Carowinds plans record-setting coaster, plus more upgrades for 2015
Published: August 25, 2014 at 10:39 PM
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.
Published: August 26, 2014 at 12:27 AM
I as wondering why this was getting no attention on this site really, but I am glad to see someone is covering it.
I'm not a thrill coaster person so much, but the thing about this that has me excited is the new parking and entrance upgrades. It seems like they may be about to make the park more awesome looking and convenient to drive up and park. From the pictures it looks as if there may be more opportunity to park closer to the walkway to the front gate now and the walkway up to the gate is going to be awesome. I'd say this improvement in infrastructure will have a long term great impact on the park. Very excited about it and hoping to see more family friendly additions in the future to go along with this thrill seeker drawing addition. It will be an excited coaster to watch while walking in though, even if I have no intentions of getting on it.
Published: August 26, 2014 at 3:34 AM
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?
Also, if one was going to visit Carowinds.... any recommendations on places to stay nearby that are great for families?
Thanks, and go Gamecocks!
Published: August 26, 2014 at 5:12 AM
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 ;+)
Published: August 26, 2014 at 5:34 AM
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.
Some of the speakers at the media reveal also hinted that their 2015 announcement would make a big "splash" so I suspect a water park is in the works and will open after Fury.
There were a couple of two star hotels right at the Carowinds entrance. They are certainly the most convenient but nothing exceptional. I stayed at the Quality Inn and found it to be reasonably priced and clean. Their included breakfast was also decent. If you are looking for more deluxe accommodations just head a little deeper into Charlotte
Published: August 26, 2014 at 5:38 AM
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?
Published: August 26, 2014 at 6:42 AM
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.
Published: August 26, 2014 at 7:30 AM
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.
Published: August 26, 2014 at 9:28 AM
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.
Published: August 26, 2014 at 10:38 AM
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.
Published: August 26, 2014 at 6:49 PM
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).
But then I started hearing coworkers talk about it (because they always like to believe they'll hear about these things before me). When they describe it, that little "giga" descriptor is lost in translation so they think Carowinds is getting the tallest, fastest coaster in the world.
I have to commend Cedar Fair on that one. They HAD to know that this was going to happen. On the one hand, it's a little disingenuous to allow that kind of misinformation, but it's not really something they can control. Their announcement is 100 percent truthful. It's not their fault people don't read good.
Published: August 27, 2014 at 6:49 AM
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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