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News & Rumors


Charlotte, NC
Cedar Fair Entertainment





----    THE LATEST BUZZ    ----
    (4/28/2024) Carowinds Taking Guest Survey About New Ride Concepts
    (3/23/2024) 2025's Project Sparrow Plans Revealed
   (3/16/2024) Carowinds Summer Music Fest and FURY 325 Report Details Released
    (3/10/2024) Carowinds - 2024 Season Opening Update


icon_STOPPark News - (3/16/2024) I’m sure everyone remembers when FURY 325 was suddenly shut down last June when a huge crack and complete break had formed in a support column, shot on video as the coaster was actually running. While the coaster was shut down immediately and a new support column formed, shipped down from Ohio and installed in what seemed like a matter of days, it seems that some documents from the investigation were just released this week.
    According to the Charlotte Observer, the cause of the fracture was “the result of unidirectional bending fatigue”, when the fracture started at one edge of the weld on the support beam’s joint and then expanded around the circumference of the beam. The stress from the operating coaster on the track eventually led to the complete fracture.
    An assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UNC Charlotte places some blame on the “V-shape of the weld itself that accelerated the fatigue”. While the support beam itself had a life expectancy of over 50 years, it lasted only 8 before last year’s failure. Further investigation from examination of the rest of FURY 325 discovered six other cracks in various states along the ride’s other support columns which were repaired. Follow the link to read more details about the repair process along with how and where some of the other welding cracks were discovered.
    On a lighter note, Carowinds announced that they park would be hosting a five-week long summer concert series, much to my surprise, as the park has rarely tried to use their large concert venue. They’re calling it the Carowinds Summer Music Fest, and admission to the concerts is actually free with theme park admission. Right now the full performance schedule has yet to be released, but a few well known performers are already confirmed.
   July 5 - LeAnn Rimes
   July 6 - TBD
   July 19 - TBD
   July 20 - TBD
   July 26 - TBD
   July 27 - TBD
   Aug 2 - Skillet
   Aug 3 - TBD
   Aug 9 - Flo Rida
   Aug 10 - TBD
    So there you have it, Rimes, Skillet and Flo Rida… and is there a theme park out there that Flo Rida has not performed at? LOL… I swear if there is a theme park concert series going on anywhere, the man is out there hitting the stage.   
    (3/10/2024) Carowinds opened for the 2024 season yesterday and from what I understand, despite a little poor weather, it was a good day for the park. The area plaza around the former Intimidator coaster entrance, now renamed as Thunder Striker, has also been renamed as Thunder Road in remembrance of the park’s former racing wooden coaster. The gift shop even features the front car from a former Thunder Road car being used as a display table, which is a nice touch. Small bits of new theming also appear to be in the process of being added to the Thunder Road area, which is appreciated.
    As I understand it the only major coasters that are still closed to finish off-season maintenance are Vortex and Hurler, with the former being repainted and should be ready soon, while Hurler was finishing up the rebuilding of a section of track near the far end of the ride.
    Also, as we rapidly approach the eventual merger of the Cedar Fair and Six Flags theme park chains, it is also worth mentioning that Carowinds did reconfirm that their Chaperone Policy is still firmly in place. Due to the increasing number of incidents at theme parks across the nation over the past few years, almost every Cedar Fair theme park put a Chaperone Policy into place that essentially requires all guests age 15 and under to be accompanied by an official chaperone, aged 21+, if they wish to be in the park after 4pm. Note that the exact time and policy may be a little different for each park, but the end result is that if underage teens are found unsupervised in the park, they will be escorted out. It is likely that this policy will be expanded to the Six Flags parks once the merger is complete, which could happen as early as June.

    (3/1/2024) For those interesting, Carowinds has posted a brief video teaser showing off the new Thunder Striker logo, serving as the new name for the park’s former Intimidator roller coaster.

    (2/28/2024) It seems the liscencing deal to use Dale Earnhardt’s Intimidator branding has come to an end, because the Carowinds website has now renamed the coaster as THUNDER STRIKER. Despite sounding more like a Jager from the Pacific Rim film series, and perhaps a little too similar to the park’s own Copperhead Strike, the new ride description claims that this hotrod was built in the back of “Earl’s Garage on Thunder Road”. (Wink! Wink!)
    They stripped down an old jalopy and crammed in a souped-up engine for pure speed, making Thunder Striker the champion of the dirt road racers in two states, with a sleek, black-bodied roadster with signature lightning bolts painted on the hood.”
    Ok, it’s still the same Intimidator coaster that we all know and love, but for some reason I’m dying to know what other names they may have considered. Maybe it’s just me, but after reading their new description of the train car as some kind of home-built dirt race car I can’t get that “Whoa Black Betty - Bam-A-Lam” song out of my mind. Definately something that Carowinds should play in the queue at the very least.
    (2/24/2024) I’ve got a quick update regarding the playful comments this past week from Carowinds that the park is RMC’ing their Hurler wooden roller coaster, with RMC in this case standing for “Routine Maintenance by Carowinds”. According to a reader, it seems this little in-joke stemmed from an interview Carowind’s Director of Maintenance did with the Coaster101 Podcast. During this interview he mentions that Carowinds is now one of the few parks out there that features an in-house team able to re-construct and re-profile wooden coasters.
    For those keeping track, it is also worth mentioning that Hurler is turning 30 this year, having opened way back in 1994 as part of a whole mini expansion area themed to the film, Wayne’s World, back when the park was known as Paramount’s Carowinds.
    (2/23/2024) Is Carowinds teasing the coaster enthusiasts? In a recient blog post on the official website, the article talks about how Hurler has received some new track, in the form of how the park’s maintenance team has rebuilt the Hurler’s back curve. While it goes on to talk about how the wooden coaster’s track uses 9 layers of overlapping wood, earlier on in the article there is an “RMC” tease inserted.
    The headline “Wooden Roller Coasters Receive RMC” is highlighted in RED and below that paragraph it says that “All rides and attractions undergo Routine Maintenance by Carowinds”. Again… RMC…
    We all know Hurler’s clone at Kings Dominion was converted by RMC into “Twisted Timbers” for the 2018 season, so some are wondering if Carowinds is dropping a very early hint about their future intents for the wooden coaster. Of course, the also just spent a good bit of capital in rebuilding that entire rear turn-around, which isn’t something they were likely to do if they were bringing in RMC to transform it next year, so I’m thinking they’re just having a little fun teasing the “Thoosies”.
    (2/8/2024) Interesting news came unexpectedly this week regarding some future event changes at Carowinds this year. Keep in mind that the park opens for the season this year on Saturday, March 9, 2024, however there will be a special Passholder Preview night event on March 8 from 4pm to 10pm.
    As for the big change? SCarowinds is no longer going to be a separately ticketed event in 2024. According to the official site, “In the past, SCarowinds was a separately ticketed event. Not this year! If you’re already at the park for our daytime Tricks and Treats activities, you can continue the frightful fun without leaving the park.”
    So for those who like to enjoy the park for the whole day, you wont have to leave and come back later for the Haunt to kick off, it will just transition from daytime operations into Haunt mode as the sun sets and the monsters are unleashed into the park. For those who’ve gone to the haunt at Kings Dominion before, this is how that park has typically always done it and it does work well, but a major reason Kings Dominion never tried to make their Haunt an extra ticket event was because Busch Gardens Williamsburg also included their Haunt event for free as part of a full day experience in that park, so they had to offer a similar experience.
    So look for SCarowinds to take place on select nights between Sept. 13 and Oct. 27, 2024. Other than that, only the usual big holiday events are posted right now, with no info about any planned food festivals or other themed events we’ve seen offered in the past, such as Grand Carnivale.
2023_1216_Hurler    (12/16/2023) A reader sent in a photo taken at WinterFest showing off a large section of Hurler that has been torn down to the ground to be rebuilt. From the look ov the photo, this would be the entire large turn locateded furthest away from the station. I seem to recall that the turn located a little closer may have also recieved some extensive re-tracking last fall or winter, but based on how rough Hurler has been over the past couple seasons, I’m not surprised it has come down to this extreme of a rebuild. I also seem to recall that the first big turn after the first drop was also rebuilt from the ground  up about 4 years ago or so.
    (10/26/2023) Carowinds has posted a good number of new rides that will be closing early for off-season maintenance. Previously dates were only listed for Nighthawk and Windseeker (already closed), with Intimidator to follow on Nov. 6th.
    Now you can add Beagle Scout Acres, Carolina Cyclone, Carolina Goldrisher, Drop Tower, Electro-Spin, Hurler, Scream Weaver, Flying Cobras, Wilderness Run and Woodstock Express to the list, all of which will close down until Early 2024 starting on November 17, 2023.
    (10/25/2023) Cedar Fair has changed their mind about offering year-round operations at three of their parks after just switching over to weekend operations during the colder months just last year. This list would include Carowinds, California’s Great America and Kings Dominion.
    The official word would seem to be that all three parks failed to attract enough attendance on those new dates, which are mostly weekends in January, February and some of March. However, based on guest reactions from those who did attend on those dates, guests frequently reported encountering those parks with what appeared to be a limited staff, a good number of rides unable to operate (due to a mix of limited staffing or maintenance closures) and a couple of days where the weather was just too iffy and the parks opted to close early for the day.
    Of course, all of these reasons were also anticipated to happen when Cedar Fair first announced that these parks would be switching to year-round operations, so I’m not entirely surprised by this move. After all, even in Los Angeles where competitor Six Flags operates Magic Mountain year-round, but only on weekends in the colder months of the year, that park also suffers from many of these same issues, but in an environment that typically offers better weather.
    Now if any Cedar Fair park was going to have a good go at it, I’d give the nod to California’s Great America, but the park’s attendance numbers have always been a little limited, and some potential guests may be less likely to visit with a pending permanent closure looming by 2033, limiting the number of new attractions we might see added there. Carowinds stood a chance as well of making it happen, but as I live in the region, the off-season weather can be a little fickle… sunny and warm one day and freezing cold, feeling like snow is about to fall the next. So the success of off-season weekends at Carowinds would definitely be something that varied from year to year. Kings Dominion in Virginia is a bit further North and East from Carowinds, so I’d expect even colder weather with a greater possibility of snow.
    So according to the park schedules posted for the months after WinterFest, look for Carowinds to open for the 2024 season on March 9 where it will begin Fri/Sat/Sunday operations, and California’s Great America and Kings Dominion will begin weekend operations two weeks later on March 23rd.
    (10/15/2023) As we approach the end of the year, just a fair warning to Carowinds guests that now that the park is trying to operate year round, many rides will begin closing for their annual refurbishment while the park is still open. According to Carowinds website, Nighthawk is already closed until “Early 2024”, and it will be joined by WindSeeker starting October 16th (usually so the tower can also be decorated with lights for WinterFest) and Intimidator will also close until Early 2024 starting on November 6th.
    (9/4/2023) SCarowinds will launch into spooky mode on Sept. 15 this year and and continue on select nights through to Oct. 29, 2023.  This year’s event will feature five haunted mazes including the return of Paranormal Inc. (new from 2022), along with four returning long-time mazes: Depths of Darkness, The Toothfairy, Silver Scream Studios: Condemned and Slaughterhouse: The Final Cut.
    The park’s list of Scare Zones this year include: Bloodyard, Harvest FEAR, Ripper Alley, The Harlequin Club, Blue Ridge Roadkillers and The Hollow.
    New for 2023 will be the “Procession of Nightmares”, a haunted Halloween style parade of themed floats that will travel through the park at 7:30pm each night and Conjure the Night, an all-new live Halloween spectacle taking place on the Plaza stage near the front of the park. 
    (8/25/2023) Good news for Carowinds fans as it has been reported that Vortex is now back open.

    (8/13/2023) While I haven’t seen any news reports about this yet, the York County, Sheriff’s Office has posted a request on Instagram seeking help finding two individuals wanted for “Assault & Battery by Mod 3rd Degree, stemming from an incident that occurred at Carowinds on Sunday, August 7th, 2023.” Any update to the posting from Friday, August 11th reports that one of the two has since been taken into custody, but they are still seeking the other. So if anyone was at the park that day or has information regarding their location, consider contacting them.
    Theme parks should be a safe place for everyone to visit and not a place to be be worried about this kind of behavior from the other guests.
    (8/12/2023) Carowinds fans will be happy to know that the park announced that Fury 325 was able to reopen to guests on the afternoon of August 10th after completing various inspections and recertification from the state.


2024 - Nothing is known at this time...


icon_STOP2025 - Project: Sparrow - Planning - (3/23/2024) The overall plans for Carowinds Project Sparrow have been uncovered and posted to Reddit. For those who were expecting that it was time for Carowinds to build another major roller coaster… I’m sorry, this isn’t your year. The park’s latest big coaster addition was Copperhead Strike that opened in 2019, but instead 2025’s Project Sparrow seems to be an expansion to Camp Snoopy. (Sparrow could be a reference to Snoopy’s best bud, Woodstock, though officially Woodstock’s exact species has never been revealed.)
    The plans for Project Sparrow would see the existing Camp Snoopy theming expanded toi cover the areas closest to the Thunder Striker (formerly Intimidator) roller coaster track along the park perimeter. The existing Snoopy Junction train looks like it will be removed, but a new “Junction Station” train ride would be built as a replacement just past the Wilderness Run kiddie coaster on a section of the site last used for the Dinosaurs Alive. Before that, the site of the new train ride  was actually home to the park’s former kiddie car ride that run under various names and themes over the years before it was removed.
    The unused Camp Theater venue is going to be demolished and replaced by “Rapid River Water Battle”, which sounds like a rapids themed Splash Battle style attraction. I’ve heard Mack Rides name already mentioned as a possible vendor for this new ride. For those who remember the River Battler ride that was once at Dollywood (also from Mack), I’d expect this to be similar in nature, but likely themed to the “Peanuts: Race For Your Life“ animated special. One other concept that I’d love to see, would be for Carowinds and Mack to bring a river raft themed version of their prototype “Rocking Boat” powered and tracked water attraction to life here. You can watch a fun video of the prototype Rocking Boat here, but jump ahead to 1:53 in the video to see animation of how a rapids themed boat version might look.
    Meanwhile the site vacated by the removal of the current train ride appears to be earmarked for a new family sized roller coaster. Based on the layout of the one shown, this appears as if it could be a copy of the Snoopy’s Racing Railway coaster that opened at Canada’s Wonderland in 2023, a launched family coaster from ART Engineering.
    Otherwise it looks like all the other existing rides will remain, a very small “Camp Fire” themed performance site added, a character Meet & Greet space added onto the existing Peanuts themed gift shop building, along with two proposed splash pads (one on the old Carousel site and the other within the Beagle Scout Acres play area.
    One odd note however… while a new family roller coaster Carowinds is part of these plans right now for Carowidns, I’ve been told that the version at Canada’s Wonderland was added with an odd restriction. Apparently adults are not allowed to ride Snoopy’s Racing Railway at Canada’s Wonderland unless they have a  child with them. From what I understand this is a rule created by Cedar Fair for that park for some reason, as the coaster itself is a copy of “Fridolin's Verrückter Zauberexpres”, built for Fantasiana in Austria. The pictures of that original version show off a train with ample space for adult riders to fit, along with pictures of many adult riders taking a spin and seeing to really enjoy it. So let’s hope they don’t do something weird at Carowinds like they did at Canada’s Wonderland.
    (3/6/2024) According to a FB post on the Carowinds Fans Only page, initial permits have been filed by the park for something called ‘Project Sparrow”. While this could quite literally be for just about anything, we do have to wonder if there is a meaning behind the use of the name “Sparrow” that might be a hint that whatever is coming may be a ride that might offer a sensation of flight. Like perhaps a B&M Flying or Wing Coaster for example, or maybe even a Dive Machine? Just something to ponder…


icon_STOPFuture Ride Concept Survey - (4/28/2024) A few Cedar Fair theme parks began sending out guest surveys this weekend to get opinions on some possible new ride additions. From the posting online, the survey being sent out about Carowinds asks for opinions on the following attraction concepts:
    Super Flume - This looks like an Intamin creation, but Mack could also be a possible manufacturer. It shows a layout with an 8-passenger boat that dispatches into a short flume, them up a hill to a turntable at the top that would rotate the boat go that it passers down a “double-drop” hill backwards. This is followed by another short flume section, into a device to reverse the boats direction to travel forward once again, then journey up a much taller lift onto yet another turntable that redirects your boat down “the world’s tallest plunge, a near 90-degree mega drop.”
    Water Coaster - While this one has a very Mack Rides look to it, Intamin is also capable of making this as well. As with the other flume ride, this would feature a smaller 8-passenger boat that would journey up a lift and into a water-free roller coaster style track layout that ends with a splash-down finale.
    Dive Coaster - This is described as the world’s first 300-foot Dive Coaster that would feature a series of “inversions, twists, and turns” along the way. I believe the concept art being shown here is of Valraven at Cedar Point, from B&M of course.
    Family Thrill Coaster - Described as “the ultimate out-and-back coaster that stretches an astonishing 4,500 feet, claiming the title as the longest family coaster on Earth.” The ride promises to launch riders three times along the way to maintain a speed of 55mph all while keeping the action fairly low to the ground, passing through tunnels, over crazy terrain that ends with a 6-story tall ‘dead-end track’, causing the train to then roll backwards throughout the entire course. (Note: it isn’t made clear if the 4,500 track length is the one-way length of the actual track, or the total distance traveled both forwards and backwards combined.


???? - New Coaster / New Land - SPECULATION ONLY - (7/10/22) I don’t do this often, but occasionally I have ideas about the future and what could possibly happen. This is no rumor, this is not leaked info from a source, this is just purely my thoughts about what may be next for Carowinds in 2024. To begin with, this involves the site of the former Rip Roarin’ Rapids attraction which closed in 2018. The site has been entirely silent ever since the closure, with the only reported work taking place was to build a temporary haunt for SCarowinds in the attraction’s former queue. Meanwhile the only current rumor associated with this site thus far is a new one claiming that some early demolition or site clearing may finally be taking place to remove portions of the old Rapids ride.
    Given the nature of the site however, it is a literal forest, full of dense greenery and many mature trees that were allowed to grow up all around the former Rapids ride that served it so well over the years. I’d love to see this kept as much as possible and used to incorporate into a new land and major attraction that could go here.
    My wish and theory is also based on the past actions of Cedar Fair adding major roller coasters to other parks in the chain that were similar in nature to what they’ve added to Carowinds over the past 10-15 years. In particular, if we look at Cedar Fair’s history of adding B&Ms to their parks within this timeframe, there is somewhat of a pattern. This starts with the addition of three HyperCoasters to the parks, starting with Behemoth at Canada’s Wonderland in 2008, followed by Diamondback at Kings Island in 2009 and Intimidator at Carowinds in 2010.
    This trio was followed by the purchase of a series of 5 more B&M coasters that started with Leviathan (Giga) at Canada’s Wonderland in 2012, GateKeeper (Wing) at Cedar Point in 2013, Banshee (Inverted) at Kings Island in 2014, Fury 325 (Giga) at Carowinds in 2015 and Valravn (Dive Machine) at Cedar Point in 2016.
    At this point there was another small pause, but work between Cedar Fair and B&M started up once again in Canada with the opening of Yukon Striker (Dive Machine) in 2019 followed by Orion (Giga) at Kings Island in 2020. At this point we all know what happened next, with many of the chain’s parks staying closed for much of 2020 and half of 2021, putting many future construction projects on hold. As we start to re-enter more normal times, most of these projects will be coming back to life once again, which likely includes whatever major new coaster was being planned to replace the demolished Volcano: The Blast Coaster at Kings Dominion.
    Carowinds is also expected to be in line for another big coaster around sometime as early as 2024 and based on past projects and my own best guess, I’m thinking we could very well see a themed Dive Machine, likely a little bigger and longer than Yukon Striker, appear on the site of the former Rip Roarin’ Rapids. Even better, if they can keep as much of natural landscaping in place to create an environment where the Dive Machine could run wild past trees and streams, and maybe include a tunnel or two, this could be a phenomenal ride. I’d also love to see the first drop go down into an underground tunnel themed like a mine-shaft or something.
    Now I’m going to dream a little, and envision this site as something much more. A multi-year project that Carowinds could really be proud of going forward. The next step… lets add a new flume ride to the park right here. Since Carowinds no longer has a single water ride, wouldn’t it be nice to have a new flume ride running through the woods and under the new Dive coaster?  Maybe they could repurpose the existing terrain of the old Rapids lift hill to create the drop for the flume ride. (Just an idea).
    Beyond that? I’ll have to mention the perfect theme I have in mind for this new land, which would be to theme it after North Carolina’s famous Blue Ridge Parkway. Being located on the NC side of the park it would be fitting, and they could make references to the state’s major famous natural landmarks here, such as Grandfather Mountain, Chimney Rock, the Linn Cove Viaduct bridge and of course Linville Falls. The latter would be a perfect theme for that Flume Ride I talked about.
    Of course if Carowinds really wanted to take this to the next level, adding in a high end Flying Theater attraction to the area to magically wisk guests away to see all these national wonders would serve as a great family attraction for those not ready to take on the thrills of the Dive coaster. It would be easy to make space for this kind of “Carolina Soarin’” flying theater project if they removed the perpetually empty Carowinds Paladium amphitheater right next door.
    From speculation to dreaming up a major new expansion… what do you think should happen here?



Track Record

Charlotte, NC
Cedar Fair Entertainment

Abbreviation: PC (old)
Size: 398 Acres

Newest Developments:
2023 - Aeronautica Landing

2021 - Boogie Board Racers

2019 - Copperhead Strike

2018 - Camp Snoopy

2017 - Country Fest / Winterfest

2016 - Carolina Harbor, Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare Z3 Arena, Cirque Imagine and Starbucks

2015 - FURY 325 & Slingshot

2014 - Surfer’s Swell / Dorsal Fin Drop / Harmony Hall

2013 - Dinosaurs Alive

2012 - Windseeker

2011 - Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular & Nights of Fire

2010 - Intimidator, Planet Snoopy & Boo Blasters



Copyright © 1996 - 2024 by Lance Hart &  All rights reserved.