Cedar Fair Entertainment
Park News - (8/16/17) Camp Snoopy announced for 2018. Click here for more info.
(8/14/17) Great news for Carowinds fans this week... or at least for the time being. While there are still many questions to be worked out regarding the new request from the North Carolina Department of Labor, Screamscape did get an official comment from a Carowinds spokesperson regarding the issue:
"We are currently working very closely with the North Carolina Department of Labor on it's most recent request. All rides at Carowinds will continue to operate as normal."
So nice to see that, at least for now, things will proceed as normal at Carowinds.
(8/12/17) In a surprising move, a new proposed law in the works by the North Carolina Department of Labor division was quietly put into action via a memo released on August 2nd, likely as a knee-jerk reaction to the accident on the Fireball at the Ohio State Fair that took place the week before. According to this new memo (which you can read in entirety here), "Effective 8/14/17, all owners of amusement devices designed with tubular steel components such as sweeps, structural supports, or tubular steel used in direct connection to passenger carriers, are required to be tested for structural defects by a certified nondestructive testing company. This requirement will be conducted annually in addition to what is required by the manufacturer of record for all devices having tubular steel components in its design."
Ok... that part seems standard, and makes sense considering the accident in Ohio, as nondestructive testing is a standard practice in the industry, and part of the regular inspections process, this will just add some new important locations to the testing process. However, the next paragraph is where things set hairy... especially if you are Carowinds...
"Owners of devices meeting this design description shall take steps to have their devices tested before they will be certified to operate in the state of North Carolina. Owners shall present testing results to the NCDOL Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau when completed and prior to set up in the state of North Carolina."
So as this reads... all of this new extra testing required to operate most amusement devices within the state of North Carolina has to be done and filed with the NCDOL before the rides are allowed to run again, effective August 14th, 2017... which would be this MONDAY, less than 48 hours from now. And if you are a traveling ride operator, you can't even "set up" your attraction in the state without having this done, which is bad news as most of the states biggest fairs and carnivals all take place between September and October, including the big NC State Fair in Raleigh.
As I've been led to believe, this new law will effectively shut down every ride midway and amusement attraction in the state. According to comments sent anonymously to Screamscape from an industry insider, "Compliance is virtually impossible as the rule is currently written", the State of North Carolina "wants all tubular components tested but does not specify how or what the acceptable tolerances are." Apparently there was a quiet meeting held between the State and various manufacturers and attraction owners (including Carowinds) to try and clear the issue up to make the inspections something achievable, but the State is not willing to budge on the issue.
The problem is that the attraction owners can do all the tests that they want on the rides they have, but the numbers that come as results from these tests simply mean nothing at all until the ride manufactures are able to do their own testing and research to determine the pass/fail levels for "allowable material corrosion". This is not something that can be done at the drop of a hat, simply because a single state in the US is now suddenly requiring it. This kind of testing is already being discussed within the industry and likely will become a standard practice, but it will take time to due the proper research on each device and to put a proper system into practice.
In the meantime, the manufactures' aren't just going to pull pass/fail numbers out of a hat without being sure of the data, because once they sign off on the testing limits, they are also assuming liability in the event of a future accident.
As the only major theme park in the state, the question is, what does this mean for Carowinds come Monday morning? I've sent in a couple requests for comments on the issue to Carowinds, but have so far not been answered. Another item to consider in the case of Carowinds is the park's unique location, sitting across the border of both North and South Carolina. As such, it is conceivable that only the attractions on the NC side of the park would be affected.
Stay tuned as we watch carefully to see how this plays out.
(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.
(7/29/17) Carowinds has confirmed that an all new haunt experience will be coming to the park this fall as a replacement for the Defex haunt which is being retired.
(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".
(6/22/17) Carowinds has confirmed that starting on June 23rd, Cirque Imagine will debut for the season in the Carowinds Theater and run through to Sept. 4th. Daily showtimes are currently set for 3pm, 5pm and 7pm daily, except for Tuesdays when the show will be closed. On Saturdays the show schedule will also change to 1:30pm, 3:30pm, 5pm and 7pm. I saw it last season and was impressed, as this is easily the best show I have ever seen put on at Carowinds.
(4/11/17) Carowinds has mentioned in a blog post that while the new area opening this year will take on the County Fair name, the old County Fair area that is still home to the Dodge 'Ems, Yo-Yo and Plants vs. Zombies 3Z Arena and Afterburn will be renamed this season as "Crossroads" as a throwback to another past area of the park that was once called County Crossroads.
(3/6/17) Carowinds reports that they are adding six new shows to the park for the 2017 season and have updated their live entertainment page with details about all of the parks new and returning performers and shows.
(2/13/17) So is Whitewater Falls gone? Carowinds has still been mum on the subject, but according to someone who attended a "Winter Warmup" event at the park last week, it was reveled to them that WhiteWater Falls is indeed being removed, though they would not elaborate on what the park intended to do with that particular site going forward. A tweet from the park this past week also included a look the plaza across the bridge, just after you enter, where you can see that the large planter that used to hold a large sign with the Carowinds logo has now been removed to open up that area more. I'm also told that the Panda Express eatery is also moving into the Cool Joe's Cafe building instead, and the old stand site across from Intimidator will be removed to open up that pathway a little more.
Regarding the removal of WhiteWater Falls however... while I'm ok with the ride being given the axe due to low popularity and low-capacity, this now leaves the park with one single water ride in the line up... the Rip Roarin' Rapids, which typically features one of the consistantly longest and slowest moving lines in the entire park. Obviously Carowinds is in dire need of a new water ride of some kind... hopefully a new capacity log ride / flume creation through a themed environment, or even a giant fake mountain much like the beloved Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott's, but built with all of the cool bells and whistles of today's technology. Now that would be a fun addition for the whole family.
As for the old ride site, the space taken up by WhiteWater Falls could easily hold a small to medium sized compact coaster project about the same size as Nighthawk or the Flying Cobras, or perhaps they could add a new pathway behind BooBlasters to connect the two County Fair areas (new and old) together as one.
2017 - County Fair / Four New Flat Rides / WinterFest - (2/13/17) A video preview and construction site tour of the new County Fair area can be seen below, posted by Charlotte Stories, shot during an on-site tour last week.
(1/18/17) Carowinds has sent out a couple of pictures showing off the progress on installing two of the park's four new rides this week: the Rock N' Roller and Electro-Spin. In other park news they also announced that Dockside Fries will get a facelift with new themeing, and in addition to your favorite snacks they will add corn dogs and fried corn to the menu. The nearby restroom will also undergo renovations and additional patio space will be added in the County Fair section of the park as well. They've also posted some footage from the Electro-Spin install to YouTube (see below) as well as posting some pictures to Twitter showing off the all new repainted train cars for The Flying Cobras. Each car has been painted a new and unique color, and are now ready to have some custom themeing added as well.
Looking good Carowinds! Oh... one more thing I forgot to mention previously. Carowinds has also confirmed that the popular Cirque Imagine show from last summer will return again for 2017 which is great news, as I reviewed it last year as being the best live action show Carowinds has ever had.
(8/19/16) A quick update on the 2017 Carowinds additions... starting with the whole issue of the NEW "County Fair" and the new identity crisis. You see, the area back where Thunder Road used to sit has been known as the County Fair, and this is also the home to Plants vs Zombies, Yo-Yo, Dodg'ems and the Southern Star rides, as well as the big collection of midway games. (On a side note: I've never been certain if AfterBurn was part of County Fair or if it was part of Carolina RFD, but that's another issue...)
Based on the new concept artwork the park has released showing off the location of the new flat rides, which are described as being part of County Fair, all four of the new rides are actually going into the Carolina RFD area between the Wings restaurant and Carolina Cobra coaster entrance.
Speaking of the Carolina Cobra... it's geting a makeover and a new name as well. In 2017 the coaster will be called "The Flying Cobras", themed to a flying aerial stunt show act.
I'm also not sure what will become of the existing Yo-Yo ride. It seems a little odd to have two swing rides in the park, though they are slightly different from each other, but there may be a chance that Yo-Yo could possibly stay.
(8/18/16) Carowinds has confirmed that four classic flat rides are coming to the park in 2017… instead of the five that were leaked to the media earlier this year. The four rides will be part of a renovated “County Fair” section of the park that is also supposed to offer new special food offerings as well. The four new rides will be:
Do-Si-Do - “a super-fun spiraling adventure that will send guests flying through the air- gliding up, down and around as three giant arms rotate riders in different directions.” I’m assuming this is the Troika.
Electro-Spin - “a sense of being airborne in free-rotating, floorless gondolas while being suspended and flipping upside down up to 63 feet above the ground!” This has got to be the Mondial Top Scan.
Rock ‘N’ Roller - “a staple of any County Fair, is a fast-paced circular ride that will send guests round and around, up and down as high energy tunes and spectacular lighting round out this awesome experience.” This would be the Mack Music Express.
Zephyr - “a classic family swing ride, will suspend riders as it rotates in a circular, wavelike motion providing remarkable views of the park.” Aka: Wave Swinger
They don’t spell it out, but we can assume the Zephyr will replace the current Yo-Yo ride, and unfortunately it looks like they opted to send the fun Huss Breakdance that was one slated for Carowinds off to another park instead.
The second half of today’s announcement confirms that WinterFest will arrive at Carowinds in late 2017. The event will transform the park into ”a spectacular winter wonderland filled with magnificent displays of lights and holiday décor.”
“Midway Merryment will fill the paths of the park with melodious song and dance. Guests will also get to meet some of their favorite holiday characters, including Jack Frost and the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
“Christmas crafts and activities will be available for the entire family. From ornament decorating and feeding Santa’s reindeer, to making cookies with Mrs. Claus and ice skating on Snowflake Lake, guests will be fully immersed in the Christmas fun.”
“Holiday themed LIVE shows will be a must-see during this extravaganza. With Christmas musicals and the nightly lighting of our 70-foot tall Christmas tree- little kids and big kids alike are sure to be amazed.”
“Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree Lot will set up shop in Planet Snoopy. Guests can walk the lot and meet Linus and Charlie Brown from the PEANUTS gang.”
All this plus amazing holiday food offerings as well when WinterFest kicks off in November 2017, and all the fun will be included with your purchase of a 2017 Gold Season Pass.
2018 - Camp Snoopy - (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.
(8/15/17) While previously our long standing rumor about Carowinds plans for 2018 were focused on the assumption that Vortex would become a Floorless coaster for 2018, this may not be the case after all. Of perhaps Carowinds will update Vortex and add other attractions as well.
Carowinds has been hinting on Facebook this week that an expansion to Planet Snoopy is in the works for 2018. This is being done through a series of videos and photos posted to the park's Facebook page showing off seven photos for seven days of presents being given to Snoopy, all under the hashtag #SnoopyPresents2018.
I believe these are all hints about seven possible new additions to the land that are on the way in 2018. I've also been led to believe that the location behind Snoopy in the pictures may be the location of the new ride as well. And one more thing... permits files by the park showing that they intend to move the Carousel from Planet Snoopy over to the Vortex plaza area also would be a great way to make some room for this new rides.
The 1st present shows Snoopy with a toy bus from Woodstock, which I can only assume indicates a Zamperla Crazy Bus is on the way, like the Camp Bus they have at Camp Snoopy at Cedar Point. This looks to be in the green area between the Charlie Brown Wind Up (kiddie swings) and Snoopy's Junction train ride.
Photo 2 is a red toy car from Linus, which is a little more tricky to figure out other than the others, but the location is clearly going to be where the Carousel is now. The hint of the red car could be a hint about several different rides, all of which could have a car theme, so we'll have to wait and see on this one. Right now I'm guessing it could be some kind of car themed Zamperla Jump Around.
Photo 3 shows off Snoopy and Lucy having a tea party, which can only mean a Tea Cup style ride is on the way, to be placed near the Red Baron planes.
Photo 4 is a kite stuck in a tree that Franklin got Snoopy for his birthday, which would indicate that a Kite Eating Tree ride and Kings Dominion just installed a Zamperla Shooting Star kiddie bounce/tower ride with that very name this season. Location wise, this would be to the right of the entrance to the Woodstock Gliders.
On Monday afternoon they posted Photo 5 where Sally has given Snoopy a race car helmet, which I can only guess means that a Peanuts 500 kiddie whip style ride is on the way and would be located somewhere just past the Peanuts Pirates ride queue.
We've got 2 more days of hints to come, though with the last day being announced on Wednesday... which is also National Roller Coaster Day, perhaps they will mention the conversion of Vortex into something like Patriot at that time. But what could Tuesday's announcement be? I'm kind of hoping they go along with what was added to Valleyfair and Cedar Point a few years ago and at least put in something that is fun for a family to ride together like a Zamperla Disk'o Coaster style ride though the company has also been fond of putting in Kite Flyers as well.
???? - Vortex Floorless Conversion - Rumor - (12/15/16) As much as I was hoping this wouldn't happen, Screamscape sources tell us to get your last rides in on Vortex in 2017, because at some point before the season is over Vortex will shut down early and begin work to convert it into a B&M Floorless coaster experience instead, with all new colors and a new name for when it reopens in 2018.
Once Vortex joins the ranks of Stand-Ups converted into Floorless models, there will only be four B&M Stand-Ups left in operation, all of which at Six Flags parks: Riddler's Revenge (SF Magic Mountain), Apocalypse (SF America), Georgia Scorcher (SF over Georgia) and Green Lantern (SF Great Adventure).
(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 - 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.