My Visit to Carowinds (April 2015)

Monday, April 27, 2015 11:29 PM

Here's my opinion:
Fury 325 actually DOES destroy all giga coaster!

When I left Holiday World Thursday afternoon I set out for Charlotte. After an overnight stay in Asheville (I had been up since the butt crack of dawn and I was getting sleeeepy) I made it to my hotel across from Carowinds around 11:30A. (Clarion, which aside from a great view of the park from my tenth floor balcony, I don't necessarily recommend.) I found I was too early to check in (grrrr...) so after a quick change of clothes in the hotel men's room (ugh) I went straight for the park.
It was a beautiful day and as previously reported, Friday is the day of many, many school busses. Carowinds was not only hosting science classes, but there was also a regional school music festival and competition. The new entrance to the park is beautiful, although somewhat stark. Gone is the feeling of entering a bygone southern era, and I guess that's fine. The new plaza is spacious, efficient, and modern, probably just what the park needed. Perhaps it will look better when grass and trees fill in some, and a long southern growing season is sure to help.

But enough about that, on to the main attraction. First of all, Fury 325 is awe inspiring in appearance. It's visible pretty far north of the park from I77, just looming in the distance. Then upon approach Fury dwarfs about every other attraction in the park- the entrance and lift is in a back corner of the park and it still dominates the skyline.
And back to the new plaza for a sec, the integration of the coaster and the entrance is so well done and effective. It's the perfect opportunity to observe riders as the train first crosses over the bridge then under it. Many onlookers had their cameras out. The outrageous turn around with it's tilted apex is right there to see and riders always scream loudly down that hill into the "tunnel". By now we know Cedar Point did a great job with their coaster gate, and this is in a similar groove but different as well. Instead of taking up space directly over the entrance this coaster is farther out and is the first thing guests encounter when coming from the lot. I guess I'd count it as the best parking lot coaster ever.

When Fury 325 was first announced I was skeptical. Sure, the ride was tall, but the swooping low hills seemed like they might be a disappointment to someone who likes one big hill after another. (me) I couldn't have been more wrong.

I went straight for the new ride and along the way was dismayed at the number of kids at the park. (all of them with basketballs...) I considered FastLane, but thought I'd tour first then decide. At Fury the front part of the queue was only about half filled so I got in. In only ten minutes I was standing at the top of the stairs and was thrilled when the young lady looked at me and said "Row 1, sir". I talked a nice guy I had been chatting with into changing seats with me so I could sit on the far right. The climb up the lift was fast and filled with anticipation. There's a real Oh My God moment at the top, looking down a drop that never seems to end.
The best "new" thing about the ride, IMO, is the unrelenting speed though the low, ground hugging, swooping twists. It seems so perfectly out of control and maybe even a little too fast. (not really) Renderings and POV video just cant do it justice. The turnaround is awesome tiltedness, and even though it's higher up is still taken at great speed. The return trip is just as much fun with the underground drop, and three delicious airtime moments. The track trim barely effected the overall speed. I loved this ride and would like one in every color. And the folks (like me) who dig big lumpy hills can just head back over to Intimidator who is more than happy to accommodate.

The rest of my busy day was spent trying familiar Carowinds favorites. Windseeker (my fourth), Afterburn (still so awesome), Thunder Road (ouch), Southern Star, and I was declared "best flyer" on my beloved, relocated Flying Scooters. On my way to Intimidator I popped into Harmony Hall to see what that was about, and lo and behold they had a full service bar. So as long as I was there I sat down and ordered a nice, cold Mike's hard lemonade. (8%! Yay!) Which led to another. And another. And while there I met a really nice gal, Sharon I think, who was from Charleston S.C. She was a mom who had cut her kids loose after choir competition and needed a break from the crowd as well. We drank while I waited for the crowds to thin and she waited for her bus to leave.

Another highlight of my visit to Carowinds was meeting up with our Tekwardo for rides on Friday evening. We had a great time- took a couple of nighttime rides on Fury (could night rides actually be faster? It sure seemed so...), Goldrusher, Intimidator, and had some Chickie and Pete's. Tek was a wonderful host at his home park and indulged my desire to re-tour the place and try rides a home boy would probably just as soon pass by. Hopefully I've made a nice, new friend. We closed the place down.

Saturday came and I was greeted with much cooler temperatures, a promise of rain, and very grey skies. I decided I hadn't come all that way for nothing and after a quick lunch at Culvers went back to the park. The visitors numbered into the very few (I reckon the Carolinans thought it was just freezing out) and I managed a few more rides between showers. Weekends in the spring also brings the Taste of Carolina food event at the park. It was much like the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, but the stalls each offered signature tastes from the various regions in North and South Carolina. Carolina food is some of my favorite in the country, so at four bucks a taste I wanted to sample some of the unique food items. The day ended with pretty steady rain and I got out of there later than I wanted to, and decided to head up I77 and drive as far as I could.
The weather REALLY sucked and as I got toward the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia it got worse. I had one of the most tense driving experiences I've ever had, with rain, thunder, lightning and fog as thick as pea soup. It was a real Jesus Take the Wheel couple of hours through those mountains and I made it as far as Beckley WV before finally giving up and finding a room. My journey back to Ohio concluded yesterday afternoon and I was glad to be home after having driven a little over 1500 miles.

All in all I had a fantastic extra-long weekend starting with Holiday World and ending with Carowinds. I was able to add two new coasters to my list with both quickly becoming favorites of mine. The visits also included time with greats friends, some old and some new, and there's not much better than that. It was a wonderful start to this year's coaster season.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015 9:55 PM

I'm so awesome in person.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015 10:37 PM

Yes. Who knew?

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015 12:39 AM

Fantastic report! I really got a feel for the rides from your description, and I'm glad to hear you and Tek had such a good time. I must say, I am more and more jealous all the time of all the early season coaster riding!

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Thursday, April 30, 2015 2:37 PM

RCMAC said:

Yes. Who knew?

Me. That's why I gave you his number, geez.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015 2:48 PM

Well I mean, it's obvious I'm awesome on here. I'm just awesomer in person. Uberawesome.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015 2:54 PM

Wait... You said you gave him MY number...

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Thursday, April 30, 2015 3:03 PM

I have yet to meet someone from CoasteBuzz who I didn't think was awesome. RCMAC is my favorite... lol

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Thursday, April 30, 2015 3:09 PM

RCMAC said:

Wait... You said you gave him MY number...

I did.

I totally played some kind of coaster-nerd friend-matchmaker.

Who's the real awesome one here?

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Thursday, April 30, 2015 4:41 PM

Still Me.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015 7:47 PM

LostKause said:

I have yet to meet someone from CoasteBuzz who I didn't think was awesome. RCMAC is my favorite... lol

You haven't met me. I'm an asshole.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015 8:43 PM

He is.

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Friday, May 1, 2015 9:12 AM

Total dick.

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Friday, May 1, 2015 5:35 PM

um, excuse me... but when did this thread turn into something that is not totally all about me?

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Monday, May 4, 2015 5:49 AM

When it became about me, of course!

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Monday, May 4, 2015 10:29 AM

Great trip report RCMAC. I agree with your description of Fury. I was there this past weekend and Fury 325 is a thing of beauty and a great roller coaster.

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Monday, May 4, 2015 4:08 PM

Way to rerail the topic. ;)

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Monday, May 4, 2015 4:09 PM
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