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Aug 17, 2010
I made a trip to Charlotte this weekend to get my first rides in on Fury 325.  I made another trip last August and wrote up a report on that, so I'm not gonna be covering a lot of those other rides and will instead stick to stuff from my trip this weekend.

Fury 325 was breathtaking.  It is, indubitably, the greatest roller coaster I've ever ridden.  It's design is essentially flawless and it really has it all.  I'm usually a proponent of riding in the back row, and my first couple laps on Fury were from the back, but since Carowinds' other B&Ms are unusually better in the front, I had to try it up there as well, and the experience is unprecedented.  The graceful balance of speed, force, and smoothness is executed to perfection on Fury 325, which really cements its status.  The train hauls ass the whole way, and getting whipped into those ridiculous over banked turns is a ton of fun, and yet just as smooth as I'd expect from a Beamer; maybe even a bit smoother.  Somehow, year after year, ol' Walt and Claude just find a way to keep making their rides smoother than glass.  All of the elements are well incorporated (there is a particularly close beam on the helix that never ceases to be unnerving), and the three blissful pops of airtime to conclude the ride really tie it all together.  Each time the train hit the brake run, I was literally out of breath from screaming my head off with joy.  What an amazing experience.

Fury was more than enough fun to compensate for the bumps along the rest of the day.  There were a couple that made me feel uneasy, though.  I usually always try to give the ride ops the benefit of the doubt, but I encountered far too many rude ride operators throughout the day.  This feels indicative of a systemic problem that Carowinds needs to snuff out.  They'll get by this year due to the massive success of Fury 325, but as a paying customer, nobody wants to see this.  There was one lady at Fury that was repeatedly particularly rude to our group.  I understand that there is a lot of pressure being put on that crew by management, but something needs to be done.  Overall, the crew was very efficient, but obviously stressed, and they did not hide their coarseness.  I also really hate Carowinds' park wide grouping policy.  I hate groupers anyway (there are some not bright folks that can't really do the job well sometimes, and many times I've had to help them out), but they can be properly employed.  Too many times we were denied a choice of row because the station would be emptied before the grouper would fill the rows with more guests.  This is completely unnecessary, and not a very smart way of handling a line.  After waiting an hour+, I ought to have a choice to wait 15 more minutes for the row I want.  I was initially more agitated with the ride ops earlier in the day, but after seeing policies like this implemented, I really think the full-time staff in rides are making some more than questionable decisions that need to be reevaluated.  Let's hope they work this out.

All in all, though, everyone needs to make a pilgrimage to Carowinds to ride the beast of Fury 325.
You just captured our exact impressions, when we were there! Fury was insanely good, and best in front. The park staff were incredibly rude, especially one female ride op at Fury and a woman at one of the food stands who didn't want to give us forks. And the groupers everywhere were annoying.

I would add that food was a massive disappointment after KD's recent improvements.

At the end of the day, however, all I remembered was how much I loved Fury.
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Fury 325 truly is a gem of the coaster world. Unfortunately, that gem is buried in what is really a sorta crappy park. It's not just Fury either- I'd consider Afterburn and Thunder Road gems of their genres as well.

Carowinds is currently a park that's completely sustained by a couple of jewels in its collection. It is missing everything else I look for in a park and, because of that, it's not a place I'd ever plan on frequenting. I'm glad the region has access to Carowinds's few, headlining coasters, but I always find myself wishing that Carowinds was more like Kings Dominion in regards to guest experience or, better yet, that Carowinds's headliners were built at another park 300 miles north-east.
I kind-of felt the same way Zachary. Not just because I wish Fury was closer, but because after visiting Carowinds, I feel CF may have made a mistake by investing so much money into them as opposed to somewhere with more potential already in place. In the long run, Carowinds will cost them a lot more money to upgrade to even KD's level. I don't mind driving a few hours to ride a really great ride, but I would visit a better park more often for a more quality overall experience.
I haven't been on Fury or to Carowinds before, but I agree with Mazakman here. I can understand doing a multi year investment to help improve the park's ride line-up, but making it a flagship park may be going a little too far. Kings Dominion would've not needed nearly as much money in order to become a flagship park(again, haven't been to Caro, just based off a general synopsis). But anyways, who knows, we aren't behind the thinking of making Carowinds a flagship park.
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Haha, yes Mazakman, I believe I've seen pictures of that. Yeah, pine needle mulch isn't the most attractive. :p
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