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Carowinds Discussion Thread

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

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I saw on the website park calendar that Carowinds is open the first couple weekends in November. Should I be concerned of limited ride operations, or should everything for the most part be running? (obviously not the waterpark)

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Rides have been testing and lots of credible people are openly sharing it. I believe it. It's ballsy for Cedar Fair considering the fact that North Carolina is having a rise in cases (not because goin

The event has been live for like not even 5 hours.  Eeesh give people some time.

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^They have a ride list up and I believe all major coasters are operating EXCEPT Vortex and Nighthawk! Most everything else in the park is open, plus whatever activities will be had for the peanuts celebration that goes on at that time as well.

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During my two nights at Scarowinds at 10pm the parking gates were backed up and people were still trying to get in. Waits for rides were several hours long. We waited about 10 minutes or less for each ride on Fury...

 

Hey Zach! It's Brian, the lurker from the Safari Line at Great Adventure!

 

I am considering heading down that way this weekend. How would you rate the experience? After that talk we had, I trust your opinion. Is the experience worth the 7 hour drive or would I be better served hitting Kings Dominion which is only about 2 hours from me?

 

Hey! I was wondering if I'd hear from you. We went a few years ago during Fury's first year and we had a blast. Carowinds is such a compact park that you don't have many dead areas that lack Halloween themeing. The Haunt lines moved pretty quick, but we only did a couple. I wouldn't go without Fast Lane Plus and the Fast Lane/Fright Lane combo seems to be the way to go. The only down side was that there were really long lines for beer and we have a tradition of drinking a lot during our annual Halloween park trips...

 

Either way, if you haven't ridden Fury it would be worth the trip. I'm sure King's Dominion has a good Halloween event too and I've heard Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Halloween event is really well done. I don't think there's a bad choice between the three of them.

 

PS: We completely pissed away $250 on our Flash Passes the day we saw you at Great Adventure. The Safari was the only time they paid off. Everything else had less than a five minute wait, as I'm sure you saw.

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So, I'll be making the most of my CF Platinum Pass and making my first ever trip to Carowinds/Scarowinds this weekend. I'll be able to go all night Friday, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday (weather dependent), and have budgeted for getting Fight Lane one night and Fast Lane Plus for one of the days. Planning on at least two rides on Fury, Copperhead Strike, Intimidator 232, and Afterburn. Of course, I have a few questions that I'm hoping the locals/employees/frequent visitors could shed some light on:

 

1. The calendar makes it look like they close the park between regular hours and Scarowinds. If this is true, do passholders need to leave in the downtime?

2. I see there's only 5 haunted walkthroughs, thankfully only one of which is duplicated at KD, my home park. How bad do lines get for the walkthroughs? Would Fright Lane be a necessity? Note that my tolerance for lines is only about 30 minutes these days.

3. Does the Passholder early-entry mornings stop due to Scarowinds? I know it makes no sense, but KD doesn't do Early Entry during Halloween season for some reason.

4. Any places in the park that serve mixed drinks? I'll drink a beer or seven if I have to, but I much prefer some Jack & Coke.

5. Any good places to eat that are on the dining plan? I'm considering getting the All-day dining for like $30 on each of the full days I'll be there, but if the selection is limited or horrible I won't bother. I'm not expecting gourmet food, but at least things that are edible.

6. Guessing the calendar for the water park is accurate, and that it'll be closed despite the 90 degree forecast for this weekend, right? A longshot but I gotta ask.

7. Any of the shows worth seeing? Might be nice to get in some AC for a while during the day.

 

Thanks in advance.

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So, I'll be making the most of my CF Platinum Pass and making my first ever trip to Carowinds/Scarowinds this weekend. I'll be able to go all night Friday, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday (weather dependent), and have budgeted for getting Fight Lane one night and Fast Lane Plus for one of the days. Planning on at least two rides on Fury, Copperhead Strike, Intimidator 232, and Afterburn. Of course, I have a few questions that I'm hoping the locals/employees/frequent visitors could shed some light on:

 

1. The calendar makes it look like they close the park between regular hours and Scarowinds. If this is true, do passholders need to leave in the downtime?

2. I see there's only 5 haunted walkthroughs, thankfully only one of which is duplicated at KD, my home park. How bad do lines get for the walkthroughs? Would Fright Lane be a necessity? Note that my tolerance for lines is only about 30 minutes these days.

3. Does the Passholder early-entry mornings stop due to Scarowinds? I know it makes no sense, but KD doesn't do Early Entry during Halloween season for some reason.

4. Any places in the park that serve mixed drinks? I'll drink a beer or seven if I have to, but I much prefer some Jack & Coke.

5. Any good places to eat that are on the dining plan? I'm considering getting the All-day dining for like $30 on each of the full days I'll be there, but if the selection is limited or horrible I won't bother. I'm not expecting gourmet food, but at least things that are edible.

6. Guessing the calendar for the water park is accurate, and that it'll be closed despite the 90 degree forecast for this weekend, right? A longshot but I gotta ask.

7. Any of the shows worth seeing? Might be nice to get in some AC for a while during the day.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

1. As I remember it, yes.

 

2. Don't know. Never did one.

 

3. Early Entry has ended for the year.

 

4. I don't think so. I generally don't drink at parks. And if I do, it's beer.

 

5. I pretty much only eat at Harmony Hall (food court with several options, I go for brisket, wings, or turkey legs) or the new country kitchen near Copperhead Strike. There is a bar at the country kitchen. Not sure if it will be staffed.

 

6. Water park is done for the season.

 

7. Not sure. I pretty much just do coasters. I have seen a few shows in Harmony Hall while eating. It's a big open room with a stage. Meh.

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Well I went to Scarowinds last Saturday and man was I disappointed. I cannot believe how many people were at the park. It was an absolute madhouse. I have personally never seen it like that. I figured going in September it wouldn't be to terribly busy even with it being a Saturday. I was WRONG!

 

First - my initial impression this year is that they really didn't give a fuc* putting this together. We only got 5 houses and they were the same from last year. Due to it being so busy...they had a continuous line of people going through every house. I had at least 20 people in front and behind me in every house. What a huge disappointment. I can't say i got spooked once.

 

With that said Fury is still amazing and Copperhead was great too!

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Nice update on Scarowinds. How were the ride lines at night? And what were wait times on mazes without fast pass? From pics I saw the park looked crowded for sure.

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Nice update on Scarowinds. How were the ride lines at night? And what were wait times on mazes without fast pass? From pics I saw the park looked crowded for sure.

 

I had Fright Lane so I didn't actually wait in the lines but they lines for the houses were huge. Silver Scream went all the way out to the lockers at Fury's exit. Slaughterhouse was pouring onto the midway near Carolina Cyclone and they had a ton of switchbacks for that one. (I spoke to the guy letting people in Slaughterhouse and he said they were doing 700 people per 30 minutes. Urgent Scare was onto the Midway underneath Nighthawk. Depths of Darkness had three separate lines that were kinda confusing. They were staggering people into three sections. Once you got through one section of the line you would go to the next section. It also had a huge line.

 

As for rides Fury had a full queue the entire time I was there. Copperhead looked like it was about half full. I rode Do-Si-Do and Electro Spin and they both had queues almost onto the midway. I didn't really look into the other rides because I only had time to do all 5 houses and 4 rides. We left as the closed.

 

I will say it took an hour and a half just to get into the park so I would definitely recommend being in the area and getting in line early. Do not wait until 6:30 it will be a mistake. We waited, like I said, 1.5 hours to travel 2 exits leaving at 6:30 to finally get into the park. On top of that the entire parking lot was full. They had to have been at capacity because we parked next to the South Gate and they were no spaces left from the front of the parking lot to the end at the South Gate when we left.

 

I probably will never go again on a Saturday because I was really disappointed. If you don't like thousands of teenagers all around you at all times then go on a Sunday for sure.

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have budgeted for getting Fight Lane one night

 

First rule of fight lane is don't talk about fight lane.

 

Given the time of year and the news stories that come out of theme parks this time of year, I found this typo to be appropriate.

 

---

 

Dang, those crowds sound bonkers, especially with it still being September. They don't really have a reason to change things up when people are coming in droves anyways. That is always my one disappointment with the Cedar Fair haunts, they are usually good the first time you go to them, but then they just get stale because they don't change them up very much from year to year.

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Chris definitely brought up a good point. Get to the parking gate at least a half hour before Scarowinds starts or you will be waiting for a while. Security at the park entrance was pretty backed up, too.

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So, I'll be making the most of my CF Platinum Pass and making my first ever trip to Carowinds/Scarowinds this weekend. I'll be able to go all night Friday, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday (weather dependent), and have budgeted for getting Fight Lane one night and Fast Lane Plus for one of the days. Planning on at least two rides on Fury, Copperhead Strike, Intimidator 232, and Afterburn. Of course, I have a few questions that I'm hoping the locals/employees/frequent visitors could shed some light on:

 

1. The calendar makes it look like they close the park between regular hours and Scarowinds. If this is true, do passholders need to leave in the downtime?

2. I see there's only 5 haunted walkthroughs, thankfully only one of which is duplicated at KD, my home park. How bad do lines get for the walkthroughs? Would Fright Lane be a necessity? Note that my tolerance for lines is only about 30 minutes these days.

3. Does the Passholder early-entry mornings stop due to Scarowinds? I know it makes no sense, but KD doesn't do Early Entry during Halloween season for some reason.

4. Any places in the park that serve mixed drinks? I'll drink a beer or seven if I have to, but I much prefer some Jack & Coke.

5. Any good places to eat that are on the dining plan? I'm considering getting the All-day dining for like $30 on each of the full days I'll be there, but if the selection is limited or horrible I won't bother. I'm not expecting gourmet food, but at least things that are edible.

6. Guessing the calendar for the water park is accurate, and that it'll be closed despite the 90 degree forecast for this weekend, right? A longshot but I gotta ask.

7. Any of the shows worth seeing? Might be nice to get in some AC for a while during the day.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

I went on Friday last week. Here's my answers based on that experience and what I've been told from others. Also including some other tips:

 

1. They do clear out the park between closing of "regular" day and SCarowinds.

2. We didn't do any of the haunts, but the lines didn't look extremely long for the ones we walked by throughout the night.

3. No ERT in the morning. My guess is that gives Carowinds extra timeto keep the morning crews in the afternoon/evening.

4. There were pop-up alcohol stands in a couple places around the park, in addition to the other permanent bars (Harmony Hall and Blue Ridge Kitchen - there could be others). I can't say with certainty they have mixed drinks, but I'm fairly confident the pop-up one near Hurler had liquor.

5. Harmony Hall and Blue Ridge Kitchen are great. Stay away from the Diner between Hurler and Fury, and the pizza place near the Carousel and Cirque theatre. If you're wanting a burrito, the place near the entrance is good, too. If you like chains, Panda Express and Chick-fil-A aren't bad either.

6. Water park is closed.

7. The Cirque show is great and keeps you out of the sun for about an hour. Not sure if the swing band is still playing in Harmony Hall, but they're good - but very loud. Don't know of any other shows during the day.

 

Now, tips on SCarowinds, based on my experience last week. May not all be for you, but in case someone else comes along:

- I've heard Friday nights are the best nights, followed by Sunday nights (when that starts) and then Saturday nights. We went on Friday night, and can agree that it wasn't as busy as I've heard it can be. We didn't wait for more than 15 minutes for the several rides we rode. Probably a combination of early-season and after-work made it work well.

 

- If you're going on Friday night, get to the parking log early. We pulled into the road around 5:15. We were near the front (maybe 6 cars from the locked gate), so you could wait until a little later. When you get into the lot, they're going to take you about a third of the way down before allowing you to get to the parking spaces. Take that turn, then drive all the way back to the front entrance of the park. You'll get an up-close spot, saving you some walking later in the night. The parking lot didn't open until 6:30 for a 7:00 opening, and the security lines and ticket gates didn't open until 6:45, so there is a bit of a mad dash to the entrance once parked.

 

- Once you're in, walk past the photographers and wait at the stage in front of you. Get close (at the line, but let kids in front of you). The show there is fun and the interaction of some of the actors with the guests was fun to watch.

 

- If you're with someone who easily scares, get the No-Boo necklace. $12 to make them have a good time. A fun time. If you have multiple who want one, get only one and keep them together. We had been told that actors love to scare non-necklaced people when with the necklaced people, but we didn't get that at all. The actors treated our group as one no-scare group. Great for the kids - a bit of a disappointment for us (both for spending an extra $12 on the second necklace AND not getting scared ourselves).

 

- All the shows were great BUT Blood Drums near Hurler. Maybe it was the show I watched, but their microphones weren't working, so you couldn't hear hardly any of their percussion over the (already loud) backing-music. They also had a "fire twirler" (quote on purpose). The other shows we watched were much more entertaining and I would suggest them all.

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Back from my first night at (S)Carowinds. Initial thoughts:

 

-Mazes were kinda meh; not enough scareactors. though at least they were grouping people instead of sending lines straight through. Did 4 of the 5, without Fright Lane. Longest I waited was about 20 minutes; Urgent Scare looked to be 30-45 by the time I got to it, and since that theme has been done at KD/Dorney in the past, I decided to skip it.

-Got on my first Intamin 2nd gen drop tower...quite impressive. It felt for a moment that it wouldn't stop falling.

-Didn't feel like waiting in any other lines after making a 6 hour drive to get here, so I didn't go on any other rides, figuring I'd save that for tomorrow when I've got Fast Lane.

-Half of the employees I encountered seemed like they hated their life. What happened to "Southern Hospitality"?

 

I did learn however that apparently on weekends, they close the park at 5, force everyone out, and then re-open it as Scarowinds. That doesn't seem to bad on its own...but FL/FL+ passes purchased during the day are not valid for that night. I get they need to make money, but that is seriously messed up and has soured me on the park greatly, especially since they're charging full price for FL during the day when the time of use has been cut in half.

 

That said, I'm still keeping an open mind, and we'll see how tomorrow goes. Fury, Afterburn, and Copperhead better blow me away.

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When a park closes and reopens later on it’s common sense and standard practice that your skip-the-line pass is no longer valid. There may be some exceptions to this around the world but it’s not the norm. They cleared the park and reopened it for a hard ticket event. It’s essentially a new operating day.

 

They explain this very clearly when you buy it on the website.

 

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Fury, Afterburn, and Copperhead better blow me away.

Or what? The park doesn’t owe you anything. I don’t know how to say this without being so direct and it’s not my intention to start a conflict but if go in without such a entitled attitude you’ll probably have a lot more fun. I’m just being honest here... if you’re going in with that attitude you’re going to have a miserable day.

Edited by coasterbill
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That is a common practice? My apologies then; this is my first time encountering a park that kicks people out and then "re-opens" the same day. I still think they shouldn't be charging full price when the pass is only valid for half the day.

 

And yeah, I was kinda pissed when I wrote that. I'm going in to the day with a completely open mind and we'll see how it goes.

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That is a common practice? My apologies then; this is my first time encountering a park that kicks people out and then "re-opens" the same day. I still think they shouldn't be charging full price when the pass is only valid for half the day.

Knotts' does that for their Halloween events. Six Flags (Magic Mountain, at least) doesn't.

 

Fingers crossed today's a good day!

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In short, yeah today was a lot better. Temperature was manageable up until 3 (when I left), minimal crowds. Fury is a kickass ride, and Copperhead was a lot of fun if not super-intense. I did splurge for FL+ but ended up not needing it except for a few rides (Fury, Nighthawk, Flying Cobras come to mind).

 

Probably won't go back tonight for Scarowinds again, since I hit all of the Halloween stuff last night, but I'll probably go back tomorrow morning for some more rides on Fury and Copperhead before it gets too crowded/hot.

 

Full trip report/review coming soon.

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Was looking at booking a trip to Carowinds the weekend after Thanksgiving to finally get my Fury credit. Saw they don't operate Intimidator or Fury during Winterfest...Does anyone know why they don't operate their signature attractions during Winterfest?

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Was looking at booking a trip to Carowinds the weekend after Thanksgiving to finally get my Fury credit. Saw they don't operate Intimidator or Fury during Winterfest...Does anyone know why they don't operate their signature attractions during Winterfest?

 

Winterfest is meant to be a family winter fun event. Not a thrill ride event. It's the same with all of the Cedar Fair parks (outside of KBF since that's a year-round park). They actually have a hard enough time staffing the event as is. Having more open would be more of a headache. If Carowinds would ever truly go year round (even if it was weekends only between NYE and early March), I could see them having more rides open during Winterfest.

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They both also have temperature thresholds that can't be guaranteed in November and December. Rather than planning on opening them and then not being able to, it's easier to not worry about them at all.

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Was looking at booking a trip to Carowinds the weekend after Thanksgiving to finally get my Fury credit. Saw they don't operate Intimidator or Fury during Winterfest...Does anyone know why they don't operate their signature attractions during Winterfest?

 

Because they don't want to. There's really no other reasonable explanation.

 

They both also have temperature thresholds that can't be guaranteed in November and December.

 

Okay

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... sounds rough

Edited by coasterbill
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By the way, I lived in Charlotte for awhile. This is what we're talking about. These are the projections and averages for December. Even if the park chose to kept their startup temperatures as-is everything could run almost every day.

 

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The only reason nothing runs for Winterfest is that the park doesn't feel like they need to run the rides to draw gate, which I guess is true but the line for the Troika hit 90 minutes almost nightly that week between Christmas and New Years last year and Afterburn usually hit an hour (which never happens) since people had nothing to ride.

 

This is one example where Six Flags buying Cedar Fair would be a positive.

 

Hey man, be nice. Charlotte winters are brutal. Sometimes they have to shake the morning frost off of the palm trees near Intimidator

Edited by coasterbill
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