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Carowinds or Kings Dominion?


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If you have to choose, I would recommend Carowinds. It’s a much better overall experience. 

I love Twisted Timbers and P305 is as intense as they come (so much so that I usually have to take a break after a few cycles, which isn’t true for pretty much any other coaster I’ve been on. Fury is a better ride in my opinion because it strikes that delicate balance of extreme intensity and reridability just perfectly) However, KD feels so much more disjointed as a whole. Plus the operations at Carowinds are miles ahead. I visited both parks last month when I went to see a friend at UNC and KD was running a single train on their Backlot Stunt Coaster, which tells you all you need to know lollol

I guarantee you’ll feel like you got more out of your day and trip if you go with Carowinds. 

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I would wait to do a Kings Dominion trip until you can find more time to fit in Busch Gardens Williamsburg as well. Both KD and BGW are highly acclaimed parks, and they're only an hour or so away from each other. I'm not going to suggest that one of these parks is better than the other, but personally, I think it would be a missed opportunity to only do one of those parks and not the other while you're in the Richmond, VA area.

For two days, I think Carowinds would be the better option given it's easy to knock out that park within a day and there are no other amusement parks near the immediate area of Charlotte, NC.

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Kings Dominion has better food and a better coaster lineup.

Carowinds has Fury325, KI’s original Flying Eagles and a better flat ride lineup.

Carowinds is a much better maintained park than Kings Dominion.
 

You really can’t go wrong with picking either, but as @WoodVengeance stated you might want to wait to visit Kings Dominion till you can also do Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Alternatively Carowinds and Kings Dominion are only 4 and a half hours apart and you could visit both.

 

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First both parks are very good, either one would be a good choice, so don’t think that there is a wrong choice.  The thing about Kings Dominion is it’s easy to add on more parks.  Carowinds is basically on its own, sure you can likely hit Camden park on the way, but that is basically your only easy choice.  You mentioned spending two days and my first thought is one day at Kings Dominion and one day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg which is just over an hour drive from KD.

Having said that individually, I prefer Carowinds, and if you’re going to spend two days at a single park and those are the choices, I would spend it at Carowinds.  Although I do recommend breaking up the drive with a short visit to Camden park, it’s small, only has 3 coasters, but it’s an experience.

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Id recommend Carowinds like others have said.  Fury is, IMHO the only real draw for the dry park.  Carowinds to me, was very corporate and sterile, generic. Kind of like Kentucky Kingdom with bigger coasters.  Kings Dominion has charm, is tied in with the history of Kings Island, and in my experiences, has better ops than Carowinds. But if you are going to Virginia, it would be a shame to not do Busch Gardens. It's phenomenal.  Of course, if time and money is of no issue, you could loop Dollywood into a Carowinds trip :)

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I appreciate the responses, I was initially leaning toward CW based off Fury, but hearing about KD I felt more torn than before. I was able to remove a couple days off my CP booking and am going to do 2 days at each CW and KD. 

I'd love to do Busch Gardens after hearing from you guys about it and then watching some videos on it, but I don't really have the funds to buy more tickets and so on. I hope to make that park though in the next couple years.

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I'd also add that there's more to do around KD than Carowinds.   Colonial Williamsburg and Virginia Beach are relatively close, and you're also not too far from DC and everything there. 

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I've been to both Carowinds and Kings Dominion, having visited Carowinds last in 2015 and Kings Dominion in 2014, respectively. 

Kings Dominion is the sister park to Kings Island, having opened three years after Kings Island in 1975. Similar to Kings Island, Kings Dominion has Flight of Fear and Backlot Stunt Coaster that are either identical or near identical to what we have. Project 305 (formerly Intimidator 305) is a must ride for any coaster enthusiast - think Millennium Force and Maverick at Cedar Point had a baby. Out of the 111 coasters I have ridden, I can safely say that I-305 is at the very top of the list in terms of intensity - I greyed out on almost all rides I took on it. Reptilian, their Mack bobsled coaster and Dominator, their B&M floorless coaster previously at Geauga Lake are also rides I wouldn't pass up. If you are looking to ride something similar to Vortex and are feeling nostalgic, they still have their Arrow looper, Anaconda. If you are looking to see how different Kings Dominion is than Kings Island, I would recommend a visit to this park.

Carowinds, I will say, gets the nod here for me because of Fury 325, their B&M giga coaster. It is the longest steel roller coaster in North America, 7 feet longer than Millennium Force at Cedar Point and feels like one of the most complete/well rounded coasters that I've ridden. The first drop, turn before the hive dive, and the hive dive itself were notable elements on the rides I took. Their B&M hyper, Thunder Striker, will have a similar experience to our Diamondback, so nothing radical there.  Their B&M invert, Afterburn, provides some of that 1990's B&M intensity and rank up in the top of B&M inverts I've ridden - edged out by Raptor at Cedar Point and our Banshee.

I will add an addendum to my response and say this - we were able to knock out Kings Dominion and Carowinds over two days. It's about a 4-5 hour drive between the two so if you have the All Park Passport and have the extra time to swing both, it may be doable.

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I feel Carowinds has a pretty top heavy line up with Fury, Afterburn, Thunder Striker (formerly Intimidator) and Copperhead up there and a few decent flats like Electro Spin and the newer Aeronautica Landing stuff, but the gap between them and the rest of the rides is pretty vast IMO.   KD has a way more well rounded and interesting ride lineup top to bottom to me and has its own good selection of decent flats like Berserker, Delirium, and actual in-park water rides which Carowinds has none, which isn't great for being in Charlotte.  

Most of the other aspects are pretty even park for park like food, entertainment, etc.  

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7 hours ago, LuvingKI said:

I appreciate the responses, I was initially leaning toward CW based off Fury, but hearing about KD I felt more torn than before. I was able to remove a couple days off my CP booking and am going to do 2 days at each CW and KD. 

I'd love to do Busch Gardens after hearing from you guys about it and then watching some videos on it, but I don't really have the funds to buy more tickets and so on. I hope to make that park though in the next couple years.

If you are an ACE member, check out their discounts.  I can't publicly disclose them, but last years discount for BGW was phenomenal!  When you make the trip back to Virginia, the membership may well be worth it if it's still offered!

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  • 2 weeks later...
1 minute ago, disco2000 said:

Hopefully 305 is going at KD when you go.  Rumor down for a part from Intamin.

I hope so, I start the trip next Saturday at Carowinds 

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  • 2 weeks later...

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