tried to curb the anxiety of panicked park-goers when they announced the end of that God-awful but popular wooden roller coaster Thunder Road
earlier in the year by dropping hints about newer, wetter options to be built in its place.
Thunder Road is now a splinter-inducing pile of wood instead of a headache-inducing attraction and today Carowinds announced the details of its new water park, Carolina Harbor, which will reportedly have twice as many slides as the current Boomerang Bay. ("Yeah, well, back at ya," said the Bay.)
The biggest attraction to be featured in Carolina Harbor, being pitched as a "coastal experience," will be Blackbeard's Revenge, a six-story water slide complex named after the infamous English pirate who spent much of the time he took off from murderin' and plunderin' in North Carolina.
Before we get to that though, let's address something Carowinds didn't mention in the press release. Blackbeard already exacted his revenge on park-goers prone to motion sickness for 14 years. From 1985 to 1999, Blackbeard's Revenge was a "ride" in which reluctant parents followed kids with no sense of equilibrium to crowd into a dark room made to look like the cabin of a pirate ship while the walls moved up and down and Blackbeard told his story. The introduction to sea-sickness was the closest thing to a coastal experience I've ever had at Carowinds.
I've always loved history and have gone through phases of which parts I'm obsessed with throughout my life. My pirate phase ran right up against the heyday of the original Blackbeard's Revenge, to the chagrin of my mother. I could never leave the park as a boy before dragging her into that it's-only-educational-the-first-time experience. To this day, she doesn't join us on deep-sea fishing trips and I will always hold Blackbeard accountable for that.
The new Blackbeard's Revenge has no relation, apparently, and will feature three exciting slides with predictable, pirate-pun titles. Pirate's Plank will feature a vertical drop as the floor drops out from under the slider. Cannonball Drop and Captain's Curse will be your typical twisty, turny slides, according to descriptions that repeatedly use the word intense.
I, for one, think this is great news for Carowinds, as the water slides have been the only reason (beyond SCarowinds) I can find to return to Carowinds these days. I'd love to ride the new giga-coaster but unfortunately, a ride on most modern coasters leaves me the color of mulberry and walking like I just finished the world's best bar crawl. I didn't expect this to happen before I hit 30 but it's something I'm dealing with on my own and would appreciate if you respect my privacy during these trying times.
Carolina Harbor, the biggest water park in the Carolinas, will also have plenty for the kiddos. According to the press release, Kiddy Hawk Cove and Myrtle Turtle Beach are both "specifically geared with the little squirts in mind." It's not as disturbing as it sounds. The water-parks-within-a-water-park-within-an-amusement-park will both include splash pads, or jets of water spraying up from the ground, in a family-friendly garden atmosphere.
I'm happy to see that the reference to Myrtle Beach in a Carowinds attraction has finally brought together my two favorite white-trash people-watching spots in the country. Myrtle Turtle Beach, however, will still not prepare kids for that regretful spring break trip looming a decade in the future.
The park's new wave pool, Surf Club Harbor, will feature six-foot waves in 12 different patterns, mimicking the Atlantic Ocean minus the disturbing amount of shark encounters (but an equal amount of urine).
Also featured in Carolina Harbor will be a new entrance for attendees who just want to get wet without walking by all those damn people who can still enjoy roller coasters, as well as sand volleyball courts and a new restaurant/bar.
I like to be tongue-in-cheek about the changes happening at the park - probably because as I've grown older, Carowinds has turned into one of those friends I grew up with but don't recognize anymore. That's just the way of the world, however, and Carowinds seems to be stepping up to stay with the times in a major way. All-in-all, Carolina Harbor sounds like an exciting addition for the new generation of park-goers.