Carowinds Trip Report – July 2017 – Part 1

On Monday, July 31st, my family and I visited Carowinds, a Cedar Fair theme park located on the border of North and South Carolina. We spent about 6 hours at the park, which was more than enough time to ride all of the coasters (minus the kiddie coasters). In fact, because the day seemed so much longer than usual and I took so many pictures, I figured this trip report should be split up into two parts. The link to part 2 will be at the bottom of this page, once it comes out. In the meantime, here’s part 1!

Carowinds: The only park in America where you can ride coasters across two different states!

We kicked off our day as soon as the park opened at 10 o’clock. There were virtually no crowds getting into the park, which was quite the pleasant surprise. Once inside, we immediately booked it to our first, and most anticipated ride of the day, Fury 325. The ride had nothing but a station wait, which just went to show how empty the park was that day.

The pathway you take on your way to Fury offers some really nice photo opportunities of Hurler!
Oh hey, it’s Jesus resurrected in coaster form!

I’ll save most of my praises for Fury 325 for it’s full review, but I must say that it is one hell of a coaster! I really didn’t want to become a “Fury Fanboy” (it was actually one of my goals for the trip), but I just couldn’t help myself. I loved every single second of it. It’s a goddamn near perfect ride, and has stolen the crown from Wicked Cyclone as my new favorite roller coaster.

Luckily, this ride isn’t wild or rough enough to make you actually hurl…probably.

After getting both front and back row rides on Fury, we continued left around the park to hit up Hurler, the park’s largest wooden coaster.

Boredom: The Ride

Now I wouldn’t say Hurler is “bad”, but it’s definitely not good. Luckily, it isn’t very rough, and has a layout that at least looks like it should deliver some fun. However, it was probably one of the most boring roller coasters I have ever ridden. There is absolutely no airtime, despite having a decent amount of hills, the drop is forceless, and the ride is essentially just a bunch of turns. It wasn’t the worst wooden coaster I’ve been on, but it definitely wasn’t the best.

Didn’t ride the drop tower, because it was basically a shorter version of what I can ride back at my home park, Six Flags Great America. Still looked fun though!

After Hurler, we moved on to the parks stand-up coaster, Vortex. I’d say I have an extremely unpopular opinion about this coaster, as I didn’t think it was that bad! Sure, it’s a stand-up, but it wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable or rattly as some people say. I received absolutely no headbanging on the ride. Yes, if Carowinds converts it to a floorless it will probably be better, but for what it’s worth, Vortex isn’t nearly as bad of a ride as some enthusiasts say.

Vortex has some pretty crispy signage, if you ask me.
No headbanging at all. Maybe I just got lucky.

Next up was Ricochet, the park’s wild mouse coaster. For whatever reason, when I go to theme parks I don’t tend to ride their wild mouses…mices…wild mice…whatever. I’ve missed out on Six Flags New England’s, Knott’s Berry Farm’s, and Six Flags America’s. Luckily, this time we made sure to ride Carowinds’, and it was pretty good! It’s nothing special, but I think a wild mouse coaster is always a necessity for a park that wants to appeal to families. They are built to fit good thrills into small, compact spaces, and rides like Ricochet accomplish that!

I also learned on this trip that it’s hard to get good pictures of wild mouse coasters!

Only a little more than an hour had gone by, and we had already had 5 total rides 4 coasters. Our original plan was to ride the parks flying coaster, Nighthawk, before lines got too long, but it was looking like the park wasn’t crowded enough for it to receive a large line. Instead, we walked into the New for 2017 County Fair area, home to Flying Cobras.

My brother, Brandon, showing off his lovely gourd collection.
I love the new air-race theme they gave Flying Cobras. It’s subtle, but it works!

Flying Cobras is the parks recently refurbished Boomerang Coaster. The ride received a new paint job and new restraints (and trains?), and was running very, very well! I had ridden two Boomerangs before this one, and they were both godawful experiences. Flying Cobras, however, was very enjoyable! The new vest restraints reduced discomfort by 99%, and the ride didn’t feel nearly as rough as the others I’d ridden. Oddly enough, I’d say it was my fourth favorite coaster in the park! (please don’t kill me).After Flying Cobras, we spent some time taking pictures of some of the different rides in the new County Fair area. We didn’t get to ride any of them, but they certainly looked fun!

Do-Si-Do, the park’s…spinny, twirly ride! (I’m a coaster enthusiast, not a flat ride enthusiast!)
Electro Spin, another spinny, twirly ride.
Zepher, another (guess what) spinny, twirly ride!
There were also some random “characters” roaming around the County Fair area. Very nice to see that Carowinds is trying to immerse people in their new land. Hats off to them!

Oh, you know how I mentioned before that we decided we’d wait to ride Nighthawk until later? Yea…uh…

Image result for tony stark not a great plan meme

Even though the park was completely dead, Nighthawks crappy operations gave it a 30+ minute wait. We figured it would only get worse as the day went on, so we decided to get in line. Luckily, waiting in line gave me lots of opportunities to take some pictures of the ride.

Someday I’m going to make a Top 10 Ride Signs post, and you bet Nighthawk’s will be in there.
You can also get some cool pictures of Vortex in Nighthawk’s queue!
Oh, also there’s a mirror image Nighthawk hidden in a parallel universe in the water. It’s a very rare coaster credit, and few people have managed to get it.

We also met some people in line who were visiting from Kansas City. We talked a lot about their home park, Worlds of Fun, and they both convinced me that I really need to get out there to ride Mamba and Patriot.

Similar to Vortex, I’m going to have a relatively unpopular opinion about Nighthawk. I’ve ridden four flying coasters so far: Tatsu, a Superman: Ultimate Flight clone, Batwing, and now Nighthawk. Although Nighthawk ends up being the worst kind of by default, I wouldn’t say it is a bad ride. It was rougher than its Vekoma counterpart Batwing, but made up for it by having softer vest restraints. The other weird part about Nighthawk was that there weren’t really any handles to hold on to, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Really the only part that makes this worse than Batwing is the roughness caused by the double corkscrew at the end. Otherwise, the rides feel pretty much the same.

Something about the vibrant yellow and blue colors really makes me dig Nighthawks paint scheme!

We still have a lot to cover from our day, including our first rides on Afterburn and Intimidator, eating in the park, and much, much more (including lots of Fury 325 rides and pictures). This trip report is already getting incredibly long though, so I’ll save that for Part 2. In the meantime, if you want to be notified as soon as Part 2 comes out, be sure to follow us on here, Twitter @limitless_park, and Instagram @Limitless_Park for notifications as soon as Part 2 goes live!


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