Carowinds early pictures

Check out this website

It has pictures of Carowinds in it's well themed hey day. Look at all the details that were put into the original theming, before Paramount took over and turned it into a cheap and cheesy wanna-be movie park.

Nothing wrong with what Paramount's done, LOL.
Just like the underpants gnomes, big corporations can be good, & often they're around 'cause they do a good job.

As for Carowinds, I went there too much in these supposed good ole days, & the place is better under Paramount, JMHO.......

Actually the majority of the changes from these "good old days" were made to the park long before paramount ever showed up.


I agree. The park has gone to crap in the recent years. I don't see how Nickelodeon is connected to the Carolinas.

"The fish are eating the guest, sir

The park hasn't gone to crap recently, it just no longer uses the theme it used 30 years ago. What would you expect to happen when a movie company takes over the park? Seems like some people are just sour because the park is catering to the group that makes up most of its profit.

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

Hey Dukeis#1 please tell me what exactly does FRENZOID have to do with the Carolina's That ride was built long before Paramount showed up.Nickelodeun will be a great addition once they expand it past the 1 new ride they are getting next year


Yeah I agree Paramount has done some cool things with the parks since they have had the park. The only thing is they get the junk rides, with the exception of Top Gun, but paramount was into creating thrills where you cant get anywhere else back then, and there are many inverted coasters, wheres the unique attractions. We are in desperate need of some flat rides, hopefully they will soon catch up with all the other parks as far as flat rides are concerned. As far as theming goes, they took an area that wasnt themed well at all and turned it into Carolina Boardwalk, so as they take some old themeing away, they have also been trying to add some. Anyway someone mentioned what does Nickelodeon have to do with the carolinas? Well what did the old world marketplace have to do with the Carolinas? I do miss plantation square though!
The only thing I don't really appreciate is the skimping on pirates. The Boardwalk is awesome. It kills any of the overkill of the Wayne's World theme & makes for something worth seeing if you haven't yet, JMHO. Only down side is the music, growing up in the Carolinas, you hear Carolina Girls enough, but that's what alot of folks wanna hear when they go down there. You'll hear Carolina Girls a bunch while you're there.

There's lots of the Carolinas there, though. They theoretically could take it easy for a while. Otherwise, I cannot see anything but Paramount(EVIL Viacom "Conglomo", LOL) having added much things to thier parks. They do leave so much an original mood, I think they're OK at it.

I really did get burned out on the place back in the day, though. The changes Paramount's made are the things that keep me back & wanting to go back to the parks. Rides like PC's Top Gun.

Although, I would like some Blackbeard.......

I don't see how Nickelodeon is connected to the Carolinas.

You mean you don't have televisions down there?


Carowinds was actually one of the best themed thrill parks in the nation in the 80s. The original 6 areas plus the added HB land and County Fair (somewhere along the line, Indian Thicket was lost) each had aspects to the Carolinas, except HB land which was a Taft standard area for kids.

Plantation Square-antebellum Carolina

Queens Colony-british carolina

Carolina Midway-contemporary carolina

Frontier Outpost-frontier carolina

Pirate Island-coastal carolina

Country Crossroads-rural carolina

County Fair-old fashioned fairgrounds

Not only were all the areas tied to the central theme, each ride and attraction were themed to the area. Not just placed where it was most convient with little thought or creativity to naming the ride as they do today. Look at the pictures on the website. Look at all the fine details in theming such as wagons, netting, etc that really gave each section a feel for the time and place.

The downslide of the theming did start before Paramount. Just about the time Frenzoid was added, Hillbilly Jalopies and White Lightnin were removed. Frenziod would have fit wonderfully in Pirate Island. Why the heck they stuck in County Fair is a mystery. Also the names of the areas were changed to much less attractive names. Heck, everything there is "Carolina" something now. I guess they think sticking Carolina on the front carries the Carolina theme. At this point in time, late 80's, the park also got very ratty looking, peeling paint, dingy paint colors, etc.

Paramount has maintained the park from that point, but all of their additions have just ripped out the theming little by little. Frontier Outpost was nicely themed, the Carolina Boardwalk is pretty plastic looking, and some of the buildings there are still frontier looking with stuff hung up on them.

This could have been one awesome themed park today if they had just used their creativity and maintained the rides instead of trashing them instead of naming everything after some non-timeless movie or tv show as shamless self promotion.

You are contradicting yourself when you talk about how the theming began to go away and the park looked bad before Paramount but it still would of been an awesome theme park if Paramount didnt take over? Im glad Paramount came or else who knows what Carowinds would be like.Times change and it's time to move on and it is on its way to becoming a nicely themed park. Wouldn't it get boring with the same theme's since the 70's? (Personally, I don't think the theming was that great back then anyways, the only thing I wished they would do is add back some flat rides.)

They re-did the entrance which looks a lot better than it did before, Carolina Boardwalk is very nice and a lot better than Blue Ridge Junction, and now they are fixing up Old World Marketplace to Nickelodeon Central and theming the log flume. I think it is good they are doing this because Old World Marketplace was looking pretty bad this year and they need to have a better kid's area or expand it as well.

Oh and the Carolina names were there before Paramount - Carolina Skytower, Carolina Sternwheeler, Carolina Goldrusher, Carolina Cyclone.

Oh well its your opinion anyways, whatever.

*** This post was edited by ghettocoaster on 10/30/2002. ***

*** This post was edited by ghettocoaster on 10/30/2002. ***

ghettocoaster said:

You are contradicting yourself when you talk about how the theming began to go away and the park looked bad before Paramount but it still would of been an awesome theme park if Paramount didnt take over? Im glad Paramount came or else who knows what Carowinds would be like.Times change and it's time to move on and it is on its way to becoming a nicely themed park. Wouldn't it get boring with the same theme's since the 70's? (Personally, I don't think the theming was that great back then anyways, the only thing I wished they would do is add back some flat rides.)

They need to make up there mind on which way there going. They need to decide wheather there going to be a "Movie Park" or a Carolina Park. Everybody claims that there getting a new and solid theme, but one year they add a Carolina Area, and the next they add a Paramount area.

I think it would of been nice if a company like SDC Inc. could have got the park instead, Carowinds was never intended to be a "Thrill Park". Its original purpose was to be a fun, exciting, and educational family expierience.

Its not just the theming. Overall park quality has also went down hill. Employees are not helpful, paint is peeling left and right, and unworldly gook is all over the pathways.

I find my time better spent at Dollywood, Six Flags, or Busch Gardens when I'm in Dixie these days. I guess we can say goodbye to Carowinds, and hello to Parawinds.
"The fish are eating the guest, sir"

*** This post was edited by Dukeis#1 on 10/30/2002. ***

Ok? And your point for quoting my whole post is....? Just wondering...

Busch Gardens is off the beating path, JMHO.

But what Paramount did was buy a park that was starting to suck & be boring that people would've rather went to SFoG after visiting.
I would've liked it if Tim Burton made all the Batman movies, I would've liked it if my neighbor next door had bought a new car instead of the one across the street. So you're telling me you'd rather spend a day instead of Dollywood than PC? JMHO, but around NC & even SC, there's all kinds of tourist traps, like Maggie Valley, Cherokee, even in TN, there's all kinds of "hillbilly" mountain themes that are just horrible, Carowinds very well could've gone down that path. They were saved, I enjoy the place now & can enjoy some childhood memories without wanting to fall asleep or go somewhere else. I do want pirates, though.

Not contradicting myself, i said the park started its downslide, and while Paramount may have added rides and repainted things, they way further ripped out the original theming putting in imo, cheesy movie type theming. Carolina Boardwalk is plastic looking, it really doesnt feel like anyplace real. Nice water by the way lol. If the new Nick area is like Kings Island's, it will be the cheesiet area of all. Big plastic statues of the rugrats and wild thornberrys, park benches with ads for tv shows, and lots of concrete.

While the ride selection is better than Dollywood, it would have been nice if it would have maintained the nice touches here and there that made it such an original park. In the beginning, the only thing that resembled a Taft park was the HB land, Scooby Doo Coaster and Thunder Road. Everything else was completely original. Now look at all the cloned names, thrown here and there in the park.

While great rides are great (and most they have added are mediocre while continuing to remove rides), its not what everyone likes about a "theme" park. Just a certain group which Paramount has chosen to cater to. They aren't the only corp that has did this, but the meaning of "theme" has really been lost.

While i don't think that Six Flags does the best theming, and they are also guilty of self-promoting movies (Batman), they have at least did some kind of theming to non-themed parks. Magic Mountain had no themed sections when it started. While there are some theming issues there, its a step forward to where it started out.

The excellent example is the two Great Americas, parks that originally started out almost as themed as Carowinds. Look at IL vs CA. They have ripped almost all the theming out in CA, while IL still well resembles the Marriot park it started out as.

As for the Carolina Boardwalk section It's ironic that for years the Carolina Cyclone didn't fit in with the mountain theme and now the Gold Rusher doesn't fit in with the beach theme(even though they try to claim it's like an Amtrak train now) . Frankly I think they should have left that area alone and put Ricochete down in the old Wayne's World. That area really needs a repackaging since Wayne and Garth got evicted.

My favorite moment from our 1987 employee training class: Instructor says areas and rides of the park are named for all things "Carolina". Thunder Road is an old moon shine run, White lightnin' is the moonshine. Blackbeard's Revenge is for the pirate and so forth.

Then my friend yells out, "Where's FRENZOID N.C.?!"


I wouldnt blame paramount for detheming the park I would blame the genral management. Carowinds lacks creativity, and seems like they always get the attraction that will cost the least, destroying anything in its path to get there. In the process they have lost many good rides, shows, in exchange for cheesy pay attractions, and things that really dont fit into the theme of the area at all. The management is very poor, anywhere from poor maintenence staff ( a lot of ride downtime), terrible food ( which is slowly improving), rude employees that would much rather be somewhere else, poor cleaniliness, and a run down looking park. At least PKI and PKD have kind of incorporated their cheesy movie rides into properly themed areas, with the exception of FOF, which is off by itself anyway at both parks. PCW is almost as bad as Carowinds when it comes to theming. How does the Drop Zone fit into midevil faire or the spinavator ( quixote's kettles), or the rage(vikings rage). taft spent the most money of any of their other parks to theme Canada's Wonderland, and now look at it (this could be a whole other post topic). Just to prove my point that general management has the most say so of any park! maybe in the future carowinds can get creative and look to retheming an area "Carowinds: the early years."

The thing is, the theming WAS there at all of these parks, and maintaining that theming doesnt cost ANYTHING other than regular maintenance (paint, etc) which is needed whether there is theming or not. When they installed these new attractions, all they had to do was use their small brains to be creative and think of a name that went with the already exisitng area, and build a station to follow. Example, top gun in Country Crossroads could have been themed to barnstorming.........But instead they choose to promote their movies, which are not timeless. Waynes World, Tomb Raider, Top Gun, they are not timeless classics.

Im thankful i got to go to the Paramount parks when they actually felt like you were in another place and time. Now they have no more theming than cedar fair parks. They install these movie themed rides, and that would be fine to have one movie themed section, but they plop them down here and there with no rhyme or reason and it just makes a sloppy park out of what was originally a well themed park.

I haven't ever been to Carowinds, but I have both worked at and gone to PGA many times, and the park is definetly losing its old theming way too much. A lot of little things in the park could be fixed SO easily for the better, and at almost no cost, but since they aren't glaringly obvious to the GP (although the effect of all of them, if all fixed, would be significant) the park just lets them fade away. PGA hasn't gotten any movie themed rides recently, but the theming of some could certainly have fit better with the areas they were put in. Stealth in Yankee Harbor could've been something much more fitting, and Drop Zone in the middle of County Fair could've fit better I think. Kings Dominion is the only other Paramount park I've been to, and its theming and quality just blew me away compared to Great America, and Carowinds looks about on the level of PKD nowadays, so believe me... It can get worse.

Former PGA Employee

The new web address is:

Tons of new Early Years pictures have been added. Check it out Carowinds fans.

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