8/24, A Retuen to Carowinds....

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Tuesday, August 27, 2002 5:49 AM
RETURN, not retuen, what was I doing? Any how:
Our visit was a little unusual. Friday night we made the drive from Wilmington, NC to Asheville, NC
to visit with my wife's parents. After that night, we got up Saturday to drive to Charlotte. The drive
from Asheville to Charlotte was very pleasant, as none of our recent years trips to parks have been
so short. Right under 2 hours, we were at the front gate, checking our dog into the FREE
air conditioned kennel, thank you PC, other parks charge you to leave your dog in the shade. The
kennel is at Guest Services, too, which is very safe & convenient, as we used our PKD passes to
pick up our tickets as we left our dog. As we were leaving the kennel, a girl came to drop off her
hamster. A hamster at Carowinds.

Right into the North Gate, there was a congestion of people standing around. They were attracted
to this area. No body search, no metal detector. I almost went straight back to the car to bring in
Gatorade, as outside food & drink was fairly common, not to mention, the drink machines accept $5
bills, but give change back in all quarters, ugghh!

We passed old familiar sites on our way towards Top Gun. Our last PC visit was in '94-'95, so as
familiar as the place was, it was equally changed.

We got back to TG & the line was all the way to the little gate thing behind the photo stand(is that a
way to describe it?), but as soon as we got in line, it moved. We were in the second seat in
roughly ten minutes. The front queue was packed, we decided to wait to wait. As far as inverts go,
or B&M inverts, they're OK. Alpengeist is great always, the Batman in SFoG gave an intense ride
& Raptor was a little disappointing to me, but nothing in another B&M invert could have me all that
excited. Wood makes me happier. As for Top Gun, once the train hit the bottom of that vertical
loop & the world came crashing down into that dive loop, my world was changed. Words have
never been used to properly describe how good that ride is. For the second ride, a corner backseat
was picked, since the wife took corner in front. Sheer amazing. We took one more ride total for
the day waiting the most 25 minutes for front. The crew was doing well, trains went quick, but this
one ride op, she steadily got ill as the day progressed. Every time our gate opened, as we went for
our seats, people from the waits for other seats would jump out & try to take our seats, weird
people. The last time we rode, the op closed the restraint before my wife could even sit down, &
was ill 'cause she had to open the restraints. After all, though, she was standing right there, it was
like she was invisible to the girl. By the end of our day, right before 4, people were even leaving
their crap on the floor, dropping it at the last second so they could pick it up when their train got
back. Lazy fools, some people have long legs, & were not in the mood to dodge your crap.
Despite consumer interference, they do operate the great ride at a good capacity. That, plus there
were a few people there, it seemed crowded from moment to moment, as many groups were there.
But, as we were in line for Top Gun, a record number of people were getting out of line once they
noticed the ride went "upside down" or "dropped". All the "family" attractions had helawaits.

From our first ride on TG, it was straight for Thunder Road backwards. Being years since our last
TR rides, backwards was for the first time. The first drop, second drop, & the drop off the
turnaround were great. All in all, Rebel Yell backwards @PKD is more horrowing, as most drops
feel like you're getting plummeted, but Thunder Road has it beat. Backwards is the way to go, I'd
ride everything that way. I did notice my head & neck take a certain beating on a certain TR drop,
though. Otherwise, smooth. We saved forwards for later.

From there to the Cyclone. Backseat, nice pops, good corkscrews. The wait was nonexistent at
this point, two trains for the back. I can remember back in the day when this was THE ride, & as
my wife said, "this thing used to be so huge". CC has aged well.

From there to Hurler. Being tolerant to PKD's Hurler, the outlook was optimistic for this one, as
most TRs say it's not as "bad". If this one's "better", it's got to be pretty damned good was our
thoughts. Front seat, 15-20 minutes at the most. Down the first drop & through the turn we were
not banging into each other, which was very welcome, LOL. Then up into them hills for air glory.
My best ride on this Hurler(I rode this one before, but for some reason can't remember exactly how
it was), any of the two EVER, & one of my best rides ever on a woodie. Smooth with a hint of
loosing it, plus air on every one of the hills up until the end. After eating "Death" Subway2K2, as I'll
call it & starring a bird down(side note: after trying my sub, I was tempted to take that bird down &
make him lunch), it was back to Hurler. I had that feeling, I had to get back over there. Knowing
the front is better on the Hurlers, still being a fan of backseats, to the back we went. The queues
were toned down alot, not many people over there, but after jumping in the back, what were we
thinking? Insane, nothing has ever been that bad. Something was terribly wrong. From the back,
Hurler started shaking about half way down the first drop, nasty! An up & down bobbing with no
air. The PKD version has never been that rough! Ruined the moment, after the near death
experience with lunch, this was our greeting. Oh, well. The front ride earlier more than made up for
it, & we were probably due a bad ride. From there, up to the Goldrusher, standing there for a
minute, the line never moved, I even spaced out for a second. Saw two trains pass us, but we never
made it to the station, the line was not for us. We never moved forwards, so onwards.....
to the glory of Ricochet.

PKD's version makes me sick after riding this. Close proximity to the ride & other mice. Every turn
tosses you. Laughter erupts. Think Steve Martin ala LSoH, or a road trip with Chris Farley &
David Spade, that's the kind of laughter you find over there. The drops are the best we've felt yet on
a mouse. Those mice fall right out from under you!

From there, it was over to TR forwards. Third seat, there was a rude man over there upset about
some handicapped person getting to ride before him & some kids that were throwing things across
the station, unruly! The ride was good, there was some air mixed onto the hills, but a decent view.

There was alot skipped, like the Saturator, the chute, the flume, the rapids, the mine train. "Family"
rides had lines, stuff like Top Gun didn't really.
We did notice Vortex, & saw the single riders line & all the people going in there. The old crotch
sniffer isn't even in the park as far as I'm concerned.

Over all, the park was MUCH better than our last visit. There is one area over by Mikita's that's a
little "old", as we had gotten burnt out on this park years ago. Top Gun is easily my favorite ride
these days, the Boardwalk looked great, Goldrusher & Cyclone as part of this themeing was a great
idea, nice stuff. Scarowinds is a must.

*** This post was edited by p_c_r on 8/27/2002. ***

Tuesday, August 27, 2002 8:29 AM
More praise for Top Gun! There can't ever be enough! Man.. and that was with the fog off.. in the daytime... Imagine with the fog on at night! :) ..It's a whole 'nother ride..

Sounds like you had a great time, to bad we didn't see you.. maybe sometime later?

Tuesday, August 27, 2002 1:36 PM
I know, fog & night must be heaven. As far as the ride goes, I felt no hype, you know? I knew I was in for a decent ride, but little did I know it would blow all away. Perfect succession of elements, all of which you feel like no other, & the feeling is realer than any of PKD's launched rides. That's all I should say, as to not "hype";).

I know now for sure, even though I'll be driving in from Wilmington, I'll at least be back to ride one ride. Scarowinds should give me around 5 good hours of TGing.......

Tuesday, August 27, 2002 5:31 PM

Glad you enjoyed our "undiscovered" B&M gem. It does lose a little something without the mist in the tunnel, but apparently that's a casualty of the drought. I definitely agree that it's better than the launched coasters at PKD - they were good but "gimmicky".

And definitely do Scarowinds. Hit that on Friday if at all possible, the crowds are usually lighter. The haunted attractions varied from good to really good last year, and the park is just such a different experience when it's mostly dark.

Good news this year is they have LOTS more rides open for Scarowinds. Between the 2003 season pass flyer they sent out and the info on their website, it looks like Hurler, Drop Zone, Ricochet, Vortex, and Top Gun are definites to be open. Most likely Frenzoid and Thunder Road will be open (they were last year) - but they weren't mentioned - T-Road is good at night so I hope it's open.

Top Gun is even better at night - and it seems to jump up yet another notch for Scarowinds - I guess it likes the cooler weather. I got some absolutely wicked rides on it last year during Scarowinds. Hurler is my 2nd-fave in the park, and it also picks up a bit at night so I was very glad to see it added to this year's lineup. Drop Zone should be a great addition - it sounds like they're going to turn off the BRIGHT floodlights for Scarowinds. I bet it's pretty wild to drop in near darkness, so I hope they do that.

Vortex is neat to ride at Scarowinds, since they have a haunted path on the island and you can see and hear all the goings on over there while you're riding. Hopefully they'll have the Elvira movie in the F/X theater again, it was VERY good.

On a Friday night, especially early in the month, you should get LOTS of re-rides on all the coasters. The place was almost dead last year on the first Friday, everything was a walkon, even the haunted house stuff.. This should be even better this year with several more rides opened up.


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