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Oct 18, 2021
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I looked through the thread and didn’t see anything like this…new transplant to NC so will probably have a lot of these questions :)

Going to Carowinds with my 12 year old nephew next week and looking for any tips from park regulars. We’re staying at the hotel that’s basically in the parking lot. Planning on getting to the hotel a little after park opening, making sure it’s OK to park there before check in, and then doing the park until 3pm ish, heading to the hotel to check in and changing into baiting suits, and then doing the water park. Have 2 day tickets and 2 nights at the hotel so shouldn’t be rushed to do anything….

…but any insider tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

Zachary

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Sep 23, 2009
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Other people will be far more qualified to answer this thread probably, but it's my perception that prioritizing rope-dropping Nighthawk (if it has reopened by the time you visit) and/or Copperhead is the correct course of action. They seem to keep the most daunting major coaster waits. As always, low capacity family coasters can also get surprisingly packed too (namely Kitty Hawk and Ricochet in the case of Carowinds).

Some data if you're into that sorta thing:
 
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Oct 18, 2021
14
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Other people will be far more qualified to answer this thread probably, but it's my perception that prioritizing rope-dropping Nighthawk (if it has reopened by the time you visit) and/or Copperhead is the correct course of action. They seem to keep the most daunting major coaster waits. As always, low capacity family coasters can also get surprisingly packed too (namely Kitty Hawk and Ricochet in the case of Carowinds).

Some data if you're into that sorta thing:
Thanks, I’ve been looking at some 3rd party wait time sites but wasn’t sure how accurate it was. Sucks that the official app only works when you’re in park.
 
Dec 7, 2021
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Since you’ll be there for 2 days…
I recommend rope dropping Vortex and Ricochet on Day 1 and then rope dropping Copperhead and Flying Cobras Day 2.

Also, do NOT, I repeat DO NOT expect fast operations.
Carolina Goldrusher on my previous visit was advertised at 10 minute wait but was actually 40 because their operations were atrocious.
Vortex took 10 minutes because of their operating policy (see below).
Flying Cobras has an odd loading procedure.

Most coasters have someone assigning rows.

Flying Cobras only has one train so that will make it build up a line faster.
Vortex just has a dumb system in which they lock your rows for your seats, then go through each row individually and readjust your seats accordingly.
Ricochet is just a low capacity ride.
Nighthawk, as of June 11 and 12, have yet to see trains arrive on site.
 

Zachary

Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
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Carowinds: Assigns rows on nearly everything "to improve capacity."

Also Carowinds:
Vortex just has a dumb system in which they lock your rows for your seats, then go through each row individually and readjust your seats accordingly.

Honestly, if you're not in it for the credits, don't sweat some of these particularly bothersome rides. In my honest opinion, Kitty Hawk and Vortex are trash, Goldrusher, Cyclone, and Hurler are mediocre at best, and Flying Cobras and Ricochet are two of the most cloned, least interesting coasters out there. Woodstock is fine, but if you've ridden KD's, and don't care about the +1 on your credit count, meh.

If you ask me, Carowinds' supporting lineup is just not good. The top of the lineup is far and away the reason to visit. If you spend your time on Fury, Afterburn, Copperhead, and Intimidator, you'll probably have a better time than if you're desperately trying to figure out how to ride the worst operating B&M standup without a 45 minute wait.

That said, if you are counting credits, may the odds be ever in your favor. 😋

PS: Nighthawk is Caro's fifth best coaster. Hopefully it comes back online soon!
 
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May 4, 2016
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I spent two days there a few years back, and I could spend all day just riding Fury, Intimidator, and Copperhead. I enjoyed the park altogether and was happy to try all the other rides, once.
 
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Yeah I revisited Carowinds for the first time in 9 years last October I was there from 1pm to midnight with the 2 hour gap and I had fast lane for the Scarowinds portion. I had 2 new credits to get in Fury and Copperhead, had all of the others.

Here is the list of attractions I rode:
-Fury 325
-Copperhead Strike
-Intimidator
-Afterburn
-Mountain Gliders

I would have rode Electro Spin if it was open.

Not once did any of the other 10 coasters interest me that I hadn’t ridden in 9 years at what was arguably once my home park. If I was going for the credits now I would knock out all the bad credits as early as possible just to be free of having to deal with the desire for the +1 because most of them are not worth it at all. But also ride Fury 325 immediately if you haven’t because that is B&Ms masterpiece. Or better just ride those 4 coasters I listed above as many times as possible and have a significantly better day at the park.

EDIT: also, no water rides……always a huge hit to a park lineup for me.
 
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Oct 18, 2021
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Thanks for all the input!

Not to sound stupid, but what are the coaster credits? Are they a real thing, or just abstract bragging rights for the number of coasters you’ve ridden?

Also, another question that just came up….does the water park have towels for everybody, or do you bring your own? Can’t imagine you bring your own and have to carry them/store in a locker when in the regular park. Didn’t see that answered in the site FAQs.
 
Mar 18, 2017
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If it's hot, maybe just leave the whole park for a while each afternoon. The best time in the dry park should be 8-10 PM; 9:45-11:45 AM is also good.

I think Goldrusher is the 5th most important thing to ride once, not only is it decent, but as the park was kind of built around it, that helps to understand the layout. I also think it's the 5th best coaster, due to the rest of the supporting cast, but that's a harder call. Of course a 12 year old may rank it even higher.

Nighthawk starts out great, and then goes to crap. Cyclone is one of the better Arrow Corkscrews for what that's worth. Same for mouse but watch the brakes around that final weird dip. Hurler is a slug. Vortex isn't much better. Cobras can be a little sickening but won't bang your head.

As to credits, can be a little reward to offset the less pleasant experiences. I think you should still be interested in the ride, maybe you'll like it, or learn what you would need to make it possibly enjoyable in the future. I didn't keep count for a long time which resulted in some questionable reconstruction once curiosity overrode feigned disinterest.
 
Oct 22, 2019
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Love that this shows up while I’m camped out at a hotel awaiting a visit tomorrow. Thanks for the great timing.

(I actually went to try to get some night rides tonight but I pulled into the park at 9:15 and nothing was operating so I’m guessing the rain and the Monday of it all had everything shut down. And I’m here for the good coasters not the credits, so if you bypass the bragging rights know you’re not alone. (I’ll probably ride Hurler so I can appreciate Twisted that much more).
 
Mar 1, 2016
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I went for the first time to Carowinds last week. I agree Vortex was terrible, couldn't wait to get off. Nighthawk is still down and we didn't ride Hurler. Rode every other coaster. I would also recommend Harmony Hall for dining just for the different food options there if you have picky eaters like I do.
 
Oct 22, 2019
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Or it can be like today and you can be faced with both being closed.
Fury open. No sign of Hurler. Clearly I shall be complaining at guest services that the whole reason for my trip was closed. OUTRAGED!

(But to echo the initial advice, definitely go to Copperhead first, it’s deep in the park so you’ll get a second ride in easy before anyone else really shows up)
 
May 23, 2021
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Be sure to check out Harmony Hall!

I would also recommend Harmony Hall for dining just for the different food options there if you have picky eaters like I do.

For anyone planning to eat at least one meal at the park, I really like the Harmony Hall recommendations above.

I'll admit my very first time to Carowinds, I completely overlooked that entire massive building next to Intimidator - thinking it was (only) some sort of theater venue, which I was not interested in, as there were so many great coasters to cram into one day. And unfortunately, it was only after that visit did I learn of Harmony Hall.

So as others have mentioned... if your family consists of picky eaters - where no one can agree on the same type of food from one restaurant - Harmony Hall is a must visit... where even if not dining, come in, grab a drink and take a break from the heat.
 
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Apr 5, 2017
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I'll admit my very first time to Carowinds, I completely overlooked that entire massive building next to Intimidator - thinking it was some sort of theater venue, which I was not interested in, as there were so many great coasters to cram into one day. And unfortunately, it was only after that visit did I learn of Harmony Hall.
Actually it was a theater when I went as a kid. They used to do country music shows in there and Carrowinds theater had pop/rock shows.
 
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