Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
It's early May and I've already been to Carowinds about 5 times this year. We went during Season Passholder Preview Night, as I have the last 3 years, and, much like last year, the park was super busy. The worst part of it is that Isaac and I hadn't eaten, but apparently neither had anyone else as everyone decided to wait and eat at the park. Bummer. Food service was horrendous on preview night, but after looking at 3 eating options, we at least didn't end up paying for our meal at Chicky's & Pete's. Although the main reason for going was to check out the new County Fair section, the main ride I wanted to try out, ElectroSpin (the mondial top scan) was not operating. They were testing, but it wasn't operating just yet. Lines for the other new rides were a bit long for the short amount of time we had, and I was happy just to get some rides on the Beemers, check out the new area, and leave. Before I talk about my other visits and post pictures, I'll give my thoughts on the new section, then talk about the Taste after.
First off, even at the beginning of May, the new section isn't quite finished, but it's looking better and better. I like the new paint scheme for Cobra as well as the new scheme on the trains. It really pops. County Fair is looking good. There was a random horse statue that was removed, that i hope they find use for (random, I know), and they're still putting in theming (animals, this week saw an old truck with pumpkins in the back and the start of lights on ElectroSpin), and still getting things ready, but the area looks very nice. I've now ridden all of the new rides (Took 5 tries to finally get on ElectroSpin).
Do-Si-Do is the new Troika. I finally rode it on a 2 hour visit this past Friday (It was a very cool, very chill nite at the park, and I loved it. No lines). This was my first Troika ever. I don't usually do spinny rides but thought I'd give it a try, and I liked it. Lots of fun. Can't wait till they get the lighting package on it.
ElectroSpin is the new Top Scan. Another first. I love it! I've now ridden it twice and it's my new favorite flat ride at the park (not hard to pick since this update literally doubled their flat ride assortment for adults). It is a lot of fun, and I can't wait till all of the lights are on and working. The park REALLY needed something like this.
Zephr is the new Zamperla (?) swing. They were running a really weird program on it at first, and very short. The beginning of the ride is still a little...off, but the cycle has gotten longer. And it looks great all lit up. This was the one ride type that was removed years ago that fans have been asking for again for years, and I'm glad they have it back. I do wish they'd have put it up on a pedestal like some parks do.
Rock-N-Roller is the new Music Express they added. Another short cycle, but it is a really fun ride, and they're adding more lights and signage to the ride, which is really good. I wish it ran backwards, but maybe later, after some time when lines aren't as long.
This random horse disappeared and was replaced with an airplane. I hope the horse returns.
The new area looks great, and both Drop Tower & Cycle were repainted for this year, leaving Intimidator as the only coaster not having been painted in the last 5 years or so. I did visit once already for the Taste of the Carolinas, and much like last year, it was very good. I've had the Pulled Pork BBQ Spring Roll, a Chocolate Burbon fritter (I liked the pie last year better), some Carolina beers, a really good slider, and something else on my visit for dinner. I have a feeling they'll roll this out to more large parks in the chain. I saw that they're having The Taste of Virginia at KD, and the Boysenberry Festival in Cali, so I'm sure it's spreading.
On my most recent visit, I hit up all the major B&M coasters and Plants Vs. Zombies. That ride is still a lot of fun, but the guns need calibrated. I also hope that in the near future they do a rehab on BooBlasters (getting all the props and guns working again), paint Intimidator, and add lights to the Scrambler and Scream Weaver. Hurler too, would be nice with lights.
Another area slowly transforming is the plaza. They removed the planter and opened it up. I have a feeling the art deco buildings will start to look more like the beautiful new Starbucks building with more Carolina specific architecture. There is a lot of land open now where Thunder Road's station & the now removed Shoot the Chutes ride were. That just happens to be in the last area of the park that needs a major face lift, the former County Fair section, now re-dubbed Carolina Crossroads (The park has taken to bringing back old names and it's great). I have a feeling that area gets a revamp soon, and it REALLY needs it, followed by a few new rides in Camp Snoopy like KD got this year. If Carowinds were to get a new Woody, a Launch Coaster, one more large Flat, and some more water slides, I think the park will really have come in to it's own. RCMAC told me he had a conversation with someone at the park who said of all of the parks picked up in the Paramount Chain, Carowinds had the worst capacity. They're changing that, and the park is seeing the benefits, I can assure you of that.
By the way, if you haven't ridden this yet, you really, really need to. It is so good.
So, I had noticed this bit of theming in the new area. RCMAC commented on it when I was at the park with him, but I really hadn't looked much at it, until this week...
Carowinds has an actual whip! Has anyone ever seen one of these super small, superportable whips? I wonder if they could get this one going. It looks like adults could fit. I think it'd be great if they got it working and made it an upcharge for nostalgia's sake. Its really cool.
And finally, new for 2017, actual nice looking Security Theater stages. They integrated them well, and I've yet to hear the GP complain, so cool.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
As far as that Whip goes, is that a junior whip? Or is it a small sized adult whip? I know Camden Park has both an Adult sized whip and a junior whip. I still find it is one of my favorites at Camden.
Great trip report! I am planning on visiting some new parks in the next year or two and this park has been on my radar. Sounds like I need to make a visit for sure.
It's a really tiny Whip with larger seats than the kiddie. Not as big as a big Whip cars, though, somewhere in between. I'm pretty sure it's an antique homemade job. I think the motion is more like the Zamp kid Whips they make now, Peanuts 500 is the example at CP. They don't "whip" out like the real ones do, but just turn the corner quickly. I've seen pics of that little guy floating around over the years, and I was so tickled to see it in person. I believe it still might be operational, but I don't think Carowinds has plans to ever fire it up. Which is kind of a shame. It's rather ingenious how it all fits on the one truck. Easy set up and tear down, I reckon. Park and go.
extremecoasterdad- Camden's Whip, as far as I'm concerned, is the one main reason to go to that park. Well,... that, the dark ride, and to visit with the happy clown sign...
Tek- Zephyr is a standard Zierer Wave Swinger. Portable models have the wedding cake platform, park models don't. (I like the additional height the taller platforms give, you really feel like you're flying high) I think the park man I spoke to told me that model is a new-build. I know the paintings on the column and rounding boards are total custom with farm animals and giant vegetables depicted, in county fair style. I'm glad that program is longer now, even thought the weird, slow start to the ride endures.
I'm really anxious to see the Rock n Roller finally dressed up with a sparkly sign and proper flash around the top. So far the dance party/music theme for the ride is cute as hell, but it clearly needs more to complete the look. I was told new stuff is definitely on the way.
While riding Fury, a quick, keen eye can see the remains of what flash was removed from the original ride. (If it's still there) Look on the ground to the right on the way to the turnaround.
That Whip truck is crazy. They should drive it around like an ice cream truck through neighborhoods.
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