And now, for Part 2 of 3 from my Scarowinds trip report. In case you missed it, here’s Part 1 including a makeup demonstration and a trip through Carowinds’ longest maze, Cornstalkers.
Asylum – Regarded as Cedar Fair’s Best Haunt
Cedar Fair had deemed Asylum the best haunt in the whole chain in 2008. So, I knew we were about to have quite a tour. Jack shared that Asylum is in a permanent building made specifically for Scarowinds. Since it’s in place year-round, they can go in and tweak the maze anytime they wish. I had noticed it tucked away in a little area between the park’s mine train coaster Carolina Goldrusher and flying coaster, Nighthawk.
Jack turned the lights on, but also turned on the attraction’s wicked music. It was a maniacal mix of moody female voices singing incessantly while in another area some aggressive dance music was being blared. At points it clashed and purposefully added to the mania of an asylum. I longed for the cornstalk-lined pathways as we toured the close quarters of Asylum’s hallways. It was very easy to imagine how scary, and at times disturbing, this attraction could be even with the lights on. We moved from room to room of twisted mayhem as the inmates had literally taken over the asylum. I didn’t take too many pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it. The rooms themselves in the dark would be pretty creepy, but then with the actors lurking in the corners or disturbingly sitting in plain view would probably ratchet this attraction to insane levels. Well, on my scare meter at least. I can see why Asylum had been regarded by Cedar Fair as the company’s best. I wanted to take on this haunt again when it was in full swing, but you’ll see why I didn’t later.
Intimidator Tour – Checking Out The Engine
The last part of the behind-the-scenes tour included a special tour of Intimidator, the park’s signature roller coaster. The red, 232-foot tall thrill machine can be seen from miles around. An engineer at the park talked with us about how the ride works and answered questions. We headed to the maintenance area right under the station. Inside I saw the B&M water dummies I had scene during Coaster Stock and the replacement wheels. We also went into the heart of the ride, the electrical room.
I was most impressed to hear that Bolliger & Mabillard not only makes world-class roller coasters (I’d known that for many years), but also that their service is second-to-none. The engineer explained a question they’d had about an odd noise and how B&M sent a representative to the park right away. He explained that other manufacturers wouldn’t have done that. He also shared that parts had been replaced free of charge in the past. I know that B&M’s coasters are more expensive than some others, but they sure do sound like a good investment all the way around.
While I know that B&M’s are generally more reliable than the average, I still wanted to know the most common reason for a breakdown. He explained that there are times when the two systems monitoring train speed might have even a slight discrepancy. When that happens, the ride will shut itself down.
After the tour, we were treated to a ride on Intimidator. I hadn’t ridden it in a while. I’d been at the park for several stroller pushing trips this year with the family, but when I tried to slip away and get a quick ride, I realized that the single rider line was replaced by Fast Lane! That’s a topic for another post. Anyway, it was fun to get in a ride. It was running as good as ever. You can read my full review here. Now it was time to join the hundreds of guests gathering at the front of the park for the opening of Scarowinds.
Stay tuned for the conclusion of my Scarowinds trip report.
Thanks to the Coaster Crew for inviting me out for their event. It was really cool to see Scarowinds from a different perspective. They often have trips like this along the East Coast, especially in the Mid Atlantic. “Verbolting Through the Snow” is an upcoming Busch Gardens Williamsburg Christmas Town event. More details here.