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Carowinds Discussion Thread

P. 417 - Fury back open now with 100% less crack!

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1 hour ago, Skysthelimit said:

Hey all,

I’m flying from Orlando to Charlotte with my partner to visit Carowinds on Sunday 5/22. Given that Nighthawk is still down, do you think Fastlane is still a good idea to ensure plenty of rerides? Any idea if the price is higher day of or at the park? Thanks! 

I would say yes to the Fast Lane, but I also almost never am without it at a Cedar Fair park.  You will want multiple re-rides on Fury and Copperhead Strike, especially if this is your first visit to the park and/or you won't be back soon.  But it looks like you're only like an 8-9 hour drive; for me, that's a close enough road trip to do on a 3-day weekend.  I've done it several times out to CP and KI LOL.

Price will not change between online/at the park purchase (except you won't pay the service fees at the park), but the price may change between now and then.  It will likely only go up, not down, so if you buy it now you've locked in the best price.

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Thanks! Yes, I should have specified we’ve been to the park before. The park has been dead on several occasions we have visited which is why I thought it would be worth asking the question. We’ll probably pre-purchase just to be safe 🙂

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Join a Carowinds Facebook group or two and see how the next couple Sundays go.  Personally, I'd show up before the park opens, start riding and then decide while at the park.  

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  • 1 month later...

Haven't been to the park since Fury first opened. Will be visiting on Saturday July 2nd. Yes, the busy holiday weekend with fireworks etc. Luckily for me we have platinum all season fast lane.

- Anything special I need to know about FastLane? Should I go anywhere first due to a merge point, or just ride and reride whenever and wherever?

- According to queue times it looks like nighthawk is still closed. Any idea when/if it's going to reopen?

- What's the best food in the park? Don't know if I'll eat there or not since I scoped out some restaurants in Charlotte that look delicious but maybe we'll get a quick lunch or snack, depending.

- How is Hurler? Never been on it. Front vs back for the best ride? Is it going to kill me?

- Copperhead is also new to me, any seating advice? Looks very hangtimy and seats may not matter, but thought I'd ask. I'm excited for the JO-JO ;)

- Probably won't be a super long trip with FL and I don't know if I'll stay for Carnivale OR fireworks stuff... or do they put on a really good show and I should stick around and deal with people and traffic?

- Any other advice? I'll also be going with my Sister who has never been to the park so that will be fun too.

- Any other big boy seats on any rides? It looks like Afterburn has them based on my limited research.


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I'll try to answer point by point

-Fast Lane does not exist for Kiddy Hawk (Vekoma hang-and-bang), Woodstock Express (Jr. woodie that should not be skipped), or Ricochet (basically the same wild mouse as is at Kings Dominion).  If you care about any of these, I'd head to one of those first.

-No idea about Nighthawk

-I recall the mac & cheese at Harmony Hall being decent, but I'm sure one of the foodies here will chime in with more recommendations.

-Hurler is rough.  If you're desperate for the credit, ride in the front.  If you're not a credit counter, I'd honestly just skip it.

-Copperhead Strike, I prefer the back seat.  You'll get plenty of hangtime no matter where you sit.

-Grand Carnivale, if it's the same parade/show as what they did at Kings Dominion, is entertaining enough but not worth deviating from your plans for.  No idea about the fireworks.

-Don't skip on the Enterprise, "Scream Weaver," or the Sol-Spin, "Electro Spin."  Both are very rare flats for entirely different reasons.  I recall their mine train being fun too.  The Boomerang is one of the better ones, with the new vest restraints.  Boo Blasters is the same at the one at Kings Dominion, if you've been there.  The water park isn't terrible but doesn't have anything that other CF waterparks don't, if I recall correctly.  It will be very hot, plan accordingly and hydrate appropriately.  Don't cross the state line with a beer or other alcoholic beverage in your hand or you'll be technically guilty of a federal crime (bootlegging), though nothing will happen to you except maybe security yelling at you.  There will be signs and lines painted on the ground.

-No idea about big boy seats.

Have fun!  It's a good park, mid-tier in the CF chain in my book.  Fury is really their only show-stopper (and to a lesser extent, Afterburn), though some people also swear by Intimidator.

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Thanks for the info! I will be making a quick stop at Kings Dominion on the way home on July 4th as well. It will be a long day of driving so I won't be there too long and I've been there quite a few times. Carowinds I have as much time as I need so I may even ride some flats and stuff I normally wouldn't ride, especially having FL this time around, and going with someone new to the park. Looking forward to it! It was a last minute decision so I'm excited to have a park planned so soon.

Never done Apple Zapple so if it's like the one at Carowinds I'll do one or the other. I've only been on a Boo Blasters once in my lifetime surprisingly. I see it's on FL so I'll definitely ride it at Carowinds.

How does the Plants vs Zombies line get? I remember it being a huge room so I would figure the line probably wouldn't be outrageous, I just remember not enjoying it so much because it was so hard to figure out which target you were.

I didn't even realize they had a waterpark. I just feel like the crowds on a Saturday wouldn't warrant it since FL is no good there, though.

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I went to Carowinds yesterday with my daughter and dad for Father's Day and it wasn't crowded at all. We were there for rope drop and left around three. I don't think I saw a line for any coaster over 10 minutes or so all day.

My 73YO dad hadn't ridden a coaster since 1990 and chose Fury to dip his toe back in the water. He loved it! 




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  • 2 weeks later...

Random Question: we have platinum passes, does Carowinds have the option of the self-service parking kiosks to scan your season pass to get in like some of the other CF parks? Going with guests and just want to know if we have to separate in our cars or not or just swap places before going into the park.

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  • 5 weeks later...

From my understanding, this weekend.  Now the final call for southern star is a surprise as it was in the plans as to stay.  Now, it may be staying under a different name and make over to look like a plane (SFOG starship).  I think the name of the new area will be Aviation Village or some rendition of it.

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A few things were leaked then snatched off line but it looks like in the artwork Southern Star is not there because where it currently sits is the entry plaza and a very elaborate sign that says Aeronautical Landing. They have been aggressive with getting things down. Southern is pretty much dismantled along with Yo-yo, which is on a trailer bed. I'm guessing its gong t another park or has been sold off. I personally feel like Southern Star may come back in the boardwalk or in between the boardwalk/thrill zone areas. I could see it. They were very careful with dismantling it with leads me to think its not being scrapped.


Also looks like she newness is coming to the CF Parks concerning season passes. Looks like you can either do a membership subscription style or the one time payment as well. 


Screen Shot 2022-08-04 at 2.40.05 PM.png

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone know why Carowinds doesn’t have regular hours on Sunday October 2nd but it looks like they do that Saturday and every other Sunday after. I’m only in Charlotte Friday-Sunday and have the soccer game Saturday night so I’ll get Friday Scarowinds and Saturday regular hours to ride everything if they’re not open Sunday for regular hours. 

any tips to get all of it in in those 12 or so hours. And anything else near Charlotte I can fill my time with you’d suggest? 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/22/2022 at 10:37 AM, tndank said:

Prob a corp buy out like yesterday.


So I look d and it says the great pumpkin fest is still happening that day? What is open during the great pumpkin fest and is it just the kids events or what? 

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On 8/22/2022 at 10:27 AM, Taeshan said:

Does anyone know why Carowinds doesn’t have regular hours on Sunday October 2nd but it looks like they do that Saturday and every other Sunday after. I’m only in Charlotte Friday-Sunday and have the soccer game Saturday night so I’ll get Friday Scarowinds and Saturday regular hours to ride everything if they’re not open Sunday for regular hours. 

any tips to get all of it in in those 12 or so hours. And anything else near Charlotte I can fill my time with you’d suggest? 

By "regular hours" to you mean daytime?  If so, yes, the park is not open to the public during the daytime on Sunday, October 2nd.

I'd say 12 hours is probably enough to hit everything you want at least once.

1 hour ago, Taeshan said:

So I look d and it says the great pumpkin fest is still happening that day? What is open during the great pumpkin fest and is it just the kids events or what? 

"Great Pumpkin Fest" is the name of their daytime, family-friendly Halloween stuff.  All rides that would otherwise be running run on those days.  But not that day, October 2nd, during which they have no public hours posted.

If this is confusing, you should probably call the park or send them a message on FB.

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  • 4 weeks later...
14 hours ago, tndank said:

They have been testing it off and on the last couple weeks.  It's bound to open sometime soon.


Ah, gotcha - sorry I didn’t realize that. 

On an unrelated note, tomorrow looks cold (at least compared to FL standards) and I’m trying to figure out the loose article situation. Does anyone know if Fury allows Fanny packs? The website seems to imply it does, but part of me feels that IROC took away that privilege from park guests and I’m going to be directed to a locker after a 30 second visual scan. 


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We had a great time at both Carowinds during the day and Scarowinds in the evening on Saturday 10/1! It was our first time at their campground with our RV and we were both wildly impressed. The transportation was quick and easy. The shuttle bus allowed us to come and go as we pleased to the park (well, during the day at least.) Here are a few pictures and thoughts to share:

- We rode Copperhead Strike opening year and I thought it was a solid B+. Not sure if it’s running any different or if it took a few extra rides to process, but we just loved it! It was a walk on during the day and probably a 30-40 minute wait with 2 trains running (3rd in the transfer bay). The launch felt like it had a bit more kick than usual for Mack and any animated theming elements seems to have held up. 
- Iron Gwazi and Steel Vengeance still trump Fury for me, as they have a bit more bite to them, but the blistering speed, length, and all the things people love about Fury still hold up years later. I was impressed they were running 3 trains on both this and intimidator even though during daytime hours there had to have been less than 1500 people in the park. I will say that after experiencing Orion, that coaster has significantly more kinetic energy and atmosphere with the Imascore soundtrack (I’m a sucker for those) and the general area theming. Still a testament to how perfect of a ride Fury is. 
- Intimidator has always been a middle of the road hyper for me. It was running really smooth and I never quite appreciated the first turnaround the way I did this trip. Super cool sensation that’s different than Mako down the road from us. The layout is a little bland and the theming a tad difficult for me to get excited about, but a great coaster that also dominates the skyline.  
- I rode Top Gun in 1999 and it was fantastic and the ride really hasn’t changed much since then. The station and queue seems abit haggard, but the ride itself looks and feels perfectly maintained. For a compact layout, I really prefer this to the Batman clones. The trench dive gives a respectable nod to Montu which is appreciated. 
- We quit drinking 9 months ago which has freed up extra money during our park visits so decided to splurge on a VIP bungalow after having a great experience at KI. This was even better, as it was private and even had a TV. In my advanced years it’s been good to take a breather between rides and we really enjoyed it. Definitely worth the $79. 
- I always enjoy riding our old favorites like Goldrush , Carolina Cyclone, and even Hurler. We had a zen ride (is it called that if it’s just two of you? Might be a stretch…) where I took someone’s recent advice to ride front middle. It was AWESOME - I worked Mantis briefly during college and this really didn’t feel any more uncomfortable. I’ve had some brutal rides in the past. We came back and did it again and had another great ride. 
- For Scarowinds, we enjoyed ourself because we budgeted in Fast and Frightlane (worth every penny, as always), but frankly the event felt very low budget and light on decor. Thankfully it was included in our platinum pass. The park was packed but not as busy as I expected for a Saturday. Paranormal Inc. was the standout house with a really cool pre show. My second favorite was Depths of Darkness, with the premise that you are in the mind of a serial killer. I’m a sucker for well done fogging, lighting and sound and I thought this was great - just skimping on the actors. Very likely because we walked in shortly before close.

Overall, Carowinds was a wonderful time as always and the park is just so comfortable and easy to navigate. There were some IROC certified trainers at the coasters that seemed to be smothering and terrifying their trainees and slowed dispatches to a crawl, but who am I to judge. 

As much as I love to visit parks that are inherently more charming than Carowinds, such as Kennywood, Waldameer, Hershey Canobie and Lake Compounce, I love knowing that I can go to most CF parks and the rides are running at or near capacity. I know CP can be a crapshoot these days, but my visits to Carowinds and KI rarely is there ride downtime and I don’t think I’ve ever seen single train ops. Taking a weekend to fly to Pittsburgh to get a credit only to show up knowing there is a 50/50 shot of Steel Curtain running one train, with that similar foolishness going on over at Phantom/Thunderbolt too, I’ve found myself avoiding those parks because we just don’t have the patience. Just a personal preference and not trying to be b*tchy. 

As a huge Afterburn fans, we’re really looking forward to Aeronautica Landing livening up that section of the park. The area is already fenced on off so hopefully they can get a good head start. 

On Monday, we did make a stop at Lake Shawnee Amusement Park for a tour, which was fantastic. I think most on this forum have heard of it, but the site has been featured on Travel Channel/Ghost Hunter shows. I have never had a paranormal experience in my life, but we actually experienced some activity on the swing ride where a small bag was spinning/swaying fairly violently as our three dogs approached. It was not windy and the other items hanging from the swings weren’t moving - spooky. The guide said the little girl who passed away when the ride was hit by a delivery truck during operations was likely excited by the dogs. The guide seemed relatively unphases and continued his spiel. I can’t say we felt the same level of ease/calm, but super cool. I don’t have a video but my mom is my witness as she saw it on FaceTime. 

Anyways, here’s a few pictures to share! Next stop, Dollywood today and tomorrow. 



Quick photo op before opening!


Empty station at Vortex. I’ve always had a soft spot for this one. 

It’s still got that whip, especially row 8 right side.


Fury as it’s about to start it’s morning tests


Money well spent! Enjoyed hanging out here and the ambiance of a Boomerang really made the experience 🤣

Obligatory PSL post. 

I don’t have a great picture of the swings, but here is the Ferris Wheel at Lake Shawnee located in close proximity. 
After our tour, we were allowed to walk through their haunted attraction which was pretty cool. Highly recommend if you are off the beaten path! 


Quick last shot on the outskirts of the campground. 



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