Carowinds 4-22-06

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Sunday, April 23, 2006 12:17 PM
After a two year hiatus, my friends and I decided to visit Carowinds yesterday. After driving in the pouring rain nearly for nearly the entire three hours, we got to the park as the sky was clearing about 11:30. We hadn't been able to find coupons up to this point and were shocked at the $49.99 price they had listed on the ticket widow. Luckily, a nice lady saw us looking upset and gave us a discount coupon of $20 off the price of admission, making it $29.99. She was definitely the hero of the day and saved my group over $100 collectively.

I'm not great at remembering the exact order of things so I'll do my usual and rate the rides and give my opinions on the park.

Top Gun

Top Gun is a damn fine coaster, and doesn't get the praise it deserves (actually the whole park doesn't get a lot of attention on coaster forums). I rode five or six times today, in the front, back, and seventh rows. The ride is running great and looks nice with no peeling paint of rusted rails. Absent are the jiggle or some newer B&M's and included is a forceful and graceful coaster. My favorite part is still the intense flatspin. Two-train operations, very good crew did not stack and was friendly. Top Gun - ****1/2 (out of *****)

Borg Assimilator

After riding this as Stealth at PGA back in 2002 (I believe), I liked the coaster and thought it gave an intense and interesting experience. I rode it twice back in 2004 and I'm happy to say that my two rides yesterday ran better than Stealth and just as well as opening year at Carowinds. The ride was down at the beginning of the day for bit but opened up soon after. The first time we got in line there was a fifteen minute breakdown (still a mechanic's nightmare I'm sure) but it was soon cleared up. I got to ride in the front row and fifth row. The front is nice but doesn't hold much over any of the other rows. The ride was running fast (especially after an afternoon storm) and my friends and I had a blast. This coaster is fun and that's worth the wait alone. It's not Top-Gun smooth mind you, but I was glad to see two trains on the ride all day, decent crews, and I still love the setting. I think it's time for some touch-up paint on this. There are some splotches of Stealth showing through. Borg Assimilator ****1/4

Vortex

Vortex ran a lot smoother than my last visit and I rode front and back rows. I like the front for the visuals but the back whips you around nicely. I can't believe this thing is 15 years old, how time flies. Two train operation and moderately slow crew. Vortex *** 3/4

Hurler

This ride gets honors for most improved. Last time I agreed with the person who said to light and match and throw it in. Now it is running much better, no jackhammering and some slight air. Thank goodness Carowinds did something as it was horrible in 2004. Hurler ***1/4

Thunder Road

Happy 30th! Unfortunately for every improvement there is an opposite reaction somewhere else, mainly the forwards side of TR. Forwards jackhammered, washboarded and run very rough this year. It's a shame it wasn't up to par on its special year. The backwards side, which has been smoother over the years ran great and I had a good dueling ride with some nice airtime. Thunder Road forwards **1/2, backwards ***1/2

Caroline Cyclone

The Cyclone was running fast and hard and gave an intense and decently-smooth ride. The loops really whip you around compared to a newer B&M or Intamin and I love the corkscrews over the midway. ***1/4

We also rode Drop Zone at some point.

There was an afternoon t-storm that cleared out the park and we ended up staying until closing and rode Top Gun some more, Vortex, and a final ride on Borg as the sun set behind beautiful clouds in Charlotte. Carowinds was quite impressive this year and aside from a few eyesores (some of the Nick stuff) and a couple of slow employees, the park was in great shape and I had a lot of fun. Props for having all rides (coasters at least) running to full capacity with all trains in use. Carowinds gets a solid **** this season.

*** Edited 4/23/2006 4:20:15 PM UTC by Willh51***

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