ACE Scream-A-Thon at Carowinds (10-12-02)

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Saturday, November 23, 2002 12:24 PM
Yes, this is a very late TR, but oh well I was lazy. Instead of writing a completely new TR, this is the article I wrote for the ACE regional newsletter. I'll make some additional comments following it.

ACE Scream-A-Thon
Paramount’s Carowinds

On October 12, 2002, forty ACE members managed to get up early and go home late for a day at Paramount’s Carowinds. The event would be the first ACE event at Carowinds in a good while, and I would first like to thank regional rep Max Cannon for a great job with coordinating the event, Carowinds PR rep Scott Anderson, as well as regional reps Robert Ulrich and Russell Snyder. The event couldn’t have gone more successfully.

ACE members began arriving at the park shortly before 9 AM, and many waited for Carowinds security to open the gates to the parking lot. Following registration, season pass holders hit Top Gun: The Jet Coaster for morning season pass ERT, and others waited patiently for the ACE Taxi Jam ERT scheduled for 9:30. I met up with my usual cronies, David Drake and Jay Miller, and we joined fellow ACErs at Taxi Jam for ERT. Most of the attendees who decided to go get their Taxi Jam credit rode as soon as the ERT started and headed off for the rest of the park after getting their lap in, but the real fun hadn’t started yet. With the two operators watching, slightly confused and slightly amused, a trainload of ACEers rode Taxi Jam non-stop until well after the ERT session was scheduled to end. I wasn’t exactly excited about ERT on a kiddie coaster going into the event, but the Taxi Jam ERT turned out to be the highlight of the day, if not the highlight of the entire Carowinds season. Dave, Jay, and I ran into one of the two ride operators later in the day, and he asked about how he could join ACE, so we must have looked like we were having fun.

ACE members headed off into the park to enjoy Carowinds’ selection of rides, and came together again at 1 PM to enjoy a presentation and Q&A session with Scott Anderson from Public Relations. In the light of this year’s 30th anniversary celebration, Scott went through the history of Carowinds, from the announcement by E. Pat Hall in 1969 up until next season when Runaway Reptar and Nickelodeon Central debut. ACE members were given the opportunity to ask questions about the past, present, and future of the park, and there were some interesting questions asked.

Following the presentation, we were all treated to tours of two Scarowinds haunted attractions during the daytime. The opportunity to go through Nightmare Manor, the largest haunted house, and Psycho Path, the island haunted trail, was a unique one. Things that could not be seen at night were pointed out, and it was also a great chance to look around on the former Smurf Island, which has not been used (except for Scarowinds) in years.

After heading their separate ways into the park, ACE members assembled at Thunder Road when the park closed at 6 PM. For the next 45 minutes, ERT was enjoyed on Thunder Road, and racing was a blast! Racing coasters are great for ACE ERT, and no matter how the ride itself is, you can usually bet on it being a good time. News 14 Carolina filmed ACE members riding the coaster and interviewed a few members for a news segment later that day.

At 7 PM the park re-opened for Scarowinds, and it looked like the majority of the attendees stuck around for haunted attractions and some great night riding. The large haunted attractions were very well-done, but the night rides (or maybe the fog machines all over the park) were the real highlight of the evening. I’ve been riding the Hurler since it opened in 1994, and I like it a lot, but the rides it delivered that evening were unbelievable, and others who have had more ‘riding experience’ than I have agreed. Ricochet was fun in the dark, and Top Gun was roaring.

I never thought I could have spent as much time at Carowinds as I did on October 12, but the ACE event and Scarowinds combined for one awesome day. Between power riding on Taxi Jam, ‘rowing’ on Thunder Road, spinning around on Top Gun, behind-the-scenes tours, fog machines, and Lemon Chills, it was one crazy day that left me in a daze. Thanks to ACE and Paramount’s Carowinds for one spectacular event!


I can't remember all the details at this point, but despite going to Carowinds so many times, that was the first time I rode every coaster in one day (due to Taxi Jam I guess). The ERT sessions were excellent as I mentioned, and Top Gun was giving good rides all day. It was a great day with coasters, DDR, lemon chills, and a lot of good times. It was great to finish the season with a great night ride on Top Gun as I've done in the past. Here's to a great season in 2003! Thanks to the many people who made this season a good one, and I'll see you next Spring!

Jonathan Hawkins
"There is a cluster of bees at the top of the lift. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Saturday, November 23, 2002 12:38 PM

It's good to hear news from my homepark! Glad to hear you had such a good time. I'm interested in what kind of questions were asked and answered for the park? I want to know what's happenin' at Carowinds!

(I was at Scarowinds closing day - it was awesome! Lines were incredibly on so we only got to go on The Dead Zone and Nightmare Manor. Top Gun broke down right before it was our turn to ride and we ended up waiting an hour and left, THEN it started operating again about five minutes after we left!)

But all in all, regardless of all that - Carowinds is an awesome park and I still love it sooo much and I can't wait for next year!

Saturday, November 23, 2002 12:51 PM

God, it's been so long the only question I can remember is "When is that hyper comin'?" and then Scott gave the answer "You'll have to talk to Walt Burris(GM of Carowinds) about that, I'm just the PR guy" LMAO...

Anyways, Sweet TR, I had a great time with you, Dave, Joe, Kyle, Chris, and the truckload of other ACErs there, it's amazing what good friends can do to enhance the total park experience.

Saturday, November 23, 2002 1:07 PM
Yes, and what about "It would fit perfectly under that bridge right there" :). RollerJunkie, Scott gave about a 40 minute presentation going through the history of the park, and there were some discussions sparked. Some of the interesting things that I can remember are that the park was originally slated to get a flat ride package for 2003, but in May it was changed by Paramount to Nick Central. He also stressed the importance of the waterpark, and we can continue to see a lot of expansion in the future for it. He said there are plans coaster-wise on the horizon, but like the flat ride package, things can change in an instant. The family appeal is working very well for them right now.

Jonathan Hawkins
"There is a cluster of bees at the top of the lift. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Saturday, November 23, 2002 3:22 PM

Yeah JamminJ that was an awesome day (minus the #%&$@* SPEEDING TICKET ARG!)! I thought the haunted houses were pretty well done, especially the first one we did with the damn skeleton walking toward me (and me shreiking like a damn girl).

All the coasters seemed to be running better than ever, with Top Gun and Hurler stealing the show. I ended my night with a front row ride on Top Gun, absolutely stunning!

Can't wait to go back next year!

"No honey, the monkeys have already done enough damage on this trip." - Guy coming out of front gate at SFGAd

Monday, November 25, 2002 10:43 AM

This is one of those "don't quote me's"...but I was told once that Walt Burris, the GM, wants a hyper in the park. He's been a big supporter of one but the higher ups haven't been. I remember one day talking to Scott about the event somehow the topic of the hyper came up (imagine that...LOL) and he said he didn't know where they'd put a hyper. I told him I'd come over and show him. There's room :) I think that was his way of deflecting away from the conversation. Hmm...

Anyway...there's always next year's event. Can't wait.


Max Cannon or
"I love you like the mother I had committed against her will."

Monday, November 25, 2002 11:09 AM
I hope so!

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