Our Favorite Ride Experiences of 2017

Before we look forward to the upcoming theme park season, we thought it’d be fun to take one more look back at our favorite ride experiences of 2017. The Smiler at Alton Towers Surprisingly, my favorite ride experience of 2017 was not on one of the awesome RMC (Rocky Mountain Construction) coasters – Wicked Cyclone and Lightning Rod – that I rode for the first time. It was on a coaster...[Read More]

Review: Vortex at Carowinds

Vortex represents an era of roller coaster history. The Bolliger & Mabillard-designed ride opened in 1992 back when the novelty of riding a roller coaster while standing was still relatively new. Today, the number of surviving stand-up roller coasters is shrinking as many of them have been removed, converted to sit-down rides, and as parks have preferred to build other types of rides. Today, V...[Read More]

Review: Carolina Goldrusher at Carowinds

Located in the Carolina Boardwalk area, Carolina Goldrusher is a steel mine train roller coaster that debuted during the park’s opening year in 1973. As you’d find on any mine train coaster, it features locomotive-themed trains that ride steel rails on a wooden support structure. It’s a family-friendly coaster that has no loops, relatively low speeds, and modest heights. Gold Min...[Read More]

Review: Hurler at Carowinds & Kings Dominion

In 1994, the Paramount-owned Kings Dominion and Carowinds opened two wooden roller coasters dubbed, Hurler. The ride’s original theme was connected to the 1992 movie and Saturday Night Live skit, Wayne’s World. Back when it opened the sparse warehouse-like station had a few exterior touches to make it look more like a Hollywood studio building. The most overt tie-in was the video of Wa...[Read More]

Review: Carolina Cyclone at Carowinds

Carolina Cyclone opened in 1980. I’m not sure if it opened with a lot of fanfare, but it deserved it. It was a real record-setter as the World’s first roller coaster to feature four inversions, surpassing Cedar Point’s Corkscrew which had three. It’s located in the Carolina Boardwalk section of Carowinds not far from Ricochet and Hurler. Expect Turbulence Ahead Carolina Cyc...[Read More]

Announcing CoasterCritics’ Picks: Our Top 10 Roller Coasters List

Given the growing team and community here at CoasterCritic, I thought it’d be fun to launch a critic-driven Top 10 that would become the site’s official list of the top roller coasters. In order to incorporate new rides, the list will be refreshed annually. Our first annual Top 10 Roller Coasters List combines the lists from the writers for CoasterCritic (Joel, John, Bobbie, and Jon), ...[Read More]

Carowinds to Add New Kids Rides With Camp Snoopy

In 2018, Carowinds will be transforming Planet Snoopy to Camp Snoopy. Aside from a new theme, the childrens’ area will be getting six new kids rides and new amenities. Here’s a video providing an overview of the new rides and updated area: After Fury 325, Carowinds is Shifting Their Focus to Families After making a huge splash with a mammoth roller coaster in 2015 thanks to Fury 325 (r...[Read More]

What If… You Could Add a Ride to Your Home Park

For this edition of What If… Imagine getting to call the shots, rather than just playing armchair theme park GM like we usually do. You’ve just won a contest where you get to choose the type of ride that your home park builds next. Here’s what I would do: Carowinds Could Use a Launch Coaster Back in 2009, when there was buzz about Carowinds’ new roller coaster, fans speculated about a regional tie...[Read More]

B&M Roller Coasters Are Not “Forceless”

In response to Bobbie’s recent post, 10 most intense roller coasters, someone remarked on Facebook that they were surprised Fury 325 was included in her list because the designer (Bolliger & Mabillard) is often criticized for creating “forceless” rides. Fury is a 325-foot tall giga coaster with a top speed of 95 mph. It’s one of the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coasters in ...[Read More]

The 10 Most Intense Roller Coasters I’ve Ridden

Although my coaster count is quite modest compared with Joel’s, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of the 10 most intense coasters I’ve ridden and explain why I found them unusually forceful.   I’ve ridden a number of incredible coasters so this was a challenge involving some tough choices.   The top 2 picks were givens and didn’t require any thought but the others had me pondering over m...[Read More]

What Are Your Theme Park Travel Plans in 2017?

With most theme parks across the country opening in the Spring, a new theme park season is almost upon us. Where am I headed? I hope to return to my home park, Carowinds. They’re adding four new flat rides. They are also re-theming Carolina Cobra as The Flying Cobras. It’s easily the best Vekoma boomerang roller coaster I’ve experienced thanks to the open restraints reducing head...[Read More]

UPDATED – From Dreams to Screams Documentary: Fury 325 at Carowinds

Devin Olson, creator of Coaster-Net has created another From Dreams to Screams documentary. A few years ago, I was blown away by his work on an excellent Outlaw Run documentary. This time Olson focused on the most talked about roller coaster of the year, Fury 325 at Carowinds. UPDATED: Here’s the full documentary: I always love hearing about the creation process involved with building a new ...[Read More]

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