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“POOR Value, Overpriced, NOT special needs friendly.”
Review of Carowinds

Ranked #11 of 179 things to do in Charlotte
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A mecca of family fun, this 105-acre theme/water park features rides that thrill and live entertainment.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“POOR Value, Overpriced, NOT special needs friendly.”
Reviewed July 16, 2009

New ownership=admission, food, drink and everything else way overpriced. The cost of a meal was equivalent to a 3 star steak house for food that was worse than the cafeteria food I got in elementary school. We went to the park in what should be the height of their season. Customer count was about third of potential, so I guess the park is going for higher average ticket. If you go, you can expect next to nothing from customer relations if you have special needs. Spent most of the day in the park and only one associate bothered to even say hello and one other associate did smile at us. On one ride while waiting in line, my young children were subjected to one associate cursing and flipping the bird at another associate in the control booth. Only good thing, the line waits were short for the rides which many were enjoyable for the kids. Perhaps that is the new ownerships formula for success; reduce the number of customers to shorten the line waits. If so, they are following their plan to a T.

3 Thank sdem98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Killen, Alabama
Level Contributor
69 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Great Coasters and Great little park”
Reviewed June 21, 2009

I go to amusement parks to ride, not to see shows or people watch. We went to Carowinds so that my wife could show me the park she grew up visiting, and came away wanting to stay longer. I've always loved roller coasters, and man, Carowinds didnt dissapoint. I love all types of coasters (the ones that do and dont turn upside down) and this place has all types! There is also lots of low thrill rides too, and a great section of kids rides too.
We went on a Tuesday, so the crowd werent that large. Since it was hot that day, a good portion of the assembled eventually meandered over to the water portion of the park to cool off, leaving the rest of the park very ride-waiting manageable. The only exception to this was the queue for Nighthawk, which was long all day.
When it is time to eat, the better choices are toward the front There arent that many places deeper into the park except for drink stands. Seatting is limited too., and seems to be all in common areas.
It is difficult to ride everything at Carowinds in one day. This is especially true if you love roller coasters and want to re-ride anything. I followed my Disney World rules and (1) went on a weekday and (2) started at the back of the park and worked my to the front.

2 Thank tabatc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southeast US
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Geat Carowinds experience with my 5 year old”
Reviewed June 9, 2009

I have been going to Carowinds since I was a young child and have always loved it. It has been several years since my last visit and my first with my child. I have to say I was impressed with the new coasters they've added since my last visit. We decided to take a couple of days off of work and go on a weekday instead of trying to brave the weekend crowds. If that's an option, I would definitely say that's the way to go. We went on a Monday and arrived at the park at 10:30. They open at 10:00. Parking was $10 for all day. If you plan to leave the park, hold onto your receipt and you can get back in without paying again. There were very few people there, we were able to park on the 3rd row so the walk to the park was short. We walked right up to the ticket window with no waiting to purchase tickets. You have to pass through metal detectors, then on to a table where they check through any bags brought into the park. No outside food or drink is allowed. We went straight to Nickelodian Central where my daughter was able to meet Diego. They have a sign posted with the times different characters will be out so if your child wants to meet a certain character, you can head back there at the right time. We spent most of the day in the Nick section. On most rides, my child was able to ride a ride and immediately get right back on. If we did have to wait in line, it was only for one ride cycle. We went to the Marty's party show which was a cute 30 minute show. It was a nice little break and my daughter thought it was funny. Although you will get a little wet. Don't sit in the center section if you mind getting wet. There was more spray there. There were a couple of rides outside of nick that my child was able to ride as long as we rode with her. She loved the Kaliedoscope. We bought one of the large refillable souvenir cups filled for $8. Refills after that were $2.50. We were able to get one staff memeber to refill it once with free iced water because we were sick of soda by that point. Our original plan was to leave the park for lunch b/c we'd read about food prices but opted for a slice of pizza from the Nick toons Cafe which was $4 per slice. I did notice burger prices were $6 and fries were $3.50. They also had small salads for around $4. With 3 slices of pizza, 2 drinks and one refill in our souvenir cup,Our lunch was around $23. It was pretty hot, so one slice of pizza was really all any of us wanted. The pizza there was decent. Because we'd planned to leave for lunch, we'd left our water park stuff in the the car and it was a long trek to go out of the gate, (make sure you ask for a stamp to get back in-they weren't automatically stamping, we had to ask) head back to the car, pick up our stuff and walk all the way back to the water park. I wish we'd just brought our stuff in the morning and rented a locker. It felt like at least a mile walk. The water park is a great way to get rejuvenated! We had worn our suits under our clothing, rented a locker there to lock up our valuables and sat back in chairs along the water to relax and watch our child play. She loved the water gym, set on concrete with a slide and sprinklers. We also did the wave pool but tube rental was $6 for the pool so we passed on tubes. We didn't do any of the larger slides but I saw very little waiting on those-again the weekday thing. The water park closes at different times than the rest of the park so if you're using a locker in the water park, make sure you look at the sign for closing time for that day so you can get your things out. The park was very clean, restrooms were clean and we didn't have problems finding them, there always seemed one close by. The staff was very friendly, and was mostly made up of high school age kids. They interacted with the kids on the rides and were fun. We didn't take a stroller in but I did observe some strollers left in the line areas. We also saw some families pulling young children in plastic wagons and that seemed to work well. In the center of NIck central there is a baby care building. I had one interaction with guest services and they were very helpful. Overall our experience was very positive. We stayed the night at the Hyatt Place off of Tyvola Rd (8 miles from the park) which was a very nice.

1 Thank melanie1126
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 22, 2009

Group prices not as bad as regular, but still not really a good deal. Hot, crowded, lines for rides too long - stand in line 1 1/2 hours for a few minutes of ride time. Kids rode 3 rides in 4 hours. Nothing for older folks to do.
Our last visit.

Thank olesneaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Carolina Mountains, North Carolina
Level Contributor
32 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“What a fun place! Some good roller coasters, good value, some BIG new ride for 2010 on the way”
Reviewed April 22, 2009

We got a season pass for all the Cedar Fair parks, but you can buy one for just Carowinds for the price of two days discounted admission - around $60 bucks. Pretty good deal! It's one of the three closest theme parks, among Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. My favorite for classiness would have to be Busch, and for just excitement and thrills, definitely, Kings Dominion. But this is a nice if overlooked amusement park. They have a new roller coaster Carolina Cobra that just opened this year which I rode, thinking it wouldn't be that much of a thrill but I underestimated it. It was pretty intense and very fun. My favorite has to be the former Top Gun roller coaster, now called AfterBurn, and the scariest and longest line was for Nighthawk, which is the former Borg/Star Trek coaster. That one you lie down on and basically fly suspended from your back facing the ground. It's amazing too, feel like you're going to fall out the entire time!
They have a water park built into the park, not huge, but should be fun to do that some when it gets warm later in the season.
It was very clean, staff was very friendly. They didn't all know answers to some of my questions because I went on what was the 3rd weekend they were even open, so staff is still learning the ropes too.
Brought my dog and they kept her in the kennel, which was pretty steep relative to Kings Dominion price, but still cheaper than paying someone to board her while I was gone to ride the rides. It's a smaller park than Kings Dominion (100 acres compared to 400 acres). Fewer roller coasters (11 vs 14). 2 wave pools at each, 4 sets of slides at Carowinds vs. 6-8 at Kings Dominion
There are a lot of kiddie-themed areas decorated to children's network such as Nickelodeon and Boomerang, so you see things like the "fairly oddparents coaster" and the "scooby doo haunted mansion" Lot of fun for people of all ages.
Carowinds is a good size to be able to split up a group that attends together and still be able to reconnect a few hours later in case everyone doesn't want to ride the same things. Something for everyone. They are in the process of ripping out the old log flume to create a VERY large piece of real estate right at the front of the park, and the rumors I've heard are it's for a new mega-coaster for 2010 season. We'll see, but whatever it is, it looks like it is HUGE and will go out into the parking lot even.
Looking forward to going back.

Thank Flyer1965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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