Carowinds

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Carowinds
Carowinds Logo.svg
Slogan The Thrill Capital of the Southeast
Thrills Connect
Location Charlotte, North Carolina, Fort Mill, South Carolina, United States
Coordinates 35°06′10″N 80°56′30″W / 35.10278°N 80.94167°W / 35.10278; -80.94167Coordinates: 35°06′10″N 80°56′30″W / 35.10278°N 80.94167°W / 35.10278; -80.94167
Owner Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
General Manager Bart Kinzel[1]
Opened March 31, 1973
Previous names Paramount's Carowinds (1993 - 2006)
Operating season March - Early November
Area 398 acres (1.61 km2)
Rides
Total 64
Roller coasters 13
Water rides 8 (including Boomerang Bay)
Website www.carowinds.com

Carowinds is a 398-acre (161 ha) amusement park, located adjacent to Interstate 77 on the border between North and South Carolina, in Charlotte and Fort Mill, respectively. The park opened on March 31, 1973, at a cost of $70 million. This was the result of a four-year planning period spearheaded by Charlotte businessman Earl Patterson Hall, who was inspired to build the park by a 1956 trip to Disneyland and a dream of bringing the two states closer together. It is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.

Boomerang Bay is a 20 acre (81,000 m2) water park located within Carowinds's 398 acres and is included in regular park admission.

History[edit]

The original Carowinds logo, used from 1973 - 1992.
Carowinds logo used from 2003-2006

The Carowinds theme park was originally envisioned as a component of a large resort which would include hotels, a shopping center, a golf course, and an NFL stadium. However, attendance at Carowinds was curtailed by the 1973 oil crisis, and plans for the proposed resort were put on hold. Hall and the other stockholders of the Carowinds Corporation continued to operate the theme park through 1974, though sagging attendance and mounting debt forced the company to sell to Taft Broadcasting in early 1975. The park was purchased by Paramount Communications in 1993 and joined the Paramount Parks family. Ownership had transferred from Family Leisure Centers – a joint venture between Taft and Top Value Enterprises) – to Kings Entertainment Company, which in turn was acquired by Paramount. The park was renamed Paramount's Carowinds in 1993 and later became an asset of Viacom following its acquisition of Paramount in 1994.

The name "Carowinds" was derived from the park's original theme of the history and culture of the Carolinas, and is a portmanteau of "Carolina" and "winds", in reference to the winds that blow across the two states. Carowinds opens in late March each year and closes in early November, after the park's Halloween event, "Scarowinds". In 2005, a portion of the park reopened during December for the Winterfest Christmas festival. However, the park did not repeat the event in 2006, citing poor attendance. A similar decision was made regarding Kings Island's Winterfest.

Sale to Cedar Fair[edit]

On January 27, 2006, the Dayton Daily News reported that CBS Corporation (which split from Viacom at the end of 2005) would be selling Paramount's Carowinds and other parks in its Paramount Parks division.

On June 30, 2006, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company acquired Paramount Parks, including Carowinds.[2]

Although Cedar Fair continued to use the Paramount's Carowinds name through the remainder of the 2006 season, it began to phase out the Paramount name in press releases, the park website, and on signage within the park. In January 2007, a new logo featuring the Cedar Fair icon but lacking the "Paramount" name, was revealed on the park website. The new logo featured the trademark Cedar Fair flags, flying on the letter "I" on the Carowinds name. The other four Paramount-branded parks that Cedar Fair acquired all received similar changes. The "Paramount" name was dropped from all of the parks after the 2006 season.

Cedar Fair era[edit]

On August 26, 2013, Cedar Fair announced a $50-million investment plan to expand Carowinds over three years starting in 2014.[3] The expansion will include a $30-million roller coaster, a $2.5-million water slide, a $7-million food complex, and $4 million to improve the park's ticket booths and front areas.[4]

Current areas and attractions[edit]

The rides at Carowinds are based loosely around eight themed areas.

Carowinds Plaza[edit]

Ride Year opened Manufacturer Description Rating[5]
Carolina Skytower 1973 Intamin A 262-foot (80 m) tall Gyro tower that gives guests a view of Carowinds and Charlotte. It was originally sponsored by and branded as the Eastern Airlines Skytower. It is turned into a Christmas tree of lights during the holiday season. 2
Intimidator 2010 Bolliger & Mabillard A steel hyper roller coaster. It is inspired by the famous stock car racing driver Dale Earnhardt. Intimidator is the Southeast's longest, tallest and fastest roller coaster. It is 232 feet (71 m) tall and goes up to 80 mph (130 km/h). 5
Nighthawk 2004 Vekoma A Vekoma Flying Dutchman coaster. The coaster operated as Stealth at California's Great America before being installed at Carowinds. When moved to Carowinds, it was known as Borg Assimilator and was themed after the Borg character from the television show Star Trek: The Next Generation. The theming was removed when Cedar Fair acquired the park, and the ride was renamed Nighthawk. 5
Rip Roarin' Rapids 1982 Kings Island Entertainment Company A river rafting water ride. 3

Carolina RFD[edit]

Ride Year opened Manufacturer Description Rating[5]
Boo Blasters on Boo Hill 2010 Sally Corporation An interactive dark ride where guests shoot at targets to collect points. Originally, the building was a theater that housed a variety of shows. 2
Carolina Cobra 2009 Vekoma A standard Boomerang roller coaster, relocated from Geauga Lake. The train is pulled up the lift hill backward and then released down the hill forward into a cobra roll and vertical loop before repeating the journey in reverse. 5
WhiteWater Falls 1988 Hopkins Rides A shoot-the-chutes water ride. 4
WindSeeker 2012 Mondial A 301-foot (92 m) tower swinger ride that spins to music and a light show. It is the tallest ride ever built at Carowinds. 4

Carolina Boardwalk[edit]

Sign for Carolina Boardwalk
Ride Year opened Manufacturer Description Rating[5]
Carolina Cyclone 1980 Arrow Dynamics A steel roller coaster featuring two vertical loops and two corkscrews. It was the first roller coaster to feature four inversions. 5
Carolina Goldrusher 1973 Arrow Dynamics A steel roller coaster. It was the first roller coaster at Carowinds and is only one of three original rides still operating. 4
Ricochet 2002 Mack Rides A steel wild mouse roller coaster. 4

Carolina Showplace[edit]

Ride Year opened Manufacturer Description Rating[5]
The Scrambler Eli Bridge A classic Twist ride. It was originally named Kaleidoscope. 3
Vortex 1992 Bolliger & Mabillard A steel stand-up roller coaster. It was the South's first stand up roller coaster. 5

County Fair[edit]

Ride Year Opened Manufacturer Description Rating[5]
Action Theater 1994 Iwerks Entertainment, Inc A 3-D theater which currently houses Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia. N/A
Afterburn 1999 Bolliger & Mabillard An inverted roller coaster featuring 6 inversions. Formerly named Top Gun: The Jet Coaster (1999–2007). 5
Dodg’ems Majestic Rides A classic bumper cars attraction. 3
Southern Star 1986 Intamin A Looping Starship thrill ride. Formerly known as Frenzoid. 4
Thunder Road 1976 Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters A wooden racing roller coaster. It is notable as being the first coaster to cross state lines. 4
Yo Yo 2008 Chance Morgan A swing ride that currently occupies the spot where Whirling Dervish, the park's original Wave Swinger, was located. It was relocated from Geauga Lake.

Thrill Zone[edit]

Ride Year Opened Manufacturer Description Rating[5]
Drop Tower: Scream Zone 1996 Intamin A drop tower ride with a height of 160 feet (49 m) and a drop of 100 ft (30 m). It was originally named Drop Zone: Stunt Tower (1996–2007). 4
Hurler 1994 International Coasters, Inc A wooden out and back roller coaster. 4
Scream Weaver 1975 Anton Schwarzkopf A Schwarzkopf Enterprise ride. 4

Planet Snoopy[edit]

Ride Year Opened Manufacturer Description Rating[5]
Character Carousel Philadelphia Toboggan Company An antique carousel. The only attraction in Planet Snoopy that is not themed towards the Peanuts. 1
Charlie Brown's Wind Up Zamperla A miniature swing ride. 1
Flying Ace Aerial Chase 2003 Vekoma A suspended family coaster. Formerly called Rugrats Runaway Reptar. 4
Flying Ace Balloon Race Zamperla A flying balloon ride 2
Lucy's Crabbie Cabbie 1998 E&F Miler Industries A big city chase through Lucy's neighborhood ensues on this miniature, 15-foot-high (4.6 m) roller coaster with cars resembling taxi cabs. Formerly Hey Arnold's Taxi Chase. 2
Peanuts Pirates Heinrich Mack K.C, A rotating pirate ship ride themed to The Peanuts relocated from sister park Canada's Wonderland where it was once known as The Great Whale of China. 3
Snoopy vs. Red Baron Chance Rides A small plane ride themed to Snoopy. 2
Snoopy's Junction 1973 Crown Metal Products A miniature train ride. Originally opened with the park in the Country Crossroads section (now Carolina RFD) as Shortline Railroad. In 1975, the ride was moved to a new home. This train ride was formerly known as Flintstone Express, Yogi's Jellystone Garden and Dora the Explorer's Azul Adventure. 1
Snoopy's Space Race Go Forth Industries A small flying jet ride. 2
Snoopy's Yacht Club Go Forth Industries A mini speed boat ride relocated from sister park Canada's Wonderland where it was known as Bedrock Dock. 1
Woodstock Express 1975 Philadelphia Toboggan Company A family wooden roller coaster. Formerly Fairly Odd Coaster, Scooby Doo's Ghoster Coaster and Scooby Doo." 4
Woodstock Gliders 2005 Bisch Rocco Flying Skooters A Flying Scooters ride themed to Woodstock. First resided at Cincinnati's Coney Island Park in 1935. In 1972, debuted as Flying Eagles at sister park Kings Island with the park's opening. Moved to Carowinds in 2005. 3
Woodstock's Whirlybirds Caripro Amusement Technologies A mini monorail with helicopter cars themed to Woodstock. 2

Boomerang Bay[edit]

Boomerang Bay is Carowinds' water park. It has an Australian theme and opened in 1989 as Riptide Reef. It is included with the price of admission to Carowinds.

Paladium[edit]

The Paladium is an outdoor amphitheater located at Carowinds. It opened in 1975 and was the Charlotte area's premier outdoor concert venue until the opening of Blockbuster Pavilion, now PNC Music Pavilion, in 1991. Admission to the Paladium is separate from admission to Carowinds.

Fast Lane[edit]

Fast Lane is Carowinds virtual queue system. For an additional upcharge, visitors get a wrist band that enables them to use the Fast Lane on 14 of the most popular attractions, effectively bypassing the normal lines, and avoiding queuing.

The following Carowinds attractions are equipped for Fast Lane access. Intimidator and Nighthawk require a Fast Lane plus, which costs an additional fee.

SCarowinds[edit]

SCarowinds logo.jpg

In 2000, the park introduced SCarowinds; an annual Halloween attraction. SCarowinds is presented on select nights in September and October, as well as the first weekend in November. The park is open as Carowinds throughout the day, typically closes at 5:30pm, and reopens as SCarowinds at 7pm.[6] The experience includes numerous haunted attractions and incorporates most of the existing park rides into a nightmarish experience. The SCarowinds Halloween Haunt is recommended for ages 13 and up, but any age is permitted for admission.

Current attractions[edit]

As of 2013, SCarowinds features 12 attractions including seven mazes and five scare zones.[7]

Attraction Type Opened Location
The Asylum Maze 2008 Nighthawk pathway
CornStalkers Maze 2008 Carolina RFD
Defex Maze 2010 Intimidator Midway
Feeding Frenzy Scare Zone 2008 Shade Arbor
Fury Maze 2011 Carolina Boardwalk
Last Laff in 3D Maze 2008 County Scare
London Terror Scare Zone 2013 Intimidator Plaza
Mass Acres Scare Zone 2012 Carolina RFD
The Playground Scare Zone 2009 Planet Snoopy
Scary Tales Scare Zone 2013 Showplace Plaza
Silver Scream Maze 2008 Thrill Zone
Zombie High School Maze 2013 Carolina RFD Backlot

Live shows[edit]

Attraction Location Description
Blood Drums Cobra Midway Stage A percussion, music, sparks and lights show.
Creatures of the Night Carowinds Plaza Stage A music and dance show.
Enternal Jamnation Carowinds Theater A rock and pop musical.

Carowinds Festival of Music[edit]

The annual Carowinds Festival of Music allows music students to play in public performances and receive comments and ratings from nationally-recognized adjudicators. Bands, choirs, show choirs, and orchestras can all play for ratings. Plaques and ribbons are awarded for performances which receive ratings of superior and excellent.[8]

Timeline[edit]

Southern Star, originally added in 1986
Hurler, added in 1994
  • 2014: Two new slides will be added to Boomerang Bay: Surfer's Swell and Dorsal Fin Drop. New Harmony Hall marketplace is built in the Intimidator field, replacing Snoopy's GR8 SK8, Chick-Fil-A moves into former Country Kitchen building, and new restaurant, "Chickie's and Pete's" replaces Outer Hanks. Also, Xtreme Skyflyer is renamed to Ripcord and moved into the Nighthawk lake.[9] Ricochet is repainted green. Go-Karts are removed and land clearing begins for the 2015 roller coaster. Teasers are put up saying "The 8th Wonder of the World?" and "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day... VIII . XXI . MMXIV." These teasers point towards a Roman themed giga-coaster for the 2015 season that will be announced on August 21, 2014.
  • 2013: Dinosaurs Alive!, a walk-through Dinosaur Exhibit; Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia 3D (feature in Action Theater); $50 million expansion announced on August 26, to include multiple new attractions, concessions, games, and 285 jobs. This places Carowinds as the fourth largest Cedar Fair park.
  • 2012: WindSeeker, a 301-foot-tall (92 m) thrill ride, Fast Lane, Joe Cool's Driving School closes
  • 2011: Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular, a million-dollar nighttime walk-through light and sound experience featuring the Peanuts characters.Snoopy's starlight spectacular utilizes light,sound,and motion to create a full sensory experience. Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular runs from May 28 to September 4 in the County Fair and the Planet Snoopy sections of the park. Carowinds will stay open till 10pm every night June 27 to August 7. "Nights of Fire", nightly fireworks show will play July 1 to September 4 at Carowinds Plaza at 10:00 pm. Vortex receives a new red track and grey support paint scheme. Ricochet receives a touch up paint job. Work continues on Thunder Road and Hurler's rehab and work continues on replacing pavement with brick pavers to help reduce heat flow from walkways. Carowinds also expanded the park by 61 acres (250,000 m2).[10]
  • 2010: Intimidator: A 232-foot-tall (71 m), 5,316-foot-long (1,620 m) Bolliger & Mabillard hyper coaster. Nickelodeon Central becomes Planet Snoopy. Carolina Cyclone is repainted blue, yellow and orange.Scooby Doo's Haunted Mansion becomes Boo Blasters On Boo Hill, with new special effects; all connections to Scooby Doo have been removed. Carowinds rebuilds more sections of Thunder Road. Carowinds starts replacing pavement with brick pavers to help reduce heat flow from walkways.
  • 2009: Carolina Cobra, a Boomerang roller coaster featuring new trains from Vekoma, opens in the former location of the Nickelodeon Flying Super Saturator. Carowinds rebuilds more sections of Thunder Road. Nighthawk was repainted with yellow track and navy blue supports. Hurler receives some re-tracking. Scarowinds returns for its tenth year. Wild Thornberrys log flume removed for a new attraction. Dora the Explorer Azul's Adventure's track is also modified.
  • 2008: A second wave pool named Bondi Beach added along with cabanas in Boomerang Bay. This added 20 acres (81,000 m2) to the park making it 112 acres (0.45 km2). Geauga Lake's Yo Yo swing ride was also added in the County Fair section. Flying Super Saturator only operates on the Boomerang Bay operating calendar. Thunder Road now runs both sides going forwards again. The Flying Super Saturator is removed from the park in August.
  • 2007: Frenzoid was put back in as Southern Star in County Fair section. The price for a single day ticket dropped for the first time ever. Carolina Skytower was repainted to look like an American flag.
  • 2006: Frenzoid was removed. WaterWorks was rethemed and renamed to Boomerang Bay and converting the old Frenzoid lake into a heated lagoon. Thunder Raceway Go-Carts was built in the Thrill Zone. The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera (feature in Action Theater) was also added. Paramount Parks is sold to the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company for 1.24 billion dollars. This puts Carowinds under the Cedar Fair family of parks.
  • 2005: Nickelodeon Central expands into Animation Station, featuring Phantom Flyers (relocated from Kings Island as Flying Eagles), Flying Dutchman's Revenge, Little Bill's Cruisers, Dora the Explorer Azul's Adventure (Formerly Yogi's Jellystone Tour) and Frenzoid removal begins in September.
  • 2004: BORG Assimilator (later renamed Nighthawk) Flying coaster added.
  • 2003: Nickelodeon Central, featuring Rugrats Runaway Reptar (New Vekoma Jr. SLC), Wild Thornberrys River Adventure (Formerly Powder Keg Flume), and Rocket Power Air Time (Formerly Gauntlet); SpongeBob SquarePants 3D (feature in Action Theater); Carolina Sternwheeler (Original Ride) riverboat removed.
  • 2002: Ricochet and rethemeing of Carolina Crossroads area to Carolina Boardwalk.
  • 2001: SCOOBY-DOO's Haunted Mansion; WaterWorks expansion; Stan Lee's 7th Portal 3D (feature in Action Theater); Whirling Dervish (swing ride) removed
  • 2000: SCarowinds; Flying Super Saturator (steel coaster)
  • 1999: Top Gun: The Jet Coaster (Later renamed Afterburn) was added in the County Fair section of Carowinds.
  • 1998: Taxi Jam (Later renamed Lucy's Crabbie Cabbie), TV Road Trip (Later renamed Joe Cool's Driving School), and Chopper Chase (Later renamed Woodstock's Whirlybirds).
  • 1997: WaterWorks water park
  • 1996: Drop Zone: Stunt Tower (later renamed Drop Tower: Scream Zone) was added in the Wayne's World (later renamed Thrill Zone) section of Carowinds.
  • 1995: Xtreme Skyflyer was added in the Wayne's World (later renamed Thrill Zone) section of Carowinds.
  • 1994: Wayne's World (later renamed Thrill Zone) section with Hurler and Carowinds Monorail removed.
  • 1993: Action Theater was added in the County Fair section of Carowinds. Paramount Communications buys Carowinds, King's Dominion, King's Island, Great America, and Canada's Wonderland
  • 1992: Vortex was added in the Carolina Showplace section of Carowinds.
  • 1991: Expansion of Paladium; Speedway Cars removed.
  • 1990: Gauntlet (shooting star, later renamed GR8 SK8).
  • 1989: Riptide Reef water park; Expansion of Paladium.
  • 1988: WhiteWater Falls; White Lightnin' coaster removed; Black Widow (thrill ride) removed.
  • 1987: Expansion of Hanna-Barbera Land with three new rides; Old Jalopies antique car ride removed; Oaken Bucket removed.
  • 1986: Frenzoid, a looping Viking ship was added.
  • 1985: Blackbeard's Revenge (mystery house).
  • 1984: Smurf Island (themed area).
  • 1983: Cable Skyway removed.
  • 1982: Rip Roarin' Rapids; Ocean Island (water park).
  • 1980: Carolina Cyclone was added in Frontier Outpost.
  • 1979: County Fair area added. Meteorite (enterprise); PT Bumpem's Auto Stunt & Thrill Show (bumper cars); Whirling Dervish (wave swinger); Wild Bull (Bayern Kurve); Carousel.
  • 1977: White Lightnin' (Schwarzkopf shuttle loop coaster) in Pirate Island (entrance in Country Crossroads); Whirling Well renamed Oaken Bucket and moved to east midway.
  • 1976: Thunder Road; 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge Carowinds and Carolina Railroad removed.
  • 1975: Paladium Amphitheatre; Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera (themed area) featuring Scooby Doo coaster; Surfer (Tagada); Wagon Wheel (Chance Trabant); Waltzer (Schwarzkopf spinning ride).
  • 1974: Country Kitchen is added; Whirling Well (Chance Rotor); picnic areas open. The Double-Decker Carousel is removed from the park at the end of the season and placed in storage.
  • 1973: Carowinds opens on March 31; the Monorail is still under construction and opens later. Original theme areas: Plantantion Square, Contemporary Carolina, Frontier Outpost, Pirate Island, Indian Thicket, Country Crossroads and Queens Colony.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New waterslides to open at Carowinds June 20". Carowinds. June 2014. Archived from the original on July 16, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Press Releases :: Cedar Fair Entertainment Company". Cedarfair.com. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  3. ^ Frazier, Eric (August 26, 2013). "Carowinds plans $50 million expansion". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/09/18/4323933/new-carowinds-ride-to-be-70-feet.html#.UkkTHBDxT92
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Ratings assigned per Carowinds, where "1" is the least intense and "5" is the most. See their "ride listing". Carowinds.  on their website for more specific details.
  6. ^ "SCarowinds Halloween Haunt". Carowinds. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  7. ^ "SCarowinds attractions". Carowinds. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Carowinds Festival of Music :: North and South Carolina's Themed Amusement Park". Music.carowinds.com. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  9. ^ Worthington, Don (September 7, 2013). "Carowinds announces 2 new water slides for 2014". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ Celeste Smith, Eleanor Kennedy. "Carowinds buys 61 acres for expansion". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2011-08-02. 

External links[edit]