Carowinds 5-9-2003(LONG!)

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Monday, May 12, 2003 10:09 PM
Well, it had been since May of 1999(one of my senior trips) since I had been to my former home park, Paramounts Carowinds, and since I felt the need for a Top Gun fix, I planned a trip to North Carolina, and added Carowinds to the list of stops. I left home on Thursday around 5 when my friend Jon (not an enthusiast) came to work and picked me up. It was a 5 hour trip to my parent's place. We arrived around 11 that nite, and stayed up to watch TV, knowing full well I was too excited to go to bed.

The next morning we got up and headed south around 7. After an hour we stopped for breakfast, then found our way to the interstate that would take us right by Carowinds in about 2 hours. The drive was nice. Weather was great, traffic flowed nicely, and around 11am we got past Charolette and went looking for coupons at Wendy's and Bojangles right beside the park.

We pulled into the parking lot and noticed busses. I had been warned of this already, but there were slightly less busses than what I imagined. After the horrendous $8 we had to pay to park, I was glad to see the lot fairly empty, so we went and paid to get in.

Once I got in the park, I noticed that it wasn't too crowded. Infact, We had decided to head to Top Gun first, but upon passing by the new Runaway Reptar and seeing a VERY small line, we couldn't resist.

Runaway Reptar:

Yes, it's a little rough, but that is what I expect from anything with SLC in the model name. Don't get me wrong, I like Vekoma, and this was a great ride, but it was a bit rough. Thankfully the Shoulder pads were very thick. I got the front, while Jon rode behind me. All of my expectations of this ride were bashed. It was so much better than what I though! One Train operation with very fast dispaches.

After this, we headed over to Top Gun. I expected a fairly long line, but the line was all in the station, and we waited about 10 or so min. for the front. This ride is still my Fav. B&M coaster. I even like it a bit better than Raging Bull, but only cause of the fact that it goes over the midway.

Top Gun:

After having to undergo the torment of the Top Gun soundtrack for a few min. I finally got on with Jon. We had a seat in the front, and it was amazing. Top Gun was even better than I remember! After the first drop started, though, I felt my Visor go flying off my head, so I didn't enjoy the ride as much as I should have, I was upset at my stupidity for forgetting to take it off. As soon as the ride was over, I rushed over to the drop to see if by chance I could see the visor. No luck. I though that maybe it flew into the parking lot, or maybe I could see it from there, so Jon went into the Gift Shop while I went out of the park to look. Imagine my supprise when I saw it under the drop! I went to customer relations at the back of the park, and the lady was so nice. I appologized for the inconvience, and she said no prob. She radioed for a guy to come, and after getting a broom(it was in the lockout zone under the first drop's supports), he came out from the service road with my visor. I was very happy, and they were so increadibly nice to me, even though it was clearly my fault. The coaster stacked a little on the lift a little during the day, but not much, and dispaches were less than 20 sec. with 2 train operation.

After getting my visor back, we headed over to Thunder Road, but upon seeing there was a very short line for Paramount's Action F/X theater, I asked Jon if he wanted to try out Sponge Bob Square Pants 3-D and he was all for it.

Sponge Bob Squarepants 3-D:

The que line was playing the cartoon, and it rocks! This is now my Favorite motion 3-D movie ever! Not just because it was Sponge Bob, but this was a very good ride. Jon(not a big fan until this) loved it, saying it was way more than he expected. Only one side of the theater was open, probably due to it not being very busy. We waited in line for about 15 min.

So after our trip to Bikini Bottom, we headed over to Thunder Road. I had never even noticed till the post on Coasterbuzz that this coaster wasn't painted white, so I had to look for myself, and sure enough, it's not, much to my suprise.

Thunder Road:

I wanted to ride both front and back( I love the backwards side), but it was only running Forwards. We decided to sit in the very back of this one, since I love the air on the back. Thunder Road is a bit rougher than I remembered, though that could be cause I always rode in the front. There was 2 train operation with 30 sec or so dispach. We did stack right outside the station.

After Thunder Road, I had wanted to ride Frenzoid, but it wasn't open. We looked at the line for Scooby Doo's Haunted Mansion, but it was too long for now, so we headed over to the Thrill Zone for Drop Zone. I wanted to ride Scream Weaver, but it was down.

Drop Zone:

We found that the line broke of into 2 lines and that noone noticed, so we got in the far shorter line, and only ended up waiting about 5 cycles for Drop Zone. I like Drop towers and can't wait till my trip to PKD this summer. What more to say than it was all up and running with a small line and a great first drop;).

Since Hurler is never a long line, we headed there next. I had been told it had been re-tracked, so I wanted to give the back another go, since my ride @ PKD in the back was so bad.


The coaster is back to what it should be, a bit rough like a woodie, but nice air and some good G's. We stacked on the lift, no one but me knew what was going on, so I told my friend that it would start back in a min. Hurler was running 2 trains with the usual no line, but stacking.

After Hurler, we walked to Wings so Jon could eat. After about 20 min. rest, we headed to see about water rides, but unfortunately White Water Falls, Super Saturator, and Wild Thornberry's were too long of a wait, and Rip Roarin' Rapids wasn't open, so we went to Vortex instead.


Again, we lucked out on lines. The line was short, but we went to the single rider line anyways, which is new since my last visit(wish all rides there had this!). As soon as we got in that line, 2 seats for the front were open, so the guy let us right on without having to wait at all! Vortex was my first standup, and though I like ToGo layouts, this is still B&M goodness, even for an early coaster. I only wish it had more inversions, but oh well. Vortex was running 2 trains, no stacking.

After Vortex, we walked around the boardwalk, got some water, then hit Carolina Goldrusher. I'm not a huge mine train fan, though the que for this one is pretty good.

Carolina Goldrusher:

Its swift, fun, and has some great tunnels. I like the area it is in, and the way it moves, but I'm just not a huge fan of this ride, so me and Jon just taked through it all, while riding close to the back. Lines were short, and they were running 2 trains, with a bit of stacking behind the station.

After this, we headed back into more of the Boardwalk area and hit Carolina Cyclone. I've power ridden this thing so many times, and been on so many Arrow loopers, that I only really ride it cause its there. That being said.....

Carolina Cyclone:

The Cyclone was running smoother than I have ever felt it. I had no headbanging what so ever! It is an Arrow looper, most people have been on one, so I won't spend much time talking bout it. We waited less than five min for a middle seat with 2 train operation and no stacking.

After Cyclone, we went over to look at Super Saturator, and saw that the line was shrinking, but first, I wanted to hit Ricochet dry. I really like the way they themed the Boardwalk area, every thing seems to fit, and I like the Carnival/Seaside Amusment park style lights on the front of Ricochet.


I like wild mouse coasters, but comparing this to PKD's version, I'd have to go with PKD, just cause of the first drop. Otherwise, this is a great little family coaster, and a great addition for the park. I liked it around the curves, but it seemed a bit too breaked for my tastes. I didn't count the trains, but we got a front seat in about 7 or 8 min.

Well, the day was hot, and so were we, so Jon and I went and got in line for the Super Saturator. I have been wanting to ride all the new rides at Carowinds since my last visit, but this one stuck out cause I've never seen water and suspended coaster together before.

Nicelodeon Flying Super Saturator:

It's great that they have cutouts of Nic toons in the line, and I love how the ride interacts with the midway and the que. We were in line for the longest on this at about 30 min., but it was worth it, since standing in line is half the fun! We were soaked before we even got on. This is a great newer type of ride, and I hope to seem more in the future. Three trains running (with water bombs), all effects, and about 15 sec. dispaches, no stacking.

Since we were wet, we headed to White Water Falls, but found the line for Scooby's Haunted Mansion very short. I love Scooby Doo (my fave. cartoon forever), so we had to give this a try. Its so weird how they used an old show theater for this ride.

Scooby Doo's Haunted Mansion:

This is a great interactive dark ride, and my first! I hope to get on of these(along with Reptar) at PKD soon. We were in the back of our Mystery Machine, and I scored 1100 points beating everybody else. Poor Jon only had 60. We got lucky for the ride again, since as soon as we got in line, they asked for a pair, so we got right to the front!

Since we were already sopping wet, and were headed there any ways, we went to White Water Falls. We had tried riding earlier, but it went down. This time, it was running and there was a small line.

White Water Falls:

There were 2 boats running, and as usual, it gets you soaked! We were in the middle, and lucked out with the line again, since they were looking for 2 riders as we got in the staion. I have a feeling this ride will be gone next year, just like PKD's version, so I'm glad I got a ride.

As we left, we noticed that Frenzoid was running, but had no time to stop. Since Frenzoid and White Water Falls aren't numbered on the map this year, I wonder if they'll be gone next year, or just moved......Anyhow, next, we went to the last open water ride, The Wild Thornberry's.

Wild Thornberry's River Adventure:

This is a great way to re-do a Log Flume. The theming was excellent for the front, though a bit lacking behind all the shrubbery, but it looks great, and gets you wet. Me and Jon had our own boat, so that was cool!

I wanted to ride Rocket Power Air Time, but it was down all day, and I've been on it as Gauntlet many times, as well as Rainbow @ Myrtle Beach Pavilion, and Falling Star @ SFA, so I wasn't missing anything. We went to go for a spin on Scooby's Ghoster Coaster (Jon was looking at it as to kiddie), but saw that Reptar had no line, so we both road that from the front again, then went to Scooby.

Scooby-Doo's Ghoster Coaster:

I love this coaster! The PKD version was my first coaster ever, and for a Jr. Woodie, it gives some nice air. We rode from the front, with no wait. Two Train operation with no stacking makes Scooby a great people mover.

I wanted to go on Taxi Jam, but couldn't tell if it was up and running, and not wanting to ask and look like an uber-geek, we passed, but one day, I'll get to ride PKD's and Carowinds' version! After this, we walked around Nic Central. They did a great job on re-theming this just like they did Carolina Boardwalk. It's got good landscape, and fits right beside Animation Staion and Zoom Zone.

Next we went for two more rides on Top Gun (minus the visor) from the back. We only had to wait about 1 or 2 cycles this time, but stacked on the hill once. Again, I love this great inverted B&M. I had wanted to go to the Sky Tower for a ride next, but the park was closing, and they started announcing it, so Oh well. They have also Re Themed the main enterance of the park, Paramount Plaza. This looks incredible! I liked the architecture, the colors, and they paramount sign on the ground. I didn't see the big Enterprise model that used to be there, so I miss that, but it still looks great in this area.

Paramount's Carowinds is growing. I'm glad that the last 4 rides have been 3 coasters and a haunted house, and that they added family rides, cause quite honestly, they are great for anybody. All those Carowinds whiners that want their Hyper, go ride Reptar, Ricochet, Top Gun, and Super Saturator, and be glad that you have had 4 coaster in 5 years, and a great interactive ride on the off year, with the park re-theming 3 sections and doing very good on them in the last 5 years. I would like to see Smurf Island Reopened as something else, and the Boat working again. I think County Fair could use a re-vamp. Not necissarily re-themed, just updated with it's theme now.

All in all a great day with light crowds, VERY friendly Ride ops/personel, and a great trip to my former home park, with 3 coasters added to my Track record, and a Great Dark ride!! My only regret is not having time to take pix, but I plan on hitting it again later this year, maybe for Scarowinds.

Yeah, if coasters WEREN'T men we'd have Raging Cow instead!;)

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 4:30 AM
Glad to hear you had a great time and that things worked out with you getting your visor back. Carowinds does have great customer service. My wife and I got stuck on the lift hill of Top Gun back in April and everone from the managers, to the ops, and to the customer service people were all great throughout the proceedings.

G's! They're what's for dinner!

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 5:17 AM
Sounds like they have some operational problems. They only have 6 or 7 flat rides and 3 were closed all or part of the day?
Tuesday, May 13, 2003 5:33 AM
That was my thread about Thunder Road's paint (or lack of) scheme. They stripped the ride for the 1989 season.


Tuesday, May 13, 2003 6:35 AM
Glad you had a good time. Good TR.

-Vortex Crew 2003-

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 10:44 PM
super7, you must realize that is is still VERY early in the season, and one thing I did notice were on about 70% of the rides I went on, there were people being trained. Since I'd venture to say alot of workers are part time and have school/college/work, etc., they probably didn't have enough trained staff to operate everything on a slow friday with a bunch of school kids present. I'm just glad every coaster was up, operating, and with more than a one train operation, with the exception of Thunder Road backwards, but again, like I said, slow, and trainees so I toatlly understood. With in the time I was there, I wouldn't have had much time for those flats anyhow, so the day was not a waste:)

Yeah, if coasters WEREN'T men we'd have Raging Cow instead!;)


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