Dex visits Carowinds for the first time - Sept. 15

Associated parks:

Since Kings Island was closed last Saturday, My friend Shannon, his Wife Ree, and his little 10 year old Brother Egg decided to invite me to go with them to Carowinds instead.

It was our first time at Carowinds. Shannon never even heard of the park until I suggested it. From Hurricane, WV, it took the same amount of time to get there as it would have to go to KI. Everyone goes to KI around here. It's like they think it's the only amusement park outside of Disney.

We arrived at Carowinds (which already had the "SCarowinds" sign up, by the way) about 10:30 am. The parking lot was busy, but we figured it was because of the time of day.

The weather was perfect all day, but just a little chilly after dark. They were open until 8PM, which was just a little too early for us. I heard a lot of people around closing time complaining that the park should have been open a little later.

Rides and attractions:

Hurler - (7/10) - This was my first of the many clones of this kind. It was a little on the short side. It had some nice out-of-control moments of air in some places. It was rough, but not uncomfortable, which I like.

Carolina Cyclone - (7/10) - This old Arrow looper was intense, but again a short ride. 2 loops, 2 corkscrews, and a very interesting "coal mine" themed partially entrenched helix. It had those stupid seatbelts like Corkscrew has at CP.

Vortex - (9/10) - This B&M Stand-Up was not very tall and only had Two inversions, but it was one of our favorite rides of the day. It was the only other B&M Stand-Up I have ever rode, and I very much prefer it to Mantis because it's intensity was more tolerable.

Carolina Goldrusher - (6/10) - This Arrow mine ride was small, slow, and not very intense (compared to my favorite mine ride at KI), and the layout was pretty uninspired, but the awesome underground drop into the mine shaft near the end totally made up for what the ride was lacking.

Scooby Doo and the Haunted mansion - (9/10) - I question if the ride would have been better or worse if the ride system was the same as KI's, with the Haunted Mansion inspired "omnimover's" instead of single cars traversing the track like a traditional dark ride. Omnimovers would have made the 20 minute wait much shorter, but the single cars made me unaware of other riders. This ride was fun. Shannon's blaster didn't work, or maybe he just sucked at the

Spongebob Squarepants Action F/X Theater - (10/10) - I missed this ride at KI because it was always closed, and the one time I wanted to ride it at Six Flags Great Overcrowded Adventure, the line was an hour long, so I was very excited to ride this. I love Spongebob, and this movie was even funnier than the series, imo. I wish this ride had some 4-D effects though. I really couldn't stop laughing out loud on this one.

Southern Star - (7/10) - I only rode this looping starship type ride because Egg wanted to. No one else wanted to so i rode it with him. I feared that all of the blood rushing to my head would make me feel ill, but it wasn't as sickening as I expected. I actually kind of enjoyed the ride.

Thunder Road - (9/10) - This ride really surprised me. I expected the exact same ride as the Racers at KI, and now I question weather or not TR is really an exact clone. This coaster was just so fast and the airtime was very intense. Too bad the backwards side was closed.

Rugrat's Runaway Reptar - (5/10) - This ride was suckerriffic. Slow, bumpy, and the second longest line in the park second only to Borg. I know that it is a kiddy ride, but Woodstock's Express and Flying Unicorn have practically the same layout except that they are on top of the tracks, and I find those coasters very enjoyable. This was one of the few rides Ree rode all day.

Carolina Skytower - I'm not going to grade a ride like this. Nice view. No line.

Ricochet - (8/10) - Mad mouse rides are fun. This was your basic mad mouse ride. I think that it is the exact same ride that Hersheypark has, except that the cars do not stop in the station at HP like they do at Carowinds.

Fairly Odd Coaster - (7/10) - I probably wouldn't have liked this clone "credit" coaster so much except that it seemed retracked and so interestingly smooth that I had to give it some respect. It sounded like a skateboard racing down blacktop.

Borg Assimilator - (10/10) - This was the last ride of the night. It was the only coaster we rode in the dark. I have no idea why I enjoyed this one so much, as I dislike the near-clone at GL that I rode just a year ago, but somewhat liked the one at SFA I rode a few years ago. This was our favorite coaster in the park, except that poor little Egg, with a big smile, told us that he hated it and would never ride a coaster like that again.


We ate at Happy Days Diner. It was tasty, but overpriced for the amount of food you get. A Cheeseburger, a little bit of fries, and a medium Coke ran me over $13.

I also ate an overpriced $6 cup of soft serve ice cream, which was artificially flavored, and an overpriced $6 frozen lemonaid, which was delicious. Bottle of water was a tollerable $2.75, but I bought only one and filled it up at the water fountains all day.

How long were the lines? ...Most coasters were just a few train wait. Vortex was about a 15 minute wait, Scooby Mansion was about a 20 minute wait, Reptar was a ridiculous 30 minute wait, and Borg was an hour. Vortex and Borg had slow loading procedures, Reptar and Scooby just had a low capacity.

Top Gun was closed for the weekend, which disappointed me a lot. It looked like a very nice Inverted coaster. Maybe next time.

Also closed was the waterpark. It got up to 85 degrees throughout the day and the water rides were very busy. On the other hand, it did get chilly after the sun went down.

One thing I didn't like about the park that should have been brought over from Cedar Point is how the rides lines close before the parks posted hours.

Outside the park, we stayed at a Hyatt Hotel about 8 miles from the park. They provided an awesome breakfast. It wasn't the nicest place I've ever stayed, but the it was my first stay at a Hyatt.

I've been to SFGAdv maybe ten times and never knew they had a Spongebob simulator. LOL!

Nice TR. I was considering Carowinds for a trip in 2008, so I'm trying to read all the reviews I can to make sure I'm making the correct decision in skipping it for Dollywood and Busch Gardens Europe.

It sounds like you had a fun time. With weather that nice, it's hard to have a bad time really.

Glad you enjoyed the park, it's a shame that Top Gun was down though, it is by far the crown jewel of the park.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller
Dexter I know ex[eriences can vary but what makes you like Batwing at SFA more than X Flight at GL. They are clones.
^^^ We just did Dollywood and Carowinds last weekend -Sep. 14 and 15. Let me be the first to say there is no comparison.

Carowinds is dull and lifeless, and while there are a lot more coasters, they are mostly mediocre. If you like canned ride speils, they have more then any park I've ever been to. My wife always makes a point of saying "thank you" to the operatoer when we get off a ride - but out of the dozen or so rides we had only one operator spoke to us.

Dollywood has a great atmosphere, energenic and friendly employees, and a couple of great rides. Thunderhead is one of the best coasters in exsistance, and Mystery Mine is a pleasure to ride. Not to mention great food.

Go to Dollywood.

To being an "us" for once - instead of a "them".

OP AWESOME, that's the point. I'm trying to figure out why I like one and not the other also. Maybe it was the company I had, maybe it was the theme or atmosphere, I don't know...

I haven't been to DW yet Chaindog. I did notice the autospiels. I say thank you to the ride ops as well, but none of them heard me.

There was one guy at the entrance to Borg near closing who cheerfully spoke to us and was very nice. Everyone else who worked the position throughout the day were talking to other employees while I was there and wasn't able to listen to any of my questions.

Dollywood is next spring for me hopefully.

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