Cedar Fair Entertainment
Park News - (5/15/21) I missed this announcement last month, but Carowinds has a new Vice President / General Manager this season. Cedar Fair has brought in Manny Gonzales to take over the top spot at Carowinds, moving over from where he served in the same position at California’s Great America for the past three years. He replaces the previous VP/GM, Pat Jones, who has been promoted up to a corporate position as a Senior VP of Park Operations.
While we’re on the subject of Carowinds… get ready because the park will reopen to the public next week on May 22. You can get your tickets and reservations online now.
(5/11/21) A small bit of bad news for Carowinds fans, especially if you were dying to get into the waterpark to try out that brand new waterslide for the past year. According to local news reports, Carowinds is being forced to delay the intended May 29th opening of the Carolina Harbor waterpark due to a “worker shortage”. Instead, they now hope to be able to open the waterpark by June 12.
Carowinds will open the theme park this coming weekend as a passholder preview to work out the kinks, with the official public opening of the theme park set to take place on May 22.
(1/30/21) Carowinds has announced that the park will not open for the 2021 season until May 22, 2021. Unfortunately this is 2 months later than normal for the park which has always traditionally opened in late March every year before now. This follows along with other dates released from Cedar Fair that will see the majority of their parks all waiting until May to open. No reasons were given, though I suspect the hope is that with a growing number of COVID-19 vaccines expected to be given daily between now and then, that the parks might be able to reopen with fewer restrictions. I’d expect more details about the company’s plans for operations in 2021 to be talked about in detail during their Q4 2020 earning call with investors in February.
(9/4/20) According to Coaster101, the former Arrow coaster trains from Vortex at Kings Island have been sent to Carowinds where they will be refurbished put to use on Carolina Cyclone in 2021. To be fair, the actual chassis of the coaster trains will still be the old Carolina Cyclone one, but the fiberglass shells from Vortex have replaced the old Carowinds trains. Make the jump and check out some pictures of the new Yellow and Purple trains.
2021 - Boogie Board Racers - (8/20/19) While I’m still not exactly sure of how this will be placed in the park, Carowinds did confirm to us that their new Boogie Board Racer slide would be located near the waterpark entrance and “along Copperhead Strike”. Unfortunately the description isn’t too firm on which waterpark entrance, but if it is really near Copperhead Strike then I’m guessing it is the in-park waterpark entrance right next to Copperhead Strike rather than the one with direct access to the parking lot.
(8/16/19) Carowinds has announced Boogie Board Racers is coming to the Carolina Harbor waterpark for the 2020 season. This is a six-lane mat racer slide experience which they are promoting as the longest mat racing waterslide in the Southeast. The slide will be produced by White Water West.
Also coming in 2020 will be the Grand Carnivale celebration, a limited time special event taking place nightly from June 13 through to July 5, 2020.
2021 - Car Ride - Rumor - (12/6/20) The rumored return of a car ride at Carowinds took another step forward this week, as a reader sent in a picture of an Antique auto car currently on site at Carowinds and dressed up for the park’s current holiday event.
While this still doesn’t guarantee the return of the attraction, Cedar Fair did drop a similar hint a year or so ahead of the return of the car ride to Kings Island when a few holiday themed cars arrived on site during that park’s WinterFest event.
The rest of the rumor claims that if a car ride were to return to Carowinds, it would likely end up taking over some or all of the former Dinosaurs Alive site, which is only fitting as the arrival of Dinosaurs Alive caused the removal of the park’s last car ride. Now I guess the question is if this does happen, will it be a surprise for 2021 or be added the following year? With everything that has happened in 2020, there is no telling until the park decides to make the announcement or we have a clear sign of construction somewhere in the park. That or someone spots a whole fleet of the vehicles sitting in a storage lot somewhere backstage awaiting installation.
(8/13/20) As an interesting follow-up to the latest rumors for 2021, Carowinds posted a throwback picture on their IG showing off the Hillbilly Jalopies. An interesting choice since the rumor for the 2021 season claims that the park may actually be planning to add a new car ride for families.
I have to admit, I was unfamiliar with this version of the ride, so I hunkered down to study a little more ancient Carowinds history. It turns out that the park actually had two car rides when the park opened in 1973. The Hillbilly Jalopies ran from 1973 to 1987 and were located in the “Country Crossroads” section of the park with a fleet of old antique/jalopy themed cars that followed a course through a wooded section of the park. The Jalopies were removed to make way for the WhiteWater Falls big splash boat ride, which ironically was also removed a couple of years back to make way for Copperhead Strike. The old building that once served as the entrance to WhiteWater Falls was actually the queue building for the Hillbilly Jalopies.
The second car ride was called The Speedway and featured more modern looking cars that ran from 1973 until 1991 when it was closed to make way for the new Vortex stand-up roller coaster. Over the years the ride was renamed Carolina Turnpike in the 80s before it was shut down.
The park was actually without any kind of car ride until the TV Road Trip attraction opened along with Taxi Jam and Chopper Chase as part of a Hanna-Barbera Land expansion in 1998. Over time Hanna-Barbera became Nickelodeon Themed, and then eventually Peanuts themed until that ride was retired as Joe Cool’s Driving School in 2012.
So over the years, it is kind of fascinating to know that the park has had a total of three entirely different and uniquely themed family car rides. If the time has come to bring in a fourth edition, we can only wonder what form it might take this time around.
(8/9/20) While the 2020 season was a bust, an early rumor has surfaced for what Carowinds may be planning for 2021. While next year will finally see the waterslide from 2020 open in the waterpark, an early rumor suggests that Carowinds may have been planning on adding a new car ride to the park in 2021, possibly on part of the former Dinosaurs Alive site. It isn’t entirely surprising, as the park’s old car ride was removed to make way for Dinosaurs Alive years ago.
I just hope they don’t try to take up all the Dinosaurs Alive site for a car ride… that site is easily big enough for a great medium to large sized coaster, or could be used to construct another entire themed land full of smaller flat rides, much like the County Fair area. Just something to think about I guess...
(10/23/19) The future of Carowinds is an interesting topic, because after having several years of knowing exactly what was going on, we’ve entered a dark period where we really don’t know much about what the future might hold. Old ideas like a Floorless conversion of Vortex or giving Hurler the RMC treatment have been swept to the wayside in the aftermath of the arrival of Copperhead Strike. While 2020 will be focused on a waterpark expansion, the park now has two large and spacious sites awaiting future development… sites big enough to accommodate some sizeable new attractions in the former Dinosaurs Alive and Rip Roarin’ Rapids plots.
The only rumor we’ve heard about Dinosaurs Alive was a story claiming that a new Anitique Auto ride like the one added to Kings Island in 2019 might be installed there, but the latest rumor has more to do with the Rapids location. Or at least… a location right next to it. According to this new rumor the park’s Carowinds Theater venue might be removed in order to add even more property to the Rapids side next door for an unknown future ride project.
But what of the theater? This is the park’s only large-scale site for indoor theater shows, but according to our source the old Action Theater building could be gutted and transformed into a new and bigger show venue. Currently one side of the Action Theater is being used for the park’s Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare: 3Z Arena attraction which just opened in 2016. The rumors here are fairly detailed however, as our source also says plan is to install a new facade over the front of the new theater so that it looks very similar to Carowinds old southern mansion looking park entrance structure.
I’ve got no timeline on any of this, but it’s all worth keeping you eyes and ears open for any future clues.
(8/27/19) While I don’t have a timeline for this, I’m hearing that Carowinds may be taking a page out of the Kings Island playbook, and be planning to bring a kid-friendly Antique Auto car ride back to the park, most likely taking up some of the space that had been used for Dinosaurs Alive. Sorry… no rumors yet on any new flume ride, or some kind of revised rapids ride experience, just this.
On a side note, I’ve also heard that any plans to convert Vortex into a B&M Floorless coaster experience are dead (thank you!) as being something that is simply too costly a project with very little return, and that money could be better used for build an entirely new ride experience instead. Also, at this point, I’m told there are no plans to give the park’s Hurler wooden coaster an RMC Hybrid transformation either, so consider both of those long-standing rumors to be dead. Or at least dead for now, after a few years they could change their mind about Hurler depending on how the ride ages.