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Southern Tour 2015: FURY 325 at Carowinds

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When I set the timeframe for our roller coaster tour through the USA almost 2 years ago, I didn't know that this time we would end up in the southern states. At the latest when the first rumors arose that Cedar Fair’s Carowinds was planning a gigantic coaster for this year's season, I was able to slowly narrow down our desired route.

The announcement of “Fury 325” cleared up any last doubts about the region or park selection. I just thought: “I absolutely have to test this part”, especially because I already had “Leviathan” from Wonderland (http://www.coasterfriends.de/forum/...amin-tour-leviathan-bizarro-und- kingdaka.html) liked it quite a lot. It can be said that “Fury” was the main reason for our trip, hopefully we shouldn't be disappointed ...

Carowinds was our second destination after Atlanta. We looked for a suitable place to stay in the form of a "Bed & Breakfast" near the park. The owners of the guesthouse in the middle of the countryside welcomed us in a friendly manner and showed us their cozy home and gardens. We felt almost at home with Martha and Will. Above all, we had peace and quiet, no loud neighbors and a really delicious American breakfast (freshly prepared by the lady of the house).




So we could start stronger in the park. And we also needed strength: we were lucky enough to experience a two-week heat wave that brought us up to 42 (!) Degrees Celsius every day. You can imagine how it felt like with additional humidity

Our SUV's display shows 106 Fahrenheit, just convert that to Celsius ...




Even the journey to the park with the emerging coaster skyline was a bit of a thrill. The silhouette of the B&M “Intimidator” lift and above all the turquoise and neon green (brand new) Gigacoaster shone against a cloudless sky.



"Carowinds" is one of three Cedar Fair parks whose growth potential is particularly high due to the proximity to the greater Charlotte area, according to the company philosophy. Therefore, the park received all structural improvements, new water slides, a new main entrance and the highest, longest and fastest gigacoaster in the world. Allegedly, the park will grow into "Cedar Point of the South" in the next few years.

At least the large roller coaster works great together with the new entrance portal. The train rushes along with screaming passengers in a monkey tooth over the heads of the arriving visitors, glides past them with a swing and finally dives under a bridge. I couldn't get enough of myself and was totally fascinated by the sight and the atmosphere.



Our way first led us to the Season Pass Center outside the park, where we picked up our annual passes. Unfortunately, Carowinds was also unable to correctly assign our photos to the correct people or cards. But no one was interested in paying later in the park and at the entrance.

After entering the entrance portal, the open “Plaza” is noticeable, which is lined with several shops, snack stalls and a few nice green plants. The familiar main street from the sister parks Kings Island, Kings Dominion or Canada's Wonderland is missing a bit. Instead, one immediately notices the state border between North and South Carolina within the park and the first glance is straight in the direction of the “Carolina Skytower”, the park's observation tower.



We had to cover a few running meters to get to the main attraction, which felt like kilometers in the scorching heat at 10 o'clock in the morning - we were already drenched in sweat and it was clear that we should not be able to do without water and a cap that day. So quickly bought the obligatory Fury hat and got into the queue.

The huge lift rises in the entrance area of ​​“Fury” behind the stylish lettering and the anticipation rose immeasurably. Especially when we discovered that there was no queue, since most of the visitors were apparently looking to cool off in the water park “Boomerang Bay”.



Despite a minimal rush, you couldn't freely choose your row of seats and we were sent straight to the last row, which fortunately would have been my choice for the first trip. The handling was bombastic, the railway was operated with three trains and the ride operators managed to send the train off each time before the previous one landed on the final brake (this is not a matter of course in the USA).
The lift chain grips extremely gently and sends the train into the sky at almost launch-like speed (no comparison to Skyrush or I305, but very, very fast for a chain lift).

The ascent does not want to and does not want to stop, especially not when the train shifts halfway up a gear. At a height of almost 100 meters, the train slows down and you can take a brief look at the Charlotte’s skyline before the train tears us down with an incline of 81 degrees (B & M’s steepest hypercoaster drop to date).

The descent is absolutely great, followed by a never-ending fall with plenty of airtime and power. In the valley, there are pleasantly strong G-forces and the train rushes into a 58-meter-high steep curve, the exit of which leads into the best S-curve passage of a roller coaster that I know. The dangling close to the ground gives us well-dosed airtime, while the entire body glides to the side with a swing at the moment of maximum weightlessness (similar to Leviathan).



We race over the park guests at a hair-raising pace and dive into what I think is the best element of the track: the horseshoe. The train chases up the 48 meter high banked curve and falls down the descent at an incline of 91 degrees, accompanied by astonished crowds below us. You are literally pulled down as if in a suction, directly under the bridge and up onto a rather tame steep curve that initiates the way back.

The following trim brake on the next hill is so cleverly placed that it contributes to the airtime at the point instead of reducing it. The train reaches the huge helix close to the ground, which does not obscure anyone's field of vision, but has a nasty head chopper ready. After two more airtime-heavy hills, we land on the final brake.

We drove the train countless times in almost every row. In the Front Row we literally lost our spit: the beguiling and never-to-stop rushing in the ears, the insane airflow and the lively airtime moments that existed here once again confirm that a really big runway has been created here!



Since then, “Fury 325” has earned a fourth place in my roller coaster charts for me. Where Leviathan ends, Fury only begins: the unbelievable length, the strength (1A floating airtime with a lot of emphasis), the optics and, in my opinion, a varied layout without intermediate brakes full of speed. For me the best B&M hypercoaster. Only the name doesn't really appeal, but the bombastic journey comforts that. Certainly there are enough freaks who prefer the hard version like I305, but I need a track that I can get without gray-out (greetings to Doswell http://www.coasterfriends.de/forum/...lloween-tour -grey-out-auf-intimidator305.html) and which, despite its size, is suitable for long-term journeys. And this is right here with Charlotte and it is intoxicating without end!

But now it was time to test the other attractions in the park. Right next to the Gigacoaster is the Hurler wooden roller coaster, which unfortunately can't be anything but boring. An indictment of such a great neighborhood.



In the Carolina Boardwalk area below, it becomes clear that the park also has nice corners to offer. A couple of shops in a nicely packaged fishing village work wonders.



Next door, the Wild Mouse, the “Carolina Cyclone” looping track and the “Goldrusher” mine rollercoaster do their laps. We paid a short visit to the latter. Due to its leisurely driving style over two lift hills and a few nice curves, the track was rather suitable for resting.



I remember the B&M stand-up coaster "Vortex" less well. He gave me a few slaps in the face and just shakes and rumbles over the short distance.



Meanwhile the midday heat took its toll, so we took a detour via the water park “Boomerang Bay”. The predominant theme here, Australia, is particularly evident in the naming of the slide systems. The first goal was the open tire slide "Down Under Thunder", which was very nice to get into. The dark slide "Bondi Pipeline" surprised us with a rather rapid slide, in which our tires reached extreme lean angles in complete darkness. After so much action, we went for a lap on the lazy river before barbecuing under the sun for a few minutes. In contrast to “Splashin‘ Safari ”, the water temperature of the facilities in“ Boomerang Bay ”was pleasantly warm and we let ourselves be tempted into a few more sliding maneuvers.



The “Carolina Rhinefeld” park area offers not only a pretty theming and vegetation, but also the “Boo Blasters” ghost train and the “Carolina Cobra” boomerang. We left out both due to lack of interest and insane heat.



In “County Fair” we tested the soon-to-be-closed “Thunder Road” wooden roller coaster. The racing effect was the best thing about the track, otherwise I can understand why it is closed: after the U-turn it’s just too rough and rough; as if the train would jump off the track at any time.

The hanging loop "Afterburn" already had more to offer. On the one hand, a great route including a batwing element (which is otherwise only available at Montu http://www.coasterfriends.de/forum/...9458-halloween-tour-busch-gardens-africa.html) and on the other hand, simple a relatively gentle but also powerful ride with beautiful pressure passages. The train even chases the passengers right under the south entrance of the park. Definitely one of the better B&M inverters.






We reached the Flying Coaster “Nighthawk” from Vekoma via the sizeable “Dinosaurs Alive” and “Snoopy” areas. As in Kings Island (http://www.coasterfriends.de/forum/...-tour-2014-banshee-kings-island-teil-2-a.html), I had to conquer this alone, because Sven did the Not at all tolerate lying position.

To be honest, he didn’t miss a thing, as the ride, unlike the sister train in Ohio, is very rough and shakes, which is typical for Vekomatics. The track looks great because of its placement above the park lake, but one trip was enough for me here.



To relax, I then needed a ride on the “Skytower”, from where we could enjoy a great view of the park and its lanes.



After a refreshment in the newly built “Harmony Hall”, which was anything but harmonious due to the loud rock music and beer tent atmosphere, we conquered the bright red monster called Intimidator.



Anyone expecting the classic out-and-back coaster from B&M will not be disappointed, because this is exactly the experience you get. I was particularly impressed by the wonderfully sloping descent after the First Drop, which kinks to one side. You simply slide into the element with a nice floating airtime and leave it in a swinging direction towards the ground.



The following hills are unfortunately tamed, as with many railways of this type, by too hard-gripping trim brakes. Nevertheless, the train is so fun and offers a completely different ride compared to Fury. It was simply gigantic to “ride” through the hot summer air so lively and gently. However, the “little” intimidator cannot get close to “Diamondback”.

After countless more rides on the red and blue steel monsters, we trotted towards the exit to watch the rushing rides of Fury 325 over the entrance gates one last time. A stunner!

We liked Carowinds very much, the three big roller coasters are all great, especially the novelty of the current year. The park layout and the design as well as the borderline penetrating music are in my opinion still in need of improvement, there is a little lack of charm as with the other Cedar Fair parks. It all seems a bit thrown together. For the second “Cedar Point” there are still a few real blast attractions missing, but “Carowinds” is already a must-do for roller coaster fans worldwide. I will be back in a couple of years ...

On our way to Tennessee we visited the former “Dirty Dancing” location “Lake Lure” and the lookout rock “Chimney Rock”. After our lunch in the lakeside restaurant, despite the outside temperature of 40 degrees, we climbed the 700 meter high summit and rewarded ourselves with an ice-cold cola before we said goodbye to the Carolinas ‘.




The next report will be from Georgia ...