Cedar Fair Entertainment
Park News - (12/1/21) Looks like those long-term rumors were true, as a post on Twitter shows off the start of demolition for the Surfer’s Swell and Dorsal Fin Drop waterslides at Carowind’s Carolina Harbor waterpark. Removing two major waterslides isn’t going to anything good to keep the lines short for the waterpark’s other attractions, so here’s hoping that the park has something secret and new on-deck waiting to replace these slides ASAP.
Especially since these were two of the newer slides in the waterpark, just added in 2014 I believe.
(11/26/21) According to a post on Twitter, it looks like the Carolina Cyclone at Carowinds (Arrow 1980) is now in the process of being repainted. The cyclone has featured a few different color schemes over the years, but for the past decade decade it has had a mixture of yellow and orange track sections (usually regular track was orange, an inversions were yellow) with a light bluish/purple supports.
Only a few small sections of the ride are shown with new paint in the photos, so this may still be a test-color situation, but in these areas the track spine and ribs have been painted a couple of different light blue colors while leaving the rail color alone. I’m curious to see what the final colors will look like.
(11/6/21) Winterfest is returning to Carowinds, and the park will be hosting a special “Lights & Rides Preview” event for park passholders this weekend (Nov. 6 & 7) ahead of the official public opening of WinterFest which will run from Nov. 13 through to Jan. 9th, 2022 on select nights.
The park’s website notes that the Nov. 13 & 14th dates will have “limited operations” ahead of full operations starting on Nov. 19th. That said… this is where things get a little confusing, because the park is also adding a Wonderland Parade to WinterFest this year, and the parade itself doesn't start until Nov. 22nd. You can see a sneak preview video of the parade floats in the video clip below.
(10/13/21) A reader sent me an interesting video clip earlier today, showing off what appears to be the loading station at Carowind’s Boo Blasters dark ride. The interesting part however was that the ride vehicles no longer come to a stop in the station. Instead it looks like the park has upgraded the unload/loading portion of the ride so that the ride vehicles just move at a continuous crawl, allowing for easy unloading and loading to take place without ever having to stop the ride. This kind of thing should help improve the throughput for Boo Blasters, which usually maintains a long line at the park all year long.
(9/17/21) In an interesting update, Carowinds has posted information about a “NEW BAG POLICY” that will be in effect for the SCarowinds halloween haunt event nights. According to the post, “guests may not bring bags of any kind into the park” as part of new safety policies.
AGAIN… this is only for SCAROWINDS special events, and not the regular daytime operations.
This is important, because immediately people began complaining about not being able to bring diaper bags, bags for their sunscreen and other items… but this only for SCAROWINDS when the sun is down and the event is not intended for anyone young enough who might need a stroller.
However, for those who have a medical needs and require the ability to bring in certain personal items, the park did state that guests may bring “a bag n larger than 4.5” x 6.5” with only the “medically necessary items”, and this bag would be subject to search before park entry.
Personally, it sounds good to me, but I’ve always been a minimalist when it comes to what I carry on my person when visiting theme parks for fun. When covering for media events, that’s another thing entirely, as I’ll need my camera gear and so on for the night, but when I just want to relax and have fun, if it doesn’t fit in my pockets, it doesn’t go.
Speaking of cameras however… the policy changes at SCarowinds doesn’t end with bags. In a kind of odd twist, the official page of visitor information that contains the new bag policy has says that “No Cameras of phography is permitted inside out haunted mazes or scare zones. Violation of this rule is means of dismissal from the park.” Now the no cameras in the mazes part isn’t new, that’s always been a constant, but I don’t recall scare zones ever being included before. Scare zones are simply public walk-ways in the park that the monsters inhabit, so this last part is a bit off-putting. Especially as I’ve shot come great footage of SCarowinds in the past while wandering through the scare zones. (Check out my video from SCarowinds 2018 below for a great example). It will be very sad if this kind of camera ban stays in place.
(9/11/21) Carowinds has opened their new Monster Jam: Thunder Alley themed event that will take place at the park through Oct. 10, 2021. Different drivers will be on hand for appearances on different weekends, so check the park’s event schedule for details.
(9/1/21) A few readers have pointed out that sections of new wood have been spotted in the former queue for Rip Roaring Rapids at Carowinds. Mostly these sections of new wood fencing are blocking off access to the staircases down to the unloading platform and to the observation deck where the coin-op geysers were located. You can see some of this in the tweet posted below.
So what’s going on? Don’t get your hopes up… the old Rapids ride is not returning. The most likely answer is that sections of the queue will be used for a new haunted maze for this year’s SCarowinds event.
While we’re on the subject, I haven’t yet dug into what we can expect from SCarowinds this year. According to the website the park’s Haunt event will take place on select nights from Sept. 17 through Oct. 31, 2021 and feature five haunted mazes. Silver Scream Studios - Condemned, Slaughterhouse: The Final Cut and Depths of Darkness will all return yet again, but there will finally be two new haunts this year.
The Reaping - described as a corn maze full of murderous scarecrows, this seems to be a rebirth of the park’s former Cornstalkers maze concept, but moved to take place in “Celebration Plaza” this time. (This is probably what is coming to the former rapids ride queue)
The other new haunt is Tooth Fairy, listed as being on the Nighthawk Pathway, so this should be in the former Asylum / 7th Ward building. The description says we will learn the truth about the Tooth Fairy, and what she does to those who don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy. You’ll be whisked away to a nightmare world of dental horrors, blood-stained walls and the sound of endless drilling and screaming.
(8/18/21) According to a new post from Carowinds, starting today Carowinds will require all guests age 5 and up to wear a face mask while indoors anywhere in the park, unless they are actively eating or drinking. This new mask mandate doesn’t come from the park, but is actually part of a new mask mandate from the City of Charlotte.
(8/16/21) Grand Carnivale may be over, but Carowinds says they will continue with more special events throughout the rest of the year. On Weekends from Sept. 11 through Oct 10 the park will host Monster Jam: Thunder Alley, followed by the return of SCarowinds on select nights from Sept. 17 through to October 31, 2021. Shortly after Carowind’s WinterFest will return once again on select nights from Nov. 13 through Jan 2, 2022.
(7/6/21) In a bit of a strange report, Theme Park Predictions posted to Twitter that they’re hearing that the Surfer’s Swell and Dorsal Fin Drop waterslides added to the Carolina Harbor waterpark in 2014 are closed and may never reopen. As for the reason behind the rumored removal of these fairly new and popular slides, they said that there may have been too many possible complaints and possible guest injury reports. Under similar circumstances, sister park Kings Dominion removed a Tornado style waterslide from their waterpark at the start of their 2018 season.
Backing up this rumor is the fact that both slides have been removed from the list of attractions at the waterpark on the official website and on the mobile app. It’s also worth mentioning that any mention of the Barracuda Blasters slides, which are located right next door, have also been removed from the mobile app while still being listed on the website right now. It makes me wonder if Barracuda Blasters could also be up for future removal, or if it is just an error on the part of the app programmers who were forced to leave the map showing all the slides, but just removed the clickable icons from both sets, possibly out of confusion as to which one they were to remove.
Again, this removal is just a rumor at this point, but if someone knows something more official, please let us know.
2022 - (8/13/21) So far the only item confirmed as coming to Carowinds in 2022 will be the Grand Carnivale celebration during the regular season and a confirmation that WinterFest will also return. Nothing has been said about any major improvement projects for the park, or new attractions.
???? - 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.