CHARLOTTE — Big changes are coming to the largest amusement park in the Carolinas.
For the first time in nearly 50 years, Carowinds will be open year-round next year, the park announced in a social media post on Tuesday.
The new schedule will begin next year with the 2023 season. The amusement park’s calendar shows the park open on the weekends until March, when it opens on Thursdays and Fridays as well.
The park will be open seven days a week starting in June 2023. Click the operating calendar to see the hours listed through Sept. 4, 2023.
Channel 9′s Ken Lemon spoke with fans of the theme park who’ve been waiting a longtime for the change.
In 2022, the park closed from early January to mid-March. That may be the last time those gates stay silent.
The rides don’t have to stop at the amusement park.
“More opportunities to go and have fun with friends,” parkgoer Travis Hammond told Channel 9.
Some guest say they aren’t bothered by the possibility of rollercoasters in the rain or caramel apples in the cold.
Carowinds opening for all four seasons means good business for the nearby Green Room Cafe. Management says they can tell when the park is open by the number of custoemrs in their seats.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” said Adoree Deluca, marketing director for the restaurant. “Anytime you bring more people to an area and you have businesses it’s great for everybody.”
A Carowinds spokesperson said the change is to help businesses like the café, but the move also makes sense for the theme park. Last year, other theme parks like Six Flags and Busch Gardens opened year-round
“The biggest reasoning for year round operation is to be a great partner with our community and our travel and tourism communities,” said Courtney Weber, Carowinds spokeswoman.
The only drawback is some thrill rides can’t operate when it is too cold. They’ll be shuttered when it reaches 52 degrees.
Channel 9 checked Carowinds website and they are already selling tickets for their new winter season.
Other Carowinds overhauls:
In August, the park announced it shut down four long-time rides -- the Yo-Yo, Dodgem, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare: 3Z Arena and Southern Star.
The Yo-Yo was made in 1981 and opened at Carowinds in 2008. The Dodgem premiered at Carowinds in 1979. The Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare: 3Z arena originally opened in 1993 and was re-themed in 2016, and the Southern Star was built in 1986.
Later that month, the amusement park said it was launching an aviation-themed area with new rides and restaurants in 2023.
Then in September, Carowinds announced a new chaperone policy after false claims of a shooting that spread through the park created a chaotic scene.
(VIDEO: Carowinds launches new aviation-themed area in 2023)
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