Carowinds, Kings Dominion Go to Year-Round Operation

October 18, 2022, 9:16 AM · More North American theme parks are making jump to staying open all 12 months of the year.

Carowinds announced today that it will remain open on weekends after the upcoming holiday season, expanding to year-round operation. Located near Charlotte, straddling the border between North and South Carolina, Carowinds traditionally has started the year earlier than many seasonal amusement parks in the United States. But now fans won't have to wait longer than the next weekend to enjoy the park and its highly ranked coasters.

Update: Cedar Fair sister park Kings Dominion also has announced that it will go year-round after the holidays.

Of course, refurbishments are still a thing - and as fans of Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and other year-round parks have learned - that means seasonal downtimes for rides when your park does not close for the winter. So just because the park is now open 52 weeks of the year does not guarantee that every attraction will operate for all that time.

But the expanded calendar means more days for the park's season passholders to visit, which Cedar Fair is hoping will make its season passes a more attractive deal - especially for residents of Virginia and the Carolinas who might be concerned about increasing prices at those Florida parks that many of them may have been visiting for the weekend in the past.

The move matches area rival Busch Gardens Williamsburg's recent move to year-round operation, evening whatever advantage Busch Gardens might have achieved over the Cedar Fair parks by lengthening its season for its passholders.

For daily tickets to Carowinds and its SCarowinds Halloween event, you can save over half off on select dates via our travel partner's Carowinds tickets page. Discounted tickets to Kings Dominion also are available

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Replies (4)

October 18, 2022 at 10:13 PM

This might also be good news for SF Over Georgia fans too. Although the SF chain is struggling, SFoG might not want to stand by and watch their closest competitor make the jump to year round ops. Time will tell I suppose.

October 18, 2022 at 11:49 PM

From a fan perspective this is great, I certainly won't be complaining about more opportunities to visit a park when its slow.

From a business perspective TBH I would be shocked if this makes it past year one. Big parks lose so much money by operating when they are dead, just look at Disneyland Paris which has been losing money every January/February/March for 25 years, and that is a Disney Park literally right in Europe's most famous and visited city, with trains from all over Europe and Paris dropping off right in front of the park gates. A holiday event can be a big draw, But Jan/Feb are colder than December and without a major event like that going on the park will be just be cold and empty.

October 19, 2022 at 8:28 AM

Kings Dominion also announced year-round operations yesterday.

I get the desire to increase revenue, which is most easily accomplished by adding days to the calendar instead of trying to get more guests to show up on existing operational days, but January and February are not ideal months to operate high intensity thrill rides. I fear that these parks will end up paying staff for days that the parks will inevitably close for weather. I don't mind riding coasters in 40-degree weather, but most park guests just won't make the drive to the theme park on a crummy weather day.

I see the potential advantage of year round operations to eliminate the costs to winterize and un-winterize attractions, but the savings there will be more than offset by the labor costs to operate a park with maybe 1,000 guests along with those days that the parks have to completely close due to poor weather (cold rain/snow).

October 19, 2022 at 6:24 PM

Yeah Russell, I'd be very curious as to how the current staffing levels are at these parks that will allow them to do this. Especially when we've seen other parks like Magic Mountain and Fiesta Texas cut back on hours and operating attractions even during the summer season.

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