After weeks of teasing its plans to make its "biggest announcement in park history," Carowinds finally let the cat out of the bag – or the bee out the hive, so to speak.
Thursday, Carowinds announced plans for a $50 million multi-year investment to revamp the park from top to bottom bringing new life to founder Pat Hall's original vision. The changes are an effort to celebrate Carolina culture and include new rides and attractions, signature Carolina food offerings and entertainment.
At the hallmark of the newly announced plans is the construction of Fury 325, one of the world's tallest and fastest roller coasters. Being unleashed in 2015, Fury 325 will simulate the wild, daring and spontaneous flight of the hornet and will be visible from uptown Charlotte once complete, according to park officials.
"Starting with Fury 325, we plan to make Carowinds a destination for thrill seekers to celebrate the Carolinas," says Mike Fehnel, Carowinds vice president and general manager. "The new ride will build on the heritage of the park, creating new memories and traditions for our loyal fans and future guests from around the world."
Riders will board into three 32-passenger open-air trains and begin their ascent to the top of a 325-foot (over 30 stories) hill. This immense hill is followed by an exhilarating 81-degree first drop. Like an angry hornet chasing its target, Fury 325 will race through a series of hills, curves and quick transitions while reaching speeds of up to 95 miles per hour. Riders will speed along 6,602 feet of track during the nearly three and one-half minute ride.
The new coaster will be the centerpiece of a new 8.2-acre main entrance plaza that includes a state-of-the-art ticketing and season pass processing area and expanded guest service facilities. During Thursday's big announcement, park officials said fans could expect more exciting announcements for 2016 in the near future.
"For more than 40 years, Carowinds has been the place where the Carolinas come together," said Fehnel. "It's where the Tar Heel State and the Palmetto State meet... The tradition of the park is so important to those who have grown up here, it's long overdue that we gave our fans a new energy surrounding Carowinds, which will build on our legacy as the premiere entertainment destination for generations of Carolinians."