Cedar Fair Entertainment
Park News - (5/6/22) Just a reminder that this weekend is the final weekend of the Carowinds State Line Celebration event. While lots of new characters and entertainment options have been added to the park, the highlight of the event is the special food booths they have added, offering awesome cuisine choices from across the two states. If you missed it, Screamscape did stop by on opening night to test out some of the awesome food and beverage options ourselves.
Some of our favorites were the Blueberry Sonker, the BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders and the BBQ Ribs! Of course we had to try out some of the adult coaster-themed adult beverages as well.
(4/4/22) Carowinds will kick off their new State Line Celebration event on Saturday, April 9th. The limited-time event that will take place on select dates through May 8, 2022 will be a celebration of the Carolinas and the nation’s only theme park to straddle two states. State Line Celebration will feature some of the Carolina’s best foods, along with live music and other fun activities. In addition to four live shows, and the special limited-time food offerings to try, the event will also bring in “more local beer and wine than you can shake a stick at, the special event shows why there is no place finer than the Carolinas.”
There will be a total of six Carolina tasting tents set up in the park, 3 on the South Carolina side and 3 on the North side and to make things easy guests can buy a State Line Celebration Tasting Card, pre-loaded with the option to try 6 or 9 different tastes.
If all goes as planned, I’ll be dropping in for a few bites myself on opening night, so keep an eye on our social media feeds to see what we like the best.
(3/29/22) According to replies on social media, those weird steampunk’ish displays that appeared around Carowinds are not there as a teaser for any new attraction. Instead they are just decor for the park’s “STEAMquest education days” that take place in the park this time of year as part of an educational field-trip program with the local schools.
(3/25/22) A reader who dropped into Carowinds the other day sent back pictures of some strange almost “steampunk” style displays set up around the park with odd graphics, messages and a lot of clocks. He tells us that there was one clock that had the words, “The New Era” with the time set to 4:13, which could possibly be a hint about an upcoming announcement on April 13th. There was another clock however elsewhere set to 4:20 instead.
Check out the pictures below that our reader sent in for everyone to enjoy and if you spot something interesting of note, let us know.
(3/13/22) Screamscape was invited down to the 2022 season preview night for Carowinds on Friday evening. The fantastic weather during the day turned cold and we had a mild drizzle all night, but that didn’t stop the fun as we ventured off into the park to check out the latest updates!
Most of the major rides were up and running during the night except for Nighthawk, which had just been repainted and was looking very nice. While we live posted to Instagram and Twitter over the night, I just re-posted the collection of most images into one post on our FB page making the collection easy to share with everyone below.
While it was cold and a bit damp our group had excellent rides on Afterburn, Copperhead Strike, Intimidator and Fury 325. Hurler is, as expected, is unfortunately still as rough and unforgiving as ever. Given how Hurler’s twin at Kings Dominion was converted into a hybrid coaster by RMC a few years ago and as Twisted Timbers had gained a popular following once again, perhaps the time has come to do the same for Hurler at Carowinds. But that’s just my hopeful thinking, and not a rumor or anything.
Speaking of rumors however, we did hear at the park that while two other Cedar Fair parks pumped the brakes on their Halloween events to focus on a purely kid-friendly event going forward, the company has no plans to stop hosting SCarowinds. The local Halloween event is very important to the park. While it was too early to say what new items we could expect from the Haunt this fall, I was told that they are trying to work out the details to bring a themed 21+ bar/lounge experience to SCarowinds. The nature of Carowinds’ location on the NC/SC stateline makes the rules a little more complicated, as things have to adjust depending on exactly where they want to place this new creation.
All said and done it was nice to see Carowinds up and running again, as my last visit was actually during Winterfest 2019. Everything was looking great and we wish them well as they kick off the 2022 season, and finally with no COVID restrictions and no reservations needed!
(2/12/22) We’ve got a few small bits of Carowinds news this week. For starters, Carowinds has announced that the opening day of the 2022 season will take place on March 12. This is fantastic news, as we know the park failed to open at all in 2020 (except for a small WinterFest event in December) and then didn’t open until the end of May in 2021 instead of the park’s normal late March opening timeline. So a mid-March opening is great news, and should help the park in terms of hiring the staff they need, as last year’s late opening did them no favors there.
Carowinds has also announced the All-New State Line Celebration event that will be taking place from April 9th to May 8th this year, featuring the best of local cuisine, local brews and local musicians from both Carolinas.
Also on deck to take place throughout 2022 will be the return of the Grand Carnivale from June 25 to July 10, the return of SCarowinds (select nights) from Sept. 16 through Oct 30 and the Tricks and Treats Fall Festival on Saturday and Sundays from Sept. 17 through Oct 30. Lastly, WinterFest is also slated to return at the end of 2022, though the exact dates are still to be determined.
So what else is new at Carowinds? Based on Twitter photos, it appears that Nighthawk will be getting repainted. What is interesting is that the photos show sections of Nighthawks track and supports that have been sandblasted down to the original paint, and this isn’t the Black & Green colors that long-time Carowinds fans will remember from the Borg Assiminator days. Instead we are seeing the original white track and red spine that the coaster featured when it first opened at California’s Great America back in the Paramount days when it was known as “Stealth”. This is actually the second coaster repaint project we know about so far, with a Carolina Cyclone repaint taking place during WinterFest.
(12/4/21) New pictures posted to social media now give us a great look at the new color scheme being put on the Carolina Cyclone at Carowinds. They’re not done yet, but lt does look quite nice so far.
Oh, and Dorsal Fun Drop and Surfer Swell is officially no more, with all the pieces now scattered and tossed into the parking lot outside the entrance of the waterpark.
(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.
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.
2023 - Crossroads Renovation into New Aviation Themed Area - (4/3/22) ParkFans has uncovered some detailed plans about exactly what Carowinds has planned for the 2023 season for the Crossroads section of the park. For starters, they have confirmed that the plans show that four new rides are coming to the park next year. It also appears that two existing attractions may also be leaving: the Yo-Yo and quite possibly the Plants vs. Zombies attraction in the Action Theater. According to their report, the map showing off current areas to be demolished ahead of new construction includes the queue for the Yo-Yo ride, but also the large queue for Plants vs. Zombies, through the Action Theater building used for the attraction will remain for some kind of future use. Along the same lines pretty much all of the pathways throughout the existing Crossroads area that weave through the games and around the Bumper Cars building, over to the restrooms and up towards Boo Blasters will also be demolished ahead of the 2023 project.
What is coming instead looks to be kind of neat, as the Crossroads will be transformed into what appears to be a new themed area with an aviation theme. The entry plaza road that comes down from Boo Blasters as well as the pathway from Copperhead Strike will now be themed to appear more like an airport runway, which will tie in quite nicely with the nearby Afterburn coaster. From the plans they posted, it doesn’t look like anything new will happen to Afterburn or the upper pathway where Afterburn’s entry and exit at located, so instead the Crossroads area will now likely have an aviation theme to tie this whole section of the park together for once.
The Southern Star (Looping Starship) will remain exactly where it is, though I do wonder if Carowinds might consider changing the theme of the ride from a giant boat into a fighter jet or space shuttle, as I’ve seen some other versions of this same ride themed elsewhere. Next to Southern Star on the restroom side is a new area labeled as “Play Yard”, and you’ll find some renovated food options here as well, which they’ve listed as “New Fry Shop”, “New “Food Drop”, and the former Plants vs Zombies entry plaza is now listed as a “New Bar”. If we take the potential “aviation” theme here, it wouldn’t be difficult to make the former Action Theater look more like an aircraft hanger to give the whole bar a fun aviation theme. After all Carowinds is a park built to celebrate the theme and history of the Carolinas and the one thing the Carolinas are most famous for (beside the BBQ) is being the birthplace of flight, as the Wright Bros. historic first flight took place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina back in 1903. If you’ve visited Carowinds before you’ll also know you will see a ton of planes in the sky flying over the park as it sits very close to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) ranked as the 10th busiest airport in the nation based on total number of passengers. In the center of the new area will be some kind of new structure listed as “Founders Plaza”. The existing Chick Fil A will not only be staying at the entrance to this area, but also appears to be adding an outdoor dining area that will overlook this new area.
Oh, you still want to know about the four new rides.
I can only assume these too will be given some kind of aviation theme, but this looks to be mostly a ride package from Zamperla that will bring a new Air Race, a Disk’O and a NebulaZ, as well as a forth ride listed as a Trabant. Traditionally the Trabant was a spinning flat ride from Chance Rides, which later updated the concept into a Wipeout model that was a bit faster and seated riders facing both directions. Chance doesn’t make either version any more however, having moved on to the new “Freestyle” concept. There are a number of used rides available in the market that could have been lovingly refurbished and brought to Carowinds, much like we saw Carowinds do previously with the four Country Fair area rides added in 2017. In fact, we’ve already already heard a rumor that the pieces of this very ride may already be on site, located somewhere under Fury 325. Look for the Trabant to arrive next to the old exit pathway for Plants vs Zombies.
The other rides on the way are an excellent collection of some of Zamperla’s most popular modern rides.
Air Race, which already comes with an airplane theme, with cars that spin and flip riders upside down wildly. Look for the Air Race to be installed to the left side of the current Plants vs Zombies building, where the PvZ attraction queue path currently exists. (see video below)
The Zamperla “Disk’O” is probably one of my all-time favorite flat rides. Able to load a large number of riders all at once fairly quickly, it takes only requires a small footprint and provides some wild thrills as the disk you are seated around rocks back and forth along a cradle like track while spinning. Look for the new Disk’O to take the place of the current Yo-Yo attraction.
Then there is Zamperla’s newest creations, the NebulaZ, which I haven’t ridden yet but I am really looking forward to trying. In addition to offering some credible looking motion profiles the NebulaZ is almost hypnotic to watch in action as the various arms flip across each other’s flight path for near-miss action fun. Sort of like a classic Scrambler, but for the modern generation. You will find the new NebulaZ placed where some of the Carnival games are currently located on the exit side of the Southern Star. (see video below)
Other signs of new airplane and aviation theming can be seen in the plans, including what looks like a small plane sitting between the restroom and new outdoor Chick Fil A dining deck. Some kind of “Tower” (traffic control tower?) will be added to the entrance of the Bumper Cars, some new “Hanger” themed carnival game stands, another “Plane” shown in front of the Bar and some kind of themed “Plane Bench and Charging” stations along one side of the Founders Plaza. I can only imagine that they may try to make it all tie into the existing theming at the exit of Afterburn featuring a F-14 jet on display and the old “Fightertown USA” logo across the coaster’s station left over from the old Top Gun days.
(3/20/22) While we took a brief look at Carowinds during the 2022 Season Preview, you may be wondering what the park has in store for 2023. While we don’t know exactly what is coming, we can tell you WHERE in the park we will see some changes next season. An early work permit filed back in mid January 2022 for the park was discovered and sent our way for Project “20220157 - Carowinds Crossroad 2023”, described simply as “2023 Park Renovations & Upgrades”.
For those wondering, the Crossroads section of the park is primarily the plaza area that used to serve as the entrance to Thunder Road before it was removed. These days the area is home to a bunch of midway games, the bumper cars, the YoYo and Southern Star rides and the park’s former Action Theater, which was last renovated in 2016 to serve as home to the “Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 3Z Arena”. I’m not sure how often the later attraction is open anymore, but overlooking the entire land is Afterburn, the park’s popular B&M Inverted Coaster.
A renovation to this section of the park would be a great addition as the area hasn’t quite been the same since Thunder Road was removed. It is worth noting that another pathway into this section of the park was added with the opening of Copperhead Strike in 2019, so a planned renovation for this area could have been in the cards for quite some time, and simply been on hold since the pandemic started.
There is no way to know the size of the project yet and if it will include just the old Thunder Road plaza area, or if it could be much larger in scale. Keep in mind that I believe Afterburn is part of Crossroads, and right next to Afterburn is the big empty plot where the former Dinosaurs Alive walk-through used to be. Depending on the scope of the proiect, one long rumored addition (see below) could be a return of some kind of Antique Auto / Car ride for families to enjoy.
???? - 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.