Paramount’s Carowinds 2003

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Paramount’s Carowinds | Photos | Videos

June 9, 2003
Charlotte NC

It had been since May of 1999 on one of my senior trips since I’d last been to my former home park, Paramount’s Carowinds/ And since I felt the need for a Top Gun fix I planned a trip to North Carolina and added Carowinds to the list of stops. I left home on Thursday around 5 PM when my friend Jon came to picked me up. It was a 5 hour trip to my parent’s place. We arrived around 11 PM that nite and stayed up watching TV, knowing full well I was too excited to go to bed.

The next morning we woke up and headed south around 7 AM. After an hour we stopped for breakfast then found our way to the interstate heading straight to carowinds Carowinds. The drive was nice, weather was great, traffic flowed nicely, and around 11 AM we got past Charlotte and went looking for coupons at Wendy’s and Bojangles near the park.

We pulled into the parking lot and noticed school busses. I had been warned of this already that it was Math, Science, and Physics day at the park, but there were slightly less busses than what I’d imagined. I was glad to see the regular parking lot fairly empty so we went and paid to get in. Once we got inside the park I noticed that it wasn’t too crowded. In fact, we had decided to head to Top Gun first but, upon passing by the new Runaway Reptar and seeing a VERY small line, we couldn’t resist passing by.

Runaway Reptar-Yes, it’s a little rough, but that is what I expect from anything with SLC in the model name. Don’t get me wrong, I like Vekoma, and this was a great ride, but it was a bit rough. Thankfully the Shoulder pads were very thick. I rode in the front seat while Jon rode behind me in the second row. It was so much better than what I thought. The first drop is kind of a helix and down, then mostly swoop drops and turns through the course. A very fun family ride indeed.

Afterwards we headed over to Top Gun. I expected a fairly long line, but it was nearly a walk-on and we waited about 10 or so minutes for the front row. I love the fact that it goes over the midway and dives under the South Entrance. Trenches on inverted coasters are a great idea.

Top Gun The Jet Coaster-Top Gun was even better than I remembered! After the first drop started, though, I felt my Visor go flying off my head. I was upset at my stupidity for forgetting to take it off.  The first curved drop, because it is situated on a hill, makes the ride look far taller than it actually is.  Then you dive into a trench, up into an inversion, then several other rapid fire inversions, a blast of cool mist as you dive under the South Entrance to the park, a hill, corkscrew, helix, then brakes. Top Gun is one of my all time favorite inverted coasters.

As soon as the ride was over I rushed over to the drop to see if by chance I could see the visor. No luck. I thought that maybe it flew into the parking lot, or maybe I could see it from there so Jon went into the Gift Shop while I went out of the park to look. Imagine my surprise when I saw it under the drop! I went to customer relations at the back of the park, and the lady was so nice. I apologized for the inconvience, and she said no problem. She radioed for a guy to come, and after getting a broom (it was in the lockout zone under the first drop’s supports) he came out from the service road with my visor. I was very happy, and they were so incredibly nice to me, even though it was clearly my fault.

After getting my visor back, we headed over to Thunder Road but upon seeing there was a very short line for Paramount’s Action F/X theater I asked Jon if he wanted to try out Sponge Bob Square Pants 3-D and he was all for it.

Sponge Bob Squarepants 3-D-The queue line was playing the cartoon.  Jon (not a big fan of Sponge Bob until this) loved it, saying it was way more than he expected. Only one side of the theater was open on this lightly attended day.

So after our trip to Bikini Bottom we headed over to Thunder Road. I had never even noticed till a post on Coasterbuzz that this coaster wasn’t painted white, so I had to look for myself, and sure enough, it’s not much to my surprise.

Thunder Road-I wanted to ride both front and back as I love the backwards side, but it was only running forwards. We decided to sit in the very back of this one since I love the air time in the back. Thunder Road was a bit rougher than I’d remembered.

After Thunder Road I had wanted to ride Frenzoid but it wasn’t open. We looked at the line for Scooby Doo’s Haunted Mansion but it was too so we headed over to the Thrill Zone for Drop Zone. I’d wanted to ride Scream Weaver but it was down also, so Drop Zone it was.

Drop Zone-We found that the line broke of into 2 other lines and that no one noticed, so we got in the far shorter line and only ended up waiting about 5 cycles for Drop Zone. I like Drop towers but they terrify me.

Since Hurler’s line is rarely long we headed there next. I had been told it had been re-tracked, so I wanted to give the back another go since my last ride on Kings Dominion’s Hurler in the back was so rough.

Hurler-The coaster is back to what it should be, a bit rough like a woody, but nice air and some good G’s. I’ve been riding this coaster since the first year it was built.  It isn’t the best thing ever, but it’s a fun midrange wooden coaster.

After Hurler we walked to Wings so Jon could eat. After about a 20 minute rest we headed to see about water rides, but unfortunately White Water Falls, Super Saturator, and Wild Thornberry’s were too long of a wait and Rip Roarin’ Rapids wasn’t open so we went to Vortex instead.

Vortex-The line was short but we went to the single rider line anyways, which was new since my last visit. I wish all rides there had this. As soon as we got in that line 2 seats for the front opened up so the guy let us right on without having to wait at all. Vortex was my first standup, and though it has gotten significantly rougher over the years.

After Vortex we walked around the boardwalk area, got some water, then hit Carolina Goldrusher. I’m not a huge mine train fan but Jon wanted to ride.

Carolina Goldrusher-It’s swift, fun, and has some tunnels. I like the area it is in but I’m just not a huge fan of this ride so Jon and I just talked through it.

Afterwards we headed back into the Carolina Boardwalk area and hit Carolina Cyclone. I’ve power ridden this thing so many times, and been on so many Arrow loopers, that I only really ride it if I’m with someone who hasn’t ridden it. That being said…..

Carolina Cyclone-The Cyclone was running smoother than I had ever felt it. I had no headbanging what so ever. It is an Arrow looper, most people have been on one, so no need to spend much time talking bout it.

After Cyclone, we went over to look at the line for Super Saturator and saw that it was shrinking, but first I wanted to hit Ricochet before we got wet. I really like the way they themed the Boardwalk area. Every thing seems to fit, and I like the Carnival/Seaside Amusement park style lights on the front of Ricochet.

Ricochet-I like wild mouse coasters, but comparing this to Kings Dominion’s version, I’d have to go with theirs just for the first larger drop. Otherwise this is a great little family coaster and a great addition for the park. 

Well, the day was hot and so were we, so Jon and I went ahead and got in line for Super Saturator. I have been wanting to ride all the new since my last visit rides at Carowinds but this one stuck out because I’d never seen water and a suspended coaster put together like this before.

Nickelodeon Flying Super Saturator-It’s great that they have cutouts of Nick Toons in the line, and I love how the ride interacts with the midway and the queue. This was our longest wait of the day at about 30 minutes, but it was worth it since standing in line is half the fun! We were soaked before we even got on the ride. This is a great newer type of ride, and I hope to seem more in the future.

Since we were wet we headed to White Water Falls, but found the line for Scooby’s Haunted Mansion very short. I love Scooby Doo so we had to give this a try. I liked how they repurposed an old theater for this ride.

Scooby Doo’s Haunted Mansion-This is a fun interactive dark ride. We were in the back of our Mystery Machine and I scored 1100 points beating everybody else in our group. Poor Jon only had 60. We got lucky since, as soon as we got in line, they asked for a pair of 2 so we got right to the front! 

Since we were already sopping wet we went to White Water Falls. We had tried riding earlier but it went down. This time it was running and there was a small line. There were 2 boats running, and as usual it gets you soaked. As we left, we noticed that Frenzoid was running, but had no time to stop. Anyhow, next, we went to the last open water ride, The Wild Thornberry’s.

Wild Thornberry’s River Adventure-This is a great way to re-theme a Log Flume. The themeing was excellent for the front, though a bit lacking behind all the shrubbery. It looks great and gets you wet. Me and Jon had a log to ourselves, so that was cool.

I wanted to ride Rocket Power Air Time, but it was down all day and I’d been on it as Gauntlet many times so I wasn’t missing anything. We went to go for a spin on Scooby’s Ghoster Coaster but saw that Reptar had no line so we both rode in the front seat then went to Ghoster Coaster.

Scooby-Doo’s Ghoster Coaster-I love this coaster. The Kings Dominion version was my first coaster ever, and for a Jr. Woody it gives some nice air. We rode from the front with no wait.

I wanted to go on Taxi Jam but couldn’t tell if it was up and running. We walked around Nick Central. They did a great job on re-themeing this just like they did Carolina Boardwalk. It’s got good landscaping and fits right beside Animation Station and Zoom Zone.  Next we went for two more rides on Top Gun (minus the visor) from the back of the train. We only had to wait about 1 or 2 cycles this time. I love this great inverted coaster. I had wanted to go to the Sky Tower for a ride next, but the park was closing and they started announcing for guests to leave.  Oh well.

They have also re-themed the main entrance of the park to Paramount Plaza. This looked really nice. I liked the art deco architecture, the pastel colors, and the Paramount sign inlay on the ground. I didn’t see the big Enterprise model that used to be in the fountain near the Sky Tower, though. Paramount’s Carowinds is growing. I’m glad that the last 4 rides have been 3 coasters and a haunted house, and that they added family rides. I would like to see Smurf Island Reopened as something else, and the Sternwheeler working again. I think County Fair could use a re-vamp. Not necessarily re-themed, just updated with its theme now.

All in all we had a great day with light crowds, friendly Ride ops, and that made for a great trip to my former home park, with 3 coasters added to my Track record, and a Great Dark ride.