The Tale of Two Paramounts (PKI & PCWi)

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The Tale of Two Paramounts (PKI & PCWi) (March 18th-20th)

“That sounds bring back so many memories.”

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was asked by good friend and fellow enthusiast Jonathan Hymes if I would like to take a quick road trip to Paramount’s Carowinds. While it sounded like a great idea, my current work schedule prevents me from leaving until late in the evening. I have done many trips in the past where I drove all night just to be at a park at opening time so I knew what to expect. From the sound of this trip, it would be a very quick kind of go-down-and-ride-then-go-home type of trip. Not a long trip by any means, but looking at the amount of miles we would be driving could be looked at as crazy by a few people I suppose.

Early last week, the news of a tour at Paramount’s Kings Island was great sounding, but I was expecting to miss it for a couple of reasons. It sounded like a great time to see the construction of Italian Job but I would have to pass. I also decided at this time that I would join Jonathan and his fiancée Janice to Carowinds. We would leave at midnight as I had some family stuff to take care of that day, and then share driving duties all the way to North Carolina.

Friday the 18th.

The family stuff I had to take care of didn’t last nearly as long as I thought it would, so we were able to leave for Carowinds much earlier than expected. If we even played our cards right, there was a slight chance we could still make it to PKI in hopes of going on the tour. Jonathan and Janice left Akron and made it down to Columbus very quickly. Once they arrived at my place, I hopped in their car and made it down to PKI in less than an hour. You do the math.

We arrived just as the tour was about to start. We couldn’t believe the amount of people that were there. This was the first tour I have done at PKI that was done in the evening. It was nice seeing some familiar faces again. Jeff Siebert walked out to welcome the group before heading into the park. Jeff also had a portable P.A., as if Jeff really needed amplification.

It was also nice to see Maureen Kaiser once again. We chatted a bit before entering the park and seeing the new addition that everyone has been waiting to see up close. I was really shocked to see how the new coaster fits into the area. When walking down the hill behind the Eiffel Tower, Italian Job really makes a visual statement that screams “FUN!” Due to the in-and-out nature of the ride, seeing the entire layout is almost impossible. I was really impressed with not only how much work was done since my last visit to PKI, but how accurate the ride looked compared to the very cool animation.

We walked counter-clockwise around the attraction and saw it from all sides. I believe this ride is going to surprise a lot of people. I couldn’t believe how compact the ride is. Everywhere you look is a section of track with a nice surprise. Obviously there was a lot of track hidden from view due to the tunnels the ride has, but from what we could see, it was quite impressive.

It has been very strange each and every time I have walked by the former site of the Flying Eagles. I won’t go all emo and talk about my last rides at this time as that has already been covered but while the area where that ride used to operate looks totally different now, there is kind of a remaining presence still felt. I noticed more than a few people being quite as we walked around this area. What was even more surreal to Jonathan, Janice, and I was that we would be riding that exact ride in just about 15 hours or so. I will mention more on that in a bit.

The tour continued to the “backstage” area where not a lot of the ride can be seen other than the back side of the show areas that hide some nice surprises. We were able to get a good view of the helicopter and the device that moves it around. The tour moved around to where we started and we were able to see a good portion of the first half of the ride that included the drop out of the parking spiral, the police car slithering area, the highly banked turn and drop, then a nice hop up into the pre-subway dive. It all looked really, really fun.

As the tour was coming to an end, we were able to get a click glimpse of some of the merchandise for the ride. There were some nice looking items in one of the shops. I don’t think they will have to worry about selling any of that stuff.

We said our goodbyes to our friends, and headed back onto the Interstate. We were going to try and drive the rest of the 450 miles to our destination, depending on how we felt. The drive through Cincinnati went by really quick. Once in Kentucky, we stopped for fuel and a quick bite to eat. Janice ran over to KFC while Jonathan and I went to an Arby’s. This has to be the slowest Arby’s in the world as it took us over 20 minutes to get our grub, and all I had were some fries. Maybe we were getting cranky because we really wanted to make some progress on the road but 20 minutes seemed like an eternity when waiting for a simple item such as fries.

Once back on the road we talked quite a bit about music, parks, and other things that mad the drive so much easier. Jonathan brought his portable media player and I was able to watch his latest coaster production called Midwest Mayhem. It was great! It made the time just fly by. Before I knew it, we were in Tennessee.

We continued our drive down Interstate 75 while making excellent progress. Instead of driving the whole way to Charlotte, we decided to find a place to stay in Ashville, North Carolina. As we were about half-way through our Tennessee portion, we got into a nasty traffic jam due to some construction that was about 8 miles away. This was the perfect time to listen to some tunes so I popped in a coaster related CD I had that brought lots of laughs to the group. After about 45 minutes of traveling 3mph on the Interstate, we passed the construction and continued our journey into North Carolina.

As we made our way into the Ashville area, we laughed at some of the strange sounding locations we were passing like the Bat Cave, and the Billy Graham Training Center. We ended up finding a Motel 6 about a mile from the Training Center. We wouldn’t be staying long at all. Maybe 4 hours max. We just wanted to get some sleep and freshen up before continuing our drive. As we were checking in, the desk clerk asked if we were superstitious. Confused, we told him no. He then put us in room 113 and explained that quite a few folks in the area won’t stay in the room because of the number 13. We had no problem with it and soon were in the room, and falling fast asleep.

Saturday the 19th

We ended up getting about 3 hours of sleep before it was time to get ready and head back out. Those 3 hours of sleep were great and really helped us out a lot as we were much energized as we continued. We made it to the Charlotte area just after 8:00AM and decided to have breakfast at a restaurant that was right next to the park.

After we ate, we drove a few hundred feet and entered the parking area of our destination.

---Paramount’s Carowinds---

I was looking forward to spending some time at the park as this was only my third visit here. I went in 1999 for opening day of Top Gun, and then a couple of years ago I spent a few hours in the park before going to Atlanta. Today was the official opening day of the park and we didn’t know what to expect. In 1999, the opening day was pretty dead. Judging from the lack of a lot of cars waiting to get into the parking area, we knew it would be a pretty dead day, but it could pick up depending on the weather.

Once we were let into the parking area, we grabbed a nearby parking spot, and then walked up to Guest Services and showed our PKI passes for a free ticket. The front gates opened and we walked in. This was the first time we had ever walked through the front gate. Since Top Gun was near the back entrance, we both have used that gate as a way of getting onto Top Gun first thing once the park opened.

Even though the park has many rides we were looking forward to riding, there was one ride in particular that we drove to the park to ride. We were really looking forward to riding the former Flying Eagles again. They have since been renamed Phantom’s Flyers, complete with a whole new theme and look. As we were looking up at Borg Assimilator coaster, we decided to ride that first as we all understood the coaster would not have a great capacity, plus, Jonathan missed it when it was in California.

We waited in the front gate plaza for an hour before security cleared everyone to walk slowly into the park. Jonathan and I couldn’t believe how orderly and calm everyone was when we were allowed to enter the heart of the park. In other places, we usually see people running all over the place. This was not the case here today.

---Borg Assimilator---

It seemed that just about everyone wanted to ride this as 90% of the people in the park (all 300 of them of so) headed into line. We were glad to see a single rider’s line. We almost decided to give it a try but because the line was so short, we decided to ride together. We made our way up the stairs and to the station where we were asked to stop. We would be the first to be on the next train out. As luck would have it, one of the trains stopped on the lift hill, causing a delay. Janice commented on how she would hate to be in that situation. Some of the maintenance crew showed up and tried to get the ride started again, but it just wasn’t meant to be. We waited about 40 minutes before deciding to leave. There was one maintenance man walking up and down the lift so it didn’t look like the ride would be running anytime soon.

Just as we were about to leave the line, we looked over and could see something off in the distance that made us happy. We could see the Phantom Flyers running. We left the line and headed in the new Nick Central area of the park. While walking up to the ride, Jonathan and I both got butterflies in our stomachs as we couldn’t believe we were actually walking up to our former favorite ride at PKI. It was just too good to be true.

---Phantom Flyers---

I will admit. I was skeptical as how the ride would look with a brand new paint job and stickers. I actually really liked the new look. Not only that but the ride now has background theming, a brand new state of the art ride system, and a spiel that starts with a countdown before the ride starts up.

As we were waiting a couple of cycles to get on the ride, we noticed some people learning how to snap. Just as new riders sometimes discover, it can be frustrating at times. We noticed a couple people getting off the ride with a kind of puzzled look on their face on how to control the tubs the best way.

Just as Jonathan and I were about to get on, our excitement level went way up. I was having some big time butterflies in my stomach now and I couldn’t really explain why, other than just being excited to ride once again. I can’t even describe how awesome it felt to sit in one of those tubs again. While there was new padding, it felt just like the old days. It felt like I was home.

The ride was also given new seatbelts. Once one of the ride operators checked my belt, it was just about time to soar. The spiel started up as did the ride. The first thing I noticed was how quick the ride now got up to speed. It didn’t take more than a revolution and a half before we were going very quickly.

It took a couple of tries but I started to snap pretty quickly. I could hear Jonathan doing the same thing. One new feature the ride has is a new roof that coves the queue line. Depending on how you fly, your tub can come within inches of hitting the roof, providing a nice visual for not only the rider, but those standing in line.

Before the ride cycle was half way over, I thought the drive to get to the park was well worth it. It just felt so damn good to be back on that ride. As the ride came to an end Jonathan and I were really surprised at just how slow the ride comes to a stop. It could take up to 2 minutes at times to stop the ride when it was at PKI, but due to the new ride system, it could now stop in less than 20 seconds. Maybe even less.

As Jonathan and I exited the ride, our hands were both shaking. We weren’t being over dramatic or anything. We just got a rush from that ride that we have never felt before. One warped way to describe it could be being a parent that just got reunited with a child that was kidnapped. Yes, I realize that is warped, but those of you that were a fan of the ride at PKI may be able to understand what I am talking about.

Janice decided to sit out as Jonathan and I continued to ride again. With our second ride, we both flew better and got in some nice powerful snaps. We both loved this too much. At the end of our second ride, Jonathan decided he didn’t want to ride again as he wasn’t feeling up to par. After all, snapping can be a great workout and you can cook yourself rather quickly depending on how you fly.

I went for another ride as Jonathan and Janice took a break. I don’t know if it was by chance or not, but tub #1 was seriously kicking major butt. I noticed a huge difference in how easy it was to get going. It would be interesting to try and figure out if the park used the same numbers on the same tubs as they were at PKI. I remember there being one tub in particular when the ride used to be at PKI that pretty much everyone used to love. I am wondering if tub #1 on the Phantom Flyers is the same favorite tub at PKI?

After my 3rd ride, I also decided to take a break. Jonathan wasn’t feeling well at all so he decided to go back to the car and rest, then video tape and take pictures in the park. Janice had never been to the park before so we spent a good part of the day riding various things. We decided to get something to drink first. We went to an area near Thunder Road. We learned from a couple of employees that it is cheaper to buy food and drinks on the South Carolina side of the park, than it is in North Carolina. The area we were standing in looked to be missing a few game buildings or something. Both Jonathan and I tried to remember what was standing in this now vacant area. Jonathan also commented on how that would be the perfect area for a Giant Frisbee. I agree. It would look so great in that area.

---Top Gun – The Jet Coaster---

We could tell as we walked up to this ride that lines were not going to be a problem this day. However, just as we walked up to the station, the ride went down and empty trains were sent around. It didn’t take long for the ride to reopen and we soon found ourselves heading up the lift hill while in the back row. Just as we were cresting the lift hill, I realized this was my first coaster ride of the year!

This ride was much more intense than I remembered. It is still very smooth and seems to have aged very well. It was very different going through the bottom of the batwing element without the fog going. The rest of the ride was pretty intense as well. This is easily my favorite coaster in the park.


As we were walking up to the ride, it went down. Either the park was having opening day jitters, or some unknown force did not want us to ride. Each coaster we walked up to this morning went down for some reason. While they would reopen soon after, it was very comical seeing the rides we were walking up to go down as we wanted to ride. It didn’t upset us in the least as we knew we would eventually get on.

I warned Janice in advance that this ride has a couple of moments that are pretty brutal. She was kind of nervous getting onto this at first as she didn’t want to get beat up. I told her it isn’t a bad ride, but would try and point out the rougher sections. I don’t know what the park did to this ride but it feels much smoother than the last time I rode it. The flat-spin still has a pretty wicked kick to it but it wasn’t all that bad. Janice agreed.


As we walked up to the ride, we were joking about the ride going down as we got in line, but it looks like were going to have our luck changed with this ride.. The crew was doing an excellent job dispatching. There wasn’t much of a line for anything in the park this day but the crews were still working hard to get things moving. Just as were about to get onto the ride, it went down. The crew sent all the cars around empty for a few minutes before we got to ride. I guess we were wrong. The force was back.

I forgot how much fun this mouse is. There were plenty of laterals and even some airtime. We would have gotten another ride in but we wanted to go check on the status of Borg as we noticed that ride was testing.

As we were walking up to Borg, the line reopened and we entered. As we were standing in line, I got a call from Jonathan who said he was back in the park videotaping and taking pictures. We would meet back up with him after we took our ride. As luck would have it, Janice and I were stopped at the top of the station steps to be the next ones into the loading station for the next train. We made it this far last time before the ride went down, but it looked good this time.

We got the go ahead to enter the station and were told to go to row #1. While we were waiting to ride, I took a quick glimpse at the final brake run and notice the ride now has magnetic braking. When the ride was known as Stealth, it didn’t have this feature, nor did it have a cover over the brake run.

We hopped into our seats and got secure as ride operators came around and checked our harnesses. Yep, it looked as if we were finally going to ride this today. Our seats tilted back and we were off! As we were heading up the lift, I pointed out to Janice where the Flying Super Saturator coaster was. We could see a car going around its course before stopping in the mid course brake. Just as I said, “Look! It stopped,” we stopped on the lift. We were just about at the top.

Just a few hours before, Janice mentioned that she would have hated to be stuck on the lift hill. Now she was living this fear. She wasn’t enjoying it but in a strange way, I was. It was actually kind of relaxing in a way. The woman that was sitting on the other side of me was not having fun. She was so nervous that she looked like she was going to get sick. Now THAT would be a bad situation.

We were only stopped for just over 5 minutes before announcement was made that we “were fixin’ to move” and we continued over the top of the lift. From what I remembered about Stealth, it shaked quite a bit. I could tell some work has been done as it seemed much smoother. The placement of a large Borg sphere for theming actually was kind of cool. As we made our way around it we spun through the corkscrews before hitting the smooth magnetic brakes. The ending of the ride surprised me as I am so used to the layout found on X-Flight at Geauga Lake.

Once our ride was over, we met back up with Jonathan. He was feeling better but didn’t know if he wanted to ride much at this point. He continued to video tape as Janice and I took a few more rides.

---Carolina Cyclone---

Janice also decided to sit this one out. I ended up riding in the front seat. Finally, a ride that didn’t cease to operate. I wonder why? The only reason I could think of was that Janice was not with me. Perhaps she has some mysterious power that shuts down rides as she is about to ride them? Naaaaa. It was just chance.

As with some of the other rides I rode this day, I was impressed with how smooth this one was. I remember the ride having a dark tunnel. Now it’s more of a ditch than anything as it is not covered. Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me and the tunnel was never covered. I can’t quite remember.

---Drop Zone---

I rode this alone once again. I was very happy to see the ride being a walk-on as I love drop rides. This is a great one. I have no idea why, but this is one of the few drop rides that still “get” my stomach. It was nice to get that feeling back. I rode twice before moving on.


I could tell the curve after the first drop had been retracked. Janice and I decided to ride and I told her I believed the ride would be fairly smooth as it looked like they spent some time working on it. Once again, we didn’t have a wait to ride so we decided to try the front seat. As we were heading up the lift, I pointed out to Janice the skyline of Charlotte. She was surprised to see that downtown was so far away from the park when it looked close on a map.

We went down the first drop and down around the very smooth first curve. So far. So good. The airtime on the hills that followed was fantastic. While the first curve had been retracked, the final curves had not. The train shuffled quite a bit around them. The last turn was pretty violent. I could tell Janice didn’t care for this ride. To be honest, I have never really been a fan of this ride. I didn’t find the ride to be the worst, but I decided to only give it a ride once.

We met back up with Jonathan and moved over to Flying Super Saturator. Due to the cooler weather, the water effects weren’t on. Jonathan had never ridden this so I decided to video tape him and Janice riding. The last time I rode it, it was very hot and all the water effects were running however I wouldn’t have enjoyed getting wet on this day.

We headed back to over to Nick Central to get a bite to eat. We were to also meet up with friend and PR guru David Mandt soon. It didn’t take long before David showed up and he decided to walk us around the entire Nick Central area explaining all the new attractions. I had no idea this area had been expanded 5 times its original size. I know PKI is going to hate me for saying this, but I think PCWi could have a shot at taking the “Best Kids Area” away from PKI this year as it seemed the newly themed areas really offer a lot for families, and enthusiasts to do. Plus, they have the Phantom Flyers. =:^)

It was great seeing David on his side of the country for once. Usually I see him in Chicago every year for No Coaster, or when he worked at PKI. He said he is very happy in the Charlotte area and is really excited about the new Nick Central area. We talked with him awhile longer before we left him so he could go take a ride on the newly themed train. Janice and I walked to the front of the park while Jonathan went to go get some footage of the Flyers.

I got a call from friend Tommy Faircloth saying he was at the park and wanted to meet up. I first met Tommy at the 30-hour marathon on the Great American Scream Machine
At Six Flags Over Georgia a couple of years ago. While we send e-mails back and forth, I hadn’t hung out with him since the marathon.

We met up near the front gate. I also met his partner James Lee as well. I have both of Tommy’s “Coaster Extravaganza” DVDs and think they are the most warped coaster related DVDs I have ever seen. Certainly not for the faint of heart.

We made our way over to the Flyers and met up with Jonathan. We all decided to take a couple or rides. We could tell people were learning how to snap as there was some nice pops being heard. As the snapping was happening, I closed my eyes and just listened. That sound was so familiar and it felt so good to know the ride is continuing to thrill guests. Another new sound the ride seems to have is the supporting cheers from a ride operator named Dee. I have never seen a ride operator go nuts for a ride like this. It was insane. He was shouting at people to show them skill and if you did well, he would acknowledge it. He really made people get into the ride.

My first ride this time provided me with a feeling I haven’t felt since last October. Flyer-back. Normally this usually is a bad thing for some folks but I loved it. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I left PKI and Knoebel’s in this condition.

We decided to move over to a new to PCWi spinning ride in the area after taking some crazy Flyer rides. The Flying Dutchman’s Revenge used to operate at Paramount Canada’s Wonderland. Next to the Flyers, I think this ride could end up being the most popular ride in the new area. It’s really a fun ride. We were cracking up once the rotation started. It’s so strange to be facing one group of people, then spinning the other direction and stopping at another group.

We soon decided to head back to Top Gun. Jonathan decided to sit out as Tommy, James, and I took a quick ride. Since there was only a one train wait for the front, we headed over there. As we were about to get on, a group of cheerleaders came in and started doing loud cheers. It was pretty funny as we could tell we weren’t the only ones being annoyed.

As we were heading up the lift, Tommy pointed out the large, vacant, 20+ story hotel that still stands at the defunct Heritage USA park. Talk about creepy. I had no idea that place was so close to PCWi.

Our ride was great in the front. This thing was really flying. I still can’t believe how intense it has gotten. It’s all good. After our ride, Jonathan decided he wanted to ride so Tommy and I rode with him. We took a back row ride this time. Jonathan also couldn’t believe how much more intense the ride had gotten. There was even a bit of airtime on the hill before the final inversion.

Janice was really looking forward to riding Thunder Road backwards so we headed there next. I had only ridden this one time before and it was 6 years ago so I didn’t remember much about how it ran. We were all pleasantly surprised at the ride we got on it. There was plenty of airtime on both the out and back portions. It was very smooth as well.

Once we exited the ride, I noticed a DDR Extreme machine in the arcade at the exit of the Spongebob theater. Tommy had never played the game and I tried to give him a quick lesson on how to play, but he decided to watch instead. It’s been a while since I played and felt good to get back into the groove, so to speak.

At this time we went back out to our cars to get jackets as the temperature had dropped a bit. Before we walked out of the park, Jonathan went to Guest Relations and put in a good word for Dee, the ride operator on the Flyers. After we got our jackets, we sat out in the lot chatting for about 20 minutes before going back in and heading to the back of the park where the new Happy Days diner is. The new theme of the restaurant really stands out with its neon lights and 50’s music. We got a kick out of some of the names on the menu such as “Joanie Loves Cheeseburger.” Now we know what to expect at PKI.

After a quick bite to eat, Tommy, James, and I went over to Drop Zone and give it a couple or rides. They had me cracking up with their one-liners and antics (I knew I could throw in an Interpol reference in here someplace). Had it not been for the Flyers, I would have probably spent a good part of the day on Drop Zone.

Jonathan commented on how he wanted to ride Ricochet but as we approached it, we noticed that there were empty cars stopped in each block segment. That unknown force showed up again. No biggie though as we had one hour left in the park before closing and had planned on that hour being spent on the Flyers.

Once we reached the Flyers, Tommy and James decided to leave as they had to be at a Jesus themed outdoor drama down the road. We said our goodbyes and Jonathan and I soon found ourselves back in line for the Flyers once more. Perhaps it may be the low capacity, but it seemed that Phantom Flyers definitely was the most popular ride in the park this day, and for good reason.

While the last hour of riding the Flying Eagles last October was more of a downer, the last hour of riding Phantom Flyers was among the most fun I have ever had on the ride. Dee was going all out in trying to get people to really go nuts on the ride. It worked as everyone riding was jazzed to take a ride, and then get back in line for another ride.

Jonathan took a ride in tub #1 and also thought it was the better out of the tubs he took a ride in. Each tub I rode in was great, but there was just something about #1 we couldn’t put our finger on. With each passing ride was a chance to really get snapping as much as you could handle. Call me crazy but the ride seemed to be easier to snap then it did in Ohio.

We must have gotten in 10 rides before it was all over. During the last half hour, there were only a handful of people riding so we got in quite a few rides. To say the last half hour was magical is an understatement. We were having a blast and notice some of the locals were really enjoying this as well. We kind of looked at it as a passing of the torch as we knew the ride would thrill people back home, but didn’t know how people would react to the ride at a new location. We were very happy to see people enjoying it as much as we have for years.

The same buzz that Jonathan and I felt when we took our first rides in the morning returned for our last couple of rides. The limit of fun was almost in grasp as I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to spend the last day of winter than to be at a park and riding something I truly care about. The last ride was over and we made our way to the front of the park. We were both so high from our rides that we knew we would be able to drive for a while before we were tired. As we walked out of the park we just kept talking about that last hour. It really was something special and I know I will return to get in more rides. My desire to return to that park has been increased like you can’t imagine.

We left Charlotte, and made it through North Carolina and into Virginia. Those last rides were exactly what we needed as we drove for at least 3 hours before we decided to try and find a hotel someplace. As we entered West Virginia (our 7th and final state of the trip) we started to go up a large mountain. Jonathan was more familiar with this route than I and commented on how long it would take to reach the top of this mountain. We talked a few more minutes before we realized we were almost out of gas. To make matters worse, we were heading uphill, with no exits in sight, and the car began to stall because our gas was running out rapidly.

We made it to the top of the mountain and soon found a gas station and everything was cool. The exit we were at had a few hotels so we decided to find a place. I have no idea what was going on in this area but every hotel we checked had no vacancy. Usually I reserve rooms in advance but due to the nature of this trip, we thought it would be best to just drive and find something on the way instead of reserving.

Everything at this exit was booked so we drove to the next exit. This exit had one Econo Lodge but wasn’t exactly in the nicest area. We knew we were in a seedy area when we pulled up into the hotel and saw a large sign that read, “We don’t rent rooms to locals.” We checked out the hotel anyway. It did have vacancy but the clerk said rooms were $80. We decided to pass.

Our next exit looked exactly like the first exit we had stopped at. It had the same hotels, gas stations and even a strip club with the same name. At first I thought Jonathan had gone the wrong way and we were back to where we started, but it actually was a different exit. We tried a couple more hotels but they were asking for way too much. We tried one last hotel and found a deal. It was a nice place as well. Time for sleep.

Sunday the 20th

We woke up at 8:00am and grabbed a quick breakfast down in the lobby. Jonathan and I were pretty sore from our Flyer rides. It was worth it though. I am still really sore as I type up this report but I look at it as more of a good thing than something bad.

The remainder of our trip was pretty uneventful with not a whole lot happening other than a couple of things. We just kept on mentioning how cool our day at the park was. I would love to go back sometime this year. I would have to try and figure out how to squeeze it in somehow but it would be worth it.

I am so glad I was asked to go on this trip. I really had an excellent time not only due to the amazing rides we got, but to the great people. Tommy and James gave us some much needed energy but making us laugh. David was so kind in to hanging out with us for awhile and taking us around. PKI did an awesome job giving us a great tour and getting us excited about Italian Job. The ride operators on the Phantom Flyers, mainly Dee, really made for some great rides. Jonathan and Janis were great to hang out with this weekend. I have never really done an out of state trip with the two of them and it was very cool. Jonathan drove the entire 7 state, 1000+ mile journey and didn’t once ask for someone else to take over the driving. We just had a great time on the road that made the driving portions go by quick. I look forward to doing another trip in the future.

For those of you that are so angry at PKI for taking out a ride you loved, just remember that the ride isn’t scrapped. I encourage you to hop in your car and head to PCWi to give the ride a try in its new home. If the current operation of the ride continues like it did this past weekend, then I doubt you will be disappointed. I know I wasn’t.

For those of you that frequent PCWi and are able to take a spin on the ride whenever you can, I envy you. You have quite a gem in that park so please ride whenever you get the chance. Show others how to fly so the legacy of the ride will continue on for as many years as it did in Ohio.

That’s it for now.

Thanks for reading,


Glad you had fun, Sean, great TR as usual.

I'm waiting patiently to hit PCar in May. I need my Top Gun fix soon. Yeah, the Mag Brakes on BORG are new this year (thank goodness), but, no, I think the helix ditch on Cyclone was always a ditch. I could be wrong though.

Carowinds is a nice park that has come a long way since the mid ninetys when there wasn't much in the way of 'good' there. Now let's hope that giant frisbee you guys said would go perfectly in that area ends up there soon.

(and you mean you came to southern WV and didn't call me?!? Heck, you probably came within just a few mountains of me even ;))

coasterqueenTRN's avatar
Joanie Love Cheeseburger? LMAO!

Awesome! LOL! I think I know exactly what exits in WV you are talking about, Sean. Thank goodness you guys finally found a decent motel. :-)

Tommy and James are a riot! Glad to hear you guys had a blast, and the Flyers are doing well. :-)

I had no idea the South Carolina *side* of the park had the cheaper food. lol.


<------who thinks Top Gun is VERY underrated!

*** Edited 3/21/2005 10:52:16 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

Great TR as usual Sean, like you're taking us along with you. Nice to see the interpolantics reference in there, here was me thinking I was the only one!


Thanks guys.


Sorry about not letting you know we were going to be in your area. I didn't even know we were going to be going into West Virginia until we had left the park. Jonathan decided to go a different way home. We were really hating those mountains on the way home at night, but during the day they were damn fun to go down. I suppose we could of stopped and I could have tried to send you a yodel over a couple of peaks. =:^)


Those exits were scary. We were just glad we found a nice place to stay, minus the large mounted deer heads in the lobby.


I am still kicking myself for not getting Interpol tickets on time. I had the chance to see them but waited a mere 6 hours to purchase the tickets instead of getting them the first chance I had. It was sold out 6 hours later. =:^(


What rotten luck Sean - hopefully next time you'll make up for it! No Scottish dates yet here so have to console myself with the albums for now. Hmm, Obstacle 1 is calling...;)


FYI-Cyclone's 'tunnel' used to be covered but in the middle of last year they removed the roof for some odd reason. I hope it finds its way back soon as it just looks silly now without it.

Great report Sean... I'm happy you enjoyed the park and even more happy that the Flyers get the seal of approval from one of the PKI regulars.

I saw you walking around a few times and if I recall correctly I was a few tubs ahead of you on one of your Flyer rides around 7:00. I probably should have identified myself but I didn't really want to bug you. Oh well maybe next time..

You couldn't really have asked for a better day than Saturday to go either, other than the Flyers and Borg none of the rides had a line and the weather was pretty good all day. Why can't all my visits be like that..

And if the Carowinds Connection Forums are any indication, the Flyers are a HUGE success with most people riding many many times and snapping even more. The Legacy of the Flyers should remain for many years to come.. I know it will as long as Carowinds is my home park.. ;)

Edit: I just remembered I heard somewhere that Carowinds might put a plaque next to the Flyers signifying it's long history.. that would be cool to see.

Edit2: I also just remembered that 9 of us enthusiasts invaded the Flyers in the morning sometime while one of our non-enthusiast friends got some film of us in action. I'll post it after it finds its way to the internet. I hear it was quite entertaining. Here is a little teaser (not from our invasion, but entertaining nonetheless): Dave doing the 'Snap and Wave'

*** Edited 3/22/2005 10:02:34 AM UTC by JamminJ***

HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

You're making me WANT to go to PCarWi now! Excellent TR!

~Rob Willi

Great TR! We'll be visiting PCWi for the first time on Easter Sunday(SFOG the day before) and can't wait to get some track under my butt for the first time this year. ;) I'll ride the Flyers but I sure don't know how to snap. I'm so glad I got to see Interpol at Curiosa Fest last summer. I loved every second of them onstage and listen to the two albums constantly.

Millennium Force Laps-169 **Vertigo Launches-21** Dragster Launches-53

Tommy was teasing me that he went and saw the band a few weeks back. What a slunt!


Did the Carolina Goldrusher also have the roof of its tunnel removed? I didn't get to ride it this time but noticed I could see the train going through the ending from on top of the observation tower.

No worries. You wouldn't have bugged me. I wasn't sure if there were any folks riding that post on here. I am sure I saw you as Jonathan and I were trying to pick out the new enthusiasts of the ride. I remember a couple of people that were at the ride every time we were there, including the last ride. I think Jonathan talked to one of you at one point. If that was you then take a bow as Jonathan and I were both happy to see someone flying like mad. We knew the ride would be in good hands once we some a couple of the locals having a good time on it. Thanks for sharing the video.


I am serously considernig going back to the park sometime this year if I can somehow squeeze it in later in the year. Just imagine having the same crew we had a month or so back in Cleveland. Yikes!


I envy all of you that have gotten to see the band live. I can't stop listening to them. Actually, I did stop this week as I didn't want to get burnt out so I started listening to the new Doves disc. I am really liking it as well.

Oh, and thanks again.


Sean Flaharty said:

Did the Carolina Goldrusher also have the roof of its tunnel removed? I didn't get to ride it this time but noticed I could see the train going through the ending from on top of the observation tower.

As long as I can remember going to Carowinds, Gold Rusher's first helix has had that 'unfinished tunnel' look. So no changes there really.

There were a ton of enthusiasts there Saturday so you may have saw any number of us. I even know one guy who literally stayed on there the entire day. He said he got around 30 or so rides on it. I *only* got 10 or so rides and most of those were in the morning.

While I've never seen myself fly, some of my friends say that I go absolutely nuts on them. On one of the first rides of the day, a friend of mine who was in the tub behind me got pretty scared, as apparently I was flying pretty high and he was afraid that we might collide. He now refuses to ride within 2 tubs of my tub.. just to be on the safe side. :)


I think I "only" got 10 or so rides in as well so I feel your pain. Wait a second. No I don't. You can go to the park whenever you want to. =:^)

Thanks to Tommy, I now have a new picture in my profile that reflects my TR. Thanks Tommy.

-Sean (who's flyer-back is finally gone...but wishes it would return sometime this year)

Tina, I was incorrect about the name of a certain menu item. The correct name on the menu is Joanie Loves Chicken Sandwich.


coasterqueenTRN's avatar
Ahhh, ok. Cool pic by the way!


Sean Flaharty said:

Tommy was teasing me that he went and saw the band a few weeks back. What a slunt!

Maybe you should take him skydiving with you next time as a 'thank you' Sean ;)


Ah nice TR and great to see other Interpol and Doves fans on this site! Fortunately I've seen Interpol twice and Doves once. Go ahead hate me haha.

I can't wait to get back over to PCar. It's been since '98 I believe, and the park sounds like it's come a long way in a short while!

I survived a Japanese typhoon and the Togo flat ride of death!!!!!!

Now that's a thought, although he already told me he has no desire to jump out of a plane. Now, being pushed......


Damn! Another person that has seen those bands live. I own the live Doves DVD and love it. I checked into some live bootleg DVDs of Interpol but decided not to purchase any of them as rumor has it an official live DVD is in the works.

While I really dig bands like Doves and Interpol who play "atmospheric rock," I have also been getting into some heavy stuff like Shadow's Fall, Bury Your Dead, and Eighteen Visions. It's all good.

One part of my report that I didn't mention was all the music that Jonathan and I were giving a listen. We mostly stayed heavy for most of the trip as it was keeping us awake.


My daughter and I are headed to PCar in a month. I'm really looking forward to it!

Sean Flaharty said:

Now that's a thought, although he already told me he has no desire to jump out of a plane. Now, being pushed...


Don't tell him it's pushed Sean, tell him it's launched ;) Makes a difference lol



How should I explain the ride in the plane? =:^)

"Uh....Tommy. This is just a simulator. It's not real."

Hopefully I will be able to take another dive sometime this year.


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