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News & Rumors

 

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CAROWINDS
Charlotte, NC
Cedar Fair Entertainment

 

 

Park News - (6/26/14) I’ve got a couple of big announcements regarding Carowinds this week. For starters, the park is warning everyone that they will NOT be open to the public this Sunday, June 29th, as the entire park has been rented out for a private event. I know most of you feel about this the same way that I do, that no major amusement park should ever do this… especially not during the summer, but it is what it is… so make a note of it.
   On the plus side of things Carowinds has also confirmed that their new Harmony Hall Marketplace venue in front of Intimidator’s lift hill, will finally open for business this Friday (June 27th). They even tweeted out a preview picture of what it looks like inside.
    (5/3/14) Today we have some good news regarding the new added seat-belts Cedar Fair put on Intimidator (Carowinds) and Diamondback (Kings Island).  According to reports from both parks, the new seat belts seem to be having a minimal impact on the load times this week, and the two-stage loading process that was reported as being used at Canada’s Wonderland on Behemoth is not being used on Intimidator or Diamondback at all. Even better, the belts are not detracting at all from the ride experience, or the sensation of airtime. Hopefully we will have similar come in from Canada’s Wonderland over the weekend as well.
    (4/29/14) Bad news, according to guests who visited Carowinds, seat belts have been added to Intimidator over the past week when the park was closed. Belts have also been added to sister rides: Diamonback at Kings Island and Behemoth at Canada’s Wonderland.
    (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.
    (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.” 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.
    (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.

 

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- In Development - (7/10/14) A Carowinds guest passing near to the building behind Nighthawk that is home to the Asylum haunt (used for SCarowinds) noticed that the Asyum fašade had been taken down and there was a full dumpster parked nearby, giving the appearance that the haunt may have been gutted to make way for something new this year.

 

2014 - Surfer’s Swell and Dorsal Fin Drop and New Restaurants - (6/24/14) Great news for Carowinds fans… the two new waterslides added to Boomerang Bay, Dorsal Fin Drop and Surfer’s Swell, are now open!
    

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(6/12/14) While visiting Carowinds on Sunday I ventured out into Boomerang Bay to check on the status of the new slides and snapped some great new pictures for everyone. As you can see, the slides are complete, with only the final bits of landscaping needed to go into the area before they are ready to ‘just add water’ and open these things. Shouldn’t be much longer!
    (5/26/14) I took a quick field trip over to Carowinds on Sunday afternoon to see how things were progressing. While there seems to be no visible movement on the 2015 project end of things, there has been much progress on the new Harmony Hall dining area structure since my last visit. It looks great actually, and I’m hoping they will be ready to open it in the next month from the looks of things. The new Chickie’s & Pete’s is also open in the back of the park, not far from Boomerang Bay, where unfortunately the new slides are not quite yet finished. Dorsal Fin Drop, the ‘bowl’ style slide, is essentially complete, but Surfer’s Swell still has a bit of work left to finished. The steel structure for the half-pipe is in place and a couple of the fiberglass pieces have been installed, but otherwise it is mostly still in pieces. Like Harmony Hall, I think they’ll have this up and running within the next 30 days or less.
    (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.
    (3/13/14) 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...
        (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.
2014_Carowinds_NewSlideLogos    (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 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.

 

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icon_STOP2015 - New Coaster: Centurion - Under Construction - (7/21/14) Construction on the Centurion coaster project coming to Carowinds kicked into high gear this weekend, with signs of heavy construction under way to create the new toll plaza road on your way into the park, the removal of almost all the big trees around the main entrance and existing toll plaza area, and a collection of footers already in place on the site of the old Go Kart track, which should be the location of the station, queue and start of the massive lift hill. I took pictures of what I could when visiting on Sunday and added them to the gallery. (Note: I was posting these live to our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages as they happened, so feel free to follow along and Like our pages for the most up to date updates!)
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    (7/18/14) A reader created an amazing POV animation of the Carowinds 2015 coaster (Centurion / Fury 325) within a rendered Carowinds theme park environment. Based on the plans I’ve seen, I think this may be extremely accurate and even includes an underground tunnel I hadn’t seen before. Check it out below!

    (7/17/14) Carowinds has updated the teaser banner in the park to say “Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day…  VIII . XXI / MMXIV”  That last bit are the Roman Numerals for the date, 8/21/2014. Looks like we’ll have an announcement date for Centurion in just a little over a month from now.
    (7/15/14) Carowinds has been dropping some ‘Rome’ themed hint as of late for their 2015 coaster… which bring “Centurion” right back into the forefront as the most likely name for the coaster.
    (7/8/14) Carowinds has quietly put up a 2015 teaser banner on the construction wall near the old Go-Karts location that says “The 8th Wonder of the World?” Special thanks to Howard Goldstein for the photo.
    (7/7/14) Screamscape spies were able to obtain a couple of images showing off the layout of the footers and basic track layout for the 2015 Carowinds coaster. Just using my guest guesswork, I tried to assemble them and overlay them over an image of the park to get a rough idea of just where this coaster will be going. I’m sure the scale is off by a certain margin, and there was no way to know the exact placement of it all, but I think this gives us our best estimate as to what we can expect to see from the park in 2015.
    The raw breakdown is this… if we assume that this coaster will be a smidge over 300 feet tall, then I think we are looking at something that will be just a little bigger and longer than Leviathan, the sister coaster at Canada’s Wonderland. Even the basic layout has many similarities, though it looks like they tried to put a few more twists into the Carowinds layout, along with a helix spiral before the brake run.
    (7/2/14) As you can see in this picture posted to Twitter, the ground clearing and removal of the former Go Kart track at Carowinds next to Hurler is in full swing.
    (6/17/14) Cedar Fair has filed for a new trademark this month for the name “FURY 325”.  It certainly sounds like a good name for a very tall coaster doesn’t it?  Following in the same fashion as “Intimidator 305”, the reports that Cedar Fair is planning a 300+ foot coaster for Carowinds in 2015, it very well could be named FURY 325 I suppose. This isn’t the first time Carowinds would have brought an attraction to the market using the FURY name, as they launched a much-hyped new haunted house for their SCarowinds event a few years ago that was simply called FURY.
    Previously this year Cedar Fair has also filed trademarks for the name “FURY’ on January 23rd and Centurion way back on October 18th, 2013. Though I have to admit, I’m a bit more keen on the Centurion name, as the location of the new coaster is said to pass out in front of the park’s main gate area, giving it a similar feel to what they did with Gatekeeper at Cedar Point, and the name Centurion does have a similar tone to it.
    (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.

 

Future 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.
    (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

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