USA 04/19 – Carowinds

One of the contributing factors to the route plan for this trip other than park opening dates was the fact I had my heart set on riding the newly opened Copperhead Strike. I completed the Mack Launch coaster set in January only to have it taken away from me very soon afterwards. Gotta keep on top of it now.

So obviously next our stop was ‘where the Carolinas meet’. We had affectionately named it ‘concrete and riiides’ over the past couple of days, imagining it to be back to the same old US tradition after the beauty of Dollywood.
It was also raining and a weekday, so could the man’s prophecy continue for no liiines?
Let’s see.

Day 9 – Carowinds

#1 Copperhead Strike

Only thing that did get lines was the new boy, so it was good to hit it first.

Queue looks rather nice, other than the fact they’ve padded it out with tons and tons of extra temporary cattle pen well beyond the signposted 2 hour start point of the actual queue. I assume it got that busy for opening day, but would be nice to put those away now.

Station is typically bare, but has the cool TV screen up showing restraint status and dispatch times and I’m enjoying seeing this pop up everywhere now.

Train looks weird to me with it’s frontage and the DC Rivals seatbelts that clip into the top of the restraint at an awkward angle, but it’s still very homely once you’re sat in it.

And what a start. Ridiculously slow roll out of the station that instantly gets the fun and laughter going.
What’s in the shed? Nothing that explains much. Some old woman on a screen shouting about intruders while loud bangs and screeching tyres go off. All the practical scenery looks really quirky and good in here though.

World’s slowest launch, comically so due to the fact I think they published the stats trying hype it up like it was a big deal. 0-42Mph in 6 seconds springs to mind. But it doesn’t matter, it’s not the focus, it gets things going.

The first loop is as ridiculous as the start. Redefined hangtime for me in that you completely flop downwards into the restraint and out of your seat at the top. Love this, very different.

There’s a good hill straight after, followed by the first twisty section which is decent but nothing special. The pacing gets really weird and slightly off here as it doesn’t feel long before you hit the second silly slow launch, which unusually takes place over a gentle hill.

Again, I love how different this is, but it feels a little clumsy and awkward in how it’s pulled off.

A couple more solid inversions and another good hill follows before it hits the second twisty section which unfortunately feels weaker than the first, so it doesn’t build particularly well.

There’s a really good kick right on the last hill and then you’re on the brakes. Hmm.

I like it. It’s a lot of fun and a very mixed bag of forces. It was never going to be the next Helix, but it’s about as good as ones of this size get, so that’s all I really wanted from it.

The aforementioned rain was coming and going so we were a little anxious about proceedings, deciding to prioritise the big rides next.

#2 Flying Cobras

Almost. Get this Boomerang out of the way, first one of the trip that’s actually open. Eww.

#3 Vortex

And this B&M standup. At least it was short. Eww.
I imagine this is what Patriot was like before train conversion and it would be another terribly boring one if they did it to this too. Don’t bother.

#4 Carolina Goldrusher

And this Arrow mine train. We aren’t sticking to the plan are we?
It sucked, but quote of the day – “I think this one just goes round bro”.

#5 Fury 325

Time for the supposed world’s best ride as of 2 years ago. They’re still actually saying it with audio in the station too. Bold.

I take slight issue with this, because it’s a long way from it. I really enjoyed it, it’s a ton of fun, but world beater it ain’t.

The best way I can describe it is that it does to B&M hypers what Valkyria did to B&M dives. It moves with a ton of purpose and shows that they can give you something to really think about if they put their mind to it.

I’ll start off by giving the ‘300ft earned’ prize to this ride, the drop actually felt giga big in the way that it sustained its sensation, unlike the rest I’ve ridden.

Then some corners happen. Fast, mildly enjoyable corners out to the other end.

Next highlight is the peak of the treble clef (which as an offride visual I absolutely adore) with some occasional sideways airtime. Mmm, just look at it.

The most entertaining part of the ride is the track support over a massive corner that hangs so low it looks like you’re gonna hit it. This made me almost cry with laughter on the very first ride in the way that I saw it coming, then saw my friend completely duck out of the way like it was a serious threat. I couldn’t really control myself until the brakes and my loss of control made the experience pretty special over the subsequent hills.

There’s only 3 hills of significance and the 1st one is intensely trimmed, also to the point of comedy. They still provide a very sustained but gentle lift out of your seat, pretty much what the B&M hypers fail to do on many occasions.

I also love the way it looks with that two-tone back of the track effect.

It has character and I have a soft spot for it, but I didn’t properly fall for it like I wanted to.

#6 Nighthawk

2 hours for this? Can’t think of anything worse.

These Vekoma Flying coasters have always looked really unpleasant to me with the whole lying on your back concept. The worst part of the worst B&M flyer is when it decides to chuck you onto your back for 10-15 seconds and its just uncomfortable and dumb. These have that in the station and on the brake run.

The moment it puts you on your back for the first time creates more screams of terror out of large men than Flying Dinosaur does from Japanese schoolgirls.
Then there’s people coming back into the station in either tears or severe pain or both. Good.

When the moment came for us, it jerked its way backwards unnervingly. Once flat on your back – yes, this is unpleasant.

Kinda liked the lift hill. Not fully lying down at that angle. Bit of a 4D coaster fear moment going backwards up it, looking out on the world, not knowing when the terror will begin.

Kinda liked the ride? Kinda. Until the end.

Most of it was like a more forceful Air. Trying to scrape the ground a lot and simulate flying in a reasonably respectable manner. The loop is cool and intense, like something from a good bit of the better B&Ms.

Then the abomination that is the final 2 inversions happened and a bearable ride suddenly tries to kill you by violently jerking its way round these and throwing you about. Nope.

It hit the brakes and it was 2 train operations, so we’re stranded on our back for several minutes, leaning slightly downhill towards our heads as well to make it even more unpleasant. Neither putting your head back and relaxing or lifting it up to look around and stop the blood flowing that way is a comfortable thing to do. Please end.

#7 Intimidator

The other Intrimidator was just across the way. Didn’t know it had the staggered seating trains that some B&M hypers have, but it makes sense being in the same park as the other lad.

This was weak. Trims and sluggish and Shambhala all over again – literally doing nothing after the mid course. It hasn’t even got the aesthetic to back it up, just car theme and car park.
Oh well.

Afterburn was the last thing of importance in our minds so headed over to that.

#8 Afterburn

After a few B&M inverts that hadn’t quite hit the mark, this was back to what they’re supposed to be. Snappy and intense.

Haven’t done a batwing on one before, that was fun. The mince over the station adds character before kicking your arse in a corkscrew.

Very good ride, I approve.

I’m liking the overall look of this park more than I thought. Time to finish off the +1s.

#9 Woodstock Express

It started to rain heavily as we hit this ride. Didn’t really see what happened on the layout but it was similar to the previous wooden one, bit of a laugh with some surprising airtime.

#10 Hurler

We’re now getting stupidly wet, but they’re still running things. Who fancies Hurler?

I believe this is the layout that became Twisted Timbers, so it was very interesting to see this in person and compare notes (from what we could see through the rain). The ride? Meh. Nothing bad, nothing special.


The mouse was down, so we went for Carolina Cyclone. Mopping this stuff up, both us and the park undeterred by the rain. We got as far as sitting down in the train with the restraints locked. Then they unlocked and cleared the ride due to weather. Nooooooooooooo. Never been that close and missed out before.

Weren’t sure why it had happened as we left, as the rain level seemed to have died down a bit. We walked towards the entrance to get some food and dwell on it as Valhalla levels of water suddenly hit us. Guess that’s why. Everyone ran for the nearest shelter and we ended up in the Cinnabon shop with about 200 other people wet and sweating. This day has taken a turn.

Queued about an hour for subpar food with nothing better to do, then went to the car to assess options as everything was now closed.

All credit to Carowinds, 30 minutes after a torrential storm had died down, Fury began testing again. This is now my favourite Cedar Fair park.

#11 Carolina Cyclone

Back to Carolina Cyclone for some unfinished business. Can’t be dealing with a spite like that.
We got it. It was a thing.

#12 Ricochet

A few people had gathered outside the Wild Mouse like it had signs of opening for the first time that day. A few cars tested while they repeatedly announced for us to go away and do something else. Then a man came round and told us it wouldn’t open today, go away and do something else. Fair enough.

It did open later, so he was cool. Again, credit to them for bothering to do this with only 2-3 hours left in the day.
The only coaster that didn’t open in the end was the Vekoma SFC. No big loss, but so close to completing the largest lineup of the trip.

Decent park in the end, got the makings of a very solid lineup (needs 1 more killer, but don’t RMC Hurler into a clone) and is run pretty damn well from what we saw.

Spent some time on the good stuff again before hitting the road and making enemies with the I-85.

Day 10

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