Carowinds operating schedule

Saturday, March 14, 2015 9:39 AM

I was just looking at Carowinds operating schedule and was wondering why they operate on a funky schedule. I saw they're not open daily until Memorial Day and they are open a full week during Easter. I find that strange because Cedar Point is open daily when they open on May 9th.

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:07 AM

I would guess schools in the area are on Easter/Spring break during that week.

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:17 AM

I get that's Easter week, but why the late start on daily operation? CP and KI start the 2nd week of May.

Saturday, March 14, 2015 11:39 AM

Because it's not as much of a destination park. Weekdays are often dead except the dead of summer.

Saturday, March 14, 2015 11:58 AM

I wouldn't think that many people travel to CP during May. I think it's mostly locals that go during that time. Most schools here in Ohio don't let out until the last week of may or first week of June. But it looks like CP can justify daily operations during May, even though it can be a ghost town during that time. They do a math and science week for school field trips in May, which could factor into it. Another thing that could factor into that is most CP employees live on site.

Saturday, March 14, 2015 11:01 PM

I think you have a couple of strong theories there, Thabto.
I was kind of curious about the same thing when I checked Carowinds schedule wondering when might be the best week for me to take off for the park and enjoy some nice, slow weekdays. Turns out never, unless I want to go during spring break. (btw, when Intimidator opened I went down over Easter weekend starting on Good Friday and I was braced for a huge crowd but there wasn't) I agree that Carowinds seems to have a short calendar, especially for a park that's so far south.

CP serves a couple/three/four major metropolitan areas, whereas the Charlotte market may be somewhat smaller. The park isn't exactly a destination (yet) in terms of resort stays, and the place is a lot smaller than CP. And you're right about the employee situation. Most regional theme parks hire from the local pool and use a lot of high school students. CP has always relied on some of that, but also a lot of college hires who are willing to spend the whole summer away from home. So it does make sense that CP should go ahead and open for daily, they're set up for it, and besides- if they can't offer the hours to kids that are there paying room and board they won't get anyone to apply.

This is just speculation, but since Cedar Fair seems to have chosen Carowinds as a corporate darling, we may over time see some of this change if the park grows and expands their offerings.

You know, for years Carowinds was closed every Friday all summer long.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 12:55 AM

I don't think Cedar Fair chose Carowinds - migration and demographics did that. Cedar Fair responded appropriately by investing in the park with the best prospects for future growth.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 9:40 AM

That future growth potential was a primary driver of the Paramount acquisition so in that way CF did chose Carowinds.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 10:01 AM

Carowinds just started staying open till ten on weeknites during the summer in 2014 or 2013 so they're making loads of changes. This is the first year they've been open this much during the week early in the season.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 11:59 AM

rollergator said:
I don't think Cedar Fair chose Carowinds - migration and demographics did that. Cedar Fair responded appropriately by investing in the park with the best prospects for future growth.

Well, yes. And by "choose" I meant "responding appropriately" and didn't mean to infer it was a random, beauty contest kind of vote.

Besides, my sources tell me it was a close race between Charlotte and Muskegon, and so, once again...

Sunday, March 15, 2015 4:03 PM

There is an enormous influx of people to the Charlotte area, with estimates as high as 50% population growth over the next 20 years. That's crazy. This is the time to strike if you want to build something lasting, I think. The kids you give warm fuzzies today are the adults that bring their kids every year tomorrow.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 4:28 PM

This study has the projected growth in Charlotte and Raleigh at 71% over the next 15 years. Largest of any large US cities.

I have gotten the impression talking with people in North Carolina over the past few years that Carowinds had been somewhat underappreciated. The expected population growth and some further investments in the park should be a great combination for Cedar Fair.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 5:07 PM

RCMAC said:

Well, yes. And by "choose" I meant "responding appropriately" and didn't mean to infer it was a random, beauty contest kind of vote.

You've been here long enough - no one believes you to be the Carowinds version of Timber-Rider.

That being said, my last visit to Carowinds I had to park mid-Timidator...

Sunday, March 15, 2015 5:34 PM

So is the problem that we repeat conversations around here or that I remember them so well?

Here's a discussion on the park, "Cedar Point Of The South" and the insane migration to the area from 5 years ago (and as usual, it's funny to see changing attitudes/opinions):

For the record, here's what Kreskin...err, I said then:

"NC is the 10th most populous state. That's 9.3 million people for whom the closest park is a long shot. Not too many parks have that kind of command over a population that large...and growing. (just looked it up and they saw a 16.6% increase from 2000 to 2009)

Create a two hour radius around Carowinds to represent the population that has Carowinds as their absolute closest park and it pretty much mirrors where some of the biggest growth in the country has happened (and continues to happen).

It's almost the exact inverse of what CP has been facing.

I dunno. Seems shortsighted not to anticipate/take advantage of that. I don't think it crosses that line into any sort of scope creep (I read up real quick :) ) and sits squarely in the range of smart business thinking. You're in a big region that has seen plenty of growth with no signs of slowing. Match your product to that."

Glad to see everyone caught up. ;)

(and yes, that's more touching of my own junk for all to see)

Seriously though, interesting to see the same general discussion through the window of five years time difference.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 9:19 PM

I don't even know what was being argued in that thread. I mean, it still stands to reason that you invest as appropriate against the growth, and not preemptively. Maybe the better question is whether or not Carowinds was/is underbuilt.

Monday, March 16, 2015 10:54 AM

Why was Carowinds previously closed on Fridays?

Monday, March 16, 2015 6:24 PM

I'm not sure, but that was the case. I know sometimes they'd use that day for buyouts, as some friends of mine once made the trip down and showed up on Friday to find, to their dismay, the park closed. It was a corporate buyout day, and they talked someone into selling them a ticket.

Back in the day many amusement parks only ran 6 days a week, with the traditional dark day being Monday. I remember Camden Park was that way and I think Euclid Beach was, too. It was probably an easy way to give everyone a day off, do maintenance, etc. A lot of show business venues still follow that schedule.


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