Share thoughts, photos, and reviews from visits to Carowinds or any other amusement park
By ikaelamay
I'm actually only new to the forum, not to Carowinds. :) But I do have a few questions for those of you who frequent the park! I'm going probably on Thursday, Aug 2.

1. Is there any way to avoid the parking fee? I hate that they charge for parking when there's almost no option to get there other than to drive, and I really hate to have to pay on a slow day when the lot won't even be full. It looks like none of the nearby hotels offer a shuttle; is that really true? Can you walk from the Comfort Inn? Or bike? Is there somewhere convenient to park and Uber from? Can you park at Cabela's?

2. I have zippered pockets for essentials, but I would like to bring a sunhat and sunglasses. Would it be okay to leave them at the ride stations and on the ground when necessary (i.e. queues that don't allow loose articles)? They're cheap, so I'm okay with risking losing them, but will I get in trouble for leaving stuff on the ground?

3. For that matter, which queues have such policies? Intimidator? Fury? Others?

4. Are there many water fountains? Would it be a good idea to bring a disposable water bottle? That way we could carry some water, but again, it would be okay if it gets lost.

5. Is it common to share a meal plan among multiple people? At first I thought this was unethical, but then I realized that a lot of people seem to do it, and the Carowinds website doesn't even say anything to imply that you shouldn't.

I've been going to Carowinds as long as I can remember (though not very frequently), and it is the park against which I judge all other parks. :) Super pumped to go back, and I've enjoyed reading this forum in preparation!
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By mdsmith98
1. You can try parking at Cabela's and walking over. Don't really know if that's allowed or not, never really saw anybody do it. It's worth a try I guess? People that stay at the Comfort Inn walk over all the time, so walking over would maybe be ok.

2. Currently, every ride has bins with the exception of Fury 325, which has lockers. You absolutely can not place your items on the ground on this ride. I can not tell you how many times I saw someone place their items on the station ground and the ride op said everything must go with you, so they made them take their items with them.

3. Answered above.

4. The park has plenty of water fountains, they even have some with the little water bottle water dispenser so you can more easily fill up your water bottle.

5. I have heard many people share a meal plan. Especially the all day dining, since you get a meal or snack every 90 minutes I believe it is.

I hope I was at least a bit helpful. I hope you enjoy your visit!
By ikaelamay
Thanks so much; definitely helpful!

It looks like I made this in the wrong subforum! I'm so sorry; is there any way to move it?
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By coasterfreak
One note about the waterbottle...take it in empty. Sometimes security will make you get rid of a full one, sometimes they won't, but its safest to take it in without liquid and fill it once you're in the park.
By brendan71388
Some of your questions have already been answered, but I was just there (as a first-timer) on Thursday and Friday and have very recent first-hand experience with many of the things you're wondering about.

We stayed at the Comfort Inn and walked to the park. Not a bad walk, although it was very hot. Fury is the only ride without bins and I would not count on being able to leave anything on the platform during your ride. We took in an empty water bottle and filled it up frequently throughout the day. I just rolled it up and kept it in my pocket. My wife and I shared the all-day meal plan (we did the two-day which saves about $10). With being able to eat every 90 minutes, it is MORE than enough food for two people. The chicken parm meal at Papa Luigi's was a HUGE portion and pretty good.
By ikaelamay
Thanks for the input! Sounds like Comfort Inn is the way to go to avoid parking. I'm keeping track of all the other tips too! :)

To be clear, I meant leaving my hat either at the station or on the ground (if I can't bring it into the station). Like could I stash it behind a bush or something? I heard people do that with bags. Maybe it's not worth the trouble though...

Did they really make people take loose articles on Fury? :-o I thought the whole point was that you aren't allowed to take anything that wasn't strapped down!
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By mdsmith98
A good bit of people do put their loose articles behind a bush or in a tree or something of the sorts. I personally don’t recommend it, but I see it done all the time. The park of course will not be responsible for your item(s) if it is stolen.

And yes, people always try to avoid the locker and place their item(s) on the station floor on Fury, and the ride ops make sure to say “You can not put that there. Everything must go with you”. I guess it’s clutter, risk of someone stealing it, and if they allow people to do that, the lockers will become pointless. So I see why they enforce that so heavily.

I would recommend purchasing the locker anyways. If i remember correctly, it’s only $2 and that’s for 2 hours. Not a terrible price.
By ikaelamay
I suppose you're right; $2 isn't very much. Maybe a hat's not worth the trouble anyway; it will get dark later.

Another question: is there any reason to get there before opening? I've read on other parks' forums that they actually open the gates before the posted opening time. Carowinds doesn't do anything like that, does it? (Other than season pass stuff, which doesn't apply to me.)
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By mdsmith98
Carowinds actually does open the gates early, but they only allow you to go so far once you get in. I don't know for sure how early they open the gates, when I used to get there at 9:45, I was let in. So I am guessing around 30 minutes prior to opening.

Like I said, security stands at certain spots near the entrance, and don't let anybody past. You won't be able to get in line for rides early, but you can enter the gates before opening time. I have saw security stand near the starbucks, and have other times saw them stand right past the shade arbor (right before you get to carousel park and vortex).

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