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Carowinds Logo (2014)
|Slogan||"Where the Carolinas come together", "Thrill Capital of the Southeast"|
|Location||Charlotte, North Carolina, United States|
|Owner||Cedar Fair Entertainment Company|
|General Manager||Pat Jones|
|Opened||March 31, 1973|
|Previous names||Carowinds (1973 - 1992), Paramount's Carowinds (1993 - 2006)|
|Visitors per annum||2,000,000|
|Area||400 acres (1.6 km2)|
Carowinds is a 400-acre (160 ha) amusement park, located adjacent to Interstate 77 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The park is located on the border of North and South Carolina, with a portion of the park is also located in Fort Mill, South Carolina. 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. Owned and operated by Cedar Fair, who's headquarters are located within the park, Carowinds also features a 27-acre (81,000 m2) water park, Carolina Harbor, which is included with park admission. The park has a Halloween event called SCarowinds and a winter event called WinterFest.
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. 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 purchased by Paramount Communications in 1993 and joined the Paramount Parks family. 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 operates seasonally from late March through early December, after the park's Halloween event, "SCarowinds", and the park's Christmas event, "WinterFest".
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.
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.
On August 26, 2013, Cedar Fair announced a $50-million investment plan to expand Carowinds over three years starting in 2014. 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.
On August 21, 2014 Carowinds announced the addition of Fury 325 for the 2015 season. Designed by Bolliger & Mabillard, the ride is the fifth-tallest roller coaster in the world, after its debut in the spring of 2015 as another component of the park's previously announced "top-to-bottom" expansion program. A new front entrance, replacing the original North Gate entrance of the park, also opened along with Fury 325 for the 2015 season.
On August 27, 2015, Carowinds announced that the water park known formally as Boomerang Bay would be expanded and renamed Carolina Harbor in 2016. The Australian theme would be removed and replaced with a Carolina harbor theme. The expansion includes a new six-slide complex, a new wave pool, and several new splash areas for kids.
On August 18, 2016, Carowinds announced they would be expanding County Fair with the addition of 4 new rides: Electro-Spin (a mondial top scan), Zephyr(A Zierer Wave Swinger), Rock N Roller(A Mack Rides Music Express), and Do-Si-Do(a HUSS Troika.) Carowinds also announced that Carolina Cobra would be refurbished and renamed "The Flying Cobras". They also announced that the Wings restaurant would receive various upgrades. Carowinds also announced the return of WinterFest, a Christmas event in November and December, that previously operated in 2005.
The rides at Carowinds are based loosely around eight themed areas.
|Thrill level (out of 5)|
|1 (low) 2 (mild) 3 (moderate) 4 (high) 5 (aggressive)|
|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 hypercoaster inspired by the famous stock car racing driver Dale Earnhardt. The 232-foot-tall (71 m) roller coaster travels up to 75 mph (121 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 (2004-2007) 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|
|RipCord||1995||Skycoaster, Inc.||A skycoaster formally known as Xtreme SkyFlyer. This ride is an upcharge ride. Guest must pay an additional fee to ride.||5|
|Rip Roarin' Rapids||1982||Kings Island Entertainment Company||A river rafting water ride.||3|
|Action Theater||1994||Iwerks Entertainment, Inc||2016: Home of Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 3Z Arena. A 3D intra-active experienced developed by PopCap Games, Electronic Arts, and Alterface Projects, puts 2 teams against each other in a 5-minute backyard battle, where they'll shoot screens with blasters and track their scores as they go.||2|
|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|
|Kiddy Hawk||2003||Vekoma||A suspended family coaster. Formerly called Rugrats Runaway Reptar (2003-2009) and Flying Ace Aerial Chase (2010-2017).||3|
|Southern Star||1986||Intamin||A Looping Starship thrill ride. Formerly known as Frenzoid.||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.||3|
|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. It was previously known as Scooby-Doo's Haunted Mansion from 2001 to 2009.||2|
|WindSeeker||2012||Mondial||A 301-foot (92 m) tower swinger ride that spins to music and a light show. It was the tallest ride ever built at Carowinds until the opening of Fury 325 in 2015.||4|
|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|
|The Scrambler||1973||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|
|SlingShot||2015||Funtime||A Sling Shot ride that catapults riders nearly 300-feet into the air at speeds up to 62 miles per hour (100 km/h). SlingShot is an additional charge attraction.||5|
|The Grand Carousel||1973||Philadelphia Toboggan Company||An antique carousel. Originally located in Planet Snoopy before the 2018 season.||1|
|The Flying Cobras||2009||Vekoma||A standard Boomerang model 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. Formerly named Carolina Cobra (2009-2016).||5|
|Electro Spin||2017||Mondial||A Top Scan that sends riders through a freely rotating orbit through the air on its floorless gondolas.||5|
|Zephyr||2017||Zierer||A swing ride that suspends guests as the ride rotates in a circular, wavelike motion.||3|
|Rock 'N' Roller||2017||MACK Rides||A Music Express that Rock N' Rolls guests around and around, up and down as high-energy tunes and spectacular lighting complement the experience.||3|
|Do-Si-Do||2017||HUSS||A Troika that sends guests flying through the air and gliding up, down and around as three giant arms rotate riders in different directions - all while increasing speed and elevation.||3|
|Fury 325||2015||Bolliger & Mabillard||A giga coaster loosely themed around Charlotte's nickname the "Hornet's Nest" with a height of 325 ft (99m), making it the tallest giga coaster and fastest non-launched roller coaster in the world, reaching speeds of up to 95 mph making it the sixth fastest in the world. Fury 325 is the tallest ride ever built at Carowinds and the single largest investment in the park's history.||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|
|Beagle Scout Area||2018||2|
|Charlie Brown's Wind Up||1973||Zamperla||A miniature swing ride. Formerly called Top Cat's Swing Time.||1|
|Flying Ace Balloon Race||1987||Zamperla||A flying balloon ride. Originally called Boo Boo's Balloon Race & Peter Potamus' Magic Flying Balloons.||2|
|Kite Eating Tree||2018||2|
|Wilderness Run||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 (2005-2009), Taxi Jam (1998-2004), and Lucy's Crabbie Cabbie (2009-2017).||2|
|Peanuts Pirates||2005||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. Formerly known as Flying Dutchman's Revenge.||3|
|Pig Pen's Mud Buggies||2018||2|
|Snoopy vs. Red Baron||1973||Chance Rides||A small plane ride themed to Snoopy. Originally called Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines.||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 Rocket Express||1998||Caripro Amusement Technologies||A mini monorail with helicopter cars themed to Snoopy. Formerly known as Woodstock Whirlybirds.||2|
|Snoopy's Space Race||2010||Go Forth Industries||A small flying jet ride.||2|
|Snoopy's Yacht Club||2005||Go Forth Industries||A mini speed boat ride relocated from sister park Canada's Wonderland where it was known as Bedrock Dock. Formerly known as Little Bill's Cruisers.||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, where it was first called Danny Phantom's Phantom Flyers.||3|
Included in the price of admission to Carowinds is access the 27-acre Carolina Harbor water park. Based on a Coastal Carolina theme, it features 15 rides and attractions. Originally opened as Ocean Island in 1982, the water park has also been known as Riptide Reef (1989-1997) WaterWorks (1997-2006), and Boomerang Bay (2007-2015). On August 27, 2015, Carowinds announced a planned 2016 expansion for the area that will add five additional attractions and result in the name changing to Carolina Harbor.
Beginning during the 2016 season, Carowinds introduced WinterFest, a seasonal holiday event features the park decorated for the Christmas season, a tree lighting, Christmas carolers, homemade crafts, and select rides.
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 with The Great Pumpkin Fest starring Snoopy and rest of the Peanuts gang throughout the day, typically closes at 5:30pm, and reopens as SCarowinds at 7pm with the evil witch and SCarowinds' 1st lady of terror Lilith. 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.
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. In 1992, the Paladium hosted Chapel Hill's James Taylor. It had Virginia's Dave Matthews Band in '93, UK's Depeche Mode in '94, Athens GA's B-52's in '94, Johnny Cash in '95, Billy Ray Cyrus in '95, Blues Traveler in '96, UK's Duran Duran in 2000, Weird Al Yankovic in '00, Atlanta Christian rapper Lecrae in 2014 (for Rock the Park), and Skillet in 2015.
Fast Lane is a limited-access line queue system offered for an additional charge at Cedar Fair amusement parks. Visitors can purchase access, which includes a wristband that allows them to bypass standard lines in favor of shorter ones at many of the parks' most popular attractions. Fast Lane Plus is a more expensive, higher-end version that includes several additional attractions.
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.