Specific Type: Steel, Boomerang
The Carolina Cobra roller coaster is a standard model Vekoma Boomerang, with a history like that of many other coasters of the same model. Having originally operated as Head Spin at the now-defunct Geauga Lake, the coaster opened there in 1996. Once the rides side of Geauga Lake was closed, leaving just the water park portion opened, Cedar Fair attempted to save and relocated as many rides as possible. Having just purchased Paramount’s chain of parks, they had plenty of places for relocation, and Carowinds was selected to receive their boomerang shuttle coaster.
The coaster now resides on the small plot of land next to Wings café, formerly occupied by the low-capacity Flying Super Saturator, which was closed and removed near the end of the 2008 season to make way for the Carolina Cobra. At a cost of $4 million, the ride would be the first roller coaster added to the park by Cedar Fair, and the first coaster added since 2004 saw the addition of the BORG Assimilator, now Nighthawk, the Vekoma Flying Dutchman relocated from California’s Great America.
The ride itself, like any other boomerang coaster, starts with a slow pull backwards up a 125 foot lift hill. Once the train is released, it dives back down through the station, before pulling up into a tight, fast Cobra Roll, pulling as many as 5.2 G’s before rocketing into a vertical loop and up another spike. As the train ascends the second spike, the lift engages, pulling it to the top before the releasing the train through its course again, only this time in reverse. Now the trains careen backwards first through the vertical loop, then through the cobra roll, putting some intense forces on the rider. The train then flies backwards through the station, braking along the way, and partially up the original spike again, being slowed as it falls back into the station.
While the ride is the same as any other Vekoma Boomerang coaster, the trains are not. Part of the reason the relocation was so expensive compared to other boomerang relocations is because the trains are new. These new trains have a completely re-vamped restraint system, which greatly reduces, if not eliminates, head-banging, making the notoriously painful and head-banging model of coaster much more comfortable and fun.
“Only serious thrill-seekers should venture into the queues of this towering twisting serpent.”
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