Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Okay. So last nite was season pass preview night for Carowinds. I say for Carowinds, because 2015 is not only about the new coaster, or the mostly overlooked new slingshot, or the new front gate, or any of that. This weekend is about the reinvention of my home park. And unlike Madonna, Carowind's reinvention is going to be relevant for years to come.
Even before the official announcement, the local geeks have all been foaming at the mouth, myself included (you know this if you're reading this and are a local). When the rumors of something 300' were coming, as well as major improvements to the park popped up, the speculation was wild. Too wild at many times, and very annoying at other times. But that's done. This weekend was it.
The park looks great when you get past last year's addition of a new toll plaza. Then you get into the parking lot and head to the front gate. It's amazing. Beautiful plaza. It's familiar but different. It's modern and fresh. It works, and is far easier to navigate.
Once inside I headed to find Fury. It was overcast. Because I'd been on vacation the prior week, I wasn't able to attend media day, so this was my first time in the park this year. And because of Charlotte traffic I was 30 minutes later than I'd wanted to be.
For those of you familiar with the park, the line STARTED at the covered walkway just beside the scrambler. I had visions of Banshee's opening day, but, thankfully, it wasn't like that. The whole line, which went into the action zone, then down an access road close to the queue, then into the queue took about an hour forty. Not bad, actually. And it moves. Constantly. A full queue would take an hour or less to move.
Some nice touches, since it was getting dark, they have color changing lights shining on the lift structure like MF. And there are color changing LEDs under the sun shades that pulsate as well.
Oh, and the lift hill motor, which is right by the last section of queue, is really loud.
So my first ride was at nite in row 7 (of 8). The crowd was VERY psyched in the station, and the crew was very good. They assign seating, but I didn't notice them asking for single riders, which would have been a big help from what I saw.
The ride dispatches and starts going swiftly up the lift. About a third of the way up, you speed up. Really fast. Then it slows just at the top. 325 feet in the air.
The first drop is amazing. Much what you would expect from any Giga coaster. You speed up into the first overbanked turn and for what it is, it's intense. The speed is amazing, you get some positive G forces in the turn around, and the drop off has airtime. But what surprised me was the odd sideways flojector air that you get (sideways!) on the next two banked ramp hills. Honestly? It's like exaggerated trick-track with airtime, all at very high speed.
Then you fly up and around into the turnaround at the end of the ride. I kind of knew what to expect here as Goliath that debuted at Six Flags Great America last year had similar elements, and this one did not disappoint. Again, there is flojector airtime, all while you're sideways. Then you drop off and it's amazing. Scary even. Flying under the bridge and then up into the next banked hill, there is more airtime.
After that, you hit the first big hill. There is a trim there, magnetic, and the 2 rides I got really slowed the train down noticeably. Having said that, much like the trim on Diamondback, I really didn't mind, because it has the added effect of ejecting you out of your seat going over the hill.
The last two bunny hops have ample flojector air. If you go in expecting Intamin or RMC-esq airtime, that's not what this is. But it is some of the strongest airtime on a B&M hyper. Just as good as Nitro, Goliath, and Diamondback. Better than Intimidator across the park (a solid ride in it's own right).
This is the best B&M coaster I've ever ridden. It will most likely fall in my top 20 (of 312). Solid coaster. It interacts with the front amazingly. It has what it takes to help transition Carowinds to the next level.
Me and some guys (including the mods) from Carowinds Connection had a chat with Mike, the GM, in Harmony Hall (Don't worry, he came up to us, we didn't bug him). He's great. Having him and Jerry running that park as it moves forward is what needed to be.
Carowinds has a very bright future. I can't wait for it.
Flojector air= floaty ejector air?
Nice review! Is the light show as cool as it looks in pictures?
How do you feel the Intamin Gigas stack up to this ride? I quite enjoy Millennium Force and I-305, but this appears to be a totally different animal. It is unlikely that I will get a ride on this this summer (or at all), but I'm gonna try. Are there other coasters at Carowinds besides the two you mentioned that make the park worth a pretty lengthy trip?
Bunky, Afterburn is a can't-miss ride and should be enough to help inspire a visit. It's my #2 invert behind the B-TRs. Think of it as a scaled-up version of a B-TR, complete with spine-crushing intensity.
I actually rank Afterburn ABOVE Batman and Talon. Just wish it was as close as those two are to me...
Afterburn took me completely by surprise and I thought it was the best ride in the park.
I had the great fortune of attending the media event on Wednesday and was able to get 10 laps in. I have been internally debating about which coaster I prefer more - Fury or MF, and the jury is still out.
Tekwardo described the ride very well and I agree with most of his comments. I could go on and on about how great the ride is, how the sideways fall off the far turnaround has a really great sensation in seat 1-4 (you have ejector air pushing you the top of the hill immediately followed by the fall down towards the tunnel), how the sense of speed on the ride seems greater to me than MF, and several other awesome elements, but I can quickly summarize the only disappointing part to me about the ride is the helix after the trim. It just seems slow, and I specifically have said "seems". I found myself wondering that if the rest of the ride didn't seem so "speed intense" that the helix probably would have felt more intense than what it does.
I am curious to hear other reviews from people on CB to see if they experience the ride the same way I have.
I also made it to DW on Thursday for the first time. The location of WE definitely lended itself to making you feel like an Eagle in flight and Thunderhead was awesome. MM was closed all day for some reason, so I missed that and I enjoyed TT as it was not your standard Arrow looper. The other striking thing about DW was how friendly the staff was. I know school isn't out yet but the average age of the staff on duty had to be in the 50s. I attribute the politeness/friendliness though not to the age, but the southern hospitality, as the people there and at Cherokee were extremely friendly.
Sorry, the DW comment wasn't meant to hijack the thread, but just sharing my experience from the park.
I encourage all of you to get FuryFever at some point this summer. I don't think you will be disappointed.
I'm heading to Carowinds mid April and can't wait. This ride looks awesome in so many ways.
I've read many comments like yours trying to compare Fury to MF and I don't get it. Aside from both being steel giga coasters, to me they're like apples and oranges. In an attempt to draw a fairer comparison I lump Fury in with Behemoth, Diamondback, Intimidator, and Leviathan. MF sits over there with I-305, Superman, Bizarro, and the like. Maybe this is why I've never been able to bring myself to make a personal top-whatever list of wood and steel rides. Apparently I separate them out according to hardware. Each manufacturer has their own style and hallmarks, and each has a ride or two that would deserve a place at the top of my list.
If I had a complaint about B&M rides of this style it's that they tend to peter out toward the end. I've heard now from you and others that the trim is killing the final forces and it's disappointing- but it seems like they all do it. It's especially evident on rides like Intimidator and Diamondback. Everything's great until the MCB, then it's not quite a yawn, but not quite as fun either. The latest rides put the brake at the very end and block the trains that way and you'd think it would help, but not really it seems. These giant B&M's would benefit from a final series of slamming air time hills, but it's almost like they've never heard of it.
Intamin rides of this size have a different groove, and one thing I can say is they almost always rock it out all the way to the end. The Superman/Ride of Steel rides have one of the most thrilling moments I've ever experienced on a coaster and it comes at the very, very end with an abrupt and surprising final brake. MF is almost like that, and once again the sense of speed is consistent throughout the ride.
So don't worry, SVLFever, if you can't rank em. You can always come sit by me, I like em both.
As for Dollywood, I'm glad you enjoyed it. That and SDC are two of the best parks anywhere IMO. As for the adult employees, yes. You find that all summer long, at both parks, with it being slightly more mixed after school's out. But those areas have a lot of retirees looking for a little work, and not so many kids. They like their jobs, they're all really nice and seem to carry the work ethic those parks are looking for. So it's a win/win/win.
Shame about Mystery Mine. Next time.
I definitely rank Afterburn above the B:TRs and Talon but Talon is probably my least favorite invert.
I already wanted to go back to Carowinds for Fury 325 but reading about spine-crushing intensity on Afterburn makes me want to go back even more. Mainly because I didn't really feel it when I went 7 or 8 years ago. Perhaps if I get to Carowinds on a hot summer day this year it will feel like a little more intense. Still a cool ride overall.
Fever, the good thing about dollywood is that they tend to hire a much older workforce year round. It's great.
As for Fury, it's just everything I thought it would be. It's not my number one. But it's highly ranked.
Flojecter is definitely floater and ejector mixed.
As for comparing the Intamin gigas, I love MF but will probably like this more as I'll get to ride it more. I305 is the better ride between it and fury but I still may rank guilty better.
Oh and the lights look very nice. That's one thing that is being corrected as Carowinds doesn't have a good Nite time atmosphere.
RCMAC, I get what you're saying about B&M and Intamin being very different animals for sure, and I can see where you'd probably put B&Ms together and Intamins together more than comparing the two different companies for gigas. However, the layout of Fury and the layout of I-305 look more similar than anything B&M has done before. This more than anything was what made me wonder how similar these two especially were. I'd be pleased if they had a very similar feel (I-305 is my top steel and 2nd or 3rd overall...depending on my mood, Phoenix sneaks in there and takes the number 2), but it would also be exciting to feel the difference of a B&M giga, especially this one.
Man I'd love to ride this thing, no matter what! Makes me drool a little looking at it.
Thanks for the great ride report! I'm heading there Sunday, and I'm SO excited. Carrowinds is my home park too, and I love all the changes they're making and how much they're improving the place.
Has anybody ever been there on Easter? I'm curious what the crowds will look like.Last edited by AmandaT, Wednesday, April 1, 2015 6:30 PM
Count on a lot of high hair with bonnets!Last edited by RCMAC, Wednesday, April 1, 2015 6:14 PM
Got three more rides in this evening. I love it more every time I ride. I was with 7 others, some old timers from here even (Homey G, +Danny, and Frisbeeking and a few others). We all agree its a smash.
So don't worry, SVLFever, if you can't rank em. You can always come sit by me, I like em both.
Yeah, the DW staff definitely lends itself to the overall experience at the park. It's very HW-esque IMO. Now with the rumor of DW adding a coaster next year, I'll obviously have a good reason to go back.
Back to Fury, I obviously did not get any nighttime experience at the park, as the media event was during the day. I have seen images of the night time lighting effect and it does look awesome. I think that LED technology may cause some existing rides to get an upgraded lighting package, which will only make some of most beloved rides even better. At least that's what I am hoping for.
Have fun everyone!
I was with 7 others, some old timers from here even (Homey G, +Danny, and Frisbeeking and a few others).
Yeah, yeah, it was all over my FB....jerks! ;~)
Just got back from Carowinds with my family. We all LOVED Fury 325! We got Fast Lane Plus yesterday so we really maxed out our riding time between Fury and Intimidator.
The ride is a huge, huge, huge and did I say huge, winner for Cedar Fair and Carowinds. Smooth, FAST, borderline aggressive yet easily re-ridable all day. Sad to say, the same can't be said for Intimidator 305.
We stopped by Kings Dominion on way back, and I kind of wish the park was open earlier while we were on way to Carowinds so that way, the experience wouldn't be a huge letdown. Yup, the park is beautiful but the selection of rides is disappointing, to put it mildly.
Someone in the forums mentioned the "big 3" at KD: I305, Dominator and Grizzly. I had my hopes raised. Nope. Even my kids thought they were medicore -- they liked them, but meh.
Fury 325 is a grand slam home run for Cedar Fair, and I hope to see one at Kings Island one day!
PS: We did miss the "crazy hop" feature that Leviathan has (after the first drop and overbanked turn. I hope B&M will include that feature multiple times in a future Giga.Last edited by Marvin Miller, Friday, April 3, 2015 8:41 PM
One thing I want to point out is that the park has turned up the level of customer service to about 12 out of 10. It's almost like being at Dollywood. I hope more than anything that continues thru the season.
I spent last Friday and Saturday at the park, rode Fury 325 about 8 times, met people from as far away as Ohio, Indiana and New York to ride this coaster. After my rides I will say the top 5 of the top 100 will need a shake up, Fury 325 by far is the best Rollercoaster in the world
You must be logged in to post