After an easy drive down I85 from Kings Dominion, I settled into the hotel next to Cabela’s with great expectations of visiting my favourite fishin’ and huntin’ store once again. There was one slight problem though …. just across the road was my #1 all-time favourite coaster. Decisions … decisions …
1) With rain in the forecast for the next few days, I decided against Cabela’s, and walked across the parking lot towards Fury 325. It loomed large as I closed in on the entrance, and just like last year, I was amazed by the speed of Fury as it goes underneath the walkway bridge. It’s truly quite staggering how fast it’s still going considering it’s over half way back to the station. I walked thru the gate just before 6, and the park closed at 8. Surprisingly, outside the Fury entrance, I met up with the German couple who were in the same group as me on the BGW coaster tour. It truly is a small world. By the time we left, I’d done 6 rides on Fury 325 and 3 on Copperhead Strike. We said our farewells, and I wandered back across the parking lot in anticipation of 2 more days at the park. If it doesn’t rain ???
2) Copperhead Strike ….. what a fun ride … :) With the slow heartline roll out of the station, (reminded me of The Smiler) you get a feel for what’s coming-up on the rest of the ride. Hangtime …. and then, lot’s more hangtime. After the slow roll you enter a Mystic Timbers like shed, but it’s a quick little stop before the train launches forward towards a good hangtime loop. It’s not an intense coaster, but it’s one full of surprises and delivers quite the thrill during its 2-1/2min duration. The walk up to the station is superbly themed, and the coaster is all around as you make your way up to the ride. If there is 1 complaint I have, it’s the way the queue lines are laid out. There is no provision for a quiet day. We found ourselves climbing over or ducking under the vast majority of the railings on the walk to the ride. Mako was exactly the same, until they saw sense and removed some of the solid barriers and replaced with chains and clips. C-Strike would definitely benefit from these simple changes. The ops are great, and were really on top of quickly unloading and loading the trains. It’s definitely more of a family ride, and for a change I have to say the back seat is by far the best place to be. I was smiling all the way round, which for a lot of the coasters I ride these days is sadly not the norm. Yes, it’s a brand-new coaster, and yes it should be smooth … so I say ….. long live smooth, new, fun filled coasters … :) Copperhead Strike is a great addition to Carowinds.
3) The little Comfort Inn I stayed at is ideally placed for access to the park. Not the newest of hotels I’ve ever stayed at, but clean & tidy, and they offered a great “complimentary breakfast”. Although it’s interesting to see a new hotel; Springhill Suites by Marriot; being built on the R/H side of the vehicle entrance plaza, so that’ll be where I’ll stay the next time I visit. I’d guess it’ll be a 10 minute walk tops to the park entrance.
4) As I mentioned this time last year ….. I really like Carowinds. It has a good selection of coasters and flat rides, and it always comes across as being a friendly park. The ops on Fury and Copperhead Strike are top notch, and unlike those at Kings Dominion, they actually seem to enjoy what they are doing. Twisted Timbers staff were particularly bad, and that showed with the lengthy time it took them to unload and load the trains (4 mins on average). In contrast Fury ops are some of the best I’ve ever come across at any of the Cedar Fair parks. Kudos to all Carowinds ride ops.
5) Thursday was another quiet day, so it enabled plenty of ride time on Afterburn, Intimidator, Fury and Copperhead Strike. After a break for a few hours in the afternoon, I returned for the last couple of hours to do an almost identical repeat of the night before. Fury was flying, and we managed to get on just before 8, so the ops gave us a final re-ride for what was another memorable day at Carowinds.
6) Friday was a 9:30 start for pass holders, and a ½ hour exclusive ride time on Copperhead Strike. As I walked thru the park, the rain started so I did one soggy ride and then headed back out for a walk round Cabela’s. I’m always amazed, that no matter what the weather, people will turn up and ride the rides. Most weren’t even in rain gear !! I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to be pounded by the rain when travelling at 95mph on Fury 325 ….. yet people were on there, yelling and screaming. I can only guess it must have been from the pain more than the exhilaration ??
7) A regional park is a great place to visit when most of the day is washed out by rain, but then it stops. Unlike Orlando, where everyone rushes out of the hotels, and within an hour it’s the usual madness and mayhem, the locals aren’t that bothered, and so it was an almost empty Carowinds I walked into late Friday afternoon. In fact, it was that quiet they shut the park 3 hours early, at 7pm. Fury was running only one train, but I met up with a couple of local teens and we just went round and round and round in the front seat. They nearly killed me … LOL !! Copperhead Strike was the same, and I rode 4 in a row in the back before I waved the white flag …. :) These are the sort of days us coaster riders dream of.
8) Saturday is moving day, and I head towards Atlanta and Six Flags over Georgia. I’ve never visited this particular 6-Flags, so looking forward to another new park, and more new rides. Rain is once again in the forecast, so I’m not planning any particular day at the park as I’m anticipating having to keep an eye on the skies and go to the park as and when I get the chance. I also want to visit the aquarium, so that would be an ideal trip on the wettest of the 3 days.
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