SCarolina Coaster Classic 2014

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend an ACE Southeast event at Carowinds – SCarolina Coaster Classic.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicAfter registration, over 60 coaster enthusiasts lined up patiently waiting for the parking lot gates to open.

SCarolina Coaster Classic Imtimidator running through its safety checks was enough to keep some of us entertained.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThe new toll plaza that opened last week looks great!

SCarolina Coaster ClassicAfter exiting the toll plaza, we begin to see parts of the new record breaking coaster, Fury 325, off in the distance.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicWe parked and worked our way back around to the front entrance.  Once there, we could see all that remains of the former toll plaza that had served many millions of people.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicI spent the day with some friends of mine from Carowinds Connection and we started the day out with Exclusive Ride Time (ERT) on Intimidator.  Unfortunately there are now many video moments of me recorded forever.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicAfter the park opened to the public, we headed over to Lucy’s Crabbie Cabbie, the park’s kiddie coaster, as Carowinds let us ride it for 30 minutes without having to have a child ride with us.  Many of us took that “opportunity.”

Disclaimer:  I got some of my friends in poses or with expressions that made the pictures caption worthy.  The captions I came up with are purely random based on what I see and may or may not be what they are actually thinking or saying.  If you would like to see the originals without my editing as well as additional photos, you can find them in my flickr album.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicAfter we had our fill of Lucy’s Crabbie Cabbie, we headed over to the “flyers” – AKA Woodstock Gliders.  *yawn* While we waited in line, people floated around in the air with their flyers.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicWe gave them a show.  If you didn’t know:  by properly controlling your wing and momentum, you can ‘snap’ your flier from down to the ground near vertical, high into the air to near horizontal.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicOnce we were done flying around, we headed over to Harmony Hall for an early lunch.  This new multi-use dining facility has been a great addition to Carowinds.  The introduction of higher quality food to the park is greatly appreciated and well worth trying.  If you plan your dining time properly, you can be treated to a live show while eating.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThe early lunch was to make sure we didn’t miss the opportunity to head behind “the fence” and get a chance to play in the mysterious dirt back there.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicCarowinds’ head of maintenance, Steve, and head of construction, Bob, gave us a tour of the area and answered our questions.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicFor your reference, we’re standing in the general area of where the final brakes will be as the Fury 325 train will head toward us, nearing the end of its run.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThe elevated area is where the station is going.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicOur every move was still being recorded.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThis coaster is going to have a ride queue!  Can you believe it!?!

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThere was a lot of rebar lying around.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicAnd you certainly need it, for footers like this.  You are looking close up at the largest footer for the entire coaster – the base of the lift hill.  It is attached directly to bedrock over 20 feet into the ground.  All the footers in this area are done this same way because they have to work around existing underground utilities.  Other areas of the coaster near the front of the park are using a different footer system because they don’t have to work around utilities.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicSafety first.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicStanding in the ‘station area’, you can see where this excavator is digging the station footer on the left.  Out to the front of us is where the transfer track will be.  This is where they will load and remove trains from the main track.  It is between the station and the lift hill.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicAfter our ‘dirt tour’ of part of the construction site, we headed to the Carowinds Theater for a Q&A session with the park’s new general manager.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicMike Fehnel, general manager and vice president of Carowinds, gives us his background of working at sister park, Dorney Park, in Allentown, PA, for the past 20 years.  Afterwards he gives us a chance to ask questions.    Julie, the park’s PR Manager, stands by to make sure he doesn’t tell us too much.  He does let us know that he loves trees, as do we.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicWe also love lots of bright, colorful lights at night, both on and off the rides.  🙂

SCarolina Coaster ClassicAfter prodding Mike for as much information as we could get, we headed back out to greet the epic crowds.  Today also happened to be a music festival in the Palladium Amphitheater, so the crowds were extra heavy, as indicated by the large overflow from the full Intimidator queue.  Most other lines were of this proportion so we took the opportunity to check out the park and work on our scavenger hunt contest.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicWe arrived for dinner at the Palmetto grove shelter.  It didn’t disappoint.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicAfter dinner we were treated to our first surprise, the opportunity to explore the coaster parts that have arrived on site.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicCoaster enthusiasts love the opportunity to get up close and check out new coaster parts.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThis is one of the main support beams for the massive lift hill.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThis shot gives a better perspective as to how large of a support column it really is.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicDoes that look straight to you?

SCarolina Coaster ClassicNow you see me…

SCarolina Coaster ClassicReally?

SCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicThis appears to be part of the lift hill.  I don’t have the blueprints, though, to be 100% sure.  See how huge they are?  By the way, if copies of the blueprints are legitimately available for sale, contact me.  🙂

SCarolina Coaster ClassicAs far as the eye can see, there are parts of the support structure for Fury 325.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicWe all had positive feelings for Fury 325.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThumbs up, JS.  I appreciate you checking out the top coat for us.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThe label confirms that they haven’t been shipping the coaster to the wrong park.

SCarolina Coaster Classic We pause to get our last looks of this view.  The next time we are standing here for a tour, there will certainly be plenty of track in place.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicAs previously announced, the massive upgrade to Carowinds will require the removal of the plantation house, a sight seen by many millions of visitors for the past 40 years.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicOur last surprise of the night would be a tour of the plantation house.  We would be some of the last people to see and document the interior of this iconic house.  The new entrance will be much larger with better flow and feature a contemporary design.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThis is one of the last views out the lower front window at the crowds gathering for a fun night at SCarowinds.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicA uniquely interesting rounded staircase leads you upstairs.  You can feel the temperatures rise as you climb, due to the broken air conditioning system that unfortunately was tightly integrated into the design of the building.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicHere is a view of the entrance from one of the second story windows.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThere is a lot of detail in the intricate moldings.  We were happy to know that as much as possible would be reclaimed for local Habitat for Humanity stores.    Some parts will also be preserved for historical purposes.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicAs we look down the NC/SC border on the front plaza of the park from one of the balconies, the last of the daytime crowds filter out of the park because it is now closed.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicOne interesting detail is that the toilet in the ladies’ room is pink while the toilet (and urinal!) are black in the men’s room.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicIntricate designs adorned this beautiful space.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicMore crowds gather out front.  This is one of the last views we will see of this so thankfully it is preserved in time.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicJulie shares details of this room and memories from the past 40 years.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicThis is truly a once in a life time event that I am proud to be a part of.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicIt’s time to head out and get a head start in the SCarowinds fun.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicWe were escorted to front of the line at the new 7th Ward haunted maze.  It was great!

SCarolina Coaster Classic

SCarolina Coaster ClassicWe spent the rest of the night enjoying some of the haunts before it was time to head home.

SCarolina Coaster ClassicSCarolina Coaster ClassicGood night, Carowinds!  2014 R.I.P. plantation house.

Thank you, ACE, and Carowinds for a great day!

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SCarolina Coaster Classic 2014 was last modified on 06/13/2015 by Rick
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