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Carowinds

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This actually isn't all that surprising. I worked there for a few summers when I was in high school and college and there were always rumors flying around that Paramount was looking at selling off their parks. I imagine that they'll keep the Star Trek Experience but that they're selling all of their traditional parks.

I have to agree with those of you that think customer service is poor. The "best" employees are promoted to Team Lead roles soon after they start which means they spend most of their time in the back rooms trying to run a shop or food stand. This is a great resume builder for a high school kid, but it leaves the bottom barrel and mediocre kids to associate with the customers. Also, when I worked there, we sometimes worked ridiculously long hours. Very common to work 50-60 hours, not uncommon to hit 70+, and I even hit close to 100 hours one week. It was nice to have more money than all my high school friends but it probably didn't do much for my congeniality.

It will be interesting to see who steps up and makes the purchase. I doubt Paramount would make an announcement if they didn't have some potential buyers in mind. The rumor when I worked at Carowinds a few years back was that Six Flags had put a freeze on buying new parks and Premier Parks was the most likely buyer.

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Wouldn't a LOT of the names be changing... Nickeloden would be gone, etc, etc. I'd like them to revert back to the old names and oooh put the monorail back in (i can dream, can't i).

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The rumor when I worked at Carowinds a few years back was that Six Flags had put a freeze on buying new parks and Premier Parks was the most likely buyer.

Premier and Six Flags are the same company now. Who else owns theme parks?

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While I don't like the direction that Paramount has taken Carowinds over the last several years, I view the company selling the park off as a bad thing.

Why? Because now "Parawinds" is so reliant on Paramount themes, it will take some serious work to get rid of all the brands. Unless some sort of licensing agreement could be worked out, every movie or television related ride in the park will have to be renamed once Paramount sells out.

I'd love to see the park go back to it's roots, but that would also take a lot of work. Most of the attractions from the early years are gone.

I don't know what company would be willing to buy Carowinds, for that matter. Six Flags is not in the financial shape to buy any new parks, and I don't think any of the big companies like Disney or Universal would be interested in such a small seasonal operation. Cedar Fair or Anheuser Busch could step in, though Busch hasn

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I remember Carowinds before the Paramount purchase. The state fair expansion in the late 70s/early 80s around Thunder Road brought the games, the bumper cars, the spinning swings, etc. Who needed to drive to Raleigh? When the round boat rapids ride opened, there was regular traffic jams on I-77 trying to get into the parking lot. The wave pool was all we had... no water slides or anything else... and we liked it! And you had to cross over White Lightning (the loop de loop that I didn't know was a nickname for moonshine) to get there from the main park. The Goldrusher, kalideoscope, Scooby Doo, and riverboat tour later "parked" to allow for smurf island) seemed kinda dated even in the 80s, but am glad they were there.

My sister worked there (mostly on Days of Thunder) when she was in college in the early 90s and took me for my birthday at the end of that season, the only time I went during the Paramount days. The Hurler was a neat "scooby doo for grown ups" and the Vortex was ok, but the souther character was gone.

I don't see any potential buyer restoring it either. Six Flags' board was recently taken over by Redskins owner Dan Snyder, but I don't know if they want to expand (buy all five Paramount Parks) contract, (don't buy, and sell off underperforming Six Flags parks) or some hybrid shuffle. Years ago Disney wanted to put a "US History themed park" in Virginia, but they didn't want Mickey Mouse crossing the Delaware. Disney owned (still owns?) a lot land in north east NC on the mainland not too far from the outer banks. It happens to be a bunch of swampy land, just like central florida in the 70s. The just opened California Adventure a few years ago, so they might want to expand through purchasing. Disney's Carowinds would be odd, but could be doable. Maybe they could create another Celebration-like city just west of 77 or west of the park. I've wanted to go to the one near Orlando to see if it worked, but haven't been able to justify such a trip yet. I don't know if Busch Gardens/Sea World wants to add more parks, but you never know. They do a good job putting the theme back into theme parks, and are usually at the cutting edge ride-wise, but seem to be happy with just Tampa and Williamsburg. Universal has their Orlando two parks in one thing, but I don't know how well it is doing, or if they want to own a park they can't operate year round (as opposed to CA and FL).

With the nearest amusement parks being Kings Dominion/Bush Gardens Williamsburg, Dollywood, Six Flags Atlanta, and Myrtle Beach Pavilion it doesn't have much competition. It would just need someone with deep pockets and mad Roller Coaster Tycoon skills.

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Yeah I remember at one time being young enough that I was unwilling to ride Thunder Road. (It was the "new" and "adult" roller coaster....) The Scooby Doo and Gold Rusher was fast enough... (although I always thought some of those beams were spookily close to my head when running round some of the curves on the Gold Rusher).

I can't remember ever riding White Lightning. I just remember it being out of order most of the time. It must have been a troublesome machine.

Edited by MZT

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I miss Smurf Island.

Wow! Many times I've wondered if Smurf Island really existed or if I had just imagined it. I have a faint memory of walking in a Smurf mushroom house when I was young and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. I can't find any decent pictures of it, unfortunately.

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AS much as I like the new crazy rides, I will ALWAYS ride the Goldrusher at least 40 times when i go to Carowinds.

Probably because the lines are so short, but that thing is so damn fun

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AS much as I like the new crazy rides, I will ALWAYS ride the Goldrusher at least 40 times when i go to Carowinds.

Probably because the lines are so short, but that thing is so damn fun

I have to agree....Goldrusher will always be a classic......even after the 1,000,000th time I ride it!

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Many of you who have visited Carowinds may not realize the park celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2003. The park has changed greatly over the years including being purchased by Paramount who made some significant changes and investments. Only 4 of the original rides still exist in the park. Mose of these photos are from the early days in the late 70's very early 80's

Thanks for sharing my photos with the group. It would've been nice if you at least gave the link from where you took them.

For those that want to see more, go to:

http://members.aol.com/k9660r/earlywinds.html

Enjoy!

Edited by swampfox43

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Thanks for sharing my photos with the group. It would've been nice if you at least gave the link from where you took them.

For those that want to see more, go to:

http://members.aol.com/k9660r/earlywinds.html

Enjoy!

You are very correct. This is a very old topic back before the days of us requiring credit being given to the originator. I am not sure where those photos came from , but since you have are claiming them I will go back and credit you in the header. If you would like them removed we can do that as well. Sorry for any trouble it caused you.

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I worked at Carowinds for three summers during college.

I drove the Swings/Wild Bull for my first two seasons, and was a Smurf Boat driver for my last.

Smurf Boat driver was actually the most responsible ride position in the park, as we actually drove the darn things rather than pushing a button.

Sometimes we hit things.

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thunder road and white lightening, gold rush and rip roaring rapids, frenzoid and scooby doo.

Scooby doo (as a kid) was my favorite along with the log ride. The Gold Rush always felt like it was going to fall apart. The old Jalopy cars were a hoot as well.

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I worked at Carowinds for three summers during college.

I drove the Swings/Wild Bull for my first two seasons, and was a Smurf Boat driver for my last.

Smurf Boat driver was actually the most responsible ride position in the park, as we actually drove the darn things rather than pushing a button.

Sometimes we hit things.

Wow, that's awesome. Did anyone ever go overboard?

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That is great about the campground opening back up. It will draw more people that are passing through Charlotte.

The pictures earlier on this thread brought back great memories. It's been a very long time since I was there, probably unrecognizable for me now.

My favorite ride in the 70's was the Oken Bucket.

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Carowinds did not get BORG because it was unpopular at Great America, Carowinds got BORG because we have the best maintenance department in the chain. Speaking about the other employees, most of them do only want a paycheck. Which is sad, I live over an hour north of Carowinds, and I work at Carowinds because I love the park. I am the bouncy and happiest ride operator at the park. I think some of the Hurler/Drop Zone crew thinks I am crazy.

Edited by RollerNut

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Ken Rutherford remembers the excitement. All through the winter, Rutherford, who lived off Tyvola Road, coaxed his dad to drive him down to Carowinds after church so he could watch the nearly 100-foot-tall coaster being built.

He was 15 at the time and remembers his father lifting him above the fence line so he could take photos with his snazzy Kodak pocket camera. The wood beams were painted a bright gleaming white, with a red track and blue railings.

"My parents knew that on opening day, they were going to have to take me," Rutherford said. So on April 3, 1976, his folks dropped him off with two friends and $7.50 for admission.

"I can't remember how many lawns I had to cut to get $7.50 back then," he said.

They were in line before the park opened. "When they dropped the chain, we were tearing back toward Thunder Road," he remembers.

They scored seats right up front as the two trains took off for their climb up the tracks.

that's really cool. I didn't realize it was you, but the how many lawns you had to cut to make $7.50 part stuck with me hehe.

Edited by cantnot

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that's really cool. I didn't realize it was you, but the how many lawns you had to cut to make $7.50 part stuck with me hehe.

LOL! The funny thing is that you aren't the first one to mention that.....There are several quotes from our interview that I am surprised he printed.......as well as some I am glad he didn't print, haha.

This was my first ever newspaper interview so I took it all in stride. I almost cracked up though when I saw he actually printed my picture. When he asked me to email him one I almost said "Do you have to?".....Oh what the heck.

I hate that I couldn't attend the Thunder Road 30th Anniversary Party though. Just couldn't swing it workwise. I think it's nice that the park actually celebrated a roller coaster. I mean, where else would they do this? Only in America!

One thing I didn't see mentioned in the article was the reunion of the couple that got married on Thunder Road back in the 80's. Anyone remember that? It made the news. The train stopped at the top of the lift and after the preacher read the vows, they let it go over the top. Almost surreal. Anyway, that couple supposedly accepted the invitation to the event.

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Carowinds will no longer be the Carolinas only major Theme park, nor its largest. The new Hard Rock Park that will be constructed in Myrtle Beach will become the Carolina's largest theme park once completed. Ironically they specifically mention visitors from Charlotte as one of the reasons for locating in Myrtle Beach. There is more in this thread.

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