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Latest News and Events

Welcome to The Newsroom. The latest press releases issued by Carowinds and details on upcoming events are all here. Working members of the media are welcome to contact the park with inquiries.

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May 31, 2016 - BEER LOVERS UNITE FOR THE FIRST-EVER BREW FESTIVAL AT CAROWINDS

CONTACT:

Laresa Thompson

Manager, Public Relations

(704) 587-9050

laresa.thompson@carowinds.com

BEER LOVERS UNITE FOR THE FIRST-EVER BREW FESTIVAL AT CAROWINDS

Carowinds to Offer Best In Carolina-Brewed Beverages at Inaugural Event

Charlotte, N.C. (May 31, 2016) – Carowinds will become the place where beer-lovers come together to sample the best craft beer in the Carolinas! The first-ever BrewFest will be held at the park on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. just outside of Harmony Hall. The park has partnered with 15 local breweries from Charleston, SC to Morganton, NC to right here in Charlotte to showcase the best of specialty craft beers in the Carolinas- including 60 micro-brews, delicious lagers, IPAs, pale ales and more! Finger foods such as pretzel necklaces, nachos and wings will also be available to buy to go along with those tasty suds.

Guests can quench their thirsts, eat and enjoy games like an oversized beer pong, brew slides (shuffle board with beer mugs), along with a host of live music. And to add a little competition, the top three selling brews from each day will be sold at Carowinds for the rest of the 2016 season. “We’re continuing to see an increase in the number of breweries opening each year in the Carolinas,” says Carowinds’ executive chef, Kris Siuta. “We’re bringing together brewers and those who love it. Plus, guests get to experience a day on our thrilling rides like Fury 325 and the Intimidator; our all-new waterpark, Carolina Harbor; in addition to our live shows. It’s a one stop shop for brew, food and fun!”

Here’s how BrewFest works:

  • To purchase beer or food, guests will need to buy tokens.
  • Tokens can be purchased once guests get inside the park at a BrewFest token booth located near Harmony Hall.

Food and beverages for BrewFest are not included with park admission and are available for an extra fee. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages.

For more information on BrewFest and other special events at Carowinds, visit our website at carowinds.com.

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Media Contacts

The Carowinds Public Relations Department welcomes inquiries and visits from credentialed members of the news media for the production of high quality news features and programs about Carowinds.

Contact
Laresa Thompson
Public Relations and Communications Manager
Carowinds 
14523 Carowinds Blvd. 
Charlotte, NC 28273

Office: 704-587-9050 (News Media Calls Only)
E-mail: laresa.thompson@carowinds.com

ATTENTION MEDIA: All requests for media passes must be submitted online. Information regarding our media pass policy is available in the Media Center section of our website under Media Pass Policy. 

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Media Pass Policy

Carowinds media pass policy allows journalists to become familiar with the park’s many story opportunities while enjoying a day with family or friends.

This courtesy is for the media contact personally; tickets may not be set up under a family member's name or picked up by anyone other than the media contact.  Working media on assignment are provided complimentary admission and will be accompanied by a representative from the Public Relations Department to assist with information gathering. Please review guidelines before requesting passes.

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Review Media Pass Guidelines

Qualifications

  • Credentialed media who live and work in our region within 250 miles of Carowinds.
  • Working journalists only. Office, sales, operations or retired personnel do not qualify.

Working Journalists Include:

  • Print/Newspapers/Magazines: Owner, General Manager, Publisher, Editor, Reporter, Writer, Photographer
  • Radio: Owner, General Manager, Program Director, News Director, Reporter, On-Air Personality, Writer, Producer for AM and FM stations only
  • Television: Owner, General Manager, News Director, Assignment Editor, Reporter, On-Air Personality, Writer, Producer, Photographer
  • Online: Websites and bloggers who can provide documentation that the site receives at least 10,000 hits/month.
  • Freelance: Must provide written confirmation of assignment. (Sorry, theme park enthusiast and fan-based websites do not qualify as working media.)

If You Meet Requirements, You Are Eligible for the Following:

  • Two (2) complimentary passes per season good for Sunday through Friday only. No Saturday passes will be issued as that is our busiest day. Passes are not valid for SCarowinds, concerts, or other special events. Please Note: There will be no ticket exchanges for the date submitted on your request. No exceptions.
  • We are aware that some newspapers, radio stations and television stations prefer their personnel not accept complimentary passes to events and attractions. We respect this policy and will decline to offer passes to your personnel if you so indicate. Please contact the Public Relations Department if you wish to have your organization excluded from this list. 
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Park Descriptions

Looking for just the right words and word count?

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60 Words

Carowinds touts world-class thrill rides, live entertainment and more. Located off I-77 (Exit 90), the park is home of the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster, Fury 325; and in 2016 will debut the all-new Carolina Harbor waterpark which celebrates the culture of the Carolina coast with new attractions for everyone (price included with admission). Visit carowinds.com for more information.

85 Words

Carowinds touts world-class thrill rides, live entertainment and more. Located off I-77 (Exit 90) at the NC/SC border, the park is home of the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster, Fury 325. In 2016, the all-new Carolina Harbor waterpark celebrates the culture of the Carolina coast with new attractions for everyone and is included with admission. Plus, experience the epic battle to find the Golden Gnome in the world’s first intra-active 3-D digital experience, Plants vs. Zombies™ Garden Warfare 3Z Arena.Visit carowinds.com for more information.

101 Words

Carowinds is the place where the Carolinas come together. Located off I-77 (Exit 90) at the NC/SC border, the park touts world-class thrill rides, live entertainment, authentic Carolina cuisine and more. Guests can feel the sting of Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster. In 2016, the all-new Carolina Harbor waterpark celebrates the culture of the Carolina coast with new attractions for everyone and is included with admission. And compete in an epic battle to find the Golden Gnome in the world’s first intra-active 3-D digital experience, Plants vs. Zombies™ Garden Warfare 3Z Arena. Visit carowinds.com for more information.

154 Words

Carowinds is the place where the Carolinas come together. Located off I-77 (Exit 90) at the NC/SC border, the park touts world-class thrill rides, live entertainment, authentic Carolina cuisine and more. Feel the sting of Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster. Winner of the 2015 Golden Ticket Award for “Best New Ride” by the readers of Amusement Today, this steel behemoth reaches heights of 325 feet tall and breathtaking speeds of 95 miles per hour. In 2016, the all-new Carolina Harbor waterpark celebrates the culture of the Carolina coast with new attractions for all members of the family! Best of all- it’s included with admission. Guests will be immersed in the Plants vs. Zombies™ Garden Warfare 2 universe and compete in an epic battle to find the Golden Gnome, as Carowinds debuts Plants vs. Zombies™ Garden Warfare 3Z Arena, the world’s first intra-active 3-D digital experience. Visit carowinds.com for more information.

220 Words

Carowinds is the place where the Carolinas come together. Located off I-77 (Exit 90) at the NC/SC border, the premier entertainment destination of the Carolinas touts world-class thrill rides, live entertainment, authentic Carolina cuisine and more. Feel the sting of Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster. Winner of the 2015 Golden Ticket Award for “Best New Ride” by the readers of Amusement Today, this steel behemoth reaches heights of 325 feet tall and breathtaking speeds of 95 miles per hour - it’s full throttle all the way. In 2016, Carowinds has a world full of incredible new experiences, making for one epic season. The all-new Carolina Harbor waterpark celebrates the culture of the Carolina coast while serving up a gracious helping of hospitality, relaxation and family fun – all intertwined to create the ultimate waterpark experience. This historic expansion includes new attractions and amenities for all members of the family – from mild to wild! Plus, it’s included with admission. Plants vs. Zombies™ Garden Warfare 3Z Arena is the world’s first intra-active 3-D digital experience. Guests are immersed in the Plants vs. Zombies™ Garden Warfare 2 universe and compete in an epic battle to find the Golden Gnome. And Cirque Imagine, an amazing, new live show debuting in the summer will completely mesmerize guests with sensational stunts and breathtaking acrobatics of strength, balance and athleticism. With so much to do and see, one day at the park just isn’t enough. Guests can kick back and stay a while at our scenic on-site family campground, Camp Wilderness Resort. Everyone in the family is set for the best summer ever. Special ticket packages are available. Visit carowinds.com for more information, including operating hours and pricing.

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Park History and Timeline

Carowinds has been entertaining the Carolinas for more than four decades.

A history of Carowinds from the very beginning.

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Looking Back on the History of Carowinds

In October, 1969 Charlotte businessman E. Pat Hall announced the construction of Carowinds, a 73-acre theme park that would straddle the North and South Carolina state line and provide entertainment to families across the region. The name, Hall said, was derived from the two states the park would be named for and the winds that blew across them. The park would be larger than some of the country’s most recognizable theme parks at the time including Disneyland, Astroworld in Houston, Texas, and Six Flags in Atlanta, Ga.

On July 18, 1972, Miss North Carolina, Connie Dorn, and Miss South Carolina, Bonnie Corder joined Hall in a ceremony to pave the golden concrete state line that would begin outside the park and run through the mansion entrance and the "Courtyard of the Carolinas." Lights would adorn the state line so that riders on the Skytower and other aerial attractions at the park could pick it out at night. It also was during this ceremony that Hall announced that the park would officially open to the public on March 31, 1973. 

Carowinds began its first summer of daily operation on June 2, 1973, with a brief ceremony attended by North Carolina Governor Jim Holshouser, South Carolina Governor John West, and other congressmen and dignitaries from both states.

In late December, 1974 Taft Broadcast Company partnered with Top Value Enterprises, a subsidiary of Kroger Co., and formed Family Leisure Centers, Inc. On January 19, 1975, Family Leisure Centers, Inc., announced that it would purchase Carowinds theme park for $16 million. 

From 1975 – 1980, Family Leisure Centers made a number of improvements to the park, including the addition of the Paladium and roller coasters Thunder Road and Carolina Cyclone. In October 1980, the Family Leisure Centers partnership between Taft Broadcasting and the Kroger Company was dissolved and the park became a fully-owned subsidiary of Taft.

At the end of 1983, Carowinds had spent its last season under the ownership of Taft Broadcasting Company. Taft's Amusement Park Group Managers, including the park general managers and several vice presidents, came together to purchase two-thirds of Taft’s interest in the theme park business and form their own corporation.

In 1984, Carowinds would begin operation under the ownership of Kings Entertainment Company. Notable additions through the years were Frenzoid, Whitewater Falls, a water park and Vortex roller coaster.

On July 31, 1992, halfway through the summer season at Carowinds, Paramount Communications Inc. announced the purchase of Kings Entertainment Company. Beginning in 1993, Paramount Parks would become the parent company of Carowinds, and the park would be renamed Paramount's Carowinds.  Paramount incorporated many movie and entertainment themes into the park, from Star Trek to Wayne's World and more.    

In 2000, the park introduced SCarowinds, an annual Halloween attraction. SCarowinds continues to this day, on select nights in September and October the facility is transformed into a haunted theme park.  The experience includes numerous haunted attractions and incorporates most of the existing park rides into a nightmarish experience. 

The Park underwent an ownership change on July 1, 2006 when Cedar Fair, L.P., owner of the world-famous Cedar Point and Knott's Berry Farm theme parks, purchased Paramount Parks in a blockbuster deal. Carowinds became part of the newly-formed Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which owns or operates 12 amusement/theme parks and 5 separately-gated water parks across North America. The park has undergone a number of changes since the purchase and has renamed several rides and attractions. Perhaps the most notable changes have been a water park expansion and the opening of The Intimidator in 2010, the longest, tallest, fastest rollercoaster in the Southeast!  

Carowinds has changed since its start as a 73-acre park featuring the history and culture of the Carolinas.  Over the last four decades it  has evolved to become a regional, and internationally known tourist destination, employing over 2,000 people each season, welcoming visitors from around the world, and covering now 398 acres it is indeed the thrill capital of the Southeast!  

1973

Park opens March 31 under leadership of real estate developer/entrepreneur E. Pat Hall

1974

More than 986,000 guests visit the park in its second year of operation!

1975

Carowinds is purchased for $16 million by Family Leisure Centers, Inc., a joint venture of the Taft Broadcasting Company and the Kroger Company. Hanna-Barbera® Land and the Paladium also are introduced as the park’s largest additions for the season.

1976

The coaster Thunder Road is created and named after Robert Mitchum’s “Thunder Road,” a Carolina story depicting the speed and excitement in the old moonshine running days.

1977

“White Lightnin’” strikes the Carolinas with a rollercoaster-type train which catapults daring guests from zero to more than 53 mph. in just 180 feet. The coaster was removed from the park in 1987.

1978

Carowinds supports the athletes of the U.S. Olympic teams by donating $1 to the Olympic Fund for every discount coupon received through Belk department stores.

1979

A $3 million expansion adds the county fair area, which contains four new rides. Also, a 1923 antique carousel built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company travels from Evansville, Ind., and makes its new home in Hanna-Barbera® Land.

1980

The revolutionary design of Carolina Cyclone makes it the only rollercoaster in the world that turns riders upside down four times.

1981

“Rip Roarin Rapids” is introduced offering guests a wet and cool attraction.

1982

Surf’s up at the new 700,000-gallon wave pool featuring 25,500 square feet of swimming area and man-made waves three to five feet high.

1983

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Carowinds provides the magic of an old-fashioned Christmas during Winterfest. The centerpiece of this winter celebration was the illumination of the 340-foot tall Skytower Christmas tree, a tradition that continues today.

1984

Taft Broadcasting Company’s Amusement Park Groups acquire two-thirds ownership of Taft’s theme parks, including Carowinds, and form Kings Entertainment Company. Smurf Island is introduced at the park.

1985

A new motion illusion attraction called Blackbeard’s Revenge gives guests a pirate ship ride with the Carolina’s infamous pirate Blackbeard.

1986

The 360-degree looping Viking ship, Frenzoid, makes its home in the completely renovated County Fair section of the park.

1987

In its 15th anniversary season, Carowinds expands Hanna-Barbera® Land with additional rides, live shows and a Baby Care Center.

1988

The park’s new family water attraction, WhiteWater falls, plunges guests down a 45-foot waterfall.

1989

The addition of Rip Tide Reef, a six-acre water park, makes Carowinds the only theme park in the country to offer guests a full water park experience within a major theme park at no extra cost.

1990

Gauntlet riders enjoy the panoramic view of the park as well as the breathtaking 360-degree loops and controlled free-falls.

1991

Through a $4 million expansion project, the Paladium becomes a stand-alone concert facility– separate from the theme park – with a seating capacity of 13,000.

1992

Paramount Communications Inc. purchases Kings Entertainment Company and forms Paramount Parks which includes Carowinds. Vortex, a state-of-the-art, stand-up rollercoaster, opens.

1993

The park introduces themes from motion pictures and television shows in attractions such as DAYS OF THUNDER® and the Paramount Walk of Fame. The park’s name officially becomes Paramount’s Carowinds.

1994

WAYNE’S WORLD™, a high-energy, three-acre addition to the park, re-creates the Hollywood set popularized in the Paramount motion picture of the same name. The Hurler, a new wooden rollercoaster, is the highlight of the area.

1995

Animation Station introduces an interactive experience for kids featuring The Power Station, a challenging three-story climbing structure, and Kids’ Studio, an outdoor amphitheatre for children’s shows. Also, daring guests unearth the wonders of flight as they embark on the exhilarating Xtreme Skyflyer.

1996

DROP ZONE Stunt Tower® provides daring riders a 160-foot free-fall at 56 mph. The park also entertains more than 1.8 million guests, making it one of the most popular attractions in the Carolinas.

1997

In its 25th anniversary season, Paramount’s Carowinds undergoes a $7 million water park expansion of WaterWorks and now includes 12 acres of family water attractions.

1998

ZOOM ZONE opens in Animation Station. The expansion adds three new attractions – Taxi Jam, Chopper Chase and Road Rally – and 3.5 acres to the existing area of Animation Station.

1999

TOP GUN®: The Jet Coaster, a 62 mph., inverted rollercoaster, opens to the public. The state-of-the-art jet coaster includes six stomach-swirling inversions with floorless cars suspended below a steel track. The $10.5 million investment is the largest in the park’s history. 

2000

Paramount’s Carowinds becomes the first theme park in the world to have an attraction that combines water play experience with the adventure of a suspended coaster. The Nickelodeon™ Flying Super Saturator takes riders along a 1,087-foot suspended track while dodging a gauntlet of gushing geysers and rain curtains. SCarowinds, the park’s haunted Halloween attraction, also opens for the first time in October.

2001

Paramount’s Carowinds introduces three all-new attractions appealing to all ages. Scooby-Doo’s™ Haunted Mansion is an interactive ghost-busting experience through an old southern plantation with America’s favorite cartoon canine. Pipeline Peak opens with the world’s tallest enclosed body slide, and 7Th Portal™ becomes the park’s first 3-D attraction.

2002

Ricochet™, the park’s 11th rollercoaster takes guests on a wild ride as they drop, spin, twist and curl through the park’s first “fast track” coaster. Carolina Boardwalk opens and takes guests on a walk through the famous beaches of the Carolinas.

2003

Nickelodeon™ Central, a themed area based on characters and shows from the number one kids entertainment brand in the world, debuts at the park. The area included three new attractions - Rugrats™ Runaway Reptar™, The Wild Thornberrys™ River Adventure and Rocket Power™: Air Time.

2004

The first flying roller coaster in the Carolinas, Borg™ Assimilator, makes its debut and becomes the tallest roller coaster in the park. Guests fly facedown, suspended below the track in a superhero-like flying position and race toward the ground at speeds of up to 50 mph.

2005

Nickelodeon™ Central grows to become five times larger than before. The 15-acre Nickelodeon playground is loaded with more than 20 attractions, including new rides Danny Phantom’s™ Flyers, the Flying Dutchman’s Revenge and Little Bill’s™ Cruisers.

2006

Cedar Fair, L.P. purchases Carowinds on July 1, and the park becomes one of the 12 amusement parks in the newly-named Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. The water park expands and becomes Boomerang Bay – a 16-acre, Australian-themed experience featuring new attractions Kookaburra Bay (heated lagoon) and Platypus Plunge (kids’ water slide).

2007

The first season under Cedar Fair brings the return of an ice show (Endless Summer on Ice) to the Carowinds Theatre and the Southern Star (formerly Frenzoid) back to County Fair. As part of the acquisition by Cedar Fair, L.P. many of the parks most popular rides were renamed.

2008

Boomerang Bay™ water park expands again with the addition of Bondi Beach, a 600,000-gallon wave pool. The park also adds a new swing ride called Yo Yo, to the County Fair section park.

2009

Carolina Cobra is introduced as the second tallest coaster in the park at 125-feet tall, sending riders speeding through three inversions forwards…then again backwards.

2010

Intimidator™ is introduced, the largest capital investment in park history ($23M), and the tallest, fastest, and longest coaster in the Southeast. In addition, the Park says farewell to the Nickelodeon™ characters and welcomes Snoopy and the PEANUTS™ gang with the introduction of a newly re-themed children’s section called Planet Snoopy.

2011

Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular, a million dollar nighttime walk-through light and sound experience featuring Snoopy and the rest of the PEANUTS™ gang is introduced. To showcase Snoopy’s Starlight Carowinds extends its operating hours till 10PM every day from June 27-August 7. The park also celebrates the launch of a stunning new fireworks show, Nights of Fire, which lights up each evening at 10PM from July 1-August 7.

2012

Fun soars to new heights in 2012 with the addition of WindSeeker, a 301-foot-tall swing ride designed to give riders the sensation of flying. This 30-story tall ride stands more than 60 feet taller than Intimidator-making it the tallest ride ever built in Carowinds history!

2013

Take a step waaaay back with a walk through Dinosaurs Alive! 32 roaring, moving animatronic dinosaurs that transport you to a pre-historic time! We also celebrate 40 Seasons of Thrills in 2013. 4 decades of fun in the Carolinas with special events all summer long!