Yesterday we went to Carowinds Amusement Park for the first time since Cedar Fair bought the park. It was a good opportunity to see what changes had been made as well as process our passes for the upcoming season. If you are ever looking for season passes for many entertainment venues, you often get the best deal by purchasing next year’s season’s passes at the end of the current season. Carowinds is no exception.
All in all we were pleased with the changes that have been made. Cedar Fair kept a lot of the character of the park that everybody has come to love and it looks like they have done quite a bit of upkeep so that the park looks clean and fresh. We were able to find plenty of places with shade and other areas looked more open than in previous trips to the park.
One of the biggest anticipations of the trip was a ride on Intimidator, the first hypercoaster at Carowinds. The ride lived up to the anticipation and my daughter and I rode it seven times. It easily made it to the top of our list of favorite coasters. For now… Our special needs son absolutely loves amusement parks including roller coasters and enjoyed riding Intimidator twice.
EDITOR’S NOTE (5/20/14): This trip to Carowinds and first ride on Intimidator and any hypercoaster turned Rick into the roller coaster and theme park enthusiast he is today.
The park was not very busy at all. Sundays apparently are by far the best day to visit the park. Nearly every ride was a walk-on or had very short lines. That gave us the opportunity to ride as much as we wanted and were able to ride a few rides multiple times in a row since nobody was in line.
We had to ride Thunder Road (partially seen at the top of the picture below) as it is one of my son’s favorite coasters at the park. Unfortunately it is not mine and it felt much rougher than I previously remember it. Also, unfortunately we were given an opportunity to ride it immediately after because the station was empty. My son insisted that we ride it again… so we rode it again.
Since it was such a slow day I took the opportunity to get a quick credit ride in. My daughter and I walked right on to Carolina Cobra, a boomerang coaster. The ride is smoother than I anticipated but going backwards through inversions is a unique feeling for my body that will take some getting used to.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Time has not made it any easier to go backwards like that through a loop.
We continue to expand our travels to as many amusement parks as possible and consider customer service to be the biggest factor we use when recommending parks. Even though many of the rides appeared to be short-handed with staff (I had a couple staff members mention that to me) they were very efficient, friendly, and tried to help as much as possible. To me, it seemed like we received better customer service for the most part than we did with previous owners of the park.
There are also changes I noticed around the park which leads me to believe that they have a higher safety standard than some other parks that I have been to. Despite that, there was an issue with the Scrambler that closed it down for the rest of the day. Fortunately nobody appeared to be seriously injured. This incident did cause a flurry of activity even bringing some higher-ups to the ride to check things out.
We did take my son on his first ride of Afterburn. I think it was a bit intense for him at points although he said he liked the ride. He’s not generally fond of coasters with inversions. My daughter and I took the opportunity to ride it one more time since there wasn’t a line. It is still a great coaster in my book.
Some other rides that we rode were Richochet, Carolina Goldrusher, Boo Blasters (my son’s favorite ride), Rip Roarin’ Rapids, and Woodstock Express. I also took my daughter on a credit run of Vortex since she’s tall enough now. I’m sure she’ll talk me into riding it again although I have no desire until they change the head rests so your head isn’t pounded to death.
No day at Carowinds is complete without a ride up the Carolina Skytower. We look forward to seeing the park in the Skytower at night next year with the new Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular. All in all everybody had a good time at the park and we look forward to more trips in the future.