General Carowinds discussion
By CoasterAddict11
#86398
Greetings Carowinds fanatics, first time poster here. This May, I am planning on making the trip from Minnesota down to Charlotte to visit Carowinds for the first time (though the trip is not confirmed yet). I have a few questions that should help me in planning my trip to the park.

1. At this time, we're planning on visiting the park on May 19-21 (Thursday, Friday, and part of Saturday). How busy should I expect the park to be? I assume I probably don't need to get a Fast Lane or Fast Lane Plus?
2. In what order should we hit everything?
3. What is the best place to sit on all of the coasters?
4. Are Nighthawk, Hurler, and Vortex as bad as some people say they are?
5. Which flat rides/non-coaster thrill rides would you recommend?
6. Recommendations for any nearby hotels? First priority is free breakfast, second is whether or not it's within walking distance of the park.
7. Does the park have any early entry/early ride time for platinum passholders?
8. Anything else I should know about Carowinds?

Any input is appreciated.
Last edited by CoasterAddict11 on January 27th, 2016, 1:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.
By Edwardo
#86399
1. At this time, we're planning on visiting the park on May 18-20 (Thursday, Friday, and part of Saturday).

You really don't need two and a half days at the park. And there are tons of other things in Charlotte. That early in the season, the park will die out after 6 on Friday, Thursday won't be busy if they're only open till 6. Is that Thursday a math/science/physics day? That's usually when they close at 6 in May.

How busy should I expect the park to be?

Thursday will be dead unless it's math/science/physics days, and even then it won't be that busy. You cold go Friday and do the entire park with derided and the waterpark and get it all done.

I assume I probably don't need to get a Fast Lane or Fast Lane Plus?

Play that by ear. If the parking lot is filling up
And there are a lot if busses, then you may need it, but doubtful

2. In what order should we hit everything?

Hit Nighthawk first. Everything else should be at your leisure that early in the season.

3. hat is the best place to sit on all of the coasters?

That's subjective and up to you.

4. Are Nighthawk, Hurler, and Vortex as bad as some people say they are?

Yes, no, maybe. But you're still going to ride them, so...

5. Which flat rides/non-coaster thrill rides would you recommend?

There aren't a lot of thrill rides at the park. L

6. Recommendations for any nearby hotels? First priority is free breakfast, second is whether or not it's within walking distance of the park.

I live in the area so I don't know. I've heard good things about the motel directly across the street.

7. Does the park have any early entry/early ride time for platinum pass-holders

Yes, it's all listed on their website under benefits

8. Anything else I should know about Carowinds?

Have fun. There's plenty of things to do in the area depending on your age and taste/preferences. But I really think 2 &1/2 days is way too much, even fit a first timer and especially in May.
By uscbandfan
#86400
Back in the late 1980's a friend of mine and I went to the park and were there on the bridge when they played the National Anthem and Carowinds theme song. We rode every (and I mean EVERY) ride before lunch. Back then there were shows to go in and watch so we did those in the afternoon and went back and rode them all again afterwards. Nowadays, in a fairly empty park you could still ride everything by 3:00 (excepting the waterpark). Of course, if it was me, I'd spend a couple hours riding Fury back-to-back-to-back if it was that empty so maybe not by 3:00.

Anyway, Just re-iterating that 2.5 days is WAY overkill for Carowinds even when pretty busy unless you're going and coming to other things around Charlotte during your stay.

One thing to mention is the NASCAR ALL-STAR RACE is in town that Saturday so there will be tourists in town. (Not as many as the next weekend for the 600 but there will be a few.) Don't know what other events are going on that weekend.

Also one last thing, of all the times I've ridden Fury, I've never ridden it at night. I've heard say that front-row-Fury at night is AWESOME. Gonna get that done this season. Put that on your Charlotte-trip-bucket-list.
By CoasterAddict11
#86401
^
Funny thing, we're actually planning to go the All-Star race on that Saturday night. We planned this trip to coincide with the race since we're NASCAR fans.

Even if Carowinds is a one-day park, I'll still plan on going Friday and Saturday just in case something goes wrong on Thursday (e.g.: If Fury 325 was to be closed on Thursday for whatever reason, I'd still have two more opportunities to ride it the following days).
By uscbandfan
#86402
CoasterAddict11 wrote:^
Funny thing, we're actually planning to go the All-Star race on that Saturday night. We planned this trip to coincide with the race since we're NASCAR fans.

Even if Carowinds is a one-day park, I'll still plan on going Friday and Saturday just in case something goes wrong on Thursday (e.g.: If Fury 325 was to be closed on Thursday for whatever reason, I'd still have two more opportunities to ride it the following days).



Sounds like a plan.
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By FamousAmos
#86403
The Comfort Inn at Carowinds was recently renovated. Several of us stayed there during our annual ACE event. I really enjoyed the new renovations. Either that or I was very tired. They do have free breakfast, but I wouldn't recommend it. I'd rather just go to the Cracker Barrel across the street.
By BelowThePeak
#86405
Most coasters are going to be better towards the front. If at all possible, you should try getting at least one front row ride on Fury - probably the best time I've ever had on a coaster. However, the "big 3" (Afterburn, Fury, and Intimidator) are also fantastic in the back, and I personally think Afterburn is better in the back than in the front.

As far as the more major coasters go, here's how I'd rate them from 1-10. Keep in mind that I'm a more generous scorer than most, though (a score of 7 is what I would consider "standard" for a coaster):

Afterburn - 8.5/10 in every row but the back, which I'd rate a 9.
Cobra - 6/10. I'm not a huge boomerang fan, but it's at least a somewhat comfortable ride.
Cyclone - 5.5/10.
Fury - 9/10 in the middle seats, 9.5/10 in the back row, and a perfect 10 in the front row.
Hurler - 7/10 near the front, 6/10 everywhere else. Possibly worse than that towards the back, but I haven't tried a back row ride in a while.
Intimidator - 8/10 in the middle seats, 9/10 in the front and back.
Nighthawk - 8/10 in the front, 7/10 everywhere else. Most enthusiasts dislike this ride, though, but because of the experience it gives, it's a pretty polarizing ride in general.
Vortex - 6.5/10.
By Bigcoasterguy
#86410
uscbandfan wrote: I've heard say that front-row-Fury at night is AWESOME. Gonna get that done this season. Put that on your Charlotte-trip-bucket-list.

My first ride ever on Fury was front row at night (After waiting 3 hours on season pass preview night) and it is absolutely amazing. Nothing compares to the cool, 95 MPH breeze in your face. If anyone here hasn't ridden at night in the front you HAVE to do it this season.
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By FamousAmos
#86414
We were fortunate enough at the end of Max Cannon classic last june to have a night ride during fireworks. At the ride photo tv station, everyone in the pictures on the train was looking at the fireworks. It was a really cool sight. Considering we were up higher than the fireworks were.
By CoasterAddict11
#86502
Another question: we're planning on flying into CLT on early Wednesday afternoon (May 18th) and using the rest of our day to explore the local area since Carowinds is closed that day. Any recommendations for free/low-priced things to do in the Charlotte area (museums, parks, sightseeing, etc.)?
By Deere839
#86542
Im going to go to Carowinds on June 13th or 14th only have 1 day to do everything my goal is to be there from open to close and to ride everything in the dry park including the water rides and a few things in the water park like Blackbeard's Revenge and Dorsal Fin Drop. what should i start with and any cheap restraunts near the park to stop at because as soon as i leave im heading straight to dollywood for the rest of the week.
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By Merthecat
#86562
CoasterAddict11 wrote:Another question: we're planning on flying into CLT on early Wednesday afternoon (May 18th) and using the rest of our day to explore the local area since Carowinds is closed that day. Any recommendations for free/low-priced things to do in the Charlotte area (museums, parks, sightseeing, etc.)?

Discovery Place in uptown is always fun!
By CoasterAddict11
#86758
During my trip to Carowinds, I'd prefer to stay at one of the hotels in this cluster just south of the park in Fort Mill. Are these hotels within walking distance of the park, and if so, is this area safe? (Could I walk to the hotels at night without worrying about being mugged?) Any in particular that you'd recommend?

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