Cedar Fair Entertainment
Park News - (2/27/19) Carowinds apparently confirmed to an ACE winter gathering at the park on Saturday that the park’s Rip Roaring Rapids ride is indeed closed for good.
(2/21/19) Did Carowinds just silently retire the park’s river rapid ride? I had heard a quiet rumor back during WinterFest that Rip Roaring Rapids wasn’t supposed to reopen again, but as this was the very last water ride in the park, I was highly skeptical at the time, as the park had removed the original log flume to make way for Intimidator, then removed White Water Falls to make room for Copperhead Strike. So would they really remove Rip Roaring Rapids?
If you visit the former page on their website for the ride, all information about the ride is now currently gone and the brand new for 2019 park map on the website also has removed Rip Roaring Rapids as well, leaving a nice big empty green spot between Celebration Plaza and Fury 325. At this point, I’m thinking it is safe to assume the rapids are gone for good as they wouldn’t have revised the map without good reason.
I’m kind of curious what the future will hold however, as it is highly unusual to have any kind of theme park these days with not a single water attraction for the guests to enjoy during the hotter months… and boy can it get hot in Charlotte in the summer. Rip Roaring Rapids did also take up a good large plot of land that was not flat either, allowing for some vertical changes to the landscape that could be useful if they wanted to install some kind of new modern flume ride on the site in the future. Other perhaps they could use the size of the land to build an entirely new themed land with lots of smaller rides, or large new coaster? Lots of possibilities here, so stay tuned while I wait to hear back from the park to get an official confirmation about the fate of the ride.
(10/31/18) While Carowinds posted a message to Instagram on Tuesday confirming that Afterburn would be open for WinterFest this year. According to the official WinterFest page, other attractions confirmed to be open include Boo Blasters, the Carolina Skytower, Kiddy Hawk, Ricochet, Scream Weaver, Slingshot, Ripcord along with most of the Camp Snoopy and Country Fair rides. Sorry folks, Flying Cobras, Carolina Goldrusher, Fury 325 or Intimidator.
I still say it’s a shame they haven’t tried to theme the environment around the Goldrusher to have a Christmas theme with music… and it does seem a little odd to be to have Scream Weaver open all by itself next to Fury 325, Hurler and Drop Tower which are all going to be closed.
(9/24/18) While that pesky hurricane shut down any Halloween haunt related plans I had for last weekend, we strapped on our gear and headed down to the opening night of SCarowinds at Carowinds on Friday night to take it all in. Check out the awesome video I put together over the weekend that shows off exactly what you can expect from SCarowinds 2018.
(9/9/18) Congrats to Carowinds for Fury 325 taking the #1 spot in the Amusement Today's 2018 Golden Ticket Awards for Best Steel Coaster.
(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.
2019 - Copperhead Strike & Mountain Glider - (3/1/19) A quick follow-up to my post about adding seat-belts to Copperhead Strike. Mack also used a similar seat-belt system on their DC Rivals hypercoaster at Warner Bros MovieWorld Australia and you can get a great look at it in action on Jason Momoa’s instagram account, as he posted a video of himself riding alongside actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen while the duo took a coaster-riding lunch-break at the park while filming Aquaman last year. Check it out below!
(2/23/19) I had a thought about Carowinds new Copperhead Strike… as you know it just wouldn’t be a Cedar Fair coaster without the addition of unnecessary extra seat-belt restraints to slow down the loading process. What do you mean? Carowinds locals know well how many of the park’s coasters suddenly sprouted extra seat-belts almost overnight as soon as Cedar Fair bought the former Paramount owned theme park. Even Fury 325 and Intimidator, which each briefly opened without seat-belts, had them added shortly after they opened.
Having ridden the original Mack Rides launched coaster system called Blue Fire at Europa Park in 2017, I can verify that these trains do not come with seat-belts, and with the right staff are extremely quick to unload and load new guests in because of this. A fantastic picture of a typical train (in this case, the Star Trek themed one in Germany) can be seen here showing off the pull-down restraint system that puts a large firm lap-bar across the rider, while leaving their upper body free from should restraints that cause head-banging and block the view.
Meanwhile Carowinds has been putting out various short-form videos showing off the look of the trains, as well as the first dispatch from the station and while it appears they were trying to avoid a clear look at the restraints, when you freeze-frame it you can clearly make out the addition of seat-belts on the train. Another warning here… as a larger rider, the original restraints are a bit of a tight-squeeze for anyone with a stomach or large-lap… and to aid this at Europa-Park I know they had the restraints on the last row or two of the trains on Blue Fire modified to be more accommodating of larger riders. While I had been intending to ask Carowinds about this issue the next chance I got, the addition of crotch-belts to the lap-bar system could also cause some larger riders not to fit here… though it could also allow for Carowinds (or Cedar Fair’s insurance company) to feel safer about having a more relaxed fit to accommodate larger riders. I hope to find out more in before the ride opens in late March.
Speaking of opening day, the park is hosting a Passholder Preview night event on Friday, March 22 from 6pm to 10pm, ahead of the grand opening on the morning of Saturday, March 23rd. Meanwhile they are also holding a charity auction to benefit Make-A-Wish to be some of the first riders on each train. Looks like all the seats on the first train are gone, but there are still seats available to bid on for the second and third trains here.
(2/22/19) The latest Copperhead Strike update from Carowinds shows that they dispatched the first train through the course. All they show is the train taking that first jo-jo roll, turn and enter the barn and nothing more, but it is exciting to see things finally in motion.
(2/8/19) Carowinds posted a short little video s howing off the first train for Copperhead Strike, which looks pretty darn sweet. Looks like the train has also been loaded into the maintenance bay tracks. Check it out below.
(2/4/19) Carowinds has posted a new construction update on their blog showing off how things are going over at Copperhead Strike, the arrival of the themed 16-passenger train, the addition of themeing within the attraction and much more.
(1/12/19) Carowinds tweeted out an impressive picture showing off the themeing of the barn structure the Copperhead Strike trains will pass through and launch out of at the start of the ride experience. A couple days prior they also posted a great picture of one of the ride’s more twisted track sections.
(12/12/18) Congratulations to Carowinds, as the final track piece for Copperhead Strike was installed last friday afternoon. Check out the video below.
(12/3/18) One of our readers stopped by Carowinds on Saturday and grabbed some new pictures from the Copperhead Strike construction site to share with us.
Looking good so far!
(11/30/18) Some fantastic new pictures of Copperhead Strike at Carowinds were posted to Twitter.
It is amazing to see how quickly this coaster is coming together.
(10/18/18) One of our readers took an on-site construction tour at Carowinds on Wednesday where they revealed the name of the returning Woodstock Gliders would now be Mountain Gliders when they are installed into their new home next to Copperhead Strike. They also sent in a couple of great close-up pics of Copperhead Strike as well. They also revealed that Windseeker is now closed for the rest of the season as they are wiring it up to be a giant Christmas Tree for WinterFest again, just like last year.
(8/30/18) The secret is out finally as Carowinds unveiled Copperhead Strike, their latest thrilling coaster that looks like a blast… literally. The layout pretty much follows from the documents leaked earlier this year, but seeing it in action in GCI animation form gives it all so much more depth, showing off a very well themed area (Granny Byrd’s farm) all around the coaster area as well as giving life to those pops of airtime and the rush of speed as it blasts around the landscape very close to the ground.
As predicted, the trains (16 riders) leave the station and go right into a barrel roll inversion before turning to enter Granny’s barn where she keeps her big secret. Ahem… she’s been making some powerful ‘shine in there and they aren’t fond of trespassers neither… so before you get shot, it’s time to leave with a quickness! The train blasts out of the barn at 42mph in just 2.5 seconds and runs through a twisted compact layout all around the farm property, including a second launch (which will actually launch you through a little whoop-de-doo style hill instead of just a straight piece of track) and through a bunch of airtime hills, extreme twists and turns, and a total of 5 inversions by the time you’re done at the end of the 3,255 feet of track.
Copperhead Strike will be located within the new Blue Ridge Junction area of the park, a new 7-acre themed land that will also feature some home-grown flavors at the Blue Ridge Country Kitchen. (I wonder if we can sample some of Granny’s secret recipe?)
Check out the collection of animations below… a more cinematic trailer, a POV run and an aerial fly-by run… and I think you’ll start making plans to get yourself to Carowinds in 2019. Speaking of which, they’re running a promotion right now if you buy your 2019 season pass you get the rest of 2018 free, including SCarowinds and Winterfest for both 2018 and 2019. Kind of hard to pass up that offer if you don’t have a pass already.
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.
???? - 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.