The final day of Con began as practically all the others have; waking up just before the alarm clock early in the AM, driving to an amu***t park when I should be asleep, all to go to an 8AM ERT session. A major focus for us was to head over to Planet Snoopy and go to town on their various childrens attractions before large lines built up. It is one thing to go on embarrassing rides. Its another to wait a long period of time before going on embarrassing rides.
Lucys Crabbie Cabbie (M#313/A#623): Kiddie coaster, probably Miler, definitely shameful. Id say I rode this for the lulz but Im not sure who enjoyed the lulz. Maybe the operator.
Woodstocks Express (M#314/A#624): Junior wood coaster much like the Sea Dragon, Beastie, etc. It was not bad. In fact, an argument can be made that it was the best wood coaster present at the park.
Thunder Road (M#315/A#625): Racing wood coaster which only had one side run much of the day. As far as out and backs go, it was alright. There was some airtime, there was some roughness where trackwork hadnt been completed. Meredith remarked that it was okay, but that wed forget what it was like by the next day.
Wed also ride Afterburn during the 2 hour ERT session, as well as ride the Flyers again before ACE members made the line interminably long. A competition was set up by the operator in which the person who snapped best would get a second ride on the Flyers. During our session, Trotter came out victorious.
At two hours, even with the number of attractions available, we frankly got a bit bored. Its not ACEs fault or anything, and I guess under different circumstances I could have enduroed the coasters, but I just wasnt feeling that. Heat was already getting to me at it was 9AM. Meredith wasnt that hot on any of the particular roller coasters available for ERT either, so there were significant times spent just sitting at benches and the like.
At 10AM with the parks opening, we set out to try and ride all of the night ERT coasters, lest we miss them due to the thunderstorms predicted later that evening.
Flying Ace Aerial Chase (M#316/A#626): Vekoma junior suspended, every bit as stupid as the one at Kings Island. OK, so it isnt necessarily stupid, its just not a ride intended for me and one I dont get a ton of enjoyment out of riding.
Carolina Goldrusher (M#317/A#627): Generally forgettable mine train coaster. It might be better if it was located around something, or featured some themed elements. Interesting helix in a fake tunnel. Its almost like there were aspirations to build something over it, and then they didnt bother.
Carolina Cobra (M#318): The joy evaporated from Meredith and Trotters face when they saw that we were riding a Boomerang. I was initially OK with it because, hey, I thought it was a new credit. I wouldnt realize until sitting on a bench about 45 minutes later that I already had it from Geauga Lake. But all of us reconsidered that this might be a horrible decision when we saw the new Vekoma train on the ride. Theres no headbanging on the Cobra; the old standard OTSR is replaced with something more like a vest from a flying coaster. Chris said it reset his back; we didnt have any big problems with it. It wasnt unpleasant. We also talked about how cool everyone thinks their first Boomerang coaster is, and then how subsequent Boomerang overload just kills them.
Ricochet (M#319/A#628): Mack mouse. Some guy glommed onto Chris to be a single rider and spent the entire ride with Trotter discussing his adoration of various mice: Mack, Mauher Sohne, the Vekoma mouse at Idlewild, on and on. We managed to ditch him shortly after the ride. As for the ride itself; largely indistinguishable from the other Mack mice Ive been on in Germany, Holland, Kings Dominion, et al. Theres some braking that occurs and the drops are OK and the turns are OK. It doesnt hurt to ride. It doesnt thrill us personally either, but I can see how a younger guest would enjoy it. Like anyone with bad opinions on rides, I guess Ill just say It is a good family attraction, keeps kids busy, blah blah.
Carolina Cyclone (M#320/A#629): Arrow multi-inversion coaster that was probably a universal top 15 pick back when it opened 32 years ago. Today, it lies in a back corner of the park. It was recently repainted and looks pretty nice, however underneath the Cyclones corkscrew lies a fenced off area and some decaying benches and overgrowth from what was a public zone which is easily view-able from the ride. The ride itself banged contributed to my wife getting a headache while I thought it was OK. Trotter chose to just sit it out citing him already have the credit.
The right side of the park where much of the old construction took place is honestly a lousy area. Theres not much thats been done with that area, it would appear, since Cedar Fair walked in. Theres vast tracts of uncovered pavement around the Hurler (which we found not operating on this morning) surrounded by the occasional flat ride or game booth. Umbrellas and rides alike look faded from sun exposure, and staring into the water park, everything looks almost pastel from the amount of sun damage done to it all. Maybe Cedar Points Soak City had the right idea when every slide was colored white.
Hurlers temporary SBNO status prompted us to leave and take a nap at the hotel again out by the Ballantyne after yet another sub-par lunch buffet. This one was centered around the Intimidator Hot Dog, which was a giant foot/18 inch dog. Back at the hotel, Meredith ate her second consecutive pita dip entree and we enjoyed a cold drink in our A/C before getting a couple hours of well needed shut-eye. Inevitably, we returned for more of whatever Carowinds was planning on dishing out to us. We arrived early for the dinner in order to bash out the last coaster in the park.
-ONE LAST STUPID COASTER-
Hurler (M#320/A#629): The first time I rode one of the Hurler coasters was 1998 and I found it actually very enjoyable. The layout, much like Thunder Run which it was based on, is theoretically very good and should provide plenty of airtime and e***ment. In its present form, Hurler is a terrible ride; it has a trim brake early on that restricts any serious possibility of airtime almost as much as the shuffling nature of the coaster train and poor tracking. Son of Kinzel indicated in the prior days dinner announcement stuff that the Hurler was about where they wanted it, which is a pretty strong statement about any likelihood that it will ever improve.
We went back and lined up for our final group meal, meeting with Trotter to discuss our time at the hotel. I was burnt out, and so was Meredith. Trotter still had something in him; I have no idea how. The ERT session our final night was a bit of a feel free to go home set of rides like Vortex, Hurler, Carolina Cyclone and Cobra, et al. Basically, there were no really good rides included, just the coasters not part of prior ERTs. We stayed long enough that I won a door prize, but when the Q&A session started up and an ACEr asked Why do you let so many empty seats go on Intimidator? with the second question, I knew it was time to go. We bid adieu to Trotter and headed for the gate. As we departed for the hotel, we found a pack of 3 security and cop cars waiting at the gate, probably prepared to pounce on anyone not wearing a seat belt. It was probably for the best that Trotter decided to stay and get some more rides in before walking to the Comfort Inn.
Generally speaking, Carowinds is a perfectly OK park for the locals in the surrounding area. It has some good roller coasters, very few outwardly offensive rides, a good variety of attractions, and some very fun non-coaster rides. This is all reviewing it as if Im disembodied with no actual opinions of my own, of course. My own opinion is that it has all the bad features of the most soulless theme parks out there with few really positive aspects aside from theres a B&M hyper coaster there.
I dont intend this to be a criticism that Carowinds didnt give us a decent event. There were walk-backs for photo taking and behind the scenes stuff, lots of meals, and a bunch of goodies. For what the park has and is currently capable of, they did about the best job they can forming Sysco food into catering for all of us, and the majority of people didnt seem to complain much. I wont even complain that much. It wasnt worse than the general stuff to consume at most parks. Its just that Carowinds is, I dunno, its like Wild Adventures on steroids. Theres a lot of different coasters and different rides but none of them are exemplary, lots are copies of other things, and you come away feeling nothing special about what you just experienced. Ultimately, we could have had nearly half the park to ourselves for 2 hours, and my wife and I both preferred just sitting in our hotel room, putting things together for our ride back to Atlanta. We were in bed discussing how comfortable it was long before ERT had even started.