Somewhere on the ground, beneath the mammoth steel poles supporting the track of Fury325, Carowinds newest roller coaster, is a small, silver earring.
The earring was in my ear when the ride left the loading station, with me, nervously waving and making small talk with the 13-year-old boy next me. He was telling me I should keep my hands up the entire time and I was telling him that I would try to resist the urge to maintain a death-grip on the restraint holding me in my seat.
But, by the time the car slid back into the station, my earring was gone, my hands were shaking, my eyes were stinging and the boy next to me was saying how he couldn’t wait to go again.
And I couldn’t either.
I’m no novice when it comes to roller coasters. Big, small, wooden, steel, drops, twists, loops, whatever someone clever has dreamed up to get people to give up good money to scream their heads off for a few minutes, I’ll ride it. I’ve probably ridden 100 coasters in my lifetime.
Fury325 beats them all.
For the past seven months, Carowinds and their parent company, Cedar Fair, have delighted in telling the world that Fury325, so named for the ride’s peak height, is the tallest, fastest gigacoaster in the world.
A gigacoaster, for those of us who don’t speak theme park, is a roller coaster between 300 and 399 feet tall.
At that height, Fury325 is 20 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. If Fury 325 were a building in Charlotte, it would be tied for the 17th tallest structure in the city. It’s tall, folks. Really, stinking tall.
But it’s not the height of Fury325 that’s the most stomach-churning bit about it, although the feeling of paralyzing fear at the top of that hill is certainly very real. No, the true power of Fury325 is its speed. The cars on Fury325 can top out at 95 miles per hour.
That’s 25 miles per hour faster than the Intimidator, Carowinds former crowning jewel, which, at just 232 feet tall, seems tame after riding Fury325.
The speed on Fury325 is enough to make a person’s eyes water, make the skin on their face distort in the wind and apparently, make earrings pop right out of ears.
Fury325 is also a long roller coaster. The whole ride takes more than three minutes, and you cover 1.25 miles of track over eight acres.
Fury325 is also unique in the way it takes riders from the back of the park to just a few feet above the heads of people walking in Carowinds’ new main entrance. Then, a few seconds later, riders twist and go under those same people in an underground tunnel.
Will I go back to Carowinds to ride Fury325 again? Certainly. Will I expect the crowds at Carowinds to increase this year because Fury325 adds a whole other level of “thrill” to the theme park. Absolutely. And I’ll gladly stand in line with those thrill seekers, assuring them its worth the wait.
But maybe I’ll skip the earrings.
Rachel Southmayd • 803-329-4072
Facts About Fury325
▪ Fury325 stands at 325 feet tall and is 6,602 feet long, covering eight acres.
▪ 2,700 tons of steel were used to construct Fury325 over eight months
▪ 15,500 bolts hold Fury325 together
▪ It took 400 trucks to carry all the pieces of Fury325 to Carowinds
▪ Riders drop at an 81 degree angle, reaching speeds up to 95 miles per hour
▪ More than 50 people worked to design Fury325 and 200 people worked to put it together.