Carowinds - Worth a trip?

I'm in the early stages of planning what parks my friends and I are going to visit in 2008. So far, Dollywood and Busch Gardens Europe are on the "for sure" list. If I plot them out, driving between them is doable, so I'm considering a week trip to hit up both areas. That puts King's Dominion as sort of an obvious choice as well.

My question arises concerning Carowinds. It's "on the way", but does it warrant a day stopover to check it out? None of us have ever been there before. I checked out their website and saw what rides they have. But, my question for everyone here is are they worth it? Do they have rides that are "great" or even good enough to warrant stopping. What about the park in general?

We're also doing Canada's Wonderland in 2008. So, Carowinds would be the third CF park which would determine the "buy or no buy" question for the Platinum CF Pass. If we skip Carowinds, there's no point in us getting Platinum passes.

What's everyone think of Carowinds?

I think it depends on your goals.

Carowinds is a nice medium-sized park. I don't know that there is anything that is truly outstanding or unique, with the exception of the roller soaker that may or may not be there next year. But, it's got a decent lineup of attractions, and I've enjoyed my visits there.

If you're looking for a more-is-better, whilrwind see-it-all trip, then why not? It's not like it's going to break the bank, plus you've seen another new park along the way.

For me, though, I probably wouldn't. I like to spend more time at fewer parks, though, and take either 3/4 days or moring/break/evening visits, so that I'm enjoying the parks rather than death-marching through them. I also like the "whole park" experience much more than the "hit the thrill rides and move on" sorts of visits, and tend to explore the nooks and crannies. I could easily spend two days at each of Dollywood and Busch Gardens, and it wouldn't be a hardship to spend more time at either. *** Edited 9/3/2007 3:10:22 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

matt.'s avatar
If you're on the fence I'd say find more time at BGE or DW. Carowinds is "nice" I suppose but the park is terribly generic for my taste, both in atmosphere and ride selection. I thought Hurler was pretty good this spring and Top Gun was a fine fine B&M but other than that there's not much else for me to recommend at the park.

I'd go again if I were in the area and they added something new that really caught my eye but as it stands now I just don't care for the place, at least compared to other options in the vicinity.

I spent one full day at Dollywood from open to close and the day was PACKED with things to do, even with Thunderhead being closed all day, and not seeing a single show. I'll never go again without at least 2 days.

Mamoosh's avatar
I don't know that there is anything that is truly outstanding or unique, with the exception of the roller soaker that may or may not be there next year.

Top Gun is outstanding and unique in my book.

rollergator's avatar
Top Gun is my favorite invert, and my favorite non-Anton looper. It's THAT good.

The wood at PCar seems to be kinda hit-and-miss, but when Hurler is running well, it can be a VERY solid wooden coaster.

BORG is pretty cool. Theming couldn't be more out-of-place in the park, but the ride is fun.

And then there's those FLYERS......yummmmm..... :)

I dont know what your other interests are, but if you are hitting Williamsburg, I would suggest an extended trip. Not only do you have BGE (my favorite theme park this side of Orlando,) but a fantastic water park (Water Country) and a one of a kind historical attraction, Colonial Williamsburg. Not to mention you are <20 min away from Jamestown and Yorktown. All of the attractions I just listed have a combo pass as well so that you can "park hop" between them every day.

also, you are going to be pretty near DC, which is a blast to visit and actually quite cheap (all the museums/monuments are free.) Finally, VA Beach is just down the road from Williamsburg and if you want to relax a bit on the vacation its a great spot to do so.

Just had to add the "stop and do something besides coasters" spin to this discussion.

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

Top Gun takes the cake for that park. The coaster's batwing is one of my favorite elements ever. There's no trims or mid course brakes so it whips you all the way! And you have Vortex, a short B&M stand-up.

I have been there quite a few times, and what others saying is right. Carowinds is a general park, nothing too special, and some of the theming is just plopped in.

So if you're on a budget, then just go on to Dollywood and Virginia.

University of South Florida....literally across the street from pretty much the best place ever....BGA
Why dont you go to Beech Bend and go ride Kentucky Rumbler, and the rest of the fair rides.

Bolliger/Mabillard for President in '08 NOT Dinn/Summers

matt.'s avatar
I need to get down to ride Montu again. I haven't been since the late 90's but it seemed to me like Montu was miles better than my rides on Top Gun this spring but like I said, it's been a long time.
Montu is visible outside my dorm window as I write, and it is truly an amazing coaster. The immelman and the second half of the ride are my favorite parts. My personal favorite BGA coaster is Kumba.

Montu is a bigger ride than Top Gun in pretty much every way, but as far as fun I think there are even. I just love that Top Gun has no break along its course. It does a great job in keeping its speed all the way to the flatspin and brakes.

Hey Matt, we have a completely new ride here at BGA...Sheikra floorless. They actually built a completely new coaster for this great advertising scheme! ;).

University of South Florida....literally across the street from pretty much the best place ever....BGA
DantheCoasterman's avatar
I'm stuck in the exact same position. But I have to choose between Dollywood and Carowinds. I've been to DW many times, but never Carowinds. I love MYstery Mine and Thunderhead, but I really want to ride Top Gun and Borg. But I am going the first week of April, and since LOTS of Dollywood (including coasters/thrill rides) focuses on water. If it's too cold, I'm probably going to hit up Carowinds, but that's just me.....

OH! And don't forget, Carowinds has an Intamin Drop Tower (and maybe getting an Intamin Impulse)!!!! *** Edited 9/3/2007 5:27:00 PM UTC by DantheCoasterman***

Being that Carowinds is my home park, you would think I would firmly insist you visit there. Sadly, I've been down on the park for the past 3 years, especially since Paramount raped the park of it's true flavor. But that's another topic.

Since you've never visited Carowinds, and been to DW many times, I would say Top Gun is worth the visit alone. Every other coaster is a clone of something, somewhere else except Top Gun. It ranks up there with the big boys, imo. And of course, the Flyers, an all time fave.

I've been going to Carowinds since it opened in 1973. It's a nice park with lot's of giant Oak trees and plenty of shade. Paramount took away lot's of waterways and Oak trees but some call that progress. Bahhhh!

May I suggest an additional 3 hour drive to the brand spankin' new Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach? It should be open in Spring 2008.

Mamoosh's avatar
Carowind's Arrow mine train and B&M stand-up are clones?
matt.'s avatar
Clones? No. Pretty bad anyway? Yes. :)

Mamoosh said:
Carowind's Arrow mine train and B&M stand-up are clones?

oops! How soon I forget..... :)
Actually, the Goldrusher is one of my faves. Vortex....not a bad stand-up either.

DantheCoasterman's avatar
Hard Rock Park opens 1 week after my visit so.........kinda puts a damper on things.
^ I'm pretty sure it will open even later than that! So, I wouldn't worry about that too much.

Thanks for all the help guys. I was already planning to do some of the other "touristy" things in the area. So, I guess that makes sense to bypass Carowinds this year. From the sounds of it, BGE and DW deserve more than just a day. So, I'll have to do some major planning. :)

That helps me figure out my CF Platinum pass too. Thanks everyone.


Halltd, you will not be sorry with choosing an extended stay in Williamsburg I would suggest a stay of 3-5 nights (3 if history isn't your thing, 4 if you enjoy history, 5 if you're a history buff.)

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

ha ha! I like history, but I've done Historic Williamsburg several times as a kid. I'm sure I'd get way more out of it now, but I'd like to try out some other things. So, I need to do some more research. I'm also excited about exploring things around Pigeon Forge and the Smokey Mountains.
^Dont forget Yorktown and Jamestown (both worth an afternoon.) As for Pigeon Forge/Somkey Mts, cant help you there. Sounds like a great trip though, I'm jealous us as I will likely not be able to have a big trip next year (but thankfully I live in Ohio, so the local options wont be too bad :).)

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

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