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Carowinds

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Based on some aerial renderings, it appears they're redoing a chunk of park next to Carolina Cobra to incorporate the new area. It's a totally underutilized area right now, so should be really nice improvement to give the park a little more depth.

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Carowinds will soon begin site work to make way for a development on at least part of the land it rezoned last year.

The amusement park confirmed it will begin construction on a five-floor, 130-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott hotel this spring on the northeast corner of Carowinds. The Charlotte Business Journal previously reported that the 24.2-acre parcel at 14523 Carowinds Blvd., which Carowinds rezoned last year, was pegged for a SpringHill Suites hotel.

Expected to break ground by the end of March, the hotel will be owned and operated by Carowinds as a Marriott franchise. It's the first hotel that Carowinds will develop, though its parent company, Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. (NYSE: FUN) out of Sandusky, Ohio, owns four hotels elsewhere.

The hotel will include suites as well as a pool, fitness center, small bar and an outdoor seating area with a fire pit, according to Lisa Stryker, director of communications at Carowinds. The SpringHill Suites is expected to open in the summer of 2019.

 

Stryker said there are no other confirmed plans for the remainder of the site and that Carowinds is "always considering the best use of land." Cedar Fair acquired the land in 2011 for $810,000. A conventional rezoning request last year rezoned the land to a light industrial zoning designation that permits a wide range of commercial uses.

The cost of the project was not disclosed, but Stryker said the hotel is part of a $50 million expansion plan for Carowinds that also includes renovations to the park's Camp Snoopy area and last year's Carolina Harbor expansion.

Pat Jones, general manager of Carowinds, said in a statement that providing a place for guests to stay is "the next step" in the park's evolution.

Concorde Construction is the general contractor for the hotel project.

Cedar Fair owns and operates 11 amusement parks, two outdoor waterparks, one indoor waterpark and four hotels. The company will host a quarterly conference call with investors to discuss 2017's fourth-quarter and year-end earnings at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2018/02/12/carowinds-plans-development-on-northeast-side-of.html

 

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I just miss The Powder Keg (the log flume ride).  My family had season passes to Carowinds when I was a kid, and that was always one of my favorite rides, especially on a hot summer day.

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15 hours ago, Matthew.Brendan said:

A new wooden coaster? Really?

Yes indeed!  I can't tell from your post — do you think that's a good investment or a bad one?

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Happy to hear they are investing money in the park.   While I have yet to go, I do like the idea of having a major theme park in our backyard.  

For those who do go, do you think it's possible for Carowinds to grow into a national destination park?  If so, what is needed?  

 

 

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1 hour ago, cjd5050 said:

For those who do go, do you think it's possible for Carowinds to grow into a national destination park?   

No, not unless they move it to Orlando.  And even there, it still might not crack the top 10 if you include the water parks.  But it has shown that it can continue to improve its standing as a regional attraction.   That's an important market, and I am glad that they are making a go of it here.  We've been taking the kid there for almost ten years, and it is MUCH better now with the investments Cedar Fair has made.   A new wooden coaster would be fantastic, but even without it, they are building up the young kids area, adding a hotel, on top of the new county fair area that opened last year.  All good stuff.   Overhauling the campground would be smart (if they haven't already ... we gave up on the place years ago), and I would not mind it if they got rid of the carnival games, lowered the volume on the background music, and kept working on the food options.  But it's hard to complain, because the park is just fine, getting better, and it's a great value.  Last time I checked, a season pass at Carowinds still cost less than a one day ticket at WDW or Universal.      

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^^ I don't think it would ever be in the top tier of parks the Disneys, Universals etc in California and Florida however it can be a great regional draw.  That would be the 14 million people in the Carolinas and 2 million or south from southwest VA and eastern Tennessee all with easy driving distance of Charlotte.    It gives people a reason to come for a weekend or do a day trip to Charlotte.  I haven't been in years but I am glad it growing and adding attractions.  

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With continued investment and expansion I could see it drawing people from some areas of Georgia along the SC border as well. After so many trips to Six Flags checking out a more robust Carowinds could be a change of pace for people from Augusta, Athens, northern ATL metro, etc.

And those carnival games will never go away. It is mind boggling how much money those make for the park. I think for the most part the park is fine except that some areas just need to be freshened up. There are spots here and there that feel quite stale and tired. 

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4 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

Happy to hear they are investing money in the park.   While I have yet to go, I do like the idea of having a major theme park in our backyard.  

For those who do go, do you think it's possible for Carowinds to grow into a national destination park?  If so, what is needed?  

I think Cedar Point is a national destination in its own right, and I think Carowinds is entirely capable of achieving that level of notoriety. 

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Here is a story for you. I have a long time friend who has always lived an uh, interesting life. On the cusp of legal, under the table, unreported and so on types of endeavors. Years ago he applied to work at Carowinds and as a more mature individual he was put into the cash control building which at that time was at the rear of the park next to a campground. (Does the campground still exist)? So he tells me that on a big weekend or holiday the amount of cash that comes through is staggering. Parents give kids 50$ and they blow it and come for more.  The cash comes through cash control and is auto counted, then bagged and waits for a bank-like truck for collection. At the time, according to him, security was private, none-too-good older men and his opinion was that if someone(s) with a weapon or two and not afraid to discharge it came at the right time they could escape into the night, be on the interstate in 90  seconds and enter the vapor. I had the impression than he was teasing me with this to see if I showed some interest. I cherish the story but I cherish my freedom much more.

It seems ready made for a thriller with roving costumed thieves indistinguishable from park entertainers, the roar of the coaster covering the sounds of the theft, crowds of unaware people, calliope music, the camera creating a swirl of colors in the darkness and the gang squealing tires in a Fast and Furious escape. 

Edited by tarhoosier
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9 minutes ago, tozmervo said:

I think Cedar Point is a national destination in its own right, and I think Carowinds is entirely capable of achieving that level of notoriety. 

Cedar Point was where I was going with it. 

2 hours ago, KJHburg said:

^^ I don't think it would ever be in the top tier of parks the Disneys, Universals etc in California and Florida however it can be a great regional draw.  That would be the 14 million people in the Carolinas and 2 million or south from southwest VA and eastern Tennessee all with easy driving distance of Charlotte.    It gives people a reason to come for a weekend or do a day trip to Charlotte.  I haven't been in years but I am glad it growing and adding attractions.  

Charlotte is never going to have the weather of Florida or SoCal but there is a 30 degree difference between Ohio and Charlotte right now.  It's not perfect here for spring break but it's not always perfect at the beaches either.  

I wonder what it would take for it to become a spring break option for Ohio, Michigan, New York and Southern Ontario.  That's just a days drive.  

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17 minutes ago, tarhoosier said:

Here is a story for you. I have a long time friend who has always lived an uh, interesting life. On the cusp of legal, under the table, unreported and so on types of endeavors. Years ago he applied to work at Carowinds and as a more mature individual he was put into the cash control building which at that time was at the rear of the park next to a campground. (Does the campground still exist)? So he tells me that on a big weekend or holiday the amount of cash that comes through is staggering. Parents give kids 50$ and they blow it and come for more.  The cash comes through cash control and is auto counted, then bagged and waits for a bank-like truck for collection. At the time, according to him, security was private, none-too-good older men and his opinion was that if someone(s) with a weapon or two and not afraid to discharge it came at the right time they could escape into the night, be on the interstate in 90  seconds and enter the vapor. I had the impression than he was teasing me with this to see if I showed some interest. I cherish the story but I cherish my freedom much more.

It seems ready made for a thriller with roving costumed thieves indistinguishable from park entertainers, the roar of the coaster covering the sounds of the theft, crowds of unaware people, calliope music, the camera creating a swirl of colors in the darkness and the gang squealing tires in a Fast and Furious escape. 

I feel like this just described the Charlotte theme park version of Logan Lucky. I'd watch it.

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I don't think any theme park outside of Orlando will ever get the same national and international traffic as the likes of WDW and Universal, even Disneyland in Anaheim doesn't get the same traffic as Walt Disney World. But as someone who's been to a few parks in my life, I genuinely believe that Carowinds has clout in the coaster game, and keep in mind we are the only park in the world to have two coasters on the golden ticket award's top 10 list. (Fury at #1 since 2015) That's a coaster fanatic's website, not just some random dude in his basement, I think Carowinds actually touted that award in some of their advertising. 

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As an avid coaster enthusiast with sprinkles of Insider info specifically on this topic, Cedar Fair (Parent of Carowinds) Is working hard and adding valuable additions each year to make Carowinds the Cedar Point of the South. Very excited for the future. 

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Same here Cadi40, Matt Ouimet stated back in 2015 when Fury 325 was complete, that Cedar Fair saw the potential for outstanding growth at Carowinds and continue to invest in the park on a yearly basis.  

Here are the  most recent changes within the last few years...

2014 -  All new Harmony Hall with live entertainment featuring  six different upscale  chef-inspired food offerings and 15 all new family luxury cabin expansion at Camp Wilderness campground.

2015 -  Record breaking coaster Fury 325,  a new wider 8 lane toll plaza, new  up charge Slingshot ride, new Coca-Cola Freestyle Marketplace new parking lot configuration and new front gate to ease admissions/entrance issues.

2016 - Massive Carolina Harbor water park expansion (had to remove Thunder Road tho'...Booo), Plants vs Zombie Garden Warfare 3D interactive ride, a new Cirque (style) Imagine show and all new Starbucks in the entrance plaza. 

2017 - All new County Fair section that included three classic rides from  the past, new rotating food options for Harmony Hall and a reincarnated "Winterfest" celebration from the parks past.

2018 - All new kids area named Camp Snoopy with six new kids rides, an interactive play area, a shade pergola for resting parents, new "FREE" Pre-K Pass which allows kids from ages 3-5 unlimited access to Carowinds and Carolina Harbor waterpark all season long and finally, a relocation of the Main Carousel near the Boardwalk section.

2019 - To include a major expansion code named Project Alpha-Digital (hopefully coaster but nothing has been announced) and an all new 130 room Springhill Suites just off  Ave of the Carolinas and to the right of the parking toll plaza.

I am convinced Cedar Fair is making heavy investments in Carowinds enough to make it at least a "regional" destination park, but it may take a few years and additional investment to become a national destination.  I believe after Fury 325 was completed, that same summer (2015) Carowinds surpassed over 2 million visitors.  We'll have to see what the numbers are for summer 2018, however the future looks very bright for Carowinds. 

 

My favorite event they added recently is the BBQ and Brew fest along with "Taste of the Carolinas" festival....  Simply amazing!!

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10 hours ago, UPNoDa said:

Here are the  most recent changes within the last few years...

When it didn't make your list, I had to take a moment to realize that the Intimidator is already 8 years old. 

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I know,  its funny to see the red paint now faded to pink from eight years of sun exposure. 

 

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Comparing a Cedar Fair or Six Flags park to Disney or Universal properties is comparing Regions Bank to Bank of America. 

With that being said, Carowinds without a doubt became a national destination in 2015 with the addition of Fury - which is the tallest and fastest non-launched roller coaster in the world. Carowinds also surpassed 2 million in attendance in 2015, which is not only higher than every theme park along the entire East Coast excluding the Florida parks, but also brought Carowinds into the top five of Cedar Fair’s most-visited parks in their portfolio. 

Also, as for the 2019 project, it is not a wooden coaster, but it is a new coaster. 

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6 hours ago, TheOneRJ said:

 

Also, as for the 2019 project, it is not a wooden coaster, but it is a new coaster. 

You have inside info? Recent speculations point to some kind of Launched Coaster, a Which in my opinion would be perfect for a park like Carowinds. 

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