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Jan 30, 2014
We spent 4 hours and 40 minutes driving to Carowinds from Richmond VA on Thursday night. We stayed at the Best Western across the street from the park. There's nothing special to report about the hotel except that it was VERY clean and the staff was VERY friendly. It just so happens that these are the 2 most important aspects of a pleasant stay for us.

- We awoke at 7:30 for a 9:00am park opening. We arrived at 8:30 to an empty parking lot and parked in the 1st available space directly in front of the Fury fly-by element. The coaster was making test runs and it was magical to watch with our own eyes. Everything at the front of the park was brand spankin new. Concrete, bricks, planters, benches, walls, turnstiles, buildings, all new! We entered the park hungry, with an all day dining pass, but there was nothing open except for Cinnabon. We ate one and moved over toward Fury.

- There was a line of people waiting at the closed entrance to Fury's plaza and there was a security officer barking orders at everybody about no running blah blah no loose articles blah blah. The opened the barrier and the 20 or so people in front of us began worming through the queue. Our first disappointment for the day was when we realized that we were not allowed to choose the row we wanted to sit in. They put us 3 from the back and we were on the first 'live' dispatched train of the day! It was early and it was a little foggy. By the time we reached the top of the hill, we were literally IN the low ceiling clouds. I'm not going to go into the ride elements of this beast, but i'll just say that it is the absolute best thrill ride I have ever been on. The drop is very similar to the back seat of Apollo's Chariot, except that the freefall sensation lasts ALOT longer and you're going ALOT faster. We exited the ride and walked back around twice and re rode it with no wait. all 3 rides being toward the rear of the train. We returned to Fury 2 more times throughout the day and on the 4th or 5th ride, cant remember exactly, we got the front seat. This seat is exponentially better than the rest. This is just my opinion though. Really it felt like there was more airtime in the front, which goes against every other coaster experience I have had. It must have something to do with the speed and momentum this coaster train carries.

-Intimidator was next. We waited about 4 minutes for this one. This is also a great ride. Lots of airtime and very steep hills and drops. Trim brakes take a little away from the hills, but the front of the train still delivers a great ride.

-Afterburn was next. This is Carowinds' B&M invert. This thing is awesome! We could hear the roar of this coaster from our hotel. It seems a little short, but it has some really good ride elements. I had heard about this coaster's roaring sound, but I had no idea it would be THAT loud. I still favor Alpengeist over this coaster, but I sure do wish Alpie had the same intimidating roar.

-Vortex was awful. Just awful.

-Carolina goldrusher was pretty neat. It is an older mine train coaster that had Arrow or Vekoma track. Not sure which one. It had some neat helixes and tunnels. It also broke down while we were in line for a few minutes.

-Thunder road was closed when we first went by, but later opened and we rode it. The ride operator entertained us with a 'Race' after I requested it from my front seat. I now remember what Rebel Yell at KD used to feel like when it was smooth. Thunder Road is just plain awesome! It is fast. It is smooth as glass. The last 500 feet of the SC side got rough and my wife and I looked at each other and screamed 'rebel yell' at each other :) We talked about how much smoother this thing is for quite a while after that, since RY is one of our favorites.

-The Arrow looper beat us up pretty bad. Nothing special here.

- Didn't ride their Beserker. They built it in a ravine, so there was really no view on it. Didn't see the point.

- Hurler was pretty good. The track work on the 1st turn really made the ride better. The rest of the ride was still pretty meh. I'll take the violent Grizzly over it any day.

-Naptime! We exited the park and went to the car. took a couple shots of bourbon, and napped for a hour. It was interesting napping to the sounds of the screaming people on Fury. Twas a good nap. We took off our hoodies and sported or KD40 shirts and cups from here on out!

-The food here is very hit and miss. We had a really good fried chicken meal from the diner at Hurler. We had some very bad pizza from Harmony Hall. We had some really good fries from one of the smaller stands. Then we had some terrible shrimp from dockside. There was a very small candy shop over by the bumper cars that had the funnel cake fudge like at KD. It was really good.

-There were lots of kids there. It was band day or something. The bus lot was full but regular lot was mostly empty. However the longest wait we had was for intimidator for about 10 minutes one time.

-We were worn slam out by 7:00. Our minds wanted to stay for a night ride or two, but we are old. We had ridden Fury and all of the other rides so many times that It just didn't matter to us any more. We went back to the hotel and I was fast asleep by 9:00. The next morning we had a smooth drive home that took 10 minutes longer than the drive down. All in all, Carowinds is a really great park to visit. Fury alone is worth the trip :) TaTa.


Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
Awesome review Mazakman! After reading your review, I just might have to make a trip down south this summer. :cool:
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Jul 22, 2013
Arlington, VA
Totally agree about Fury and Thunder Road. Fury was strangely better in the front. Sadly, Thunder Road was better than my Rebel Yell.

Great report! Glad y'all had such a good time.
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