Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Coaster Stock 2009 was in my opinion a great success for Carowinds. The event was truly put together well. This being the first year for it, I expected some kinks in the format, but all in all we had a blast, which is of no surprise to me as one of the head Media Relations people was a transplant from Kings Dominion recently and she knew from KD events what it took to be a great success.
We started off the coaster fun a couple hours before opening with ERT on Carolina Cobra and Carolina Gold Rusher. (1st Hour of ERT)
They did a great job with the relocation of this from Geauga. They even redesigned the restraints which made for a very pleasant ride to me. They were still over the shoulder but sat more comfortably to me than when it was at Geauga. Ride was smooth front and back and a load of fun. There were very few riders in the morning so by the time you exited the train and made your way around the queue was open again. (7 out 10)
Next up Gold Rusher:
This is a cute mine train ride. A tad bumpy as it cleared the transfer track, but once up the lift hill it was a very pleasant ride. Had a pretty cool semi-underground helix which slid you around in your seat a bit. Really not much to say other than.. It was cute.. As with CC, there was no wait if you wanted a re-ride. (7 out of 10)
We did find ourselves pretty much done early in the first hour of riding the two ERT coasters so we walked around the empty park for a bit waiting on the second hour (oh and "amusing" ourselves with the upcoming news of the Big Bad Wolf as we waited for my wife's phone to ring to alert her it was officially public).
Hour 2 came:
Now this was an interesting flyer to me. Watching and listening to the test runs all you could hear was the rattle of metal all around. We assumed it would be a pretty rough ride. I was wrong. It rode very well. I guess im spoiled from Manta now, but the whole laying on the back while the sun shines in your face thing, is quite unpleasant. Rotate me up and have me looking down. Either way it was a really cool ride. Lots of smooth inversions and the flying close to the water in the first half of the ride was quite cool. I wasn't, again, particularly fond of the time spent with your legs above your heart at the end of the ride, though I was glad they had a tarp overhead to block the sun at the end of the ride, so they apparently expect the train to stop there for a bit while the one in the station loads and clears the station. Despite the time spent on back I enjoyed the ride, the restraints werent horribly uncomfortable to me and worth the re-ride (again with no waits on ERTs). (8 out 10)
This was it for the morning Coasters in ERT, however they did open the Phantom Flyers, and OMG, the height that some of these coaster nuts can get these things was totally amazing. I had never had so much fun watching people on that ride before.
ERT was done but they had a Jeopardy game for the event goers and some of the questions were pretty tough. This ate up the last few minutes before park opening.
As the park opened I expected a flood of people, but honestly it was quite slow. It seemed most went to the water park. The wait times for any ride was a max of 15 mins. We were able to knock out a good portion of the rides by 12:30 (if you include ERT), which meant re-rides in the late afternoon.
We decided to start the park opening with Vortex. This is a decent stand up coaster. Seats were a bit more uncomfortable than Shockwave's, but the coaster didnt jostle me around nearly as much as Mantis. While not being a big fan of stand up coasters, I dont mind riding them every so often. This one was re-rideable to me so I give it a 7 out 10.
Thunder Road: South Carolina
Now this is a cool Woodie. We took a front seat of a car in the middle of the train so we wernt on the wheels and I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this one. Lots of air time and the racing factor made it that much more enjoyable. Silly us didnt think of going around to the NC side of the train, and I wish we did because I really loved the hills on this out and back. This is definitely near the top of my wooden coaster list (8 out 10).
Yay.. A B&M invert.. Weeee. This is right up there with my home love Alpengeist. The inversions wernt extreme and a very re-rideable coaster. It was kind of crazy to go up the lift hill and bank over the parking lot though. You could tell the Top Gun theme still wants rear its head, but Afterburn is a suitable name for it. The sounds of the wheels on the track are always my favorite. It gave that ominous feel to it. (9 out 10).
It was nearing lunch for the Coaster Stock attendees so we headed over to the Pavilion, which is right near the "mysterious" big dig. They are clearing quite a bit of area there and 2010 will definitely lend to some coaster trips between SC and Virginia. Anyways, lunch was great.. Carolina BBQ.. mmmmmm.. Being from Va its of course a welcome sight.
We decided to break as my wife was on the phone to back home and it was warming up for the day and I wanted to see what was buzzing on CB with the news so back to hotel we went. BTW.. Hampton Inn (exit 2 in NC).. Very nice hotel to stay at! Huge rooms w/ Jacuzzi for $80!
After an afternoon siesta, back to the parks to knock out the last bit of coasters. We entered back around 5 and the Park was still slow with 15 min waits max. Onto the coasters.
Cool mouse ride. Im just glad my wife and I are small. I could see some issues with squeezing two people into that ride. But thats almost every mouse it seems. It seems there were very few trims on that ride which really made it exciting.. For a mouse it was definitely enjoyable. (8 out 10)
We had to ride this one for comparison to KD. I gotta say I enjoyed this one a bit more than KD. Its seems more compact (though the same length) so the turns are tighter and the speed appears greater (though its exact same as KDs). But perception can make a ride even more exciting. I didnt find this one as rough as KDs either. Another woodie near the top of my list. (8 out 10)
A typical Arrow to me. I may be getting old but the double loops are just not fun to me in the back of the train. My body just doenst want to recover from the first loop fast enough before you hit the second. I had similar issue at Circus Circus in Vegas. Getting older sucks for me.. The two corkscrews were cool and the helix at the end was a pleasant surprise. It was fun but wasnt interested in re-reride (6 out 10).
Fairly Odd Coaster:
Interesting name. But a cool wooden coaster. I can see this as a break in to woodies for children. Little bit of air time to it and definitely one to make sure you at least ride once. Not much on this one though. (7 out 10)
I think this had the longest wait of 15 mins, mostly due to the fact of a slow load time and only a single train on the track. This is one of those I always imagine if I was a billionaire, this would be one I have in my back yard. Its compact and fun. I saw the extreme padding on the restraints flanking where your head would be so that worried me a bit, but it wasnt nearly fast enough for that to be an issue. Its a good ride for kids and adults who arent totally fond of coasters though. (7 out 10)
Well that rounded out our day of coaster riding.. The park was nice and looked as if its been cleaned up a bit from the past which is good. The coaster stock even included a back stage tour of the area to show where they rehab rides and design Halloween props for Scarowinds. My wife enjoyed the back stage tour as well, but for different reasons. She was more in comparison mode.
We didnt stay for the late ERT as we had accomplished all the rides and my wife had to be at work to address a few things over the weekend so we bagged it early so we could leave out early Saturday morning.
All in all the Coaster Stock is definitely worth it. Im fairly certain that if they do this again next year (which they alluded to) it will be a huge success next year, especially if they include the 2010 coaster in the mix.
Overall for Carowinds as a whole I give the park a first time visit of 8 out 10, which includes park cleanliness, employees persona, rides, etc. Since its only 5 hrs away I could see myself wanting to go back to it.
I will post photos later in CBs photo gallery (and my Flickr).
Good times at Coaster Stock.
Photos posted on:
Glad to hear the wood in Charlotte is running well, might get a trip up there before the end-of-season. Have to admit being more than a little surprised with the positive review of Reptar. I hate the Vekoma junior inverts with a passion, they always seem to bang my head. Afterburn/TG:TJC has always been a huge favorite, IMO one of the very best of the B&M inverts...
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