coasters. At least they're pretty smooth, which is the problem with the Flying Dutchman models, in spite of having much more interesting layouts.)

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Maybe it's the fact that I grew up near Kings Island and considered Son of Beast to be my favorite coaster for at least three years, but I don't find Vortex or Nighthawk "rough" in the slightest, nor did I find Green Lantern rough when I rode it. Like people have been saying, ride it defensively and you'll be just fine. Vortex and Green Lantern are both awesome in my opinion; they're very forceful and feeling those kinds of G's while standing up is a very interesting experience. While I enjoy Riddler's Revenge and admit that it doesn't have to be ridden nearly as defensively, it's not nearly as intense as the other two standups that I've ridden.

 

As for the Dutchman vs. B&M Flyer argument, I'll still hold out that B&M models are more fun. For one, I like starting by being lifted up into flying position rather than lowered onto my back. But beyond that, I feel like B&M captures the essence of "flight" better than Vekoma. I remember riding S:UF at SFGAdv and thinking that it rode like a much-improved Firehawk. Both rides are/were over boring grassy fields so I think it's a fair comparison as far as theming goes. Aside from the first overbank and the final helix on Firehawk, though, there aren't very many "flying" moments, whereas Superman makes you feel like you're flying for the entire ride.

 

It really depends on your expectations for the rides, though. In the end they're very different. If you want to fly, B&M is the way to go. If you want a quirky ride that does weird stuff to your body, go Vekoma. Flying Dutchman's aren't bad rides. The lie to fly at the top of the lift is a very unique experience. The vertical loop on your back is undeniably intense. They have their moments.

 

I love flying coasters. I get excited about both Vekomas and B&Ms. But, overall, B&M does it just a bit better than Vekoma.

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Maybe it's the fact that I grew up near Kings Island and considered Son of Beast to be my favorite coaster for at least three years, but I don't find Vortex or Nighthawk "rough" in the slightest, nor did I find Green Lantern rough when I rode it. Like people have been saying, ride it defensively and you'll be just fine. Vortex and Green Lantern are both awesome in my opinion; they're very forceful and feeling those kinds of G's while standing up is a very interesting experience. While I enjoy Riddler's Revenge and admit that it doesn't have to be ridden nearly as defensively, it's not nearly as intense as the other two standups that I've ridden.

 

Respectfully, this really isn't the case, as there are two problems with this line of reasoning.

 

1) Coasters can objectively be rough, and as I mentioned before, we coaster enthusiasts are not the ones to properly determine what that is, because we ride so many coasters we are desensitized to a lot of what IS rough, to the average everyday person. Regardless of whether you loved SoB (masochist!), or I loved Drachen Fire, both coasters WERE objectively rough enough to the average everyday rider, that they were removed. Like I said, I had back pain for DAYS, the only time that's ever happened in my nearly 40 years of coaster riding, and I've ridden hundreds of coasters, so I know how to ride them. Knowing how to ride it isn't the issue, the fact it was made poorly, and caused A LOT of people physical discomfort (something which really shouldn't be a part of any coaster experience, honestly, but we enthusiasts love the thrill enough to justify it oftentimes) was the problem. Hence it's gone. I am very confident, that with a couple of years Vortex will be joining both of the aforementioned coasters as a former coaster. In the end, no matter how much our personal tolerances (and that's also what it boils down to) shake out, there IS an objective standard of roughness. While these coasters may not have bothered you, they did bother me, as well as many others who have echoed my sentiments, both enthusiast and GP, and that experience is as valid as yours, or anybody else's. Add up a large number of people (mostly comprised of GP) who find a coaster to be rough or uncomfortable, and it can be accurately stated to be a rough coaster.

 

2) If you have to ride a coaster "defensively", it's clearly not a smooth coaster. I suppose some use that argument about one of my favorite coasters, The Voyage, and I will admit, there are probably better ways to ride it than others. But if a coaster has to be ridden defensively, it's basically acknowledging it IS rough, as a coaster should be designed to provide as comfortable of an experience as possible for the riders. Obviously, some types of coasters will be more "rough" or "uncomfortable" than others, such as a wooden coaster, and some of that should be expected by anybody getting on one of those. However, even though we, as enthusiasts can say that, at the end of the day, if Karen and her family get on a wooden coaster, and experience a bit of discomfort, they'll likely complain, and the park WILL take notice if enough people are doing that. As such, I can assure you, parks are not looking to build intentionally uncomfortable coasters that could lead to those scenarios, so as much as a subset of enthusiasts loves to be beat around on a coaster, or feels like violent ejector or laterals are all "a part of what makes it a great coaster experience", that is not the typical opinion, nor is it the patron that amusement parks are building coasters for. So again, there should be no need to ride a coaster defensively, and if there is, while it may still be a fun coaster, or a great one of some people's eyes, it does make it a "rough" coaster, objectively.

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I'm also one who likes the flying dutchman model. Or at least, Firehawk that is (the only one I've ridden).

 

My main gripe with B&M flyers is starting and ending in the flying position. I'd take a mild sunburn any day over all the blood rushing to my head and feeling like I'm gonna die waiting on the final brake run for ever slow dispatches.

 

Many criticize the Vekoma flyers for spending too much time on your back and not enough in the actual flying position. While that certainly is true and makes them oxymoronical in a sense, I for one find the lying moments to be just as cool, if not cooler, than flying. As someone mentioned earlier, all the switching from fly-lie. That's what I like the most.

 

One of the best moments on any coaster imo, is when you flip over after the lift on a dutchman and face the ground for the first time.

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^Hmm... Interesting... The #1 thing I dislike about the Flying Dutchman's, is going up the lift hill on your back! If it's night, or overcast, as some of my rides on them have been, it's not so bad. But if it's a bright, sunny day (as it was when I rode Nighthawk), it's brutal! Of course, my eyes are photophobic, and water, and sting, if they get subjected to too much light, so that contributes to the discomfort of the situation. It's a little hard to enjoy a coaster when you can't open your eyes because they're watering, and burning during the duration of the ride. So that was a big negative with the Vekoma's for me. Perhaps if you started on your back in the station, and then dropped down after you left it, and inverted, like you do off the lifts currently, it wouldn't be so bad. You'd still be going up the hill under the track, which is a great part of the B&M's in my opinion!

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I'm not a fan of flyers, period. The pretzel loops on B&M models give me an extreme stomach drop/heart attack sensation. I used to think it was awesome and now it's so uncomfortable that it makes me nervous. The rest of the rides just make me sick.

 

Dutchman Flyers make me equally sick, but the brake run on your back is the killer for me. I feel queasy after both models, but that brake run gives me that instant motion sickness head rush.

 

As far as roughness goes, it gets old hearing some of us call riders who prefer not to have a rough riding experience pussies. I really don't enjoy many rides that give me any discomfort. That's not to say that I can't ride them, but I prefer not to. 'Too rough' and 'too rough for me to enjoy' are two different things. I can tolerate rides being rough. I just don't want to. People can tolerate riding in my jarring Subaru, but they'd rather ride in a Cadillac. That doesn't somehow make them weak.

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I think Stand-Up coasters in general are a bad idea, and haven't ridden too many that were objectively smooth.

 

Could not agree more there. I've long considered the stand-up to be an inherently flawed concept. No matter how smooth you make the transitions or comfortable the restraints, the fact remains that human kneecaps just aren't meant to have 3-5 gs of force exerted directly onto them.

 

I think its pretty telling how THREE different manufacturers (Intamin, Togo, and lastly B&M) tried their hand at a standup model and none of them were able to gain wide appeal, or at least, wide enough to justify building more. Hasn't been one groundup standup in 20 years (and for good reason!). B&M still offers the model technically, but I highly doubt that we're going to see one within any time frame worth mentioning.

 

That having said, I feel as if the B&M standups could have been a lot more tolerable had they kept their designs relatively simple and not too big or fast. The Togo standups had an advantage in that regard, albeit less comfortable restraints, and worse transitions. I've heard decent things about Georgia Scorcher at least (the last B&M one to be built), which IMO is what they should have been going for all along.

 

There is enough novelty contained in the standing gimmick itself. There was never any need to ratchet these coasters up to 140-150 ft, with 5-6 inversions, as they did with Mantis, Chang/GL, Riddler. They essentially had built floorless coasters but with standup trains (yeah, I know the heartline is different, but you know what I mean).

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Looks like I am going to have ride Nighthawk to settle this debate in my head!

S:UF is defensible just for the pretzel loop itself: that may be the single most insane element B&M has ever put on a ride. It's also wonderfully bizarre how they inserted that batshit element in the middle of an otherwise bland and forceless layout.

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I don't think the standup is a flawed concept at all, I just think that the Togos were their pinnacle. They were small enough to need the gimmick, did every motion desirable on a standup (plus a couple less desirable), and were the right length. If only you could have then immediately been allowed to exit instead of standing there. B&M killed the genre through having no redeeming value combined with the public attitude they could do no wrong and Togo could do nothing right. If B&M actually rode a Togo without the our shit don't stink attitude, refined the good and avoided the bad, they could still be making them.

 

One ride on Nighthawk and you should have a fairly complete list of what's good and bad about flying coasters. Swooping over the lake, excellent, all the tumble dryer stuff, awful. Add to that the airtime pop on Superman going into the pretzel loop, wonderful, and almost everything else about it, horrendous. And yet later designs learned little or nothing.

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