Cedar Fair Entertainment
Park News - (2/21/18) According to this local news report a second new hotel is on the way to service the Carowinds area. Construction on a new 120-room TownePlace Suites by Marriott is expected to begin this fall next door to the Cracker Barrel restaurant near the park. With Carowinds themselves also building a new similar sized hotel property, I would expect that the room rates in the area could become a bit competitive in the near future, especially with the older properties.
(2/2/18) Interesting news from Carowinds came out over social media this week. Their Vekoma family suspended coaster, Flying Ace: Aerial Chase is getting a brand new paint job with new colors and a new appropriate name for the park… so say hello to Kiddy Hawk. As you can see in the pictures below it now has sand colored supports and a nice light-blue track.
This is actually the third name and color scheme for this coaster. It opened back in the Paramount days (2003-2009) with green supports and yellow track as the Rugrats Runaway Reptar. Once Cedar Fair took over and removed all the Nickelodeon references to the land, it became Flying Ace Aerial Chase (2010 - 2017) with yellow track again, but with orange supports.
2018 - Camp Snoopy - (2/10/18) The local news take a peek inside Carowinds to give us out first look at some of the new Camp Snoopy attractions and renovations, as well as moving of the park's carousel over to the Vortex plaza.
(8/16/17) Carowinds has confirmed the addition of Camp Snoopy to the park in 2018, a transformation and upgrade to the existing Planet Snoopy area that will include six new attractions, reimagined themeing, new dining options and more.
The list of new rides include: The Camp Bus (Zamperla Crazy Bus), Peanuts Trailblazer (Mini Whip), Kite Eating Tree (Bounce Tower), Woodstock Whirlybirds (Tea Cup Ride), Pigpen’s Mud Buggies (Bounce Around) and Beagle Scout Acres (A big outdoor play area with climbing structures and more).
Based on the artwork it looks like some existing attractions may be moved, or even removed to make room. It was already confirmed that the Carousel is moving to the Vortex plaza area on the other side of the park. The park also confirmed on Facebook that the Woodstock Gliders will be moved to a new location as well. The old Woodstock Whirlybirds (helicopter ride) is being removed, and the station area will become home to the new Beagle Scout Acres, which may also see the removal of the ancient Yacht Club ride. The new tea cup version of Woodstock Whirlybirds will be installed just past the Peanuts Pirates rides.
Looks like the Pigpen’s Mud Buggies, Camp Bus, Kite Eating Tree and Peanuts Trailblazer rides will be installed in a group near the current site of the Woodstock Gliders, starting just to the right of the entrance to the Woodstock Express wooden coaster. Looks like the old Space Race ride will be removed as well to make way for these new rides.
2019 - New Coaster / “Project Alpha - Digital” - (5/19/18) Project Alpha appears to be moving forward at Carowinds now, with the arrival of materials for the project now taking place in a fenced off temporary storage area they've set up in the parking lot between the South gate and waterpark entrance. A reader was kind enough to send in pictures of the items already in storage.
(5/10/18) Good news, I'm told that Carowinds has more than one webcam, and they just switched the feed of the one on the website to an alternate. Meanwhile the one tracking the 2019 construction site is still live and can be found by clicking here.
(5/9/18) Unfortunately sometime earlier this week Carowinds had turned their live webcam to face towards the Skycoaster and away from the 2019 construction site. Hopefully they will return it back to the previous view in the near future.
(5/4/18) While Carowinds has yet to make any kind of announcement regarding their 2019 plans, and probably won't until we are well into the Summer season, our readers did notice that the park has now adjusted their official webcam to now point right into the heart of the new construction site. Check it out.
(4/27/18) Who's ready to know what Carowinds has up their sleeves for the 2019 season? As I said before... no... this is not the transformation of Vortex into a Floorless coaster. And no... this is not the conversion of Hurler into another Twisted Timbers style hybrid coaster experience... though I'm sure that particular plan may still be in the works for a future season. Oh... and no... this is not a new wooden coaster either.
According to Screamscape's exclusive sources, Carowinds will be getting a brand new launched steel coaster experience unlike almost anything else in the country. Yes, I did say launched... and I'll say it again, because this will be a DOUBLE LAUNCHED monster of a coaster that is expected to be from the geniuses at Mack Rides.
This is somewhat new territory for Cedar Fair, who hasn't worked with Mack very much on the coaster side of things thus far, but Mack Rides has really been rising up to become a major player in the coaster scene in the last few years following the creation of Blue Fire Megacoaster at Europa Park in 2009. To date, I think the only launched Mack coaster installed in the US was the family friendly Manta at SeaWorld San Diego, but in the past three years they've installed some incredible rides elsewhere around the world like Helix at Liseberg, Star Trek: Operation Enterprise at Movie Park Germany, Capitol Bullet Train coaster at Motiongate Dubai and very soon Icon will open at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
So I'm happy to report that Carowinds will be the next step in this legacy of awesome coasters... but wait... there is more. Would you believe that I believe we have a drawing that should show a fairly close rendition of the 2019 coaster's layout? While I'm not sure exactly where in the park it will go, I took into consideration the removal of the old White Water Falls ride last season, mixed with the current demolition taking place to remove the Sand Dune Lagoon kiddie pool area from the waterpark. Mix this new open land in with the remains of the former Thunder Road station area and you've got a pretty good size piece of land that can perfectly hold this new coaster, placing the station and queue area in the same general area where Thunder Road's old station was. Take a look at Screamscape's exclusive concept art and overlay of the layout over an aerial image of Carowinds and see what you think.
As far as the ride goes, it is difficult to know where most of the inversions are located, other than a pair of vertical loops that lie at the end of each launch track, but there also appears to be a large and tall tophat looking element that I believe would rise up and over the new queue/entrance area next to the Plants vs Zombies building. So far I'm just guessing... as this could also be some kind of inversion, but I get the feeling this may end up being more like a tophat style or overbanked hill element, kind of like the one right after the launch on Blue Fire. Also, as weird as it seems, the track almost appears to perform a little barrel roll inversion as soon as it leaves the station itself, before rounding the corner the first launch... not unlike what Hydra does at Dorney Park before the lift hill. I see a couple of other locations where inversions may also be possible, so my best guess is that this coaster will have somewhere between 4 and 6 inversions.
For all the latest information, please keep checking Screamscape as we will be covering this project as it develops.
(4/15/18) It has come to my attention that a few other sites out there are predicting that Carowinds may be planning on adding a new GCI wooden coaster to the park. To this I say... "nope". Or at least not from what I've been told... which unfortunately I can't spell the beans about just yet... but I can confirm that according to Screamscape sources the previously mentioned Project Alpha-Digital is indeed a new coaster. As in... BRAND NEW... not a plan to remodel an existing one like Hurler or Vortex.
I hope to be able to share more in the near future, so stay tuned, because the future is indeed very exciting for Carowinds.
(3/2/18) It seems Carowinds is already working on other plans for 2019 besides their new hotel. The park has filed project plans in early February with York County for something called “20180359 - 2019 Project Alpha - Digital”, described as a “Grading Plan” that is currently under review. There is little information to go on, other than the basic description that says, “Demolition, grading and erosion control associated with proposed foundations designed by others to support future development.”
While at first you might think that this could simply be for the newly announced hotel project… it isn’t. These plans were filed with York County, South Carolina and not with Mecklenburg County in North Carolina where the new hotel project is located. With that in mind, this has to be a 2019 project for the South Carolina side of the park, which if I had to guess may have something to do with either: Carolina Harbor, the current Dinosaur’s Alive site, or the former White Water Falls (shoot the chutes) flume site.
The park will open for the 2018 season later this month, so just something to think about while strolling around looking for hints of what’s to come. For those wondering, both Vortex and Hurler, both the subject of rumored future plans, are both located on the North Carolina side.
Summer 2019 - Resort Hotel - (2/14/17) Carowinds has announced that they will break ground on a new on-site hotel at the edge of their property. It will be a 5-story 130-room "SpringHill Suites Charlotte at Carowinds" that will offer a pool, fitness counter, an outdoor seating area with a fire pit and even a small bar... all within easy walking distance of the park. The new hotel is expected to open in Summer 2019 and will "operate as a Marriott franchise - owned and managed by Carowinds"
While the exact site is not mentioned, I'm assuming this will be located in that far North-Eastern corner of the property, to the right of the toll plaza as you enter, set up in the corner next to the freeway.
(8/7/17) According to a new filing submitted to the city of Charlotte by Carowinds, the park is asking to have a 24.16 acre site that sits next to the I-77 freeway rezoned from an Industrial "I-2" zoning to an "I-1" zoning. From what I've been able to dig up, the main difference that the park would gain from the switch to an I-1 zoning is that it would allow for the site to be used for Hotels, Retail/Restaurants as well as Theaters which are not permitted under an I-2 zoning.
Now this is an interesting development, as we posted just a few days ago about how we should be expecting Cedar Fair to announce new on-site hotels to be built at the Carowinds and Canada's Wonderland parks. Looks like Carowinds is taking the necessary steps needed to make this happen.
I've posted the site map from the document here for reference and overlaid the site in question over an aerial image of the park's property.
(7/15/17) An interesting development just came up that would affect Canada's Wonderland and Carowinds and the two biggest up and coming parks in the Cedar Fair chain. According to a new article posted to BNN, an analyst at Wells Fargo sent a report to his clients on what they should expect to hear from Cedar Fair very soon. "Management expects to announce details on branded flagged hotel properties in Toronto and Charlotte by year-end 2017".
???? - Vortex Floorless Conversion - Rumor - (9/1/16) I’m really REALLY hoping this isn’t the case, as Carowinds deserves something better than this in my opinion, but the rumor on the wind right now is that Vortex could be converted into a Floorless coaster for the 2018 season. Don’t get me wrong… I love B&M Floorless coasters, but they are designed to be much bigger, faster, have many more inversions, and far more interesting inversions (a Zero-G-Roll especially) than what a converted Vortex can offer.
I’d much rather see Vortex removed and replaced by an all new creation.
With that said however, I’m hearing that the change may be inevitable unless the West coast conversion of their Vortex coaster into Patriot bombs in a big way.
2019/2020 - Hurler Hybrid Conversion - Rumor - (7/13/17) Carowinds fans should keep an eye on what is going on at Kings Dominion with the Hurler’s sister coaster. The ride is in the middle of an extensive transformation being handled by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) who are transforming it into a new creation that will use their iBox track system, coming a hybrid wood/steel coaster creation.
According to our sources the long term plan is to do the same thing to Carowinds Hurler coaster and reopen it in time for the 2019 season. The work process is a bit longer than the time it takes to build a new coaster on an empty plot, as they have to carefully remove only the parts of Hurler that they don’t want to keep and then built the new creation on top of some of the existing structure, while rebuilding other sections entirely from the ground up. With that in mind, I’d expect that 2017 could be the last season we see Hurler operate if they plan to reopen it in 2019, so be sure to get your last rides in while you still can on Hurler.
(10/17/16) Carowinds fans may want to consider that The Hurler may soon find itself on the chopping block, as the Hurler clone built at Kings Dominion sat closed for all of 2016, and was just announced by Kings Dominion as being closed for good with a 'Rest In Peace" video posted to their instagram. (Make the jump to our Kings Dominion page to see the details), but the bottom line is that the message ends with a tease about how it could return in 2018. One of the popular industry trends right now being a company named Rocky Mountain Construction coming in and turning old wooden coasters into "hybrid" style ride creations that keep the wooden structure, but use a new steel beam track system, and often adding new twists, turns and even inversions.
It is suspected that this is what may be in the works for Hurler at Kings Dominion, and if this proves successful, there is always a chance Cedar Fair could opt to double-down and do the same thing to Carowinds' own Hurler in 2019 or 2020. There is one caveat I have about this whole thing taking place at Carowinds. If Carowinds were to transform Hurler into a hybrid coaster, then the park would no longer have a full sized wooden coaster experience in the park, only the kiddie sized Woodstock Express. Kings Dominion can get away with transforming Hurler because they will still have Rebel Yell and Grizzly, as well as their own Woodstock Express. The destruction of Carowind’s Thunder Road racing coaster is still very fresh in the minds of the local market, who may not take kindly to Hurler being changed... as rough as painful as Hurler is to ride these days.