Charlotte, NC -
On Friday morning guests eagerly arrived at Carowinds amusement park, ready for a day of fun and celebration. That changed shortly when they were informed that Carowinds had no power and it would be awhile before the park opened to the public. According to Herald Online, many guests decided to sit in the parking lot, visit the local mall, or even go to the local Wendy’s restaurant and wait out the blackout.
Justin Landon, spokesperson for Duke Energy, said the power outage was caused by a tree that had fallen on the power line after a heavy rainfall earlier that morning at 8:00 A.M.. The tree was saturated enough from previous days of rain that it fell whole, including the roots, onto the power line. Landon informed the park that it wasn’t just them without power and 64 other customers were affected by the power line as well.
At approximately 9:15 A.M., Carowinds informed the public awaiting the park to open about the situation. Although the park assured them they would be opening much later than the scheduled time, many park goers were still determined to wait.
Power line that caused blackout at Carowinds
While waiting on the park to let them in, many visitors such as the Seaton family, waited out in Plaza Fiesta, a local outlet mall next door. Louretta Wall, property manager of Plaza Fiesta, said additional traffic control was needed in the mall’s crowded parking lot, but the mall gave people something to do while they waited. “It didn’t affect us except to give us a little more business and give people something to do,” she said.
Other families and park employees who could not get into the park headed over to the Wendy’s restaurant nearby. Kim Curls, manager of Wendy’s, said they had more customers than usual. “Nobody knows what to do, so they wandered over here to eat."
It took a while before the power line was re-energized and fixed due to the size of the tree, but the power officially came back to Carowinds at around 2:00 P.M. Although the power was back on, the park opened to the public an hour later to prepare for operations. Before allowing guests in, the park announced that anyone entering the park after 3:00 P.M. would be charged at “Twilight” prices ($29.99) and the park would remain open until 11:00 P.M., an additional hour than usual.
“We do seem to have dedicated guests and fans who waited it out for us and we appreciate their patience,” Julie Whitted, spokeswoman for Carowinds said. “And the good thing is they have shorter lines to deal with.”