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News & Rumors

 

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CAROWINDS
Charlotte, NC
Cedar Fair Entertainment

 

 

icon_STOPPark News - (3/28/14) Just a quick reminder than Carowinds opens for the 2014 season this Saturday! Time to get your ride on folks! Also, from April 11 – 20 the park will feature the Carowinds in Bloom even, as the park puts thousands of flowers on display as well as music and special activities for the kids, as well as wine and local craft beers for the adults.
    (3/27/14) Carowinds has posted details on Facebook about what they have been clearing the grassy field in front of Intimidator for. They are calling it Harmony Hall Marketplace, and it will be a new dining and entertainment destination with an open food court and several new dining options, as well as live shows to be performed daily.
    (3/24/14) Carowinds will soon have a new neighbor it seems, one that is seen as a new attraction unto it self by many. The Plaza Fiesta Mall you pass by on the right as you enter the Carowinds toll plaza road is rapidly being demolished to make way a brand new giant Cabela’s (World’s Foremost Outfitter) store that will take over the site. Special thanks to Carolina Skyhawk for sending in a picture of the old Plaza Fiesta mall being demolished over the weekend. 2014_0322_PlazaFiestaDemolition
    (3/21/14) Bad news for Carowinds Season Passholders as the park just announced on their Facebook page that the special Passholder parking lot, always a VERY popular perk with the local fanbase of the park, will not be used this season. Passholders will now have to park in the general parking lot with everyone else “due to growth and expansion at the park.” 
    While this does kind of stink, especially to only find this out about a week before the park opens for the season, wouldn’t it be nice if Carowinds reopened the South gate as an exclusive passholder gate instead?  Just a suggestion guys… if you agree, let the park know as well.
    In other news, it was made known that the former Xtreme Skyflyer, now moved to fit beween Nighthawk and Flying Ace Aerial Chase, will be renamed Ripcord.
    (3/13/14) Carowinds posted on their Facebook page this week that they were happy to welcome Chickie’s & Pete’s to the park this year, and mentioned that renovations to put them into the Outer Hanks building was underway. Even better, not only will they bring in new food options (like their famous Crab Fries) but the restaurant will featuer a much needed new indoor air-conditioned dining room.
    Now if Chickie’s & Pete’s is going into the old Outer Hanks building area, just what are they building on the Intimidator lawn? Curious...
    (2/24/14) Special thanks to Carolina Skyhawk for sending in two great aerial photos of Carowinds, where you can see the new slide pieces sitting in the parking lot next to Thunder Road. In the second picture you can clearly see the new Skycoaster location next to Nighthawk and they have torn up the grassy area in front of Intimidator’s lift hill. Not only have they ripped up the entire grassy area, but it appears as if they have

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removed the GR8-SK8 flat ride (a Falling Star style flat ride) as well as the track for the Snoopy’s Junction kiddie train ride. The station for the train is still there, as well as the train, so I can only guess that they are preparing to lay down a new track layout perhaps…. possibly a shorter one than before. But they are also working all the way over next to the Intimidator gift shop as well, which I’d be willing to bet may be the future location of the new Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab House & Sports Bar restaurant.
    (2/19/14) Coaster101 speaks with Even Souliere of Great Coasters International (GCI) who has been performing a winter refurbishment to Hurler at Carowinds this off-season. The scope of the rehab involved the redesign and replacement of 421 feet of track following the first drop through the curve and up into the next hill.
    (2/13/14) Carowinds Passholders will enjoy this new perk… according to the Carowinds website if you buy a Gold or Platinum Season Pass to the park, you will also get unlimited access into Dinosaurs Alive this season.
    (1/30/14) An online permit website for the Charlotte area now lists a permit for Carowinds for a new Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab House & Sports Bar. While the chain is known for their locations about the Philadelphia area they opened a pair of locations Dorney Park (Allentown, PA) in 2011 as well as a new location in the waterpark at Worlds of Fun (Kansas City) in 2013. Looks like Carowinds is next on their expansion plans.
    Meanwhile a second permit was also discovered for something called “North Gate Funnel Gate”. While I’m not sure exactly what this is, the North Gate is the park’s primary entrance area, where a number of survey flags and markings were spotted last summer.
    (1/24/14) GCI has posted pictures on their Facebook page this week showing off refurbishment work one of their teams is doing to The Hurler at Carowinds this winter.
    (1/22/14) One of the latest pictures posted to the Carowinds Facebook page shows off the park’s Skyflyer (Skycoaster) freshly moved to a new location where riders will swoop down between Nighthawk and Flying Ace Aerial Chase.
    (1/16/14) Carowinds has tweeted a picture of Afterburn this week, showing off the bright new paint, while keeping the original shades. Looking good!
    (1/2/14) New aerial images of Carowinds were spotted on the Google Map’s mobile app for Android, but are strangely not coming up when viewing the Google Map website on a PC. As reported, the park’s Skycoaster has been taken down and was spotted on the ground in the bus parking lot just behind the site. Meanwhile the river section between Windseeker and Intimidator has been drained and the grassy area to the left of the Panda Express has been cleared out to gain access. As predicted, I’m guessing we’ll see the Skycoaster dropped into place in this area somehow. 
    (12/29/13) A new aerial picture sent in to Screamscape by “Carolina Skyhawk” shows off that the repainting of Afterburn actually seems to have been completed, leaving the ride with dark blue supports and the same Navy Gray style track as before, perfect for taking the highway to the danger zone.
    Meanwhile a look at the Windseeker Webcam on the website also shows that the nearby lagoon has been drained and that some kind of work is taking place on site. This was rumored as the possible new location for the park‘s Skycoaster.
    (12/27/13) Carowinds has confirmed on their Facebook page earlier this month that both Afterburn and Ricochet are in the process of being repainted. Afterburn will be celebrating its 15th birthday in 2014, and while no details were given, a picture posted shows the painters appearing to be covering it all with a new coat of grey primer. That said, for the last couple of years the long standing rumor has been that when the coaster received it’s next repaint, it would be transformed and painted red, white and blue to look like’s it’s cousin, Patriot, at Worlds of Fun. Time to wait and see.
    Meanwhile, a picture of Ricochet was also posted to Facebook showing off some shiny newly painted blue supports on that coaster, and notes to say that while the support arms will remain teal, the yellow track will be repainted lime green instead this time.
    (11/1/13) According to the sources feeding Behind the Thrills, the Skycoaster at Carowinds will be moved to a new location in the park, possible fitting in somewhere between Nighthawk and Windseeker, a location that is mostly covered by water at the moment. With a floating load platform, this could be possible I suppose… but it looks like a tight fit.
   If it were me, I’d stick it in that dead corner of the park by the lone restroom building between the entrance of Carolina Cobra and the waterpark.
    (10/31/13) With Carowinds now closed for the 2013 season, it looks as if they wasted no time in removing their Skycoaster. A new picture sent in by a reader shows the top arch has already been removed.2013_1031_CW_SkycoasterRemoval
    (10/1/13) For the little ones who aren’t ready yet to experience the SCarowinds Halloween Haunt, Carowinds will hold The Great Pumpkin Fest on Saturday and Sundays from October 5 - 27th. During the daylight hours Planet Snoopy is transformed into “a street party of frightful fun for kids and their families.” The Great Pumpkin Fest features live entertainment, rides and interactive activities throughout the day.
    (9/16/13) It seems like a given, but the local news has confirmed that the 3 year plan from Carowinds will include “a new roller coaster as part of the expansion” and a plan to increase attendance at Carowinds from the current 1.9 million guests a year to 2.5 million. Carowinds is also seeking over $900,000 in incentives to be paid over 3 years in response to their 3-year expansion plans.
    (8/27/13) Carowinds and Cedar Fair reps made a presentation to the Charlotte Chamber’s Board of Advisors meeting to announce a that the company was planning a significant multiyear expansion plan for the property in order to better serve and grow tourism to the region. It was also noted that Cedar Fair had recently opened a satellite corporate office in Charlotte as well, which was news to me. Charlotte did serve as the corporate HQ for the Paramount Parks chain before it was sold to Cedar Fair, so it’s nice to see some corporate growth come back into town.
    According to Richard Zimmerman, Cedar Fair’s COO, “The continued growth in the Charlotte market presents a unique opportunity for our Carowinds amusement
park, which we believe is ready for record-breaking attractions. Over the next three years we intend to make several significant investments in both the amusement and water park areas, including new rides and attractions, new and upgraded food locations, and general infrastructure improvements. We plan to expand the capacity of Carowinds in all areas to appropriately serve its market and provide our guests with a ‘Best Day of Summer’ experience each and every time they visit our park.”
    While no specifics were given as to the nature of what may be planned for the 2014 season itself, they did vow to invest $50 million on the Carowinds property over the next 3 years, and expected to hire 15 new Full-Time positions and an additional 270 season jobs to support these new expansion plans.
    This is fabulous news for Carowinds and I can only hope that the park will have something more concrete to share about their 2014 plans in the next week or so. We’ve heard lots of rumors and speculation about the kind of attractions and concepts were under consideration for the property ever since they bought the available land near the freeway (see bottom of page). In addition to new attractions, I’ve got a feeling we’ll see Carowinds external layout change to take better advantage of this as well.

 

2014_Carowinds_NewSlideLogos2014 - Surfer’s Swell and Dorsal Fin Drop - (9/10/13) Carowinds has announced that two major new waterslide attractions will be added to the park’s Boomerang Bay waterpark in 2014: Surfer’s Swell and Dorsal Fin Drop.
    Surfer’s Swell is 263 feet long and will drop riders down a large hill and up into an angled wall where they will spin and drop back down again (half-pipe style) into a large tunnel before making the splashdown finale.
    Dorsal Fin Drop is a “bowl” style slide, sending riders down a 351 foot speed tunnel and blasting them out into a bowl

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where they will spin around and around before losing enough speed to slip down the exit hole in the center. The new slides are set to open in May 2014 and will be located in the grassy area closed to the first drop of Thunder Road as seen here.
    In addition to the new slides, Carowinds will also make improvements to their dining experience with new food offerings throughout the park, new air-conditioned venues and expanded capacity.

 

icon_STOP2015 - New Coaster - (4/11/14) According to Screamscape sources, full scale construction (clearing & footer prep) for the new 2015 B&M Giga Coaster project coming to Carowinds is expected to begin before the end of May. Though in may ways, work has already started with the moving of the Skycoaster and the slow demolition of the old Go-kart area is already seemed to be under way as well during opening weekend.
    (1/7/14) According to a report posted at CoastersAndMore.de in German, the new B&M coaster on the way to Carowinds should stand over 90 meters (over 295 feet) in height and be at least 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) in length, as it crosses over from North to South Carolina and and back again during the run. And if I had to guess, I think there is a good chance it may fly over the park’s entrance plaza.
    I’m hoping they got the stats a little wrong, as not only is the public expecting that it be at least 300 feet in height minimum, it should be LONGER than Intimidator, which is listed as 5,316 feet, and not shorter. Stay tuned!
    (10/28/13) Cedar Fair has now filed a new trademark to use the name “Centurion” for a future new major ride / attraction in their parks. There is no way to know which one of the park’s may get to use the name, but with the 2014 announcements already made, this may likely be for a new 2015 attraction. The only large 2015 attraction on the books at this point would be the Giga Coaster project expected to come to Carowinds. A lot can change between now and 2015 however, so we’ll just keep an eye on this for now.
    (9/23/13) Carowinds’ official revealed at a Q&A session this weekend that the park’s Skycoaster (Xtreme Skyflyer) would be removed at the end of the 2014 season. Since we know the new 300+ foot roller coaster coming in 2015 will also be placed entirely on the North Carolina side of the park, this makes sense as the most logical location for Carowinds to place the station and queue for the 2015 coaster.
    If it were me and we were looking at a long / narrow style coaster layout, I’d love to see the coaster run from here along the treeline down to the freeway and back.
    (9/20/13) Another very important detail about the next Carowinds coaster just leaked out of a closed session transcript with the city council. Officials stated that the next coaster would stand 70 feet taller than the park’s 232 ft Intimidator coaster.  Looks like Carowinds is ready to break the 300 foot barrier for their latest high speed thrill machine.
   This means that the Wing Coaster idea is out… and really points us into a narrow range of possibilities as well as manufacturers. We know Carowinds does love B&M coasters… the park has a nice collection of three of them so far (Vortex, Afterburn and Intimidator) and if they are going to venture into the 300+ foot range, the only possibility of this being a B&M would be if they follow the lead of Canada’s Wonderland and build something like Leviathan, a 306 ft speed monster coaster that would be fun to see run out to the freeway and back.
   In the other corner we have Intamin as the only other company Cedar Fair has hired to make a 300+ tall coaster before, who knocked it out of the park with Millennium Force at Cedar Point, but big rides from them like Top Thrill Dragster (Cedar Point) and Intimidator 305 (Kings Dominion) have suffered either from technical problems, maintenance issues, or undergo radical redesign issues… and we haven’t seen Cedar Fair buy a coaster from them since Intimidator 305 was built during the same year as Carowinds’ own Intimidator.
   While a taller version of Intimidator from either B&M or Intamin may be fun, I still worry that it could be a bit redundant. If Intamin is tapped once again however, I do wonder if they may try to bring something to the park that Carowinds does not have… a launched coaster. Until we know more, we’re just spinning our wheels… but with a 300 ft coaster project looming as the likely 2015 expansion, construction will likely begin early in the 2014 season.
    (9/18/13) Great news has leaked out from Carowinds this week regarding that new roller coaster along with the approval from the city over nearly $1 million in incentives to be paid over the next 3 years. According to this article the expansion will involve approximate $2.5 million for new waterslides (already announced) $7 million for a new “food complex”, $4 million for an upgrade to the park’s front area and ticket booths and… $30 million for a new massive roller coaster. Since the park straddles the state line, they also mention that about $33 million of the total amount will be spent on the North Carolina side of the park, which narrows down the location of the new roller coaster quite nicely.
   Previous Screamscape rumors had suggested that the park was under consideration to get a massive new B&M Wing Coaster, very similar in size to the Gatekeeper coaster opened at the company’s flagship park, Cedar Point, earlier this year. If you want to draw an even better comparison, the budget for Gatekeeper came in right at $30 million.
    (9/16/13) It seems like a given, but the local news has confirmed that the 3 year plan from Carowinds will include “a new roller coaster as part of the expansion” and a plan to increase attendance at Carowinds from the current 1.9 million guests a year to 2.5 million. Carowinds is also seeking over $900,000 in incentives to be paid over 3 years in response to their 3-year expansion plans.
    (5/6/13) I’ll file this as a very WILD rumor for now, but I did hear a very early whisper claiming that Carowinds may be on the short list of parks under consideration to get a B&M Wing Coaster in 2015. Cross your fingers… but this falls in line somewhat as Carowinds is due for a new coaster in either 2014 or 2015 as it will have been a good number of sinces since the park opened their last coaster, Intimidator back in 2010. If they decide to put the next Wing coaster somewhere else, Carowinds may receive a smaller coaster project instead for 2014.

 

Future Expansion Plans - (7/29/13) Theme Park Review has posted a great follow up report showing off the survey markings spotted all over Carowinds property outside the main gate. They extend far beyond the ticket plaza and drop off lot, but all the way over into the new property they purchased a couple of years ago as well. Since I don’t think Carowinds is planning on building the world’s largest roller coaster in 2014, I’ve got a feeling most of these markings may be for something non-ride related, such as parking lot restructing and possible future use concepts for their new property.
    (7/26/13) A reader who visited the park this week has sent in three pictures showing off the survey markings outside the main gate / ticket booth area.
    (7/25/13) A reader has sent in a drawing over an overhead image of the park showing off the rough locations where new red survey dots have been spotted running from the main entrance gate area, out back the ticket booths, over the toll booth bridge and into the empty grass area you have to drive around on your way into the toll plaza.
    While it’s unknown what they are up to, I can make two possible educated guesses… one idea you will like and one you wont care for. Ready?  Ok… on the good idea side of things, we can hope that they are planning for the park’s next coaster… possibly something that could depart from near the front area of the park and cross over the toll plaza place the majority of the layout out in the grassy field out in front of the park.  Before you think t2013_0725_Carowinds_SurveyMarkshis is a bit crazy, other parks have done this with great success… Knott’s Berry Farm did it years ago with Ghost Rider and a few years ago we saw Six Flags over Georgia use a similar idea to make a very creative layout for their Goliath coaster.
    Now as for the idea you wont care for… I’ve got two words for you. “Parking Lot”.  Or to be more specific… a Premium Parking lot, something Carowinds lacks, which could serve as an extra point of revenue for the park by placing a parking lot into the grassy field behind the drop-off lot. Making this idea even more attractive is the fact that they already have a pedestrian bridge that goes over the toll plaza and into the drop off area, so the site would easily be guests accessible. Hard to say either way right now, so just keep your eyes open.
    (8/3/11) For the record, Carowinds has states that with the new 61-acre addition, the park’s total size is a comfortable 398 acres. According to Screamscape spies Carowinds is working on plans to develop their own resort hotel on some of the new property next to the freeway in about two years, along with an attached Famous Dave’s BBQ restaurant, which would be the first in North Carolina.
    (8/2/11) In a surprise announcement Cedar Fair has announced the completion of a 61 acre land purchase for Carowinds. The new land purchased is actually pretty much all the available land between the park at the freeway starting next to the Plaza Fiesta mall building and going around to just behind the Season Passholder parking lot. (You can see it in the official map, highlighted in light blue.) Not exactly prime land for adding new rides for the most part… but a perfect site for a future hotel if they chose to build one. Or a perfect way to expand the main parking lot to allow for an eventually future closure of the old South entrance to the park, where the could expand the park out to take over that whole rear section of the parking lot (alongside Thunder Road) that remains unused except on the most busy days.

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Track Record

Carowinds
Charlotte, NC
Cedar Fair Entertainment

Abbreviation: PC (old)

Newest Developments:
2013 - Dinosaurs Alive

2012 - Windseeker

2011 - Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular & Nights of Fire

2010 - Intimidator, Planet Snoopy & Boo Blasters

2009 - Carolina Cobra

2008 - Yo-Yo, Bondi Beach

2007 - Southern Star

2006 - Boomerang Bay

2004 - Borg Assimilator

SAT MAP

 
 

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