Kings Dominion/Carowinds Tips

Saturday, April 13, 2013 4:20 PM

Hey everyone,

So I'm travelling to North Carolina next weekend, and I'm planning on going to Carowinds and Kings Dominion on Friday and Saturday, respectively. I'm a platinum pass holder, but I'm just curious if anyone has any major tips for these parks.

I've been to Kings Dominion about 10 years ago, but never Carowinds. Also, looking on the parks' web sites, it looks like they don't do early entry?

Saturday, April 13, 2013 4:58 PM

I'll just miss you, I'll be at KD Sunday the 21st. KD Opens Dominator before the official 10:30 gate opening, so you can get a coupla laps before heading over to Volcano/FOF before their lines get outrageous.

Saturday, April 13, 2013 5:05 PM

Kings Dominion: walk (don't run) fast to Volcano as soon as they open the gates. Ride in front! Same thing at Carowinds, but change the coaster to Nighthawk.

The Carolina Goldrusher is a great ride, but you won't have to worry about that line being long.

Saturday, April 13, 2013 5:23 PM

Depends on when u go. I waited 30 minutes for Gold Rusher 2 weeks ago ;-).

Saturday, April 13, 2013 5:36 PM

^That stinks! Crowded, one train, slow crew or some/all? I guess I should have said in my first post that I have only been the park on 2 occasions: 2 consecutive days in spring 2011.

Saturday, April 13, 2013 9:57 PM


Monday, April 15, 2013 1:21 PM

Thanks for the responses.. Also, does anyone know the sunglasses policies at these parks? Is it still okay to wear them as long as you have an athletic strap?

And are there any rides that force you to put loose articles in lockers?

Monday, April 15, 2013 2:32 PM

I've never been asked to remove "secured" glasses at any park other than Knott's. Ever.

Monday, April 15, 2013 3:06 PM


The park layout is extremely compact. A lot of roller coasters in a relatively small park. The opening "courtyard" (After you enter and just stand there until it opens) of the park is about 10 yards from Nighthawk, which is the ride to sprint to. It also is about 20 yards away from Intimidator, the park's best coaster.

Wait to ride Intimidator until later in the day. In the beginning of the day, the ride often isn't running as many trains, and it's been crowded by people. Intimidator's line moves so quickly that riding it in high level crowds is suggested. In "rush hour" it can have a 20 minute wait. It retains that wait about all day. In the beginning of the day, the only two rides with crowds are Intimidator and Nighthawk. Although Nighthawk maintains it's one hour waits all day even when the park isn't busy.

The park's second best coaster, Afterburn, is located in the back left of the park. It has high crowds in mid day, but after six or seven o'clock, it's barren. I got quite a few rides on it at the end of the days I was there. Also, it has a short line from about 10-12 o'clock AM. From 1-4 o'clock PM it is very busy. Take that into consideration.

The side of the park that retains from crowds at the beginning of the day is the NC or right side. Ricochet is a great Wild Mouse coaster. It gets a long line, though, so ride it before 12. The right side of the park, though, has a lot of "nothing special" coasters. You will want to ride them, but don't waste time waiting for a lot of them.

If you're looking for good flat rides, Carowinds is not a good choice. They have very few good ones. At least I don't like flat rides much. Also, don't waste money on fast lane at this park.

Monday, April 15, 2013 3:24 PM

I think that's Tyler's longest post yet! :)

Monday, April 15, 2013 5:21 PM

Tyler Boes said:Intimidator, the park's best coaster.

Behind Carolina Goldrusher, Nighthawk, Thunder Road, and maybe a couple others. It's not bad for a B&M :)

Monday, April 15, 2013 8:16 PM

I know for a fact it's better than Nighthawk.

And I haven't ridden Intimidator yet.

Monday, April 15, 2013 8:31 PM

Tyler Boes said:

The park's first best coaster, Afterburn, is located in the back left of the park

There. Fixed that for you.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 12:00 AM

Opinions are like... Well you know the rest. lol

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 7:32 AM

Afterburn is ALMOST as good as Intimidator. I was just stating it as the general opinion of the public in my post. Afterburn is my favorite b&m invert. Intimidator is my favorite b&m hyper. Afterburn was the ride I rode more because at certain times in the days it had walk on rides for 1 hour stretches.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 12:16 PM

There's no early entry (i.e., where rides are open before the parks stated opening time) at either park except for Dominator opening up a half hour before official park opening at KD. Your platinum pass will allow you access past the Eiffel Tower rope 10 minutes before opening. The other rides won't open until the parks stated opening time.

If you get to the park early enough I'd snag a ride on Dominator first thing and then walk back to the Eiffel Tower and get the early entry past the rope. If you don't think you can ride Dominator and get off before the rope drops for everyone then skip it. Dominator's line is almost always largest in that half hour before park opening and then shrinks dramatically afterwards. As mentioned, your major focus should be to get on Volcano first, perhaps snag a re-ride before the line swells, and then move on.

If you're looking to do a credit run at Carowinds, my recommendation would be to do all of the low capacity stuff first (Nighthawk, Vortex, Ricochet, Carolina Cobra, Boo Blasters, flyers, the junior suspended, Woodstock Express in that order). If you're looking to just hit the highlights then I'd recommend starting with Nighthawk and Intimidator and go from there. Afterburn doesn't usually draw any meaningful line for the first hour or two so I'd save that until you have most everything else out of the way.

If you're looking for a mid-day snack at Carowinds there's a grill in Planet Snoopy that offers some of the best chicken tenders ever. They also offered cheese curds there at that same location that were outstanding but that may have been a one-time deal. I was also told by several Carowinds employees during my visit a couple weeks ago about a chain there called Cookout. The reviews look promising and the prices look more than reasonable. Have a look:

Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:09 AM

Thanks again! Good stuff. So, it looks like tomorrow might be a rain-out due to this storm that is currently crushing us here in Chicagoland. I'm guessing Carowinds has a similar rain policy to Cedar Point (basically no coasters in operation)?

Also, does anyone know if there's a pick-up/drop-off area at the Carowinds parking lot, where someone wouldn't have to pay to pick me up? I know that's a random question, but it could come into use.

Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:45 AM

If it rains at Carowinds, They'll open most of the coasters as long as there isn't any lightning in the area. Unfortunately there's an 80% chance at thunderstorms for tomorrow, but not till the afternoon. You could definitely get there at opening on a Friday with school in and get everything done. It may be math/science/physics days going on, not for sure, but still it wouldn't be so crowded that you coudln't get the major stuff out of the way.

And yes, there is a drop off/pick up area by the bridge that goes over the parking lot entrance where you pay that people can pick or drop you off of.

If you're there at opening, then go straight to Nighthawk. That will be the longest line all day. After that, the mouse's line gets long. Otherwise, you should be fine, and won't likely need a Fast Lane.

Rain does look likely, though. It's been overcast all day today.

Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:47 AM

I'm guessing it'll be from this storm that's spanning the entire country haha. Chicago is currently closing schools because all of the roads are so flooded from this thing. Brutal storm. But I'll keep that in mind..

Given the forecast and school being in, I'm thinking we should have the park to ourselves tomorrow for some early rides. Hope the storms hold off for an hour or two.

Thursday, April 18, 2013 11:05 AM

Yeah, a friday in April definitely isn't going to be too crowded. I didn't even know they were open tomorrow. Again, I'm guessing it's Math/Science/Physics days. I went to those in High School and they were never that crowded. And since the park closes at 6pm, the kids start clearing out at about 4 so the last 2 hours will be dead regardless.

Have fun!


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