Cedar Fair Entertainment
FURY 325 IS OFFICIAL, CLICK HERE
Park News - (8/27/15) Click here to see the Carowinds 2016 New Attraction Announcement.
(8/13/15) The first teaser video from SCarowinds was released this week, showing off the return, or rather sequel, to a classic haunt from the past... Slaughterhouse: The Final Cut. Based on some previous Periscope preview footage, it looks like this new Slaughterhouse will return it the same location where it was before, so Viral will be removed from the line-up... thank goodness. Check it out below.
(7/30/15) I've been told that the Travel Channel's Sunday episode of Epic Attractions will feature FURY and the building of the World's Tallest / Fastest Gigacoaster when it airs at 10pm.
In another very odd rumor... the word going around is that when Cedar Fair signed a deal with the Dale Earnhart family to use the name Intimidator for two coasters (Carowinds' Intimidator and Kings Dominion's Intimidator 305) the deal was only signed for a very short 5-term term. While I would think there would be an extension option at the end of the term, 5-years is a bit short when I believe a good number of theme park related contracts are typically for 10-year terms. What's been adding fuel to the fire however is the fact that all the Intimidator branded merchandise at Carowinds is now being sold at up to 65% off and up to 40% off at Kings Dominion.
So if the park is trying to sell off all their Intimidator merchandise now... then I have to wonder just what they are planning on renaming the coasters as for the 2016 season. Anyone know anything more about this situation?
(7/26/15) Today marks the last day of operation for Thunder Road at Carowinds. I stopped by the park last night to pay my last respects to the ride and had an interesting thought that the concept of the dual-tracked wooden racing coaster is quickly going extinct.
Over the last 12 months alone we have seen Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain transformed into a single tracked hybrid (though it still can race through some unique engineering), the closure and pending demolition of Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa, and the confirmation that when Twisted Twins at Kentucky Kingdom reopens next year, it will be as a single tracked hybrid coaster. And now we are losing Thunder Road at Carowinds... a classic racing woodie built by the park and inspired by the design of The Racer at Kings Island and Rebel Yell at Kings Dominion.
There are a few other racing (and mobius racing) coasters still left in the USA, like American Eagle at Six Flags Great America, Racer at Kennywood, and from the modern age, Lightning Racer at Hersheypark (which I LOVE!). There are a few more outside of the USA like Monstre at La Ronde in Canada, Stampeda at Port Aventura in Spain, Joris en de Drak at Efteling in the Netherlands, Grand National at Blackpool in the UK, Dauling Dragon at Happy Valley in China and Montana Rusa at La Feria Chapultepec Magico in Mexico. That’s it... at my count there will be just 5 left in the USA as of Monday, out of 11 left in the world. There is actually a good discussion going on about it on the Screamscape Facebook page, so feel free to join in.
Now as to what will replace Thudner Road, I’ve got a small update below as well.
(7/23/15) Carowinds will kick off a "Bands, Brews and BBQs" Summer Festival event on Friday, Saturday and Sundays from July 31 through to Aug. 16th. The festival will feature food booths, a booth with 24 different flavors of BBQ sauce, craft beers, and special concert performances from local bands.
(7/14/15) In an interesting find, it seems Cedar Fair has filed for a new trademark that appears to be for Carowinds, to use the name "Carolina Harbor" for a future attraction. Could this be a new name for the expanded waterpark instead of Boomerang Bay? Me... I kind of hope not someone who grew up very close to the beach, it was the beach where you went to swim... and not in something dirty like a "harbor", which always had more of an industrial air about the name... like where big ships come to dock, unload mysterious cargo, and a place where the "underworld" forces are at play.
A "Harbor" or any kind just doesn't sound like a place you can swim without fear of running across a stray needle or sewage. Maybe it's just me over-reacting, but I seriously hope this is a name for a section of the park, or a restaurant row, and not someplace they want us to swim. What also struck me as very odd about the filing is that rather than file it as being from the main company, they chose to file it from "Millennium Operations LLC", a wholly owned subsidiary company of Cedar Fair. So were they just trying to hide this from watching eyes, or is there perhaps another reason?
(7/7/15) Carowinds is having the "ThanksThunderRoad" celebration right now in the park through July 26. The first 100 riders each day will get a free commemorative Thunder Road button. From July 13 through July 26 the first 48 riders (first two trains of the day) will get a free celebratory poster of the wooden coaster AND the button. The park will also begin putting out other Thunder Road themed keepsakes for sale such as model sets, pins, t-shirtsd and more.
Thunder Road will go for the last ride at 10pm on Sunday, July 26th.
Meanwhile a strange crate arrived... click here to see more.
2015 - FURY 325 - NOW OPEN - (3/26/15) A little thing called FURY 325 at Carowinds opened up for a media preview event to promote this massive new roller coaster and it is something to behold. You can catch a new POV run (followed by a reverse view) in the first video below followed by our friend Clint from In The Loop taking on Fury 325 in the next video. Our friend JohnnyUpsideDown was also on hand and has posted a good collection of still photos as well.
From the look it is, Fury 325 is fast... wicked fast and doesn't seem to let up until it hits the brakes the end... helped by the fact that there is no mid-course brake run to ruin the fun along the way. Looks like Carowinds has not only a winner on their hands, but a world class ride people are going to travel from far away to ride. Bravo!
(3/5/15) Congratulations to Carowinds for putting FURY 325 successfully through the first test run on Wednesday afternoon. Check out the full POV video of FURY 325 for the first time below and remember, it's only going to get faster as it breaks in!
(8/21/14) BREAKING - Carowinds has confirmed their plans for 2015 at last and FURY 325 is the final name chosen for their new B&M Giga-Coaster. It will have white supports, Teal Swarm track with Stinger Green highlights, and as the name implies, stand 325 feet tall before dropping you down at an 81º angle and hitting 95 mph. Your 3:25 minute long ride will soar along 6,602 feet of track featuring a number of memorable moments, like a sideways turn while your 190 feet in the air, diving underground to go under a new guest entry bridge and a 111 foot tall airtime filled camelback hill on one of three 32-passenger trains.
“Fury 325 will simulate the wild, daring and spontaneous flight of the hornet. The new ride will be visible from uptown Charlotte, renewing the park’s skyline and serving as a symbol of changes to come. Fury 325 is part of a planned $50 million dollar multiyear investment to bring new life to founder Pat Hall’s original vision for Carowinds. The park will be revamped from top to bottom to celebrate Carolina culture including new rides and attractions, signature Carolina food offerings and entertainment. Opening in Spring 2015, Fury 325 will be the centerpiece of a new 8.2 acre main entrance plaza that includes a state–of–the–art ticketing and season pass processing area and expanded guest service facilities.
“Starting with Fury 325, we plan to make Carowinds a destination for thrillseekers to celebrate the Carolinas,” says Mike Fehnel, Carowinds Vice President and General Manager. “The new ride will build on the heritage of the park, creating new memories and traditions for our loyal fans and future guests from around the world.”
2016 - Carolina Harbor Waterpark and More - Confirmed - (8/27/15) Carowinds announced the details for most of their 2016 expansion plans earlier today, with the highlight being the confirmation of the long expected waterpark expansion. Boomerang Bay will be no more in 2016 as it will be renamed as the Carolina Harbor Waterpark. While one of the first changes you may notice will be a new entrance into the waterpark directly from the parking lot, this will not change the admission policy... Carolina Harbor will still be free to everyone with their daily Carowinds ticket or season pass.
Blackbeard's Revenge, a six-story tall slide tower with six different slide experiences. There will be three Pirate's Plank slides, which will begin in drop pods with a near vertical drop through a trap door. Cannonball Drop will be a unique tube slide where guests slide through an enclosed slide through four intense 360-degree turns. The final two tube slides will end with some intense drops down into the splash pool and will be called Captain's Curse.
The highlight of the expansion for thrill seekers will be
The oldest wavepool will be retired and replaced with Seaside Splashworks, a large water fortress with over 80 play elements and a 423 gallon tipping bucket on top.
Nearby part of the existing kiddie area will become Kiddy Hawk Cove and Myrtle Turtle Beach, which will see a fun toddler area full of water jets added and more.
A new wave pool called Surf Club Harbor will be added near the new park entrance with the ability to create up to six foot waves in 12 different wave patterns.
Carolina Harbor will also feature a new restaurant called Harbor House that will feature two large outdoor patios that serve Carolina BBQ and seafood specials. It will also include Schooners, a full service bar for adults who need a little extra relaxation while their kids play. Carolina Harbor will offer upgraded changing facilities and restrooms, new plush cabanas and seating areas as well as Sand Volleyball courts.
For 2016 Carowinds will also offer a new live show in June called Cirque Imagine, they will open a large Starbucks location inside the park near the main entrance and they offered a brief teaser for another new unknown attraction coming in 2016. Unfortunately they wont give away the details until October, but based on the teaser video the new attraction seems to be clearly themed to the Plants vs Zombies video game series. All of the videos shown at the event have been put together back to back below, including the Plants vs Zombies teaser, which I'd love to see turned into a Triotech style dark ride experience where you can be armed with Pea Shooters to combat the undead. But we'll have to wait and see... but there is that empty Action Theater building that is ripe for a makeover, and with Thunder Road gone that area of the park needs SOMETHING to give guests a reason to enter this area of the park still.
(8/13/15) A few readers have pointed out that the basic design of the six new large waterslides being added to Carowinds waterpark matches up perfectly with the waterpark addition that was just made at Kings Dominion. I've added a copy of the Kings Dominion concept artwork, as it shows off the entire slide town and all six slides rather nicely.
(8/12/15) The more detailed plans for Carowinds waterpark expansion have leaked out through the permits filed with the city and… to carefully use a word here… as a local guest, I have to say that I’m a little bit disappointed.
From what I’ve seen, the expansion does not really justify the removal of Thunder Road, as it really doesn’t even seem to take advantage of old coaster’s footprint. Instead, as I expected, we see a separate outside entrance being added to the waterpark, and just inside… they are adding a new wave pool that looks fairly close in size to the existing Bondi Beach wave pool that was just added in 2008. The ‘OLD’ Great Barrier Reef wave pool on the other side of the park will be replaced by a huge water fortress structure that appears to have at least 4 small waterslides attached to it. This also seems to indicate that the small Jackaroo Landing play-structure with the single slide attached will remain, for the time being.
Minor renovations are planned for the kiddie area (Kangaroo Lagoon / Wallaby Wharf) as well as the central bathhouse building, though a smaller bathhouse building will be added next to the new outside entrance area as well. And there is a proposed new food service building near the new wave pool area.
As for the major attractions… there is a new slide tower planned to go to the right of the new outside entrance area and extend back towards last year’s new pair of slides (Dorsal Fin Drop / Surfer’s Swell). From what I can tell from the plans, there will be a platform on one level that will launch three different raft slides, and on the top level it looks as if they will add 3 drop-pod style slides.
The addition of 6 new major slides and 4 kiddie slides to the mix is the good news… it’s just not exactly the news I was hoping to hear from this project. However, as someone who has visited this waterpark with his family on many occasions over the years… the expansion is somewhat overdue because the waterpark typically very crowded and lacks some much needed high-capacity thrillers, and unfortunately while these new slides will help, I just don't think it is enough.
My one criticism of last year’s two new slides, through Dorsal Fin Drop and Surfer’s Swell were much needed, is that Carowinds bought the smaller capacity versions that only allow for single rider tubes when they could have opted to buy bigger versions that would allow for double-tubes or even the behemoth sized versions that can accommodate groups of four in a giant raft. I was hoping to see this year’s waterpark expansion address this issue by adding some much-needed larger slides like a Tornado (holds up to 4 at a time), or a hydro-magnetic multi-passenger slide like Mammoth at Holiday World or RiverRush at Dollywood’s Splash Country. But the top items on my most-wanted list for Carowinds’ waterpark expansion was for a 6 to 8 lane racer slide like Aquatica’s Taumata Racer and an Action River like Aquatica’s Roa’ Rapids because the existing lazy river is so small it is the only one I’ve ever seen with an actual QUEUE to wait in just to use it.
While I appreciate the desire to expand the waterpark, as the Charlotte area really could use it, please do consider my humble wish-list when it comes time for Phase 2.
(8/10/15) A couple of screen captures of permitting information regarding Carowinds 2016 waterpark expansion project were sent in to Screamscape over the weekend. One specifically mentions at "Rain Fortress Pump House" which would indicate that Carowinds is destined to get a much bigger and better water fortress than the modest sized one they currently have. It's hard to say if the current one will be removed or not at this point.
The other permit is for demolition, grading and whatnot to prepare 6.75 acres of property, on the North Carolina side, for the "Carowinds Water Park Expansion". Despite the "lore" of the Thunder Road coaster having a North Carolina and South Carolina side, the stateline was not drawn down the middle of the coaster. In fact, the majority of Thunder Road was in South Carolina, and only the large grassy plot of land (see image) where the two sides of the track hit the turnarounds at the end (maybe the last 1/3 of the structure) was actually in North Carolina. the turns exist right next to the Bondi Beach wavepool and behind the Ripsnort Ridge / Screamin' Wombat and family raft slide towers at the very back end of the waterpark.
(7/26/15) Just a quick update on the rumored “Carolina Harbor” project, AKA: Boomerang Bay expansion, or whatever they end up calling it. I’m told that the official announcement will take place at the park on August 27th just before noon, so we’ll have to wait another month to get the official details. Though I imagine that we’ll see the first pieces of Thunder Road start to come down in the next few days, as they are apparently in a hurry to get this project under-way.
(7/23/15) A video posted to Carowinds twitter shows off the giant crate that was placed in Boomerang Bay as a teaser for 2016.
(7/8/15) A reader sent in a few interesting pictures taken at Carowinds this week. They show off a series of new survey stakes in the ground near where the Fury 325 track was stored last year. As this is the exact opposite side of the park from where the waterpark expansion would go, this is a very curious find.
(7/7/15) Carowinds GM (Mike Fehnel) posted an interesting picture on Twitter on Monday showing off a large mysterious wooden crate that has suddenly appeared inside the waterpark as a clue about what is in store for the 2016 season. While Mike deleted the picture later in the day, I did share the link with the Screamscape Facebook page which seems to have remembered it, picture and all, so check it out here while it is still there.
(6/2/15) The following is purely speculation on my part, based on what I’ve seen done and being planned for other Cedar Fair parks around the country. To accommodate a large rumored expansion of the Boomerang Bay waterpark, Carowinds has said they will begin to remove the park’s Thunder Road coaster by late July. Based on how Cedar Fair has expanded the waterpark at their Kings Dominion theme park, you would think they would just build a pathway or two to go under the structure of Thunder Road, which wouldn’t be that hard, as there is already one such pathway in place for maintenance, and simply build the waterpark expansion in the unused portion of the parking lot on the opposite side.
Since Carowinds is opting not to do this, I can only assume their plans for expansion are fairly large, but since they also seem to want it to border the rear parking lot directly, I wonder if they might be considering building a separate entrance directly into the waterpark back there as well. Kings Island has just that kind of set up for their waterpark, allowing guests to access it from the main park as well as directly from the parking lot through a dedicated entrance.
Normally I wouldn’t have thought of this, because Carowinds already uses the park’s “South Entrance” nearby on busy days, but I suppose it would be within reason to replace the existing South Entrance with a Boomerang Bay entrance instead. Plus, the latest expansion plans filed for the Valleyfair park in Minnesota indicate they are looking into building a new dedicated parking lot and entrance for that’s park’s waterpark as well.
(3/19/15) While it is too early to confirm anything, several different people sent in word that Carowinds is looking into a large possible expansion of their waterpark for the 2016 season. One that would see the waterpark spread over to the other side of Thunder Road, and make use of the never-used portion of Carowinds parking lot along-side the back end of the coaster.
One person did claim to have heard Thunder Road may get the axe for this, but I highly doubt this after the park has spent millions over the last several years completely rebuilding much of Thunder Road over a multi-phase plan. It would be easier to follow the example of Kings Dominion and run a path under a section of the coaster to lead to more slides on the other side.
(8/23/14) Carowinds dropped a new hint about what is in store for 2016... and it will certainly involve water. To quote park spokesperson John Taylor, "We look forward to making a bigger SPLASH next August when we gather again to announce our epic 2016 expansion plan."
So will this be an expansion to the Boomerang Bay waterpark, or could this be a much needed new flume ride for the park? I'm hoping for the later, especially since the waterpark just added two new slides for 2014.