Stumbling into Carowinds


I’ve always wanted to go to Carowinds. When the Buzzed Bars Coaster Club announced their Stumble 325 event, I couldn’t wait to finally go to the park. It was a two-day event with lots of cool activities. There was a Fury 325 backstage tour on the morning of the second day and much more. In general, I always enjoy spending time with Gary, Latifa, Matt and all the others. 

Thunder Road

The Thunder Road theme area is named after the wooden roller coaster Thunder Road, which travelled from one state to another and back again. An identical roller coaster can still be experienced today in the sister parks Kings Island and Kings Dominion.


The Intimidator is the classic hyper coaster here at Carowinds. The layout here consists of several camelbacks, which are travelled through at a decent speed, resulting in wonderful floating airtime, i.e. airtime that allows you to lift out of your seat quite smoothly and harmoniously.

After the first drop, the track leads us directly to a hill where we turn right. This is followed by a classic camelback that leads into the big horseshoe turn. After two more airtime hills, we enter the intermediate brake of the ride. Following a short drop and a subsequent ascent, we enter a steep turn. After another drop, we reach the final brake of the ride.

The Intimidator is a really good hyper coaster from B&M, which unfortunately suffers somewhat from the fact that there is a very similar coaster in another corner of the park. Nevertheless, a ride here is incredibly fun, especially at the back of the train, and should definitely not be missed.

Kiddy Hawk

The layout of the Kiddy Hawk roller coaster is a tried and tested classic from Vekoma, but in this case designed as a suspended family coaster. Accordingly, the ride begins with a short curve out of the station, after which the lift hill is already waiting. The ride immediately takes a left-hand bend with a subsequent upward helix, through a short valley and a wide right-hand bend close to the station. Over a hill, you cross the track you have just travelled on, whereupon you lose some height in another helix. After a left-hand bend, the braking section awaits and the journey ends. Here in Carowinds, the ride is unfortunately anything but pleasant, which is why I would advise against riding it.


At the centre of the Carowinds theme park is the Nighthawk roller coaster. It is the world’s first flying coaster, which operated as Stealth at California’s Great America from 2000 to 2003. Here at Carowinds, the coaster initially had a Star Trek theme, but this was abandoned when Cedar Fair took over in 2008. Unfortunately, the ride was out of service when I visited.

Camp Snoopy

Camp Snoopy is the large children’s area at Carowinds theme park. There are a variety of rides for the whole family, including two rollercoasters.

Peanuts Pirates

If you have visited well over 100 theme parks, you will notice certain parallels between the parks from which rules can be derived. One of these is that a park with a Mack Rides sea storm ride cannot be a bad park. Peanuts Pirates is one such ride. As always, the ride is in a class of its own and should not be missed.

Wilderness Run

Wilderness Run is the large family roller coaster from E&F Miller Industries. The large layout not only offers the usual wild curves, but also a large airtime hill right at the start of the ride.

Woodstock Express

The Woodstock Express is the smaller of the two wooden roller coasters at Carowinds. The ride through the compact layout of the purple and yellow painted roller coaster begins after a short right-hand bend with the ascent of the lift hill. Once at the top, it’s straight into the first descent. At approx. 35 mph, we ride through the first valley, after which a turning curve at a lofty height awaits us. After another descent, we race over a small speed bump before crossing the wooden structure and taking another turn on the other side of the ride. Now it’s over hill and dale for a while before we dive into the wooden structure below the first turn and follow its course. Back out in the open, we dive into a small dip, after which we are already on the braking section of the roller coaster and the fun wooden roller coaster ride soon comes to an end.



The Afterburn rollercoaster is the theme park’s large B&M Inverted Coaster. The roller coaster adorns the rear entrance to the park.

The ride on Afterburn begins by entering the lift hill of the roller coaster. Once at the top, we immediately enter a steep curve. After a rapid descent, we enter a huge loop. Immediately afterwards, the ride goes through an equally huge Immelmann into a zero-G roll. This is followed by a very unusual element for an inverted coaster, a Batwing, where we stand on our heads twice and ride through a tunnel shrouded in fog. After a short hill past the station, we enter a corkscrew and, after a curve, the ride’s braking section.

Afterburn is a very good inverted coaster that impresses with its sequence of elements. The ride itself is not quite as powerful as other larger inverted coasters, so you can easily complete lap after lap on this ride.

Boo Blasters on Boo Hill

The interactive dark ride Boo Blasters on Boo Hill was originally opened in 2001 under the name Scooby-Doo! and the Haunted Mansion. Back then, the ride in the Mystery Machine took you through two-dimensional scenes with the characters from the well-known Hanna-Barbera series, in which you could trigger your own effects and unmask the villain at the end. Now there are only ghosts. It’s still very cheesy and well done, but unfortunately Boo Blasters on Boo Hill no longer captures the spirit of the original attraction.

Southern Star

Southern Star is the second Looping Starship I have encountered on my Stumbled Runner Tour. In contrast to the ride in Kings Dominion, the Southern Star takes a little longer to complete the loop. As always, the hangtime is in a class of its own.

Plants vs. Zombies

The interactive theatre Plants vs. Zombies is an interesting experience. Here you play against each other in two teams. Unfortunately, it’s quite easy to lose track due to the large number of players. All in all, a very nice attraction based on the famous video game.

Blue Ridge Junction

Wie gut Cedar Fair seine Themenparks inszeniert, zeigt der Themenpark Blue Ridge Junction. Hier steht neben dem Flying Scooters Mountain Gliders die Achterbahn Copperhead Strike.

Copperhead Strike

Copperhead Strike is a very special coaster from Mack Rides as it represents a turning point in the company’s design process. The coaster surprises with many never before seen features.

This starts with the heartline roll out of the station, which you ride through with a decent hangtime. After a turn we enter the first launch area. After a short stop, we immediately accelerate into an almost circular loop. While we experienced this with a lot of hangtime, the following airtime hill almost catapults us out of the car. As soon as we are back in our seats, we immediately enter an intense corkscrew. After a right-hand bend, the Bayernkurve takes us over hill and dale before we enter the second launch area. This takes us over a hill directly into an airtime hill with a subsequent cutback. After a sweeping turn, we enter the second loop, which we take at a good speed. After a hill through the first loop, the track takes us through numerous changes of direction, a helix and another airtime hill before we reach the brake section of the ride.

Copperhead Strike is Mack Rides’ best roller coaster to date. The track is incredibly dynamic with some truly breathtaking elements. The very original track layout also speaks for itself. All in all a very good coaster.

Carolina Harbor Waterpark

The Carowinds theme park offers a water park, Carolina Harbor, which is included in the admission price. Carolina Harbor has a variety of breathtaking water slides. As these are the only water attractions in the theme park, the park is particularly popular in summer.  Unfortunately, the water park was not open when I visited.

Country Fair

The Country Fair themed area is home to numerous rides, most of which have been touring the European fair circuit for several years. In addition to the Zierer Wave Swinger Zephyr, the area features the Mondial Top Scan Electro Spin, the Mack Rides Music Express Rock ‘n’ Roller and the Vekoma Boomerang Flying Cobras.

Flying Cobras

Originally opened as the Carolina Cobra, this rollercoaster comes from the Geauga Lake theme park, which has unfortunately closed. The Flying Cobras roller coaster has been in the park since 2009. Thanks to the new trains, the rather rough roller coaster is still a pleasure to ride.

Carolina Boardwalk

The Carolina Boardwalk takes us to the beaches of the two southern states. This area is home to three of the park’s most family-friendly roller coasters.

Carolina Goldrusher

Carolina Goldrusher is the classic mine train roller coaster at Carowinds. The ride first takes you past the roller coaster’s siding before heading up the first lift hill. Once at the top, the ride begins with a long straight into a right turn. As the speed increases, we enter a long helix. We approach the second lift at a leisurely pace. The track continues into a long straight and then a fast downhill helix. After a short climb, the track drops down into a tunnel. A final climb leads directly into the braking section of the ride, where our fun ride soon comes to an end.

Carolina Cyclone

The Arrow looping roller coaster Carolina Cyclone was the first roller coaster with four inversions. The layout was later built by Vekoma under licence several times in Europe, where it can be experienced in theme parks such as Efteling and Gardaland. Here at Carowinds, the ride is a little faster, but also a little bumpier.


Ricochet is the classic wild mouse rollercoaster from Carowinds. It is not quite as dead-braked as is often the case in America and therefore offers quite a pleasant and fast-paced ride. Due to the low capacity, there may be longer waiting times, which is why a visit in the early morning hours is recommended.

Carousel Park

The Carousel Park gets its name from the Grand Carousel. This area is also home to the Vortex Stand-up Coaster and the classic Scrambler flat ride.


The Vortex roller coaster has been at the front of the park since 1992. After its sister ride of the same name at Great America in California, it is the third roller coaster made by B&M.

The ride on Vortex begins with the coaster’s lift hill. Once at the top, a steep turn leads directly into the loop of the ride. After a sweeping hill, we enter an intense helix. This is followed by a descent that takes us into the corkscrew. Finally we pass through two figure of eight turns before reaching the braking section of the ride.

Vortex is a really nice coaster. The stand-up coaster not only offers excellent ride characteristics, but also a very intense but not overcrowded layout. All in all, a great roller coaster.

Thrill Zone

The unfortunately rather generic Thrill Zone themed area contains the theme park’s biggest thrill machines. In addition to the Hurler and Fury 325 roller coasters, you will also find the large Drop Tower and the fantastic Schwarzkopf Enterprise Scream Weaver.


The Hurler is one of the most unpopular wooden coasters in the world. After a big drop, the layout leads through a long straight and then into a right turn close to the ground. This is followed by three hills, which are ridden rather gently. Another bend is followed by two more hills. A turning bend leads into another hill. This is followed by the final turn which brings us into the braking section of the coaster.

The ride characteristics of Hurler are good, but the layout is incredibly boring. Almost nothing happens here. Especially when compared to Kings Dominion’s Twisted Timbers, which used to have the same layout, you can see how much potential there is hidden within the raw track layout. While one of the rides is now at the top of the rankings, the other is rotting away in the basement. It would be nice if Cedar Fair would give this ride the RMC treatment as well.

Fury 325

Few roller coasters at Carowinds are as iconic as B&M’s Fury 325 Hyper Coaster, which graces the park’s entrance. The 325-foot-tall coaster has an unusual layout for the manufacturer, relying almost exclusively on fast turns instead of hills.

The ride on Fury 325 begins as soon as you enter the lift hill. After reaching a height of 325 feet, it’s time for the big drop. At 95 mph we pass through the first valley. Shortly afterwards we turn right onto a large hill. After several left and right turns, we reach the big turn, which is very reminiscent of a clef. After a long descent, another hill awaits, which is quickly conquered. The track now takes us over a classic airtime hill and into a very close to the ground helix. After two more hills and turns we reach the final brakes of the ride.

Fury 325 is a fantastic roller coaster. The very fast layout with the great turns speaks for itself. Even though the coaster doesn’t rely on airtime, it still has some really nice airtime moments, which are more memorable than on Intimidator thanks to the consistently high speed. In short, Fury 325 is by far one of the best roller coasters in America.

Pictures Carowinds

Conclusion Carowinds

I really enjoyed my visit to Carowinds. The park has a great atmosphere and a very solid rollercoaster portfolio. Although I could have done everything in one day, I was very happy to have a second day available. The visit was also more than worthwhile for the Stumble 325 event organised by the Buzzed Bars rollercoaster club.

What’s your opinion about the theme park Carowinds? Simply write it in the comment field below the report or visit our social media channels:


A park full of bees

Parc du Bocasse

The last stop on my journey through France lies directly on the route to the ferry port of Dieppe and thus directly on my way back to England. In the small village Le Bocasse you will find the amusement park Parc du Bocasse. As so often in France, the amusement park has developed from a small restaurant. As early as 1967 the gastronome Jacques Chabaille put up some playground equipment, which was then supported by some bigger rides and the park’s first roller coaster in the 80s. When Max Chabaille took over the amusement park, not only the park grew, but also the target group of the park. In 2015, the park expanded its grounds, so that a new themed area including an entrance area could be created.

And through the elegant wooden gate we enter the amusement park. Right at the beginning of our tour of the Parc du Bocasse, we immediately notice the new orientation of the park, which is really worth seeing. Instead of alot of smaller additions, the park went bigger and more substantial. Not only do the rides here look excellent, they are also much larger than in the rest of the park.


The first one is the log flume Splash-o-Saure by the French manufacturer Soquet, which is more reminiscent of the ride Mami Wata from the Austrian amusement park Fantasiana Erlebnispark Strasswalchen and could therefore have come straight from Hafema.

After leaving the station, you quickly reach the first lift, which takes you up a few metres. When you arrive at the top you are turned around on a turntable in the direction of the descent, but you leave it backwards. Well moistened, you now bob along the canal for a few bends until you reach the central tower of the ride. In here you will find the vertical lift of the ride, which will take you up to the starting point of the big drop. Without any great skirmishes you go down immediately, whereupon a quite decent shower is waiting for you. After another bend you reach the station of the ride again. With a bit of bad luck you can get drenched by another boat – very similar to the old log flume Wildwasserbahn II of Heide Park. You leave the ride via a footbridge past the run-out section.

The Splash-o-Saure is a really good log flume. It is really nice to see more and more new rides from Soquet in the recent years. But before I get all sentimental, let’s take a look at an older ride from the same manufacturer, which is located on the other side of the park, which is divided by a road.

Train de la Mine

The Parc du Bocasse also has a classic Train de la Mine. The variant here, however, has a very remarkable helix right at the start of the ride, which makes the ride stand out a bit. The course is then skilfully and fluently initiated by a beautiful steep curve. On the following hill we change the direction of the ride for a short while, whereupon we enter another downhill helix. After two full turns we leave this helix again and immediately dedicate ourselves to a little bunny hop. After a tight turn below the first helix we immediately approach the terrain and follow the course of a small hollow. After a straight line and a left bend we reach the final curve of the ride, whereupon we immediately find ourselves in the station of the roller coaster.

The Train de la Mine is a very nice family roller coaster, but it lacks the more daring moments of other Soquet roller coasters. Nevertheless, the ride is a lot of fun and has an optical highlight and a really nice start due to its high-mounted helix.

Electro Spin and Flash Tower

As the French round boat slide rafting Colorad’Eau next door was unfortunately not in operation at the time of the visit, we will now turn our attention to the rides next to it. They are all made in Italy, and this also applies to almost the entire area of the park. The more exciting rides Electro Spin and Flash Tower are from Zamperla, other rides are mostly from SBF Visa.

Speedy Gonzales

In fact, the Parc du Bocasse offers an exceptionally large collection of smaller children’s rides. These are now gradually being integrated into the park’s theme-based activities, and some of them are certainly worth seeing. The small roller coaster Speedy Gonzales, which has a very compact layout in the shape of an eight, is still completely without design.

Pirate’s Plunder

In the back corner of the Parc du Bocasse amusement park, we then come across other fairly large rides, such as a Rockin’ Tug and a boat swing. There is also a simulator, as well as an interactive theatre by Alterface. Instead of the well-known western shooting, we go on a treasure hunt with a Jack Sparrow blend and get rid of skeletons. Terrific fun!


But the biggest surprise of the amusement park awaits us in a small hall marked Apiland. What looks like a museum about bees from the outside, turns out to be a lovely dark ride inside, which just doesn’t want to end. The ride is simply outstanding for a theme park of this size.

Jurassic Twister

On the way to the exit we take the roller coaster Jurassic Twister with us, which rides like any other Zamperla spinning coaster. Shortly afterwards I’m sitting in my car again and leave the Parc du Bocasse in a very good mood. French family parks simply have what it takes 😉.

Pictures Parc du Bocasse

Conclusion Tron-Tron-Trône

A little later I am already on the ferry to England, whereupon my journey through France comes to an end. It was nice; but it was not cheap either. However, the French amusement park landscape is definitely always worth a visit. With a few exceptions, the parks are all great, the public is usually very pleasant and the rest of the country is also very relaxed; you just shouldn’t be so fooled by French people abroad. In any case, come and visit them, it’s worth it.

What are your thoughts about the theme park Parc du Bocasse? Just write it here below the report in the comment field or visit our social media channels:


Italian Miniatures and Rollercoasters


The history of Leolandia starts 45 years ago, when the entrepreneur Guido Pendezzini presented his miniature park under construction, modelled on the Dutch miniature park Madurodam near The Hague, to the public. However, the park was not officially opened as Minitalia until three years later. The centrepiece of the park, which has also been a prominent feature of the park’s official name for a very long time, is the Italian-style miniature village Minitalia with its replicas of striking Italian buildings and towns. In addition, the country was presented with smaller regional stands and even back then some rides were offered.

In 1997 Pendezzini sold his park to the Triberti and Fabbri families, who, as showmen and manufacturers of amusement park equipment, had considerable experience in this field. They developed the park into an amusement park and operated it as Fantasy World Minitalia until 2007, when the Zamperla family, also an amusement ride manufacturer, took over the park. Since then Leolandia has been regularly expanded and supplemented with products from the company’s own catalogue.

Twister Mountain

A prominent example of this is the Twister Mountain spinning coaster, which is perfectly placed directly at the exit to the park, next to the already oversized park sign, to attract customers of the hypermarket opposite to Leolandia. However, this is only the small version of the well-known funfair model based on the layout of the French manufacturer Reverchon.

After leaving the station you climb the 10m high lift hill. At the top, you pass through two hairpin bends at a rapid pace, whereupon the first descent is already waiting. Above the station you pass through a block brake and shortly after that, halfway parallel to the lift hill, the second major shot of the ride. Without any strange bumps in the ascent you reach the other side of the roller coaster. In the next brake the rotation of the car is released, whereupon the next four hairpin bends are passed with surprisingly much momentum. Without a bump, the return to the other side of the ride follows and finally, after another hairpin bend, the brake track.

Although the Spinning Coaster variants by Zamperla are not considered to be very spin-friendly thanks to their optimised carriages and therefore usually miss their target, the Twister Mountain offered us a solid, albeit quite short, ride. The comfort in the gondola is unfortunately not quite as high as with Reverchon, but in theory the ride offers better restraint, especially for smaller children, thanks to the single bars.

Electro Spin and Donna Cannone

Just as solidly we were entertained by the Mega Disk’o Electro Spin and the Flash Tower Donna Cannone. While the Disk’o offered intensive spinning action, the pulley tower could convince with surprising airtime at the upper turning point. Unfortunately a launch from the cannon is not simulated.

Leo Coaster

The other attractions of the rather sparse Expo 1906 area are a cogs ride with a king kong look, a fire fighting carousel, a wave swinger and the small children’s roller coaster Leo Coaster. This roller coaster comes in the standard version of the manufacturer, i.e. oval-shaped with a helix in the middle, but has comparatively good riding characteristics.

Mondo di Peppa Pig

With the Mondo di Peppa Pig, an attempt was made last year to establish a toddler area in the park based on the English model. However, what in England ensures that Paultons Park is only known as Peppa Pig World and provides it with masses of visitors, seems a little unlovingly put up here. Although there is the possibility to look at the original house of the main protagonists of the series and to take a photo with the actors, the merchandising sales seem to be the only basis for this area.

Il Trenino

The whole thing continues with the Masha e Orso (Mascha and the Bear) show and the train ride Il Trenino by Thomas & Friends. Admittedly, a train ride with Thomas and his friends is always a good idea, as you can see at Drayton Manor in England, but outside of the shape of the train there is no reference to the series.


In the rear part of the Leolandia park, right next to the miniature village Minitalia, there are several animal enclosures, most of which show indigenous farm animal species. The enclosures are sufficiently large and resemble a farm. Unfortunately there are some smaller aviaries with parrots next to them, which is a great contrast to the newer looking farm area.

The Cowboy Town forms the western part of the Leolandia, where the combination of log flume and powered coaster, well-known from the Wunderland Kalkar, is presented. In addition, there are several round and high rides in this area, including the very uncomfortable kite flyer Wild Avvoltoi, as well as a larger show stage.

Gold River

After leaving the station of the log flume Gold River, the boat bobs a little through the channel and after a longer S-curve and a short left turn you reach the first steep lift hill, which takes you into the equally steep shoot. After a good moistening you are released into the channel again and cross a larger right-hand bend to climb the second lift hill at a 90° angle to the first shot. Typically Zamperla, the second downhill run is no less steep than the first one, so that one is led quite abruptly into the second run; here too, the wetness of the downhill run is within a pleasant range. The return journey to the station follows.

Mine Train

Above the log flume is the access to the Mine Train roller coaster, whose course runs mostly over the fairway of the Wild River. After a somewhat longer ascent with a slight left bend, which is climbed quite leisurely, a rather long right turn follows. The first increase in speed is in the downward helix to the left. Immediately afterwards, the waterway’s channel is crossed at a dizzy height in a right-hand bend. In a slightly larger downward helix you now circle the second shot of the log flume, followed by a rather wide right turn, which immediately closes the course. The train then races through the station and completes another, rather leisurely round.

Although the track of the roller coaster from the Wunderland Kalkar was built much more compact it is clearly the better roller coaster of this quite special combo. The Mine Train from the Leolandia, however, crosses the track a little bit too slowly and unfortunately also very jerky, so there is no fun to ride on.

Rapide di Leonardo

Opposite it is the round boat slide Rapide di Leonardo, an Italian interpretation of the popular River Splash rides by the manufacturer ABC Rides with a very special twist. After leaving the station, you immediately make a small right turn and enter the vertical lift, which brings the boat into position, holds it and lifts it up without any technical control frills. After you have been quickly transported upwards, the basket tilts forward and the boat rolls out of the lift. You are now thrown into the first helix at full pelt, whereupon the boat is immediately set in rotation. After a few meters you make an S-curve combination around the tower, which makes the boat turn at a breathtaking speed. This speed increases in the following downward helix and lets you play Russian Roulette during the following shot. After the soaking, the boat goes through a 180° turn, where a round and spinning cannon apparatus fires water at the passengers at regular intervals. The return to the station now features some elements of a rapid river, such as a waterfall that turns off and various rapids. It is the much quieter part of the ride, which allows you to put what you have just experienced into words and makes you wonder why Zamperla has not been able to sell another ride of this kind. The Hydro Lift at least is an unparalleled fun machine and wins every prize for the best dizz with ease.

Riva dei Pirati

The visually most convincing theme area at the Leolandia is the pirate area Riva dei Pirati, which consists mainly of children’s rides, but which is presented in a great design. Besides the good ship swing Galeone and the beautiful Splash Battle Mediterranea, you will find the prototype of the Stand-Up Disk’os Surf’s Up Scilla e Cariddi. Although the ride through the long gondola is a bit rough in parts, the Floating Airtime is worth an experience, so it is a pity to find only a small version of this ride. Unfortunately, the restraint system charges you a little bit statically, so you can get a little shock at the exit.

Pictures Leolandia

Conclusion Leolandia

Leolandia is a really nice theme park with a pretty good idea right from the beginning of its existence. The Minitalia is quite nicely realised and can keep you busy for a few hours, compared to the Legoland parks around the world. At the same time this miniature outdoor wonderland offers a wonderful view of the corners of this charming country, which you would like to see in real life. The quality of the theme park is, with the exception of the Expo 1906 area, very high and is further underlined by the matching workers’ uniforms, divided according to the theme areas of the park.

What is your opinion about the Italian theme park Leolandia? Just write it here below the report in the comment field or visit our social media channels:


Click here for the next report of the Il Viaggio dei due Runner Tour