Ever since Carowinds announced their record-breaking Giga Coaster last fall, I’ve been tracking the ride’s construction, comparing it to other coasters, and anticipating its opening. After all, Fury 325 is the world’s tallest non-launching roller coaster. Last week, I finally made it to the park to check it out. Believe me, I “felt the sting.”
Standing 325 feet tall, Fury belittles the once-tall-looking coasters around it. Reaching a top speed of 95 miles per hour, the coaster is tied for sixth fastest on earth. That’s pretty fast!
Carowinds’s new coaster changed its appearance forever. Twisted steel towers high above the park and dominates the skyline. Trains full of screaming riders hurtle under the new front gate. All in all, Fury adds a magnificent touch to the “Thrill Capital of the Southeast.”
Upon arrival, I immediately made a beeline for the new coaster. Fury’s plaza outside the queue offered a great view of the lift hill, and trees along its borders offered shade for the non-riders. A test seat sat invitingly at the entrance to the queue, allowing riders to prepare themselves for the upcoming adrenaline. After entering the queue, I was able to walk almost the whole way to the boarding station without any wait. I was very surprised to find such an exceptionally short wait for a much hyped coaster. After all, Fury is the world’s tallest and fastest non-launching roller coaster and it just opened!
On my way into the boarding station, I saw a sign that discouraged preferred seating. Apparently, riders had no choice over which seat they got to ride in. This turned out to be the case, because when I attempted to enter the line for the front row, one of the ride ops impatiently directed me to the fourth row. I asked if I could stand to the side until the front was available and she loudly, almost rudely, yelled, “NO! Get into row four!” Though I was relatively upset about not getting a front seat, I compliantly boarded the middle of the train and pulled my lap bar into place. The seat was comfortable and allowed me to freely swing my legs. I was also pleased to find that Fury was equipped with a seatbelt in case of failure in the lap bar.
Within seconds, the ride ops gave the thumbs up for dispatch and the train began its ascent up the towering hill. 325 feet is a long way up, and at the angle it climbed, I felt like I was lying down. Looking over my shoulder, I could see the park far below. The rides looked like toys and the people were like ants. In the brief second before plummeting over the top of the hill, I could see Charlotte in the distance. Before I knew it, the train plunged, and my stomach dropped in the extreme as I flew face first towards the ground. At the bottom of the hill I collapsed under the intense g-forces and then flew into the following over-banked turn at 95 miles per hour.
After another turn, the train flew sideways over the entrance to the park. Next came the intense turnaround, which sent the train speeding through a tunnel under the park entrance. Following the tunnel came a couple airtime hills, not quite as packed with weightlessness as some rides, but smooth as silk. Even though the ride was almost three and a half minutes long, Fury relentlessly kept up its fast pace until it hit the brakes.
Fury 325 found a spot as my second favorite roller coaster, behind Millennium Force. Fury had height, it had speed, it had air, and it had length. What did it lack that Millennium Force had? I preferred Millennium Force’s location. Its hill afforded an incredible view of Lake Erie and Cedar Point, and the drop seemed to plunge into the lake. After riding through the woods on Millennium, I felt like I actually went somewhere. But in general, Fury was a better ride than Millennium Force, with a taller, steeper drop, and a longer, more exciting layout.
Now it’s your turn to ride. Check out Fury’s official on-ride video:
All things considered, I’ll give Fury 9.5 out of 10 stars. It doesn’t get much better than that. Have you ridden Fury 325? What would you rate it?
Cover photo © 2015 Michael Russel.