NOTE: This is Part 2 of my 2-part Trip Report to Carowinds. For a link to Part 1 of the trip report, click here.
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Continuing from where we left off, our next ride of the day would be the B&M Invert, Afterburn. While we walked towards the coaster, we passed the Planet Snoopy area, which had some very fun comic strip theming from the Peanuts comics.
Prior to riding Afterburn, I had only been on 3 other B&M Inverts; Silver Bullet at Knott’s Berry Farm, and two Batman clones. Therefor, I had my expectations pretty high for the highly praised Invert…
…and I must say, Afterburn even surpassed those high expectations. It was extremely intense, had a fantastic layout, and even had a cool mist tunnel effect that I was not expecting! It was definitely my second favorite ride at Carowinds after Fury, and actually lands in my top 10 coasters of all time.
Next up was Intimidator, the parks hyper coaster. Now this was my fifth hyper coaster I’ve ridden, but it was actually my first traditional B&M hyper. The only other B&M hyper I’ve been on is Raging Bull, and that has a twister layout.
Overall, I was impressed with the ride. It wasn’t my favorite hyper (that goes to Superman at Six Flags New England), and it wasn’t as good as Fury or Afterburn, but it was an above-average coaster. It definitely lacked the intensity and pacing that Fury has, but the seemingly endless floater-airtime hills Intimidator had really made up for any of its negatives. It also has a very powerful drop if you sit in the back row.
Once we got two rides on Intimidator, we decided to head back the way we came to ride any coasters we missed. Our first ride was going to be Flying Ace Aerial Chase, but because it was a family coaster, and had a 30 minute line due to one train ops, we decided to skip it.
Instead, we headed to the Carolina Gold Rusher, the parks mine train coaster. Although it was another family coaster, they were running two trains on it, so we got on pretty quickly.
I don’t want to bash a family coaster too much, but Carolina Gold Rusher was easily the worst mine train coaster I’ve ever ridden. It has nothing on the Big Thunder rides at the Disney parks, and even Magic Mountain’s mine train was somewhat fun, as it’s set on a mountainside with lots of nice views. Carolina Gold Rusher was just a rough and uncomfortable experience with no theming or views, and did not impress me at all.
Our last credit to get (besides the kiddie coasters, which we wouldn’t be riding) was Carolina Cyclone, an old Arrow corkscrew looper, or whatever they’re called. I was actually mildly impressed with this one. Sure, it was short and pretty rough, but it actually has a good amount of intensity to offer. The ride forcefully throws you into each inversion, and doesn’t give off that much headbanging during the corkscrews like The Demon, which is the other Arrow looper I’ve been on.
It was nearing 3 o’clock, and because we hadn’t eaten lunch yet, we were all starving. Before we came to the park, I was set on having some barbecue at the park. However, I then noticed the park had a Chic-Fil-A, and man…I was really craving some Chic-Fil-A.
It’s nice to see that they had a fast-food restaurant like Chic-Fil-A as an option, instead of just your usual bland theme park food. I’m sure the barbecue would’ve been delicious too, but I had my fix of that cuisine later on in Raleigh, North Carolina, so I was happy with eating some Chic-Fil-A-Nuggets and their fantastic waffle fries.
After the power of coated chicken bites refueled our energy, we decided to check out Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 3Z Arena, the park’s shooter ride/theater attraction themed to the once popular franchise, Plants vs. Zombies.
I was never a huge fan of the Plants vs. Zombies games as a kid, but I did enjoy the attraction a lot. It was a really nice take on the shooter-dark ride attraction, as it stripped out the actual ride part for motion seats. Sure, I’d rather be on an actual dark ride, but it was a nice fresh take that I was happy to try once, and would love to play again in order to master.
We’ve reached the “climax” of our trip to Carowinds. After riding a bunch of other coasters, it was finally time to ride Fury 325 again. Even in the afternoon, the all-star giga coaster was still at a station wait, so we decided to do a quick marathon of the ride. We came out with 6 rides in a row, bumping our grand-total up to 8 rides for the day. It truly is the best, most re-rideable coaster I’ve ridden so far. It will certainly be interesting to see what, if anything, can beat it in the future.
That finally concludes our trip to Carowinds. Overall, it’s an awesome park that really deserves more praise. Although I love Fury with a passion, my favorite part of this park wasn’t its coaster lineup. It was actually the overall pleasant feel I got while walking around the park. Sure, it’s no Disney park, but it still gives a very unique experience that I’ve never felt at a theme park before. Something about being on the border of North and South Carolina to ride roller coasters felt really special, and is an experience that will stay in my memories forever.