Carowinds plans record-setting coaster, plus more upgrades for 2015
It is a good time to be a theme park enthusiast. Carowinds has received a $50 million boost from Cedar Fair to make the Carolina park a world-wide destination. The fresh influx of money is going to go toward the creation of a new entry plaza, Carolina themed dining options and the debut of the largest and fastest gigacoaster, Fury 325.
First off, Cedar Fair did an outstanding job for this media event last week. It was evident that a lot of care and attention to detail went into this big reveal. Since the park is closed during the week at this time of the year the only people in attendance were the other guests so it was a nice change of pace to walk around a park devoid of crowds.
Guests are first greeted by a red carpet and offered a much appreciated glass of iced sweet tea. All over the park and in the main meeting area, Harmony Hall are strange honeycombs. Even the ice sculpture on the table maintained the theme.
The presentation began with the sounds of hornets buzzing and we were finally let in on the big secret: Fury 325. This is going to be the centerpiece for the new expansion and it is a doozy. Opening in 2015 the new ride promises to be the world’s tallest and fastest Gigacoaster and North America’s longest steel coaster. At 325 feet the ride will reportedly be visible from Uptown Charlotte and feature an 81 degree first drop and “like an angry hornet chasing its target” through a series of hills and drops. Fury 325 promises to launch riders through 6,602 feet of track for 3 and half minutes at a top speed of 95 mph.
The proposed ride sounds phenomenal but take a gander for yourselves:
Carowinds also announced that they will be restructuring the parking lot and adding a new front entrance. In addition, they promised to turn the park into a foodie paradise with lots of Carolina favorites available. After the reveal we were all allowed to sample these new in park offerings.
Most of the food were takes on southern favorites like a pulled-pork-and-slaw sandwich, potato wedges stuffed with pimento cheese, and a rice gumbo dish. While I applaud Cedar Fair for expanding their food selections, there is still room for improvement. The pulled pork sandwich was very light on the pork and the hamburger patty was half the size of the bun. The potato wedge on the other hand was excellent and I hope they keep it on the upcoming menu.
One of the cooler (forgive the pun) aspects was the giant ice sculpture featuring the new Fury logo. It was a spectacular piece of art and also served a function as placed within each honeycomb were mini desserts for patrons to sample.
Overall it was a fantastic experience and great news for all theme park junkies. As a final gift Carowinds also allowed guests to ride the Intimidator before they left. This was my first time on this coaster and it was outstanding. Great air time, nice speed and thrilling drops. I was fortunate enough to ride it three times without a wait (front row, middle and back row) and Fury 325 promises to be 100 feet taller. We are all living in a golden age for theme parks.
I as wondering why this was getting no attention on this site really, but I am glad to see someone is covering it.
Thanks for the update, Matt. Do you know if all the work you mentioned will be accomplished before the start of next season, or is the transformation something that will be ongoing for the next few years?
Great article, and it looks like Fury is going to be a great addition to the park. I know the effect that Gatekeeper had on Cedar Point in reenergizing the entrance to the park- Fury will do the same for Carowinds. Plus Cedar Fair is focusing more on foods- I with they would do so more at Cedar Point (although we do have those amazing perch sandwiches that James Rao couldn't get enough of while here ;+)
The expected opening day for Fury is slated for Spring of 2015. If construction completes along a similar timeline as Intimidator we are probably looking at an April 2015 opening date.
How long will the ride be? The full POV video is only 1min 40, so do they keep you from unloading untill after the 3min 30 has passed?
This is nice to hear. My wife and I are planning a whirlwind theme park trip next year and Carowinds was on the list. Im looking forward to checking it out about this time next year.
Sadly the iconic Plantation House at the entrance will be torn down. While I welcome the entrance improvements, it's a shame the entrance will lose the southern identify and become more generic.
I guess record setting coasters haven't abated. I wish more amusement parks will try to have more well-rounded experiences. Watching the video was enough for me.
Having ridden Leviathan earlier this summer, Carowinds is looking at a sure hit from Fury 325. The layouts look very similar, and I had a similar impression to the POV of Leviathan as I do for Fury, meh. However, Leviathan is easily one of the top 10 coasters on the planet, and Fury looks to even one-up Canada's top coaster. The redesign of the entry plaza was desperately needed for this park because the current entry forces guests into a bottleneck, which is why they needed to open a second park entry over by Afterburn.
When they first announced this, I was baffled by the marketing. Calling this the "tallest, fastest giga coaster in the world" seems like a bit of a stretch. By throwing in the giga moniker, it only positions itself as being the tallest and fastest coaster in a field of five (since the strata coasters are taller and faster).
I also find it interesting when parks tweak their claims to make them seem more impressive then they are, but it does seem to work. Only the coaster nerds really know the score, and these ad campaigns typically stay true to the facts, but present them in a way to impress the general public. Personally, I would have instead presented this as the world's tallest and fastest B&M coaster on the planet, because the "giga" term is pretty meaningless.
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