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Carowinds Discussion Thread

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

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I had a chance to check it out yeterday, and I thought it was AWESOME!!!!!!! Nice air to be had all over! I did hear a few people say Diamondback is better, but if that is the case, I REALLY want to check out Diamondback, because this thing was just plain fun to ride! I took a ton of pictures from the day that I had, but rather than posting them all here, you can see them on my 2010 Adventures Thread


-Gary T.

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I rode on Saturday morning on the 2nd train and the ride was amazing. The first time that I rode it, I was in the first row of the 7th car. It was a fun ride. Immediately after getting off, I realized that no one had figured out that there was a single riders line yet and I walked straight past the line to the front of the line and was immediately place on a train. This time, I was in the 3rd row. The experience in that row was above and beyond the first ride. The amount of airtime was incredible. On every single hill, I would get airtime at the top of the hill and it would continue all the way down until the train bottomed out at the bottom of each valley. It was amazing how much more airtime I got closer to the front.

The only other coaster of this size that I have ridden is Bizzaro at SFNE. Bizzaro is much more forceful but Intimidator was so much smoother. The biggest difference is that every time I rode Bizzaro, they always clamped down so hard on the restraints that it truly felt like you were being stapled into the seat. With Intimidator, the restraints were much more comfortable and actually gave some room to provide some airtime.

I think that the ride on Bizzaro would slightly edge Intimidator, but with the comfort and potential for airtime, I think that Intimidator is an overall better ride.

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Carowinds - Opening Day 2010 - March 27


Yesterday I kicked off the 2010 Coaster Season with a trip to Carowinds. This marked the first time I'd been to a park on opening day or ridden a new ride on its first day of public operations. Intimidator, the $23 million B&M attraction was the reason I came. Unfortunately, it failed to meet my expectations in every way.


Just kidding, you know it was awesome!




Driving down 77 South toward Carowinds Blvd., the new coaster is visible from miles away. Pictures do not do it justice. This thing looks absolutely amazing in person. Carowinds did an amazing job placing the coaster for maximum visibility. People walking into the park from the lot were all staring and taking pictures. You get some great views of the entire ride on the way to the gate.


I got to the park at 12 p.m., and, to my surprise, found the coaster had no more than a 15 minute wait all day; probably much less if you took the single rider line. I'll talk about this later in the report under operations, but this thing is absolutely a work-horse. They were running three trains, barely stacking and pumping people through. The station, queue and surrounding area look really great. They just need to get some songs other than "Talladega Shuffle" for the line and we'll be OK. The trains look slick in person - even the stickers don't look so bad - and I liked the hood clamps and other little touches they added. The seats are comfortable and sleek, and the clamshells are similarly comfortable. This was my first experience with the new trains and I love the increased visibility. There was no audio on the lift other than "Gentlemen start your engines" at dispatch. On a side note, I noticed that a decent number of people were not able to ride due to their size. Don't know if this is just a Cedar Fair thing or if the restraints are somewhat different than the other B&M hypers. Some of the ride ops would give an extra push, others would not.


Now, what you actually care about: the ride. As far as crowd-pleasers go, Carowinds has a winner. The ride is fantastic and definitely one of the better B&M hypers. Throughout the day, I rode in the last row (wing seat), middle (wing seat) and front (middle seats). The ride experience is different depending on your seat (o rly?) and I will echo the sentiment that the middle is definitely the most tame. The front and back are about equal, abet during different elements.


The first drop is great. There's some crazy hang-time in the front and the back absolutely whips over the top giving you true ejector air (!). The next element reminds me of the similar-looking one on Nitro and is a lot of fun, if not incredible forceful. The back row gets some decent air but the front gets quick ejector air into the crest. The next big hill gives great air in all seats. As Pufferfish (I think) mentioned, the back gets air on the way down, the front on the way up. I'm talking sustained heavy floater air of the 4 seconds variety. My ass was off the seat for quite awhile. The turn-around/hammerhead is reasonably forceful and better than Nitro's. Forgive me if I am getting the next two hills mixed up, but I believe the one with the trim after the turnaround is probably the weakest of the ride. The next one, however, gives ejector air, especially in the back. This was kind of a "holy s**t" point for me, as I wasn't expecting the air to be that strong. The midcourse was grabbing moderately and you get a nice little pop of air coming off it in the back. The helix is fun and that's where the photo gets taken. The pop out of that and the one into the brakes also give some decent air.


Yesterday I don't think the trims on the hills book-ending the hammerhead were on. I didn't feel them and they weren't making any noise. It was only a high of 61 or something yesterday so that might have had something to do with it. So overall I think I can echo the statements of a stranger whom I rode beside on my first ride: "Carowinds needed this." Yes they frickin' did. Intimidator is going to be a huge hit this summer and for years to come. The ride is nothing but bliss. It's smooth as glass and actually pretty forceful. It's also a capacity monster and I didn't see one technical glitch yesterday. Plus it roars. I've ridden Apollo's Chariot and Nitro, and Intimidator is better than Nitro and as good if not better than Apollo.


B. And. M. indeed.




While I was there to ride Intimidator, I hit most of the other coasters as well.


After Burn: Every time I ride this it re-affirms to me my belief that this is a near-perfect inverted coaster. It's still smooth, forceful and perfectly paced. The zero-g roll and batwing are definitely the highlights. After Burn was running both trains, which were looking fantastic with new restraints and possibly seats.


Thunder Road: Probably the best surprise of the day, Thunder Road was actually open. I haven't been able to ride this for several years since it's always been down early in the season. Both sides were running, dueling, and running two trains apiece! The North Carolina side was running better than the South Carolina side, but all in all, the track work has really done wonders. I got some nice air and the ride was reasonably smooth, especially in the front. Back row had some jackhammering but nothing major.


Carolina Cyclone: The paint job looks striking in person; much better than in the pictures. This is still a fun ride even if it's gotten outpaced by its newer brothers. The first loop always makes me dizzy, it seems too small.


Hurler: Well, this has a trim now. Maybe it was added last year since I didn't go last season but it's definitely there now. The trim is located at the flat section at the bottom of the drop. Due to some weird boards on the drop it almost looks like they considered doing it ala Mantis but decided not to. I didn't notice the trim actually being on, however. Hurler has never been my favorite ride and today didn't change that, although I had a headache at this point so that didn't help. It was running OK and I got some decent air, but the turns were pretty rough. Running both trains.


Drop Zone: Despite being short, this has one of the best stomach-to-chest feelings of all the drop towers.


Vortex: Grandpa B&M was running well today. Hopefully it's next on the list to be painted. I'd like to see a new color scheme but we all know Cedar Fair loves red.


Nighthawk: Running one train, typical. Actually, I think it started with two and one broke. I've ridden this as Stealth, Borg and Nighthawk and still love the ride. It was running great this season; forceful and reasonably smooth. The lie-to-fly is still one of the most unnerving elements on a ride, as the Vekoma vest seems to be dying to break (of course it's not going to, I'm only kidding). The loop is amazing, too. The new paint job gets a 10/10.


Carolina Cobra: I think I should have tempered by expectations for this one a bit. New trains do not erase the fact that it's still a boomerang. My friends liked it a lot and I thought it was OK, but the track is still pretty rough. The new trains, however, were gorgeous and the restraints fit really well. My only problem with them is that the piece behind your head is flat and hard as a rock, which isn't good. Rode front row.




This being opening day, I knew everything wouldn't be perfect, but Carowinds actually did a pretty decent job. Intimidator was obviously staffed with the best and they were pumping out trains. I'll take this time to say that I kind of hate when they assign you rows, and they were being pretty strict about it. I like it from the point of getting people through the ride, but don't expect to get your first choice on the first go-round. The morning crew on After Burn seemed a little clueless when a short breakdown happened and were sort of wandering around, but I'm sure they'll get the hang of it. The night crew was much better and the guy running the ride was great. He was cheering the crowd on, and when the train would pass the station he'd say, "Shark just buzzed the tower" or something. This was to urge the people checking restraints to hurry so they could meet their intervals.


The Nighthawk crew seemed to be moving slowly, with 6+ minute cycles when I first got in line, but by the time I got up to the station, they were running around like crazy. Also, two of the crew members were talking to everyone as they waited for the train to come back (since only one was running) asking about our days, if we were having fun, etc. They guy running the ride was funny, and on this ride people actually screamed that they loved the ride when it returned back to the station. The operator also kept asking if Nighthawk was better than Intimidator, announcing that it was the best ride in the park, etc. It was pretty funny.


Thank you Carowinds for running your rides at capacity. It was great to see rides like Thunder Road and Hurler actually running all their trains!




Fantastic. The park has never looked this good. There was a sensible number of trash cans, and the landscaping was great pretty much everywhere. The new paint on the rides makes a big different, as did some of the new sidewalks and natural areas. The park was also spotless, no trash anywhere. All of the coaster trains looked amazing as well, especially Thunder Road with the flames, Carolina Cyclone and After Burn.


If this opening day was any indication of the 2010 season, it looks to be a good one. Perfect sunny weather and a great new B&M were among the highlights of the day. Cheers to Carowinds for a great opening day and thanks for finally building me a hyper. Next up, 305!




If you rotate this you can pretend it has a dive loop!


It has a drop.


It has a lift, complete with magical chain of doom.




The whistles go woo woo.






Miami Subs Boomerang


Reverse lift of doom.



Mr. Catch-car man.


Artsy shot of the day.



Lie to fly.







Working hard or hardly working you lazy bastard.








Rattle rattle.

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It's nice to see that B&M Hypers are not becoming a lost art and can also have great, new themes to them. The pictures above are also pretty spectacular, great work! Can't wait for the early review of the Kings Dominion one!


Also, when I read that they show the video of Dale's final race on a continous loop, I laughed so hard.

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Just out of curiosity, does Carowinds ever have long lines?


Come during SCarowinds and you'll find out.


I worked last fall at the park and honestly saw like 1 hour+ waits on Afterburn. I can't imagine what Intimidator will draw.


They had the whole queue full at times, but the crew was hauling it all day long and kept that sucker going like I've never seen. Plus you don't have the hassle of the invert overhead seats and such, so that makes it even faster.


By 2:00 the average wait was 20 minutes for us.


Kudos too for not making us rent lockers!!!


Oh, and avoid that place like the plague Memorial Day weekend. Unless you want to hear banjos.

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I had a great time on it i had maybe a 15 min wait (in single riders line) When I got in the station I almost chickened out but carolinacaniac convinced me to go on it and man am I glad I did. The middle was great (so much floater air) I got wing seats so I signed my name in the dust. The lift took maybe 30 seconds going over the drop was insane it pushed you back into the seat the S-turn was amazing it felt like you are going to fall out The third hill at least 5-seconds of air. The turn around is forceful but fun and the rest is just awesome. The trims most likely weren't on. In all awesome I got two more rides and a tee-shirt out of it.

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Its so great to see pictures from a seasonal park opening for the season. I'm really excited for the start of the new coaster season (for those of us outside of So-Cal and FL).


Everything on the report from Carowinds sounds great. I'll be heading down there for the first time in May. Looking forward to riding this great new B&M.


Just curious, for those who have now ridden Intimidator, how would you compare it to the other B&M hypers like Diamondback, Nitro, etc.?

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^^ Just to let you know, that was pollen you were sticking your finger in, not dust.


Thanks for the positive reviews especially to our crew. We actually still aren't working the best we can yet. We are still finding a lot more ways to do things even quicker so to fully avoid ever stacking. Thanks for the great trip report! I'm glad you liked the park!

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I liked Intimidator better than the other B&M hypers I have ridden (Goliath SFOG and Apollo), but I rode Apollo when I was a little under the weather so my opinion of it might be skewed because of that.


*edit- And you guys were doing a great job yesterday. There was one guy, I believe his name was Anthony that I wound up sitting in seats he was checking on 3 of my 5 rides...dude seemed so excited to be doing his job.

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^The park closed at 6:00 tonight and the tornado was no where near us, so no need to worry. Only weather we saw today was an annoying sporadic drizzle and constantly blowing winds peaking at 36mph! It was an interesting day, especially seeing that we were completely dead and Intimidator was a walk-on all day. I guess the weather was keeping people home today.

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^^ Just to let you know, that was pollen you were sticking your finger in, not dust.


Thanks for the positive reviews especially to our crew. We actually still aren't working the best we can yet. We are still finding a lot more ways to do things even quicker so to fully avoid ever stacking. Thanks for the great trip report! I'm glad you liked the park!


I thought the crew did a fantastic job for opening day. There was so much to have to deal with, especially people being hardheaded and asking you guys to take items right before dispatch, etc. Were you checking restraints on Intimidator?


And was I mistaken that someone on here works Nighthawk, too?

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^ Yes Intimidator is my ride this year, so I probably ended up checking your restraint once along the line. Also there is a member here who works Nighthawk, in fact he's the supervisor at Night Hawk, Coasterlvr_nc.


Oh man, well sorry I didn't say hello. Next time I'll definitely have to. Just to let you know, I personally never stopped for more than 10 seconds on the brake run, so that's pretty great.

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I don't blame you Andrew. I would probably do the same thing if I were working there and had time off. Besides, I am sure there are others who work at other parks that do the same thing on their favorite coaster. I know I did when I worked at Cedar Point. I managed to bring my total number of rides on Raptor to 92. When I make it up that way this summer, I am going to see if I can hit the 100 mark.


-Gary T.

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