It was a rainy day, but the Carolina Cobra media day had a positive feel and pointed to a bright future for Carowinds. The event was attended by the local media, park officials, live snakes, and some Nick characters. A local cover band played a few crowd-pleasers while Dora, Diego, and the Rugrats entertained guests. Next, the park addressed the media. Then, an official ribbon cutting was followed by the ‘Cobra’s first run with guests.
Carolina Cobra Mini Review – The Ride
I got a seat towards the middle on the first train open to the public. Immediately, I noticed the new restraints. They have fleixble straps that reminded me of backpack straps. Then, on top of those were the larger, sturdy over-the-shoulder restraints. The main difference of these restraints from your typical restraints were their width. They were much further away from the sides of your head. This makes any head banging that often occurs during the loops nearly impossible. Which in effect makes this Vekoma Boomerang more enjoyable. Aside from that, it was a pretty standard boomerang shuttle coaster.
The average park-goer should really enjoy the park’s new 12th coaster. The train is pulled backwards out of the station up a 120′ tall lift hill. At the top, the train is released. It plummets back down the lift and through the station. Then it enters the cobra roll which includes two back-to-back inversions. Next, the train traverses a standard vertical loop and then it climbs the other lift hill. At the top of this lift hill, the train is released again and now traverses the course backwards. It’s compact, but turns riders upside down six times in the matter of just a few minutes. Taking that vertical loop backwards on the way back to the station is still a weird sensation to me and I’ve been on a number of boomerang coasters in my travels.
Coaster Geek Analysis
Sure, Carolina Cobra is a relocated Vekoma Boomerang from Geauga Lake, but it’s an interesting addition for a number of reasons. It’s the only Vekoma Boomerang for at least 300 miles, so the locals aren’t likely to have experienced anything like it. The closest one that I know is in Southern Georgia at Wild Adventures. Also, Cedar Fair put some money into ‘Cobra in a new paint job and most importantly that brand new train. As soon as there was buzz about the the coaster heading to Carowinds, I speculated that the Cedar Fair could surprise us by giving it new trains. I had hoped for lap bar restraints, but this still shows that the park is interested in the quality and rideability of the ride even though it’s recycled. The new restraints make Carolina Cobra the best Vekoma Boomerang you’re likely to find anywhere.
Cobra Points to a Bright Future for Carowinds
While this isn’t the largest coaster at the park and doesn’t set any new world records, it does signal that Cedar Fair is ready to invest in Carowinds. With the 2010 coaster rumors already swirling around the Net and the many other park improvements, all signs point to Cedar Fair giving Carowinds more love than the the previous owners, Paramount. Dani Swords, Public Relations Manager for Carowinds, stated that Carowinds is in one of only two growth markets (Charlotte, NC) in the whole Cedar Fair chain. The other is Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto which received the impressive Behemoth hyper coaster in 2008. She mentioned that Cedar Fair will be looking to invest especially in these markets because that’s where they can see the most potential.
See all my pictures from the Media Day including my onride photo on The Coaster Critic Facebook page.
What’s Your Take?
Have you ridden Carolina Cobra yet? Are you looking forward to Carolina Cobra? Leave a comment below. Picture 3 courtesy of Carowinds Connection.