Charlotte Stories and Tips

Carowinds "thrill rides"

Xtream Skyflyer Photo, Charlotte, North Carolina

Cedar Point need not worry over competition from this park. Carowinds offers up a measly 3 thriller coasters and then two other thrill rides. Four out of the five will not make a hard-core, maniacal coaster, ACE-member, rabid coaster fan even remotely happy. But nonetheless, for your coaster pleasure, here are Carowinds "thrill rides":

Borg Assimilatator.

Opened March 2004

2,781 feet of track

115 feet tall

51mph

68-foot vertical loops

100-degree horseshoe inversion

2 corkscrews

4 180-degree inversions

Riders board the ride in the station. Once everyone is strapped in you are lowered into a laying position on your back and bolted from the station.

Named from something fromStar Trek. Easily spotted by the HUGE sphere outside.

Rating (out of 5 stars) **

Verdict: A waste of your time. The only remote thrill where is during the corkscrew you will be flipped over unto your stomach giving you the momentarily feeling of flying. In off-season the wait is an hour. It is 2-3 during peak season! There is a separate line for single riders, which is never open. You cannot bring any kind of purse, backpack, or fanny pack on the ride. You must use a locker located at the entrance of the ride, which will cost you $1 to rent!

When you should ride: Only if you pass by and the line is under 30-minutes.


Top Gun

Opened 1999.

2,956 feet of track

113 feet tall

62mph

Engineered by Bolliger & Mabillard of Switzerland (thrill seekers know the name)

Six inversions, a vertical loop, batwing, flat spin into a spiral.

Riders straddle the seat and buckle themselves in. Once all passengers are safely buckled in, the floor lowers leaving your feet to dangle during the ride.

Inspired by the movie featuring the hot but sly Tom Cruise (hey he is cute. Just wouldn’t want to be married to him)

Rating (out of 5 stars) ****

Verdict: My favorites. Highflying pleasure with turns and flips. At one point you are so close to the ground you feel like your feet are going to drag. Worth the ride every time. I even let out a few "whoo hoos" on this!

Tips: Since this does not have a bottom, those with strapless sandals or flip-flops may want to leave them at the station. Often very short rides in off-season.


Vortex:

Open 1992

2,040 feet of track

90 feet tall

50mph

Also Bolliger & Mabillard design

Offers a series of rolls, inversions, and corkscrews.

Riders really have to straddle the seat here. A harness comes down and locks you in tight--very tight. Very uncomfortable for those of use who are busty. You almost wonder if you are riding a roller coaster or getting a mammogram! You stand the whole time on this ride.

Rating (out of 5 stars) ****

Verdict: Nothing spectacular, but still a goodie. While not as thrilling as Top Gun, you are standing up on this one. Standing up + corkscrews = always a good time!

Stunt Tower

Open 1996

160 feet tall

56mph

Intamin AG design

The same concept as the free fall rises in many parks.

Guests board, and the seats and are secured with an overhead harness. Through hydraulics you are ripped to the top of the tower where by you get an awesome view of the park. The ride pauses for a few seconds and down you go. Your stomach tends to stay behind and play catch up later.

Ratings (out of 5) ****

Verdict: One of the few rides that makes my stomach still stay on the ride for a few lingering minutes. Always a favorite if the line is short.

Tip: If you are wearing loose-fitting shoes I would leave them on the ground.

Extreme Flyer

Opened 1995

153 high

60mph

Guests first walk to an area where you are fitted and buckled into a long harness very similar to the ones worn but hand gliders. After your fitting you walk with an employee to a platform where you are attached to a series of steel hooks. After you are safely hooked, the employee leaves, and your platform returns slowly to the ground leaving you hanging in the air. You now start your 153-foot descent to the top. Once you’re here the only way down is to pull the ripcord. You feel a yank and down you go into a 50-foot freefall giving you the experience of flying!

Rating (out of 5 stars) *****

Verdict: The ONLY ride in this park that gives me an adrenaline rush. This is a paid ride and rates go from $15 to $25. It holds up to 3 guests at one time and the more you have, the cheaper the ride. Though I have seen this go for $12 at the end of the season. You must also be over 16 and sign a waiver. They have these rides all over the country and the company has an excellent safety record. No one has ever been seriously injured or killed on this ride. I was working here when the ride was opened and would ride this attraction 4-5 times a day while the employees were being trained. There is a lengthily training process for employees of this ride.

Tip: The person on the right controls the ripcord. If you are going with someone who you might suspect will chicken out at the last minute, put him or her in the middle. Also you will have the chance to purchase a video of your ride.

All guests must be 54" to ride any of these rides. You can purchase a souvenir photo of your ride on all except the stunt tower.

Tip: All of the coasters listed carry up to 4 passengers per compartment. If you are single or there are 2 of you riding, keep your ears tuned into the ride attendants. They quite frequently call out for single or double passengers to fill the ride.

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