Cedar Fair Entertainment
Park News - (2/9/15) Carowinds has confirmed that the park will be adding five new flat rides in the near future... click here to read more.
(11/11/15) Carowinds park President, Mike Fehnel is transfering back to his old home of Dorney Park once again. Brad Marcy will take over the top spot at Carowinds, who comes with experience from working at Cedar Point and Dorney Park previously.
2016 - Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare: 3Z Arena / Carolina Harbor Waterpark - Confirmed -
(1/9/16) Carowinds reported on Twitter that their new Carolina Harbor waterpark is set to open a week earlier than normal this year. Look for it to open to the public on May 21st.
(12/17/15) Carowinds sent out some great photos showing off the state of construction in the Carolina Harbor waterpark expansion site, as well as the site for the new huge Starbucks location being added to the park.
(12/9/15) Carowinds posted a Periscope construction site video from the top of a nearby Surfer's Swell slide tower. Follow the link to watch the video, as vertical construction has just begin on the Blackbeard's Revenge six-story tower.
(12/4/15) Our friends at In The Loop interviewed the Alterface team at IAAPA and in addition to chatting about the Justice League ride for Six Flags, it seems Alterface are the ones behind the new Plants vs Zombies attraction coming to Carowinds in 2016. This was news to me, as many people had simply assumed Triotech may have been doing it after doing the last two interactive attractions for Cedar Fair. (So is Alterface behind the Mass Effect attraction at California's Great America as well?)
So watch the video below and jump ahead to about the 2:30 mark when they begin to talk about Plants Vs Zombies, and even show off a great look at the scale model of how the theater and pres-how queue will be laid out.
There is also some great footage afterwards that has nothing to do with PvZ, but shows off a new attraction concept that uses projection mapping to bring a scene to life that you can interact with by holding a magic wand.
Carowinds has announced the details of a new 3D interactive attraction that will be placed inside the old Action Theater building. It will be called Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare: 3Z Arena, and themed to the popular over-the-top action video game series. From the look of things, this may be a 3D attraction like no other.
For starters, it appears as if the audience will be divided into two teams (it is Plants vs Zombies after all), each with their own set of 34 colored motion-based seats (68 total) equipped with a hand-held laser. The teams will each be seated in front of their own 26’ x 14’6” giant screens, each featuring independent 5.1 surround sound. The teams of players will then get to witness the battle for Surburbia as their aid their team’s side in battle against the opposing team in a series of “outrageous and imaginative encounters with their competition” during the 5 minute backyard battle and track their scores. You can even purchase a photo of yourself taking part in the action in the retail store at the exit. Carowinds predicts an hourly capacity of 600-700 guests for this exclusive to Carowinds attraction, created in partnership with EA and PopCap Games. Look for it to open in Spring 2016.
(10/7/15) The latest entry to Carowinds' Carolina Harbor blog goes over all the new colors and names that will be applied to the waterpark's existing slides for the transformation into Carolina Harbor.
In other news, the park has taken to the social media channels this week to re-release that Plants vs Zombies attraction teaser video clip I posted in my own video below. Chances are the official announcement about whatever the Plants vs Zombies attraction is will be make within the next two weeks. Following the announcement of a Mass Effect attraction based on the famous EA video game coming to California’s Great Adventure inside their old Action Theater net year, it probably isn’t a coincidence that Plants vs Zombies is also an EA game title which means the Carowinds attraction could also be a new 4D motion simulator ride for the park’s empty Action Theater. This would be a fun way to keep this area of the park thriving, especially after the removal of Thunder Road. Plus, they could really play it up and even have a themed food truck time machine on site to serve Crazy Dave’s Tacos.
(9/23/15) Carowinds has launched a dedicated construction blog for their new Carolina Harbor waterpark.
(8/27/15) Carowinds announced the details for most of their 2016 expansion plans earlier today, with the highlight being the confirmation of the long expected waterpark expansion. Boomerang Bay will be no more in 2016 as it will be renamed as the Carolina Harbor Waterpark. While one of the first changes you may notice will be a new entrance into the waterpark directly from the parking lot, this will not change the admission policy... Carolina Harbor will still be free to everyone with their daily Carowinds ticket or season pass.
The highlight of the expansion for thrill seekers will be
Blackbeard's Revenge, a six-story tall slide tower with six different slide experiences. There will be three Pirate's Plank slides, which will begin in drop pods with a near vertical drop through a trap door. Cannonball Drop will be a unique tube slide where guests slide through an enclosed slide through four intense 360-degree turns. The final two tube slides will end with some intense drops down into the splash pool and will be called Captain's Curse.
The oldest wavepool will be retired and replaced with Seaside Splashworks, a large water fortress with over 80 play elements and a 423 gallon tipping bucket on top.
Nearby part of the existing kiddie area will become Kiddy Hawk Cove and Myrtle Turtle Beach, which will see a fun toddler area full of water jets added and more.
A new wave pool called Surf Club Harbor will be added near the new park entrance with the ability to create up to six foot waves in 12 different wave patterns.
Carolina Harbor will also feature a new restaurant called Harbor House that will feature two large outdoor patios that serve Carolina BBQ and seafood specials. It will also include Schooners, a full service bar for adults who need a little extra relaxation while their kids play. Carolina Harbor will offer upgraded changing facilities and restrooms, new plush cabanas and seating areas as well as Sand Volleyball courts.
For 2016 Carowinds will also offer a new live show in June called Cirque Imagine, they will open a large Starbucks location inside the park near the main entrance and they offered a brief teaser for another new unknown attraction coming in 2016. Unfortunately they wont give away the details until October, but based on the teaser video the new attraction seems to be clearly themed to the Plants vs Zombies video game series. All of the videos shown at the event have been put together back to back below, including the Plants vs Zombies teaser, which I'd love to see turned into a Triotech style dark ride experience where you can be armed with Pea Shooters to combat the undead. But we'll have to wait and see... but there is that empty Action Theater building that is ripe for a makeover, and with Thunder Road gone that area of the park needs SOMETHING to give guests a reason to enter this area of the park still.
(8/13/15) A few readers have pointed out that the basic design of the six new large waterslides being added to Carowinds waterpark matches up perfectly with the waterpark addition that was just made at Kings Dominion. I've added a copy of the Kings Dominion concept artwork, as it shows off the entire slide tower and all six slides rather nicely.
(8/12/15) The more detailed plans for Carowinds waterpark expansion have leaked out through the permits filed with the city and… to carefully use a word here… as a local guest, I have to say that I’m a little bit disappointed.
From what I’ve seen, the expansion does not really justify the removal of Thunder Road, as it really doesn’t even seem to take advantage of old coaster’s footprint. Instead, as I expected, we see a separate outside entrance being added to the waterpark, and just inside… they are adding a new wave pool that looks fairly close in size to the existing Bondi Beach wave pool that was just added in 2008. The ‘OLD’ Great Barrier Reef wave pool on the other side of the park will be replaced by a huge water fortress structure that appears to have at least 4 small waterslides attached to it. This also seems to indicate that the small Jackaroo Landing play-structure with the single slide attached will remain, for the time being.
Minor renovations are planned for the kiddie area (Kangaroo Lagoon / Wallaby Wharf) as well as the central bathhouse building, though a smaller bathhouse building will be added next to the new outside entrance area as well. And there is a proposed new food service building near the new wave pool area.
As for the major attractions… there is a new slide tower planned to go to the right of the new outside entrance area and extend back towards last year’s new pair of slides (Dorsal Fin Drop / Surfer’s Swell). From what I can tell from the plans, there will be a platform on one level that will launch three different raft slides, and on the top level it looks as if they will add 3 drop-pod style slides.
The addition of 6 new major slides and 4 kiddie slides to the mix is the good news… it’s just not exactly the news I was hoping to hear from this project. However, as someone who has visited this waterpark with his family on many occasions over the years… the expansion is somewhat overdue because the waterpark typically very crowded and lacks some much needed high-capacity thrillers, and unfortunately while these new slides will help, I just don't think it is enough.
My one criticism of last year’s two new slides, through Dorsal Fin Drop and Surfer’s Swell were much needed, is that Carowinds bought the smaller capacity versions that only allow for single rider tubes when they could have opted to buy bigger versions that would allow for double-tubes or even the behemoth sized versions that can accommodate groups of four in a giant raft. I was hoping to see this year’s waterpark expansion address this issue by adding some much-needed larger slides like a Tornado (holds up to 4 at a time), or a hydro-magnetic multi-passenger slide like Mammoth at Holiday World or RiverRush at Dollywood’s Splash Country. But the top items on my most-wanted list for Carowinds’ waterpark expansion was for a 6 to 8 lane racer slide like Aquatica’s Taumata Racer and an Action River like Aquatica’s Roa’ Rapids because the existing lazy river is so small it is the only one I’ve ever seen with an actual QUEUE to wait in just to use it.
While I appreciate the desire to expand the waterpark, as the Charlotte area really could use it, please do consider my humble wish-list when it comes time for Phase 2.
2016/2017 - Five New Flat Rides - Confirmed - (2/9/16) Back in August I mentioned that Cedar Fair was sending a small team of ride experts from the company on a quest to search through parks and facilities across Europe for possible new flat ride acquisitions. The quest was fruitful, with the group buying a total of 7 flat rides for just $7 million so far, and they intend to go on another search through the Asian marketplace next.
Of the seven new rides purchased and undergoing refurbishment, 5 of them will be going to Carowinds. The list includes a Mondial Top Scan (the pieces of which were already spotted at the park), a Mack Music Express, Huss Breakdance, a Huss Troika and a Zierer Wave Swinger which will likely replace the park’s existing YoYo.
The only thing I’m not sure of at this point in time is if these rides will be put in for 2016, 2017, or if they will just be added to the park one at a time, as they arrive and are ready to be installed. Either way, five new flat rides will make a great and much needed addition to Carowinds, which is a great park that is severely lacking in the full scale flat ride department, despite having a large collection of kiddie sized flats.
(11/10/15) Does Carowinds have another surprise in store for 2016? Based on a photo posted to Carowinds Connection about what was found sitting in a lot near Fury 325, it appears the seat/arms from a Mondial Top Scan ride have been delivered to the park. I've had the pleasure of riding a portable Modial Top Scan and it ranks near the top of the most extreme flat ride experiences I've ever had, so if this really is coming to Carowinds... this is a huge surprise indeed. Anyone know more?