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Photo TR: Food & Fury at Carowinds


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There certainly has been a lot of hype, hoo-ha, and hullabaloo over Fury 325 at Carowinds, and being as I live a mere five-to-six-hours away, I decided I may as well check it out last weekend. And, you know, despite temperatures that never got out of the fifties and mostly gray skies, I had a great time. This is the fourth time I've visited Carowinds. My first time there was a particularly frigid "Winterfest" some years ago; the second was a sweltering, deodorant-failing "credit stop" on my way back from the Smokey Mountains; and the last time was when Intimidator opened. Each visit was very enjoyable. Therefore, I was looking forward to meeting Erik and Will at the park (they drove up from Florida).

 

So, how does the park stack up now? The new entrance plaza looks great, and I wouldn't mind seeing Kings Dominion receive a similar makeover (KD does look rather stuck in the 1970s). I like how the park's shiny new B&M giga coaster dominates the entrance; it makes quite a statement as it sails over guests entering the park.

 

So, what about Fury? I think it's the love child of Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens and Millennium Force at Cedar Point, in that it has the "floaty" airtime of the former and the crazy high-speed turns of the latter. This is not a bad thing. We ended up riding Fury seven or eight times and really enjoyed it. In fact, the wind chill from our first front-seat ride actually give me a good case of "brain freeze," as though I'd been wolfing down Dole Whip. But wearing the hood of my wind breaker, and holding it down as we shot through those high-speed turns, solved that problem. Fast Lane Plus let us get in a lot of rides, but there wasn't a huge crowd at the park that day. Our longest wait was for Woodstock's Gliders, and Fury's line topped out at about 30 minutes (the operations were great, and that thing is a three-train people eater).

 

Fury is more about speed, at least during the first half, but there are some airtime hills in the second half. It's definitely a front-seat ride, too. I agree with other seasoned riders that it's not "top ten" material; however, I prefer it to Diamondback, which would put it in my "top 30" (out of over 700 coasters), which isn't too shabby.

 

Yes, everyone talks about Fury 325, but there is another big draw (at least for me) at Carowinds: the Taste of the Carolinas food festival. Yes, food fests seem to be a "thing" this year (even Kings Dominion is doing a small one), and Carowinds is doing it right. Guests can sample entrees and desserts from 11 different booths representing regions of both North and South Carolina. Samples cost $4.00 each, portions are ample, and the quality is on a par with the the Food and Wine Festival at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Wine and local craft beers were well represented, too; in fact, for $4.00, you get a whole bottle of beer, not just a little sample.

 

Five South Carolina booths are clustered near the entrance of Intimidator, while the North Carolina booths are near the Carolina Cobra. My favorite item was the Mushroom Ravioli with Smoked Turkey and Wild Herb Butter from the Asheville/Mountains booth. The Beer Basted Pulled Pork Slider from the Lexington Barbecue booth was delicious, too--a bit vinegary (as North Carolina barbecue tends to be) with a nice bite. I also liked the Grilled Corn Pudding from the Calabash booth and the Creamed Leeks and Butter Beans over Biscuit from the Piedmont (South Carolina) booth. Ashveville's Pecan Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Cream Cheese Icing was tasty, too, even though it was more like "Cinnabon in a cup" than actual bread pudding.

 

All in all, thumbs up for Taste of the Carolinas! My compliments to Carowinds' executive chef, Kris Siuta, and his crew for doing such an excellent job. If they keep this up, I may visit the park every spring. The festival runs on Saturdays and Sundays through May 17.

 

So, what about the rest of Carowinds? Afterburn and Woodstock's Gliders were both as crazy as ever. The former is one of the most underrated inverted coasters around (very intense in a tight space), and the latter rivals the Flyers at Knoebels for sheer "snapping" fun. As for Intimidator, well, it was never a "great" ride, but I remember it being more fun when it opened. Heavy application of trim brakes have turned it into "Raging Bull East," which is too bad. We rode it once, and Boo Blasters twice.

 

So, care to join us at Carowinds? It's a bit gray, so be sure to wear a hoodie, and beware of brain freeze on Fury 325.

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Hey, Intimidator--looks like someone is trying to elbow you out of the way!

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And I have a hunch about who that may be.

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The last time I visited Carowinds, the entrance looked like an old plantation house. Now it's very "modern."

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Fury climbs up to the clouds. Erik's ears actually popped on the lift hill.

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Yes, come for the Fury, stay for the food!

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Forget Linus, Sally. I'm your "sweet baboo" now!

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My brain definitely experienced "Fury Freeze" during my first ride.

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So, what else can I say about Fury 325?

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Well, it's very photogenic (even on a gloomy day), . . .

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. . .it's very patriotic, . . .

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. . . and it's definitely NOT "all about that bass."

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"We're NOT about that bass, 'bout that bass! All treble!"

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"Aghh! I can't get that stupid song out of my head! PLease make it stop!"

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All kidding aside, I think the faces and the hands in the air tell the story--Fury 325 is a lot of fun and a great addition to Carowinds.

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I'm hawt!

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OK, who's hungry?

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Let's see what the Lexington, NC booth has to offer.

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How about this nice, vinegary pulled-pork slider?

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I want to be alone with the sandwich now. Thank you.

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"Buy me a dozen of those sliders, and I won't eat you!"

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We'll check out some more of the Tastes of the Carolinas later.

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Hi there, big clunky mess we're not going to bother riding today.

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We didn't get stuck on Windseeker. This is a miracle, if Facebook comments about Carowinds are to be believed. ;)

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Woodstock's Gliders--Erik's favorite ride at Carowinds.

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Here's one reason why.

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Yep--even I got some air on this bad boy.

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Top Gun, er, Afterburn: The ride that fights for your freedom, . . .

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. . . flips over to defend democracy, . . .

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. . . and protects Baby Jeebus from dinosaurs!

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Hmm--I think Afterburn may have eaten the creamed leeks and butterbeans at the Piedmont, SC food booth.

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Yes, Intimidator, we see you, and that's nice, but we're talking about Afterburn's gastrointestinal issues at the moment. Run along now.

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Come to Carowinds and you'll GET YOURS!

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Wow! Look at that! There's an air conditioner on top of that building!

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OK--I'll stop kidding Intimidator now. More to come.

Edited by cfc
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More food, and a wee bit more Fury, at Carowinds.

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Let's see what Asheville and the Mountains have to offer.

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How about some roast turkey and wild mushroom ravoili--with a bottle of Witty Twister wheat beer?

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Erik tried the seafood gumbo from the Calabash booth. It was pretty good.

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The grilled corn pudding was pretty good, too. And the fried catfish and hush puppies looked great (pity I was feeling a bit full at the time).

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Here's where the proof is. In the pudding.

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This claim might've been true when this ride opened in 1973.

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Consarn it! Looks like I'll hafta leave my gold pan in of them there fluffy fluffy bunny things.

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I better not catch any of your scalawags a'pannin' fer gold in that train! All yer gonna get is a taste of my lead fer your troubles!

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Hi there, other thing we have no intention of riding today.

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Let's see what South Carolina has to offer.

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Whoa! That's one big "BBQ Region."

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Hmm--creamed leeks and butter beans, eh?

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OK, I know it looks like someone puked on a pair of biscuits. But I happen to like leeks and butter beans.

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Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Being cut up by a chain saw tickles!

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I think any new Batman or Spider-Man flicks would be improved by the presence of monkeys.

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Relax, Lucy. That Sally chick didn't mean a thing to me. I swear!

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Hi there, thing we actually did decide to ride today.

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The first turn was actually OK. There was a trim after the first drop, along with what appeared to be new track work. But with the second turn, it became the Hurler we know and loathe again.

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Mr. Pickle snorted, chuckled, and guffawed at our foolishness. Then someone ate him. Sad, really.

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Linus, you were right about that Sally chick. Total psycho!

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Thunder Run was OK that day--just a little bumpy toward the end.

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Charlie Brown, I've changed my mind about Lucy. She's all yours, big guy.

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Cup of cinnamon roll, anyone?

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Erik liked their "gourmet" version of a moon pie.

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OK, we fell into the Hurler trap--but not this one.

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"Quick Queue"? Can we use it at Busch Gardens?

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Well, one more ride on Fury, and we're outta here

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Merchandising.

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Where the real money from the ride is made.

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Just call me "Darth Furious"!

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Time to go.

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Watch out for that plane, you fools!

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Keep bein' all about that treble!

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Good-bye, Fury!

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And good night, Carowinds. Fury is fun, Woodstock's Gliders and Afterburn still kick butt, and the Taste of the Carolinas festival is, indeed, tasty. Thanks for reading.

Edited by cfc
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Great pictures! I guess maybe I just suck at Flyers but I thought the ones at Carowinds were terrible this year with the huge bumpers. I've managed to get way more snaps on the Kings Dominion version. Then again those and obviously the ones at Knoebels are the only ones I've had any luck with.

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^Just get in the flyer behind Erik Johnson and do what he does. Lots of people were snapping them like crazy last Sunday. My first ride was "blah," but my second was much better (just had to get the hang of it again). KD does have decent flyers, thougb.

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I love what they are doing with this food festival event, having generic country booths like everyone else would be easy but it looks like they really did a great job of keeping it focused on the Carolinas. Lots of great little details in there.

 

The new entry plaza looks great and all, but I always was a fan of the old plantation style house main entrance. It was always kind of unique.

 

Unrelated side note but how the heck did anyone ever convince someone to build a wooden roller coaster themed to the Wayne's World movie? That was always a strange match to me.

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Thanks for the update Chuck! Loved the pictures and the captions.

 

I'll agree about the Carowinds flyers. The first time I rode them was during an ERT session at CoasterStock and the ride-op was actually telling people how to get them to snap. It was awesome and terrifying!!

 

David

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Unrelated side note but how the heck did anyone ever convince someone to build a wooden roller coaster themed to the Wayne's World movie? That was always a strange match to me.

 

Well, Wayne's World was distributed by Paramount, and it was good-sized hit. Paramount owned the park and the rights to the movie, so why not use the property? I know that Kings Dominion had an entire Wayne's World-themed area, and I presume Carowinds did, too. What's interesting is that they didn't have to change the ride's name (as they did with the Italian Job coaster) after Paramount sold the parks to Cedar Fair.

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Unrelated side note but how the heck did anyone ever convince someone to build a wooden roller coaster themed to the Wayne's World movie? That was always a strange match to me.

 

Well, Wayne's World was distributed by Paramount, and it was good-sized hit. Paramount owned the park and the rights to the movie, so why not use the property? I know that Kings Dominion had an entire Wayne's World-themed area, and I presume Carowinds did, too. What's interesting is that they didn't have to change the ride's name (as they did with the Italian Job coaster) after Paramount sold the parks to Cedar Fair.

 

Wayne's World is why I have a soft spot for Hurler.. It was the first " adult " comedy my Dad let me watch with him, so Hurler had always been a ride I wanted to ride, unfortunaly I never got to go during the Paramount owned days when they had Stan Mikiats (sp?)

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I LOVE Afterburn. The pacing is just relentless, and the way it interacts with the walkway is very cool. Also, the queue allowed me see what this cheesy "Dinosaurs Alive" business was all about, without having to pay for it.

 

I wish I could go back and un-ride Carolina Cyclone, though, seriously.

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I LOVE Afterburn. The pacing is just relentless, and the way it interacts with the walkway is very cool. Also, the queue allowed me see what this cheesy "Dinosaurs Alive" business was all about, without having to pay for it.

 

I wish I could go back and un-ride Carolina Cyclone, though, seriously.

 

I'm glad that Afterburn also provides a valuable public service.

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The ride looked good, but the food looked amazing!!

 

I second that.

 

I knew someone would come through with the foodie pics...thanks, Chuck!

 

I really, REALLY want to get to CP for their first beer and BBQ fest in late May, but that could be a problem after I just found out that my dog-sitter will be on vacation for those two weeks. Not sure that I trust another kennel with my pup either, so this one just might not be do-able this year.

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Well, there goes my chance.

 

You've made the pulled-pork slider very sad, as it was very much looking forward to being eaten by you.

 

"Please eat me, Guy!"

Edited by cfc
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Carowinds looks like a nice regional theme park and Fury 325 put it on my radar. I'm glad certain parks are starting to embrace their regional cuisines instead of just having the same hot dogs, burgers, chicken strips, etc. I hope this trend continues. The Carolina Food Festival looks like it had some interesting and tasty choices.

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Thanks for the great trip report Chuck! I also love your reports and great captions. Glad to see Carowinds utilizes the plinko game vs. the spinning wheel that Kings Island was using this past weekend. Seems like the odds are more favorable when playing plinko vs. the wheel of lost cash. Thanks for posting!

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