Disclaimer: It's long. It's a bit of me ranting. Some of it you might agree with though.
So let me start off by saying looking at a broken down Vekoma at 10:15 in the morning then getting a txt message from someone who was telling you they just rode a fun working Vekoma (Everest none the less)...well that inspires an interesting form of jelousy.
Okay. Everything I had read about Paramount's corperate views of running the parks had me very inspired and very optimistic. They are always plussing the parks, sending out surveys, leaking info to get people excited, it's great! They make you think they know what is going on, and the probably do...
...but until Paramount Japan opens and we can see what they can create from the ground up I have to say my initial view of them was less than stellar. Because they've just bought old parks, thier parks are just that, old mismatched parks.
Like a Six Flags park without any majorly good coasters.
I do have to say thier parks are well maintained, landscaped, generally "clean", and well staffed. The staff is even friendlier than other parks. But besides that they are just another regional park. Now maybe that is just Carowinds, maybe the two "Kings" have been themed and plussed more...but I'm kinda saddened by the fact that I wasn't impressed.
The park is just the usual sorta themed way out of scale entry "plaza" buildings (like any park with a "spruced image" from the 90s) with rides thrown in whereever, most of which have been given a theme in name only, some have props and such but there is no coherency. To make it worse they are not even filled with unique coasters (its 3 woodies are unique layouts)...the steel coasters are off the shelf (even Borg, unique or not was designed for another park)...nothing spectacular either.
There is no way for one to just "hang" in the parks either...much like Six Flags. By 12:30 I realized I was running out of things to ride and by 1:30 I was all set to go. Not like Disney's parks where you can sit and enjoy yourself.
I guess it is a fine park, and if I lived closer I'd have a season pass and pop in often...but I guess from the way it's always been sold I was expecting more than a Six Flags...it just wasn't.
Though, my one day pass has a free second day. I might as well use that at somepoint.
Borg Assimilator-I was always fascinated by by flying coasters...and I never got to ride one. But I guess finally trying a B&M Flyer last fall spoiled me...this was the usual Vekoma buddadadadadudadadad coaster, not smooth. And the tipping back to "fly" in the station might have worked in 2000, but B&M's lifting you to "fly" works better. After SFoG's Superman, this was just "eh". It was good, not worth the 45 mintue wait as it broke down just as the park opened (what were we saying about prototype Vekomas? Lol. Pieces falling off and everything).
Rugrats Runaway Reptar-This was a simple "family" suspended coaster. A precursor to the dreaded SLC. It was fun, not rough, but slow. Kids loved it.
Fairly Odd Coaster-One of the park's old woodies, this ride had some good speed on it's first drop, but after that the ride just sorta ends...like drop, turn, turn, STATION! Woah. But I see why the kiddie area was built around this ride. A good jr starter coaster.
Top Gun-The Jet Coaster-Oohh...Top Gun...wait a second...I recognize this B&M... it's Six Flag's Batman the Ride (essentially) just mirrored. I didn't like SFOG's Batman, but this one wasn't as rough...but still nothing amazing.
Scooby Doo's Haunted Mansion-This was an interesting ride. One one hand it is the simple dark ride (even in smell) that the average park gets, but at the same time it has some effects and minimal movement charecters...it was cute...and for a small compact building you get a fair amount of time in it. I know some Six Flags have this already...but this one is a winner...I'd like to see them use it more, as well as make sure all the Paramounts have it.
Thunder Road-This 30 year old woodie is the only ride I rode twice. It was a fun ride with a nice first drop, and good speed all the way out. But it was a simple out and back...once you were out you came back rather quickly and there wasn't much on the way back. But still for a woodie it was better than usual (I've ridden a crappy assortment of woodies).
Carolina Goldrusher-A Vekoma Mine train...essentially Big Thunder Mountain...minus speed...and thrills...and gs... At this point (just past 12:30) I was ready to cancel the hotel and finish up (which I did)...so I kinda did it to do it (which was the plan all along) so my review might be biased...but it wasn't anything major.
Hurler-I must say this ride had some force! It's first drop had some major speed and the first big turn shoved you right in the seat, and it had a few turns like that. The speed and the forces kept the roughness down I think, this one was good.
Vortex-I know this ride as well! Oh B&M those sly dogs. This is the B&M Stand-up Georgia Scorcher (essentially) but mirrored. Scorcher killed me, I don't do B&M Stand-ups...but I decided if I was gonna skip the wild mouse, I was to ride this one. I got the credit, I am content...but I don't like B&M Standups. At all.
What I didn't do (that I had on my itinerary) and why:
I skipped two of the coasters (I don't count the splashzone as a coaster like they do...but anywho...)
I skipped the Georgia Cyclone because (I've never had a good ride on any coaster called "Cyclone") it looked to be a simple Arrow "loops and a corkscrew" and not too smooth...and at this point I knew I was driving home so I wasn't in the mood for another rough coaster.
I skipped the Ricochet because while it didn't spin...I felt no need to do a wild mouse...especially since for some sick reason it had a line.
I also skipped Stunt Zone Drop Tower...because well...maybe this was planned to be an upcharge ride...but what were they thinking when adding this with such a low capacity? When choosing an Intamin tower for a major place (ie not like an obscure local park) wouldn't one want a tower with higher capacity? Or maybe do what parks do when they buy S&S Power Towers (16 riders) build multiple in a group? Anywho...it was slow loading...slow to go...and held 16 people for a lift up and drop...I left the line. I was done at that point.
So I had fun, don't get me wrong I got up at 5am to drive somewhere, and I rode coasters...but...I think I was oversold...and kinda bummed about my product. I left at 1:30, cancelled the hotel and drove back home...another 3.5 hours...