Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
So I was kind of tired of Carowinds. Sure, they’ve got the big new amazing Fury 325, and it *is* amazing. But I went so much after the park opened that I’ve missed almost all summer and hadn’t been back. This was actually my first visit this summer. My friend Matt had been in North Carolina a few years and had yet to go, so we picked a date, which just happened to be the final day for Beer, Brews, and BBQ, an even they were having on the weekends.
We got up early Sunday morning to head down and try to be there at opening, and we made it. They seem to have gotten better at using the hand wands for metal detectors, and didn’t have places set up out in front of the beautiful new plaza. I knew that going on a Sunday would afford us a slower day with shorter lines. Thankfully the weather was wonderful too.
We got Matt at ticket. This was actually the first time I’d used the new ticketing booths. They’re really nice. Mostly I’ve just passed them by as I have my pass. Once we got inside and got situated, we headed back to the monster that dominates the park now.
Fury 325-Our first ride was in row 4. The ride was running well for just having opened in the morning. It still packs a punch, and is very intense. I can’t believe this ride is here. Once we finished, I asked Matt what he thought, and he liked it.
We left Fury and went over to Hurler, which had not wait, and hopped on near the front of the ride.
Hurler-It was running very well. If the trim at the bottom was on, I never felt it. I do hope the park has GCI complete the rest of the retracking and any other structural work that can be done, because when Hurler runs good, it runs really, really good.
We headed around towards the back of the park. We were going to hit up Ricochet, but the line was a bit long, so we walked around to Goldrusher instead
Goldrusher-My legs are long, but since I’ve lost weight, I can more easily fit in the train, so yay! Gold rusher is what it has always been. It can be kind of fun, but rarely something I ride unless I’m with someone else.
Matt has a nostalgic tie to boomerang coasters, one of which happens to be at Carowinds. It was his first looping coaster, among other things, and he was excited to try Carolina Cobra. While I never wait long for it, I will ride it with the newer trains.
Carolina Cobra-I do like the concept, even if there are a ton of these things. That first drop is really great, especially if you’re further in the back. The positive G forces kind of do me it, but it wasn’t so bad today.
After Cobra we walked around and got some water, then went over to Afterburn. I always look forward to Afterburn. This was my first inverted coaster, and it still ranks among the best.
Afterburn-Of course we rode in the front seat. And again, I can tell the difference in comfort losing 30 pounds makes because I had no issues with the shoulder restrains. Afterburn always gives an amazing ride. That first drop on the hill over the parking lot looks massive from the top. I love it. And you can see the old PTL hotel from the top.
After this we walked over and took a spin on Woodstock Express. Still the best wooden coaster in the park #ripthunderroad.
Then we headed over to the former tallest coaster at Carowinds. I’m wondering if the rumors about a name change will come true. I guess we’ll find out next summer.
Intimidator-For our first ride, we ended up in the middle. The ride was running well and fast. Neither trim hit very hard and there was decent airtime on all of the hills. Intimidator is a solid ride. I really like it.
After that we hit up the Sky Tower and walked around a bit more. I think we may have hit up Ricochet at this point, but don’t remember, as it may have been later. Oh well. It still scares me.
We went to Harmony Hall for lunch. We both had brisket sandwiches, which were good. Got there just in time to catch some of the Peanuts Lunchtime show. It was cute. We sat and talked for a while. Harmony Hall was packed. Good. The food is consistent, and the service is good as well.
I know we gave up on riding Fury immediately after lunch, but I don’t really remember what we did. Actually, I do know we spent time sitting at various points and just hanging out, which is nice. If I’m at Carowinds, I don’t mind slowing down and talking while people watching.
I know at some point soon after we did go over to Fury. And we got a coveted front seat ride. Wow. It was running so well, and the airtime was amazing. So was having all that wind in your face, haha. The guy sitting beside me was hilarious at the end. I can’t quite quote what he was saying, but he was really funny. We walked back around and rode again. I’d wanted to ride on the left hand side of the train, and this time we got a second row left side ride. It was really great. I love that ride, and I need to get back down to the park one lazy evening just to power ride it.
We just kind of hung out and walked around. I know we hit the Sky Tower and Windseeker up. Plus I got some Italian Ice at Rita’s over by Thunder Road’s old entrance. Seeing the entire ride torn down from the Tower was sad. But I’m over it.
We got more rides on both Intimidator and Fury. In fact, we finished on Fury, and it was great. So much airtime that you don’t expect. Sideways!
It was great taking someone who had never been to Carowinds before. I had a great time, and I’m sure Matt did too. We never ended up trying any of the special BBQ or Beer but did hear a little of the first band playing. All in all, the day was a win. No lines over 30 minutes and lots of fun.
It seems I've unleashed the inner enthusiast in Matt. He already had a similar hobby, and now he's all about some coasters. It only takes a little bit to get you hooked ;-).
I'm familiar with home park burnout. I've got two great Cedar Fair parks within day-trip distance and I don't go as often as one might think. And I get the summertime thing. Even though everything is in full swing from maximum hours to shows to landscaping, summertime crowds and heat are a drag, especially to traipse around to rides I've been on a million times. I tend to visit in the spring and fall, and find the days when crowds will, hopefully, be lowest.
Having said that I have a couple of friends that have free tickets to Kings Island that expire after tomorrow, Labor Day, and I agreed to go with them. I'm not sure what to expect crowd-wise on the holiday, but I think I don't care. It'll be fun to go with friends that don't visit parks all that often. I go by myself a lot, so anytime I take someone like that along with me it can help breathe new life into my overall experience.
I have also worked on my weight this summer, in an effort to control high blood sugar that crept up on me. (I wasnt exactly shocked by that news...) And that has been successful- I've dropped 25-30 and my blood sugar numbers are a lot lower due to diet, mild exercise and, so far, no medication. But one of the nicest benefits is a new, comfortable relationship with seats and lapbars. The coasters and the rides with close fitting restraints (like Windseeker) are so much easier to manage and I'm loving it.
Maybe I'll head over to that Taco Bell conversation here in a minute....
I'm not sure what to expect crowd-wise on the holiday, but I think I don't care.
How was it? I went to Carowinds (with the same noob from this report, actually!) and as per usual, crowds were light. This was my first Labor Day Weekend not on a trip to ride coasters in about 6-7 years, but I still went to Carowinds to not break the streak of riding roller coasters this weekend.
It'll be fun to go with friends that don't visit parks all that often. I go by myself a lot, so anytime I take someone like that along with me it can help breathe new life into my overall experience.
This is exactly how I feel! I enjoyed Carowinds with you and everyone else this past spring, and my friend the last 2 visits have been fun. I enjoy going by myself, for sure, but I got really full on Carowinds early this year :).
My friend has definitely took more of an interest in coasters. We're planning some trips, and he likes going to Carowinds. He went ahead and got a Platinum Pass yesterday for 2016.
It was medium, I'd say. By mid day there were plenty of cars in the lot, but the rides werent very busy. They were having Dollar Days with 1$ hot dogs, cotton candy, blue cones, pizza, and pop so those places were mobbed. We ate at Reds Hall of Fame and it was good, I got a nice lunch on my meal plan and a couple of adult bevs in cool, air conditioned comfort.
One of my friends couldn't make it, so it was just two of us and we got FL+ at 70 a pop. It really only payed off big a couple of times, but on the upside we got in lots of rides with no waiting at all. It was really hot so we split late afternoon feeling like we'd had a big day, and I got home in time to see OSU v VT.
My non-enthusiast friends always get a little lesson in amusement park rides and some history when they go with me, (whether they like it or not) and this one was happy to engage. Like I said, it's always so much fun to go with someone who doesn't go that often.
So, all in all a good day. I'm glad you had fun, too.
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