SFNE & Carowinds Trip Reports - Part 2
I'm back...there was a bit of a delay for Part 2 as I was in Chicago for work this past week. Anyway, I want to get this down while our visit 11 days ago is still fresh.
So the 2nd half of our trip was in Charlotte. We've never visited before and we were looking forward to visiting the city and of course Carowinds. We flew in from Boston Tuesday afternoon (7-18) and had a reservation at a Marriott property about 3 miles from the park...very close.
We planned to head to the park the next day w/our CF Platinum passes which we got at our home park, CGA. But different from SFNE, we weren't going to blitz the park for just the coasters...we were going to spend some good quality time at Carowinds. I've heard nothing but great things about this park.
So we're heading South on 77 and then there they were....Intimidator and Fury 325! Seeing both of those coasters side by side and stretching from one end of the park horizon to the other is amazing I could barely keep my eyes on the road while I was driving. Mike said something like "holy crap those are HUGE!
We head to to VIP parking and it's literally right next to and underneath the 3rd hill of Fury 325 just before the train heads into the swooping turnaround/dive. Great place to walk under the coaster and watch it in action! It's also the path that leads us to the great new front gate plaza. I'm already so impressed by this park...go Cedar Fair!
So we get into the park (armed with our Fast Lane passes we bought online.) We're only in the front gate for a few minutes and I'm already loving this park. This my friends is what and how a (non-Disney/non-Universal) regional theme park should be. I'm struck by how great the park looks and as the day goes on how well the park is run while offering a superbly FUN experience for everyone (it's not just about the coasters and rides). As a Cedar Fair investor, I'm familiar with Matt Ouimet's vision for the Cedar Fair chain and it is on full display at Carowinds.
On to the coasters. Again, we were in no hurry that day and in fact we knew we were going to save the best for last which meant we weren't on any rush to get on Intimidator or Fury.
Afterburn - I've not heard much about this coaster. And over the years I suffer from B&M invert fatigue...but WOW! I was so pleasantly surprised by this ride. It had a unique layout, it was intense and well paced. I loved it.
Carolina Goldrusher - I love Arrow mine trains. Each one is customized and unique to the park they are in and the Carolina Goldrusher is no different...enough said.
Ricochet - I think this is the same wild mouse model found at Kings Dominion...I went on by myself and I'm always glad to get off because I really do get scared on these rides...I guess that's the point.
Carolina Cyclone - Sorry this was a very rough (but classic) Arrow loop/corkscrew coaster. Back car, nice first drop and loop and then...head banger city in the corkscrew/helix.
Vortex -UGH!!!!!!! Stand-up coasters just do not "stand" the test of time...they hurt! Please put this coaster and it's riders out of their misery and convert it to a floorless!
Hurler - The ride looked rough, but we were pleasantly surprised. It was actually quite fun. It'll be interesting if it gets the RMC treatment in the future. Personally, I would prefer it to remain a woodie since it's the only one at the park. (I'm all for building an RMC ground up however!)
For the Vekomas installations we opted out of Flying Cobras and Nighthawk. Both coasters really do look great in the park however. I did get a chance to ride Nighthawk in it's original incarnation as Stealth at CGA and had no desire to ride it at Carowinds. We did ride the Vekoma Flying Ace Aerial Chase...it looked harmless enough and worthy of a coaster credit. Harmless?...maybe not, but at least I did get the coaster credit :).
We hung out at Harmony Hall on two occasions. What a great large space to eat, libate (yes, there was a full service bar with more than wine & beer), cool off and be entertained. We had a chance to eat lunch there (great food selection there) and to have a few beers over the course of the day. But I really did enjoy watching the kids and families get into the interactive/multi-media "Lunch with Peanuts" show.
Both "Plants vs Zombies" interactive 3D game in the Action Theater & "Cirque Imagine" were great and made me smile.
And now onto Intimidator...our first ride came after having a beer (or two) in Harmony Hall. With our Fast Lane pass we found ourselves climbing the lift hill in the back car. This was only our 3rd B&M hyper (after Apollo's Chariot and Nitro). But as we're whipped over the first drop it's clear this was going to be an awesome ride. It was smooth, fast, and amazing floater air as you'd expect...a lot of fun! Getting off of it; Mike was definitely feeling his love for B&M and saying that he liked it better than Superman from a few days ago. I'm in that moment probably feeling the same way...but that would change in just a bit.
Ok, Fury 325. We save the best for last. We again opt for the last car because we want to experience this in all it's glory. As any coaster enthusiast would know...the anticipation and excitement as we're climbing the hill is unreal. It's like you can't believe that you are actually doing this...is this real? Am I actually really here? And then to the right you see that you are now higher than Intimidator and you're still climbing. I've been on the the other two CF giga's MF and I305, but you climb those hills so fast, you don't have the time to think and feel the things you do with climbing Fury...and then you get whipped over the top.
From then on, the ride is pretty much a blur. I won't give you the play by play, but the way I would describe it; it's an altered reality that only lasts for as long as the trains fly through the course. The B&M giga feels nothing like a B&M hyper...that's all. I rode it twice and I wish I could keep on riding it...Fury 325 is my favorite coaster, period.
We took another last ride on Intimidator before we left...after Fury, it felt almost too "polite" but it was still great fun. It's interesting, that after riding Fury, the Intimidator experience gets re-calibrated and Superman at SFNE becomes my favorite hyper (and Intimidator becomes my favorite B&M hyper).
Ok, so enough geeking out. Carowinds is an amazing park all the way around (I give it a pass on the two rough coasters :)) and I'm still gushing when I think of Fury 325.
* This post was modified at 7/31/17 12:58:57 AM *
Carowinds and Fury have been in my plans for a couple years now, just hasn't happened yet. But you make it sound great!
I also love Cedar Fair parks. We go to Cedar Point and Kings Island every year, for 15 years with my wife and son, and another 20 before that as a kid and young adult. 35 years total, always great!
I know what you mean about going up the lift hill, the excitement, we were the same way on Leviathan at Canada's Wonderland last summer, another fantastic coaster.
Again, thanks for posting..
* This post was modified at 7/31/17 9:51:38 PM *