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Carowinds

Discussion in 'Other U.S. Theme Parks' started by cwgator, May 24, 2015.

  1. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    Thought I would start just a park thread for everything Carowinds (my old home park) since the old threads are gone. So I'll just keep everything related to the park in this thread.

    2016 Speculation
    Yesterday the park announced it's retiring the parks wooden racing coaster Thunder Road. Opened in 1976, this will be just shy of it's 40th anniversary. I'm a bit sad to see it go since it was one of the first big coasters I ever rode. There is plenty of speculation as to whether the way it's worded means they could just mean it's leaving in it's racing form and retiring. That leads some to think about RMC conversion which can be done, but seems a bit pointless on an out and back coaster. Before anyone says they have an exclusive contract with Six Flags, that isn't true and has been confirmed by RMC on their Facebook page. They are a small company and can only do so many projects each year and I'm sure several have been booked to keep them busy. Plus it's a wise decision to see how any new company does before delving into unknown territory.

    The park hinted last year during the announcement of Fury 325 that they plan to make a "Big Splash" in 2016. Since Thunder Road borders the water park it would make sense that it will most likely be a water park expansion. That being said if that's all it's going to be then they could just open the pathway underneath and expand on the other side as Kings Dominion and Kings Island has done. There are at least 3 maintenance paths going under it already. I'm hoping they are just messing with us and it will return in some form next year. I won't be holding my breath however. Other "Big Splash" ideas could be a water coaster or even a log flume. Time will tell.

    If it is water park expansion they will likely re-brand it as Soak City like many of Cedar Fair's other properties. Kings Dominion was changed to it this season with the addition of new slides and play area. I would prefer it stay as Boomerang Bay...whether I care for water parks or not. It's just a better name than the generic Soak City. They could also take this opportunity to separate it from the main park during this like was done at Kings Island. If they did that then they will really make those mad who frequent both sides.

    I will be going to Charlotte in a couple of weeks and will spend 2-3 days at the park. I'll post a nice trip report with pictures of the latest progress of the park. I have 3 new credits to obtain with this visit. They are Carolina Cobra, Intimidator and Fury 325. This will put my coaster count at 80. I don't travel much anymore so getting to 100 isn't easy...lol I'm just glad they announced Thunder Road's closure before I went so I would know to get extra rides in on it.

    Here is the Facebook Announcement made yesterday. You can see the outcry from fans of the ride and some have set up petitions.
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  2. Mockingjay

    Mockingjay Rookie

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    Carowinds was my childhood park as well. Even though there were times that Thunder Road had technical difficulties, it was one of my favorite coasters in the park to visit each time. The dueling aspect was always an awesome treat to spectate and experience firsthand.

    It sure is a shame that they would tear down one of the landmark wooden attractions at the park just to expand Boomerang Bay. There is actually a petition floating around Facebook currently to save Thunder Road. I'll try to find the link and post it here.

    EDIT:
    Here is the link mentioned above.
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savethunderroad
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  3. shiekra38

    shiekra38 Veteran Member

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    Are they going to go the Twisted Colossus road with this?

    I don't know much about the park
     
  4. Porkchop

    Porkchop Rookie

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    :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs:
     
  5. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    It's very doubtful, but not out of the question. There is even the possibility of just removing one side, hence the possible hint at "give its last race". We probably won't know anything more definite until after July 26th. The announcement for 2016 probably won't occur until late August at the earliest. When I find out more I'll be quick to post it here (unless I'm beaten to it...lol).
     
  6. Porkchop

    Porkchop Rookie

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    Ill just say the wording of "big splash" was absolutely intended to be a hint.
     
  7. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    ^Of course. That could mean anything from the water park being expanded, watercoaster, log flume, splash battle or a number of other things. Most likely water park expansion but there would be room for more than that over there so time will tell. They could even separate the water park if they wanted to like they did with Kings Island and Cedar Point with an entrance on that side.
     
  8. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    Photo Trip Report June 8th-15th: (Part 1)

    I finally have made a trip back to my hometown and original home park. I've been gone way too long. My partner and I arrived on Monday, June 8 and stayed until the 15th. The main reason for the trip was Carowinds. I also wanted to finally show him around the city I grew up in and visit some friends I hadn't seen since I moved away.

    Monday, June 8th
    The excitement was just so much for me I didn't get but maybe an hour or two of sleep before we finished packing up the vehicle and got on the road about 2am. It's usually a 6 1/2-7 hour drive from Gainesville, but with stops it's a bit more. Along the way we stopped for gas/rest/bathroom breaks...pretty much the norm. We also stopped for breakfast in Walterboro, SC at the Bojangle's. From there we came straight on to Carowinds for a couple hours to process our season passes and I got a few rides in.
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    I really like the new parking toll plaza. It's a great addition.

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    We were able to park pretty close to the entrance since the park wasn't forecast to be busy. We purposely planned this trip while Charlotte schools were still in session just so it wouldn't be as busy. Worked like a charm. This was the longest line I stood in all day coming up...the bag check/metal detector wand check line. While I love the new entrance, this kind of threw everyone off and several people were trying to go in the exit and was a bit confusing. I'm sure they will get it together before the real summer crowds hit.

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    I'm really loving the new entrance. It's so open now.

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    My original plan was to hit up Carolina Cobra, Intimidator and then Fury 325 since those are the 3 credits I needed. That would have made Fury 325 my # 80. Well Carolina Cobra was not in operation at the time. I did see it running/testing from the front of the park, but they had it blocked off. Oh well...It's just a list....lol

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    I'm all late to the Planet Snoopy party. I love how this area looks now. I honestly hated the Nickelodeon theme. I'm 38 so having grown up with it as Hanna-Barbera and see it Nick Central before this turned my stomach. Of course I understand it was geared to children who know and loved those characters. I'm just glad they have Snoopy and the other Peanut's characters since I grew up watching those.

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    I finally got my first ride on Intimidator. It's credit #78. I did enjoy the ride. It didn't make my top 10 (made #11), however I do place it between Apollo's Chariot and Goliath (SFOG). This first ride I was in the middle and both trims hit pretty hard so it killed a bit of the momentum for me. Later rides were not as noticeable. If it didn't have the trims, it could easily be ranked much higher for me.

    After my ride on Intimidator we rode the Skytower which I was so pleased they had up and running in time for my visit. If I ever get around to it, I'll upload the video. I did take pics the next day while riding which I'll share as I go along.

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    The shadiest place in the park. I hope they never remove it.

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    Now it's on to Fury 325. All I can say is WOW. This is coaster credit # 79. My ride this day was in row 5. Going up the lift hill seemed endless but once it sped up and then crept over the first drop I was thrilled while I floated the whole way down. The ride never let up until it hit the brakes. The trim hit but actually seemed to assist in the airtime on that hill. While I wasn't sure where to rank it after this ride I was sure it would be in my top 5.

    Since this was basically a stop to process our passes we decided to leave after this. We did browse some of the shops on the way out. So far I was very impressed with how the park was looking and couldn't wait to come back the next day.

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    On the way to our hotel, we stopped at Pinky's Westside Grill. I definitely recommend this spot if you hadn't tried it. There are plenty of options for meat eaters, vegetarians and more (my partner is a pescetarian so he was able to find plenty on the menu for him to enjoy).

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    After check-in we unpacked and relaxed a while. When it was time for dinner we went down to the street and got take out from one of my old favorites Shomar's.

    (END PART 1)
     
  9. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    Photo Trip Report June 8th-15th: (Part 2)

    Tuesday, June 9th

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    Don't let the gloomy skies fool you. There was no rain to be seen this day...at least after we showed up. We arrived at the park about 9:30 and got an even better parking place than the day before.

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    For the music lovers... I love this angle.

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    We decided to go clockwise so I could hit up Nighthawk first since I know how the lines could be. It's nice they have the characters up front providing a bit of entertainment before they officially open.

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    First ride of the morning: Nighhawk. With one train operation and only 2 train wait...it was still like 15 minutes. This is ridiculous. Now that I've said that I will also say I understand the hate for this ride now. My last ride was in 2008 and it was quite awesome to me then. I even had it as my #7 coaster....well things have changed after this ride. I didn't even want to get back on. It was so rough compared to how I remember it being. Count me in on the ones who say tear it down and put in a B&M Flyer. I now have Nighthawk listed as my #48 and will probably go lower after I re-evaluate some things.

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    Now across the midway I come to a far superior ride. I was able to get a back seat ride this time and was even better than the day before. I didn't feel the first trim much which was great and the second one wasn't as bad as but still noticeable. I still place it at # 11. I just have a nostalgic thing for Apollo's Chariot since It was my first hyper and rode that one in it's first season.

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    It's nice to see some of the old buildings still around, tho with updated paint jobs. I have so many memories crossing the bridge and feeding the fish when I was growing up.

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    I had to get a few shots around here just in case they have some changes in the next year or years to come. I remember this queue being for the Jalopies.

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    Today Carolina Cobra was running so here's to credit #80. I was wondering how the newer trains were on these as the old ones are awful. Well they were a bit better and ended up raking this at #45; better than Nighthawk obvioiusly.

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    Next up was an old classic favorite of mine: Carolina Goldrusher. This was my first steel coaster back in the '80s and started my love for roller coasters. While it's not ranked that high on my list it still holds a bit of nostalgia for me.

    (End Part 2)
     
  10. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    Photo Trip Report June 8th-15th: (Part 3)

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    I didn't get a chance to try Chickies and Pete's but I love how it looks. I'll try it next time I come.

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    Ricochet was my 2nd wild mouse coaster when I rode it it's debut season. I didn't ride since it had the longest line in the park each day we were here. I've been on it so no big deal.

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    On to Carolina Cyclone. This was the first coaster I rode with inversions back when I was brave enough to try it way back when. It's definitely gotten rougher since my last visit in '08. I had a headache when I got off. I actually ranked Cobra one position higher.

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    After hydrating myself I decided to jump on Vortex before lunch. Having riden this many times over the years I knew what I was in for. The first half of the ride was fine. Then came that pesky corkscrew. I know how to hold my head and brace for them but I hadn't fully recovered from the head-banging I got from Cyclone. While it's not the worst stand up I've been on, I would welcome a conversion to floor-less even with it's short layout.

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    Rip Roarin' Rapids was closed most of my trip. While I had no intentions of riding it, it would have been nice to get some pictures of it running.

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    Our choice for lunch: Harmony Hall. I really like this addition as it was much needed for the park. My partner got the cheese pizza which he said was good and I had the steakburger with sidewinder fries. The burger was pretty standard but filling and the fries were definitely good and more unique than other parks offerings. I'll have to try the barbeque sandwich next time. Now it was time to take a stroll and let the food settle before getting on anything. So it was picture taking time through Planet Snoopy and so on.

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    Ripcord worked good in this spot. I thought it was going to be a cluttered mess but it worked with the space available.

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    Once again I was so happy the Carolina Skytower was operating. I was able to take pictures this time which some have already shown up earlier in this report, with more further on.

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    Another headbanging Vekoma...nice to take pictures of, but decided to pass this trip. I've been on it before and don't want to relive the headbanging. It would be nice to see the new style trains/restraints on this one and any others. The one at Fun Spot is such a joy to ride and reride.

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    I so enjoyed this ride when I was younger. However on my last visit in '08 this is the one thing that made me nauseous. I didn't ride this time but took a pic just because.

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    I mentioned before that I was glad to see the Nick theming gone. That especially goes for the carousel. It was the gawdiest looking ride in the area when it was Nickelodeon. While it was mainly on the exterior it still was an eyesore to me. I'm so glad they went with a more classic look when it changed to Planet Snoopy.

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    I already credit whored this one back in the year it opened as Taxi Jam. No need to get it again...lol

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    Woodstock Express. This was the first coaster I ever rode when I was about 5. It scared the living daylights out of me and I refused to get on anything (including the monorail) for some time after that. I guess it's not always good to throw someone on a ride until they are ready. Who knows how many credits I'd have today if I had loved it from the start.

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    I've only been on one of these and due to circumstances later in the trip I didn't take a spin on them this time.

    (End Part 3)
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
  11. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    Photo Trip Report June 8th-15th: (Part 4)

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    Next we did Dinosaurs Alive! Since I had a gold pass and he had a silver pass he only had to pay $2.50 so why not? I thought he was still $5 but hey I won't complain. It was a nice stroll after having lunch and wasn't terribly too hot so it was ok. I took lots of pictures that I'll probably never really look at again for awhile, but I'm sure my nephew who loves dinosaurs will have fun looking through them. I posted them all on Facebook so I'm sure my sister will let him look at them at some point. This is definitely a one and done attraction for us. It will be nice to see what they do with the area whenever it's time for their extinction (again).

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    Once everything was settled I went for a ride on Afterburn. I still rank this one pretty high on my list @ #4. The only Invert I've been on so far that beats this one is Montu. It's interesting to see the T-G still on the station after so many years since it was Top Gun. I guess they have a reason for everything they do. Either that or they just keep forgetting about it...lol

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    I hadn't done this since it was Scooby Doo themed on my last visit. I guess I should have as we passed by because this was the shortest line we saw among our visits to the park. When I did try to go back the line was just longer than I was wanting to wait.

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    Classics from my childhood. I skipped riding them but made sure to take a pic just in case this area ends up looking drastically different soon.

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    On to Thunder Road. My first "big boy" woody. I'm so glad I was able to make it before they "retire" it next month. Only the blue side was open however. Not sure what was going on with the other. I only heard someone injured themselves on the lapbar? Who knows with these rumors. They may have just been running one side since the park wasn't busy. At least I got one side. The ride definitely benefited from the refurbishment done. The rides that I got were the best I can ever remember. They were also quite smooth except the last hill before the brakes...which didn't bother me at all. I used to come off with a headache after a couple rides, but I could have ridden it over and over and been just fine. I'll miss you Thunder Road...if you indeed leave us....(yes I'm holding onto a little hope...I have that right. Until I see it come down I'll hold on....lol

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    We skipped Boomerang Bay. Once again I did get a pic of the entrance in case it becomes Soak City or whatever next year.

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    Next it was time to brave Windseeker...all while hoping I wouldn't be one that it decided to get stuck on....lol Fortunately it didn't and I enjoyed the ride. It's not overly intense or anything. It's pretty much an open-air Skytower that spins a bit faster. I would get on again. It was a nice way to cool off...once I got on.

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    I finished the day off at Fury 325. I had to save the best for last. Since the line wasn't very long I took a chance and asked for the back row and got it. It was like riding a complete different ride than the day before when I was in the middle. I really floated out of my seat the entire way down the first drop and had several pops of airtime throughout the course. I didn't even mind the trim which allowed an extra bit of airtime going over it. The helix was even more intense in the back. This ride made this my new # 1 coaster. This is something since I'm more an inversion kind of guy. If they would build something similar to this in FL (perhaps BGT) I would be a happy camper. SWO is getting Mako next year, but I don't think it will even come close...but a good step for us at least.

    (End Part 4)
     
  12. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    Photo Trip Report June 8th-15th: (Part 5)

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    After leaving the park we freshened up and went over to my aunt's house in Tega Cay for a visit. She then joined us at one of my favorite restaurants in the area and currently the best fish camp still around IMO: Captain Steve's. They never fail to deliver on the food. I ordered the small popcorn shrimp meal and was only able to eat about half. He got the small combo plate of popcorn shrimp and salt & pepper catfish and only ate about half. This saved us a lunch eating out one day later in the week. I wish they could just pick up and move near where I live. There are a few places here that are ok, but FL really is more so known for more upscale type seafood...I'm more a down home fish camp kinda guy. Even my partner said it's better than the places we go where we live and he's born and raised where we live.

    Wednesday, June 10th

    We decided to slow things down a bit from amusement parks and just explore some other places I wanted to show him and some places he wanted to see too...lol We started with Manifest Disc on South Blvd. I spent many hours at that place when I lived in Charlotte and worked as a DJ...and for personal music too. He found quite a bit to add to his extensive collection. I wasn't really looking and still trying to play catch up from not getting enough sleep from all the excitement....plus I was hungry...lol

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    For lunch we stopped at one of the best local dive joints in the city: Zack's. I used to go here all the time when I lived here. I couldn't pass up getting a Zack's Special. Oh I can still taste it. He got the trout sandwich and was quite surprised at how good it was. If there were only more time in our trip we would have definitely gone back.

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    While we were taking a break from amusements...that didn't stop us from conquering Crowders Mountain after lunch. Oh my what an experience....one that we should have done first thing in the morning....lol While it wasn't tripple-digit hot, it would have definitely been easier before the afternoon heat and humidity set it. It was worth it once we reached the top. This was my first time making it to the top. I tried it about 15 years ago or so and only made it about a fourth of the way up before turning back. This time I was determined and we did it together. It took about an hour and 15 minutes to get to the top using the Backside Trail (shortest one at about .8 miles). It was only about 20 minutes coming down.

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    For dinner we treated ourselves to The Open Kitchen. I lived in Charlotte from birth to 2006 and never once had I stepped foot in this place. Such a shame...especially since I used to work right around the corner. I liked what I got (spaghetti with meat sauce). However the pizza my partner got? He didn't think much of it. He even said the pizza at Harmony Hall the day before was much better. I tasted it too and while it was ok...I wasn't impressed either. I would have thought an authentic Italian place...the one who introduced pizza to Charlotte...would have been better than that. I guess it depends on what you order.

    (End Part 5)
     
  13. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    Photo Trip Report June 8th-15th: (Part 6)

    Thursday, June 11th

    This was the day we decided to go to Carowinds after lunch. In the morning we went to visit the cemetery where my maternal grandparents were buried. I placed some new flowers and took pictures to share with family and add to the findagrave memorial online. We then went back to the room to eat our leftovers before heading to the park.

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    Always a welcome view coming down I-77S.

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    I decided to get some of the rides I had skipped earlier. First up was Woodstock Express. It's amazing that after 40 years this ride is still as thrilling as it is. The coaster that once scared the crap out of me when I was 5 is something I'd love to have in my backyard.

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    We were passing by Windseeker and guess what. It was stuck....lol It was only a short time because it was running again next time I looked over maybe 15 minutes later. I wonder if anyone contacted WSOC?

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    I was interested in seeing if the rebuilt section on Hurler made any difference from my last visit in '08. To my disappointment it really did nothing. After that turn it was a complete snooze-fest. I just thought it looked slow on the webcam when watching from home. Now I know it wasn't just my eyes. There was no airtime what-so-ever after the first drop, I think I would have rather it beat me up like it used to back in the day. Tear It Down!

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    I finished off the day again with Fury 325. Having ridden in the back seat far right it once again confirmed it's placement as my new #1.

    Here comes the bad news. I was going to ride one more time but something happened on the way down the exit stairs. I missed the last step coming down and sprained my ankle. Fortunately I was able to grad the railing so I didn't hit my head on the ground which would have been much worse. There was a nice guy and I'm assuming his sons with him saw what happened and stayed with me until first aid arrived. He had even went up to the platform to get me some ice while I was waiting. I called my partner to meet me at the exit and he starts taking pics...which I'm not sharing here...lol He made sure I was ok first of course. Once the EMT got there and they got me to first aid I rested and had ice on it for awhile until I was ok to walk around. After this I'm just not taking any more out of town trips in June. Last time I went on one was in June '08 and I sprained and tore the MCL in my right knee while in Williamsburg. June is my bad luck month. At least this one wasn't as bad...tho I still have a bit of pain in my foot from time to time, but it's feeling better day by day.

    After that ordeal I obviously wasn't about to do anything with stairs so we went ahead and did our souvenir shopping before heading out. Before leaving the parking lot we went to the other end by Thunder Road and I was able to take several pics. I'm surprised security didn't bother us as I've heard they've been a bit more strict as of late. The only sign of security or police was a county sheriff car on the maintenance road riding along the maintenance road beside Thunder Road inside the fence. Anyway, here are some of those pics:
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    I was happy I was able to get this angle of Thunder Road before leaving.

    After leaving Carowinds we freshened up at the NC Welcome Center and then I showed him several places I used to live and the schools I went to.

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    Dinner was at Joe Hooper's. Quite a nice surprise. The food and atmosphere was great. It's a place my partner found online and wanted to try so I gave in and was worth it. The homemade potato chips are excellent as an appetizer or side.

    The rest of the trip was pretty much visiting friends, trying other eateries, flea markets, finding other relatives graves and checking out other spots I wanted to see before leaving on the 15th.

    (End Part 6)
    (END REPORT)
     
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  14. shiekra38

    shiekra38 Veteran Member

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    What a charming park..thanks for the detailed report!

    I wish we had something like Fury in Florida...looks amazing!
     
  15. sjago13

    sjago13 Premium Member

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    Fury is my personal number 1 as well.
     
  16. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    Carowinds is teasing 2016 on it's Facebook Page:
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  17. sjago13

    sjago13 Premium Member

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    I rode both intimidators in the same day. Is there some kind of sticker I should ask for?
     
  18. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
  19. cwgator

    cwgator Member

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    Sorry to double post but this is in regards to what will be replacing Thunder Road. There will be a massive water park expansion (as hinted), almost doubling it's size. A trademark was also found some time ago with the name "Carolina Harbor" which may be the new name of the water park:
    Carolina Harbor TM.JPG

    Plans were found by jordN1414 over on Carowinds Connection earlier this week. :
    • The original wave pool (Great Barrier Reef) will be replaced by a huge water fortress play area
    • New splash pad with current one upgraded
    • A new wave pool will be placed along Carowinds Blvd (Other side of where TR was-Bondi Beach wave pool staying)
    • A new slide complex with six slides like Kings Dominion got this year (where TR's lift was)
    • Volleyball Courts (once again)
    • A new restaurant
    • New and upgraded bath houses
    • A new waterpark entrance.
    • A new vehicle exit directly onto Carowinds Blvd which will help alleviate some of the traffic on busier days.
    • Expansion space still available for where TR's turnaround was.
    9Zwu183.jpg Screen_Shot_2015_08_10_at_9_35_26_PM.png
    Slide Complex will be like this one they added at Kings Dominion this year:
    8560030_G.jpg

    So far this is all that has been uncovered. There may be more to come as in possible renovation in the County Fair area with flat ride (s) where Thunder Road's station was (as it shows nothing waterpark related in the plans [yet]), and possible changes where the mini-golf is. The official announcement will be Thursday Aug 27th.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  20. martymcflyy85

    martymcflyy85 Veteran Member

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    So much history with Thunder Road. It was hard to watch the video of it being demolished. A big part of my childhood is now gone.
     

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