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Carowinds Discussion Thread

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

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We are currently staying at the Carowinds campground and noticed Nighthawk testing earlier today. Not sure if anyone cares too much or if it means anything, but thought I’d share. I only saw one cycle as it was dropping off the lift. 

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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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  • 2 weeks later...

There have been several years in the past when we've looked at a trip to Carowinds over Spring Break but our spring break was always a few weeks before they opened for the season. Will be nice to have that option available now. 

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Technically the park has been toying with this for several years now.  going from being closed between scarowinds and winterfest to having the peanuts celebration covering that time period.  Now they will probably have some festival that will cover weekends from jan to feb.

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On 10/18/2022 at 9:51 AM, jarmor said:

Technically the park has been toying with this for several years now.  going from being closed between scarowinds and winterfest to having the peanuts celebration covering that time period.  Now they will probably have some festival that will cover weekends from jan to feb.

Maybe Mardi Gras/Carnival? This year Fat Tuesday is Feb 21 (but I could see the parks stretch it until Easter in early April) or do MG Jan and Feb and some sort of Spring break thing in March. 

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That's a pretty decent lineup of rides for WinterFest.  Really the only one I am sad about not being on the list is Intimidator, but considering Copperhead Strike, Peanuts Pirates, Fury and Nighthawk (I know. but I need the credit!) are on the list, I may have to give it a look this year.  :)

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On 10/24/2022 at 12:46 PM, BitterOldHag said:

That's a pretty decent lineup of rides for WinterFest.  Really the only one I am sad about not being on the list is Intimidator, but considering Copperhead Strike, Peanuts Pirates, Fury and Nighthawk (I know. but I need the credit!) are on the list, I may have to give it a look this year.  :)

Don't let the haters get you. Nighthawk is a great ride. Better then the superman flyers. That loop while on your back is one of the most unique feelings on a ride 

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  • 1 month later...

I went to Carowinds for the first time yesterday. I had a good time, despite slow ops. The Winterfest theming was beautiful, although it was jarring jumping straight into Christmas mode one day after thanksgiving, lol.

Here's what I rode:

Fury 325 x2
Copperhead Strike x1
Afterburn x1
Wilderness Run x1 :D
Nighthawk x1

Fury, Afterburn, and Nighthawk were all running one train. Nighthawk in particular had very sluggish dispatches, so we waited about an hour in line for that. Copperhead Strike was running two trains and operations there were quite fast. Carolina Cyclone was down the whole time, and Copperhead Strike went down at about 7, so I only got to ride it once.

Fury was amazing, tons of airtime. All in all, a super fun ride. Hot take: Goliath at SFOG is still a better B&M hyper ;)

All in all, a pretty good first visit with two rides on one of the best rollercoasters in the world. Can't wait to go back soon!



Edited by liamre4
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