Day 3: Carowinds
We were up and out of the Hotel by 9:30 the next morning, and on the way to Carowinds, another new park for me.
There were a lot of storms in the forecast, and although we ended up having near perfect weather the entire trip, the threat of storms in the area did keep causing some sections of the park to close down several times – tho pretty much everything opened back up during our visit.
When we first arrived, pretty much the only things operating were the indoor rides, so we did Boo Blasters, as well as Plants vs Zombies (what the hell is that?? The moment the seat started moving, I immediately put down my “shooter” and hung on for dear life! I didn’t want to get tossed onto the floor from a shooting “ride”, LOL).
by the time that was done, there still wasn’t much open from the area storms shutdown, but the Yo-Yo was operating, so I got to experience among the most bizarre restraint of the trip – not only a “seat belt”, but also a “chest belt” that was like a super-tight bra, that you had to suck in to get it clipped and fell right across ones nipples. . . it was so, so bizarre.
Especially since it was a very, very tame cycle, so not sure what they were trying to secure the rider against.
I got off this scratching my head, and was so flummoxed by it, didn’t even take a picture. But I don’t get it. . .
the Bumper Cars were also open, so some of my group got a ride on that (looked like it was in an old carousel building, an odd "round" bumper car space. as they were on the Bumper Cars, we got a text from Robb asking if anyone was interested in meeting over by Fury 325, as the park was wanting to do something, but he wasn’t sure what.
Since not much was open, most of the TPR folks showed up to meet, and it turned out they were looking to interview people who had never ridden Fury 325 on what they thought of it – which implied they were going to be opening it soon. Sure enough, within a few moments, they opened up the ride, and with our Fastlane, I got a couple of back to back rides on it (which blew me away), and then I stood for a brief interview on what I thought of the coaster. (I said it felt like what I imagine sitting on top of a bullet train would feel like). Not sure if they are going to use the testimonials, but I’m glad I participated.
shortly after then. . pretty much everything in the park opened up, tho the crowds had thinned a bit due to the weather. So the group I had been hanging with headed over to Afterburn (a fantastic inverted coaster), followed by a couple of rides on Intimidator (very different from the one at Kings Dominion, with a TON of airtime hills), before heading into Camp Snoopy to ride Woodstock Express, a Junior Woodie – which ended up being an unintended TPR takeover since many folks from the trip ended up in every seat
We also got to ride Peanuts Pirates (a Seesturmbahn – which is the same one that I recently rode in MarineLand in Canada, although this one had the boats turning as they moved, as the ride is intended to run). Big stupid fun, and the pics I got from it are so blurry, it was moving really fast for a ride in Camp Snoopy.
and then we bumped into Charlie Brown! So character meet up credit goal, CHECK!
I’d never been on a Vekoma Flyer, so I asked my group to go on it, and we headed over to NightHawk. . and wow. If I hadn’t been giggling the entire ride, I would have absolutely hated this. It was painful, it was shaky, and the blood rushing to one’s head when they tilt the seat back is brutal. *but* I felt like a fat lady in the 1950’s strapped into one of those weight belt machines. . it jiggled me the entire time, and I was giggling my ass off!
From the lift hill on this we saw storms (and funnel clouds) off in the distance, and as we came back into the station, they announced that things were closing again due to storms in the area. . so it was time to head over to Harmony Hall for an unofficial TPR takeover to eat – at least until the live entertainment (a 60's/70’s/80's - one era each set - cover band) started. . LOL. .that’s when the group started to scatter.
I didn't think the cover band was "bad". . tho it was odd to see a group entirely made up of Caucasians covering a whole set of Motown hits.
we never did get any rain, and after a bit, rides started opening back up again – but this time it had really killed crowds, and most things became station waits. So we knocked out Kiddie Hawk (a Vekoma Jr. suspended, that was on Russ' wish list since they had been denied riding it his prior visit. . but he fit in the restraints this time), which was a *little* head bangy, in particular in the final helix (so I guess it was "Junior headbangy"). Also, in a VERY "Six Flags move", the recorded announcement at the end of the ride thanked us "for riding the Great Race, Ariel Chase" (the name the coaster used to be called before renaming Kiddie Hawk. . LOL.
we also grabbed rides on the Carolina Goldrusher (a pretty decent mine train, that actually crosses State lines during the ride), and Ricochet – the wild mouse, which was running with no braking. . . .until it did (my Ribs ache just thinking about it) but it was fun.
Made a conscious decision to skip Flying Cobras (Boomerang) and the Carolina Cyclone (Arrow Corkscrew), as well as Hurler (no thank you!). .but otherwise, got all the coasters in.
I didn’t get to ride a ton of flats at Carowinds, since we were limited on time, and that time was impacted by the weather a bit, but I did get to ride the Skytower observation ride (some great pics from that) and a few other things.
I regret missing the Drop Tower (I didn’t realize it had opened after the weather, until I saw later on, someone post a picture from it). . so that was two parks in a row where I didn’t ride the drop tower, as Acrophobia had been down at SFoG.
I also really regret not making it back over to the County Fair section, as I would have ridden the Trioka, the Electro Spin, and the Music Express).. but rather than go back that way towards the end of the night? I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the Carousel!
the Grand Carousel at Carowinds is again, a PTC Carousel, but this one is only 3 across, although all 3 rows go up and down. This one also didn’t have an organ, and again was piping music in, but at least it was Carousel music. It was pretty bare bones, with nothing fancy in the painting, or the design. . it also ran a really short cycle, which surprised me as we were really the only ones riding it at the end of the evening. But it did look lovely all lit up.
the highlight of this Carousel for me was the individual horses all had names painted on them. I looked for a “bert” but no luck, so I went for my back up choice, a pretty pink pony (with Breast Cancer Ribbons), named “Princess”. . seemed appropriate!
after our Carousel rides, it was starting to get close to closing time, and I had a choice of either going back to County Fair to ride some flats, or head towards the front to do some shopping.
Carowinds was a new park for me, and I wanted some magnets, and a Tshirt or two, so headed up to the front gates, and bought a few things, and then headed back to Thrill Zone to close out our night at Carowinds with some ERT on Fury 325 (which blew me away at night, that ampersand turn-around, with the drop into the tunnel under the entrance plaza is incredible at night).
The stragglers leaving the park on the bridge waving to us as we went under them, was a fun added bonus. Tho I didn't take a "solo" ride on Fury325, I did get a good 8 or 9 rides in at night. . . under a full moon. This ride is brilliant.
all in all, another great visit to a park, and the trip had just barely started!