With the opening of Fury 325 this year, comparisons to other giga coasters were going to be inevitable. This showdown might have even more interest than most as Carowinds and Kings Dominion are in bordering states (North Carolina and Virginia). So, there’s a better chance that more people have ridden both or plan to.

First, let’s define a giga coaster as many have been asking due to Carowinds promotion of its record-setting ride. A giga coaster is a roller coaster that’s between 300 and 399 feet tall and completes a full circuit. For more, including a list of giga coasters, read: What is a Giga Coaster?. The “325” and “305” in these rides’ names reference the height of their lift hills.

While Fury 325 and Intimidator 305 are in the same category of roller coaster, they have different designers and offer different ride experiences. So let’s see which wins this giga edition of roller coaster showdowns.

Themes – NASCAR Legend Dale Earnhardt vs. Furious Hornets

Fury 325 looks great and the theme reflects the region’s history as retreating British soldiers called the area a “Hornet’s Nest of Rebellion”. Also, the teal color of the track is similar to that of the Charlotte Hornets NBA team. All-in-all, Carowinds did a top-notch job adding the local flavor of the area. I really appreciate that and I know that the park had to push for this local twist. If not we might have had another Leviathan as theme park chains love to recycle names. Small touches like the lights on the lift hill, and the cool use of the honeycombs throughout the theme really set it a part from other rides.

Dale Earnhardt was known as “The Intimidator” due to his aggressive racing style. While I’m sure NASCAR is popular in my home state of Virginia, Intimidator 305’s theme isn’t quite as meaningful as the same theme on the Intimidator roller coaster at Carowinds, which is near the birthplace of both the sport and Earnhardt himself. Still, locality aside, the signage is well-done, there’s a replica of Dale Earnhardt’s car, and your ride starts with: “Gentlemen, start your engines!” (Sorry ladies).

I’ve got to give this one to Intimidator 305. Both themes are above average for this type of ride, but NASCAR and Earnhardt are a more memorable theme than mean, swarming insects (again putting the meaningfulness of the theme to the area aside). At the end of the day, riders will likely remember the car theme from 305 more than the 325’s hornet theme.
Edge: Intimidator 305

Intamin Trains vs B&M Trains

The trains have a lot to do with the comfort and overall ride experience. Intimidator 305 is an Intamin roller coaster designed for speed, tight twists, and heavily-banked turns. The restraints are comfortable straps that go over your torso and buckle in to a bar that goes across your lap. Thankfully, they don’t limit your upper body too much as you can easily hold your hands up as much as you like. Although, the ride’s intense g-forces make it tough at times. A minor nitpick is that since they go over your shoulders, they are more likely to limit the airtime that’s present on the drop, second hill, and the smaller camel back humps.

Fury 325’s trains have an open, minimalist design. Riders are basically seated in raised chairs with bucket seats and a thick cummerbund-like lap bar. These trains offer better views and a more comfortable overall riding position.

This one goes to Fury 325. The Bolliger & Mabillard trains are more comfortable, don’t obstruct your view as much and they have the added bonus of four-across seating; perfect for group riding. Also, 305’s seats are more upright, while you really sink into the seats on Fury.
Edge: Fury 325

Ride Experience

Intimidator 305 is a wicked ride that puts a unique twist on this towering roller coaster genre. All giga coasters have lofty lift hills, but after this mammoth drop, things get real interesting. Intimidator 305’s transitions from left banking to right banking tosses riders like a game of hot potato. This is one of the most unusual and fun feelings I’ve had on a thrill ride. 305 has a bit of a mean streak and the intensity is definitely on the higher end of the scale. I wasn’t able to do more than a few back-to-back rides as the g-forces were starting to give me a headache. The gift shop at the ride’s exit had Tylenol for a reason.

Fury 325 offers speed in spades. There’s some exciting highs, a few twists throwing riders to the side, and a fun low-point as you charge through an underground tunnel. The massive ride does a fly-by near the park entrance, there’s a helix and a few airtime hills thrown in as well. It’s a complete roller coaster, that in my opinion, is missing very little.

Note – These videos were filmed by professionals with permission from the park.

When comparing the two ride experiences, I give the edge to Fury 325. Both are challenging and will leave the average park-goer catching their breath, but Fury 325 is better for re-rides as it’s a bit smoother and less intense all-around.
Slight Edge: Fury 325

Overall Winner

Fury 325 is a better roller coaster in my book. Intimidator 305 is exciting and brings something new to the table with its powerful “twisties” that toss you around, but Fury’s definitely the more well-rounded of the two. Fury offers an awesome variety of thrills and its smooth enough (even at 95 mph!) that you’ll want to hop right back in line. For more on these rides, check out my full reviews of Fury 325 and Intimidator 305.

Winner: Fury 325

What’s Your Take?
Which of these two roller coasters do you prefer? Leave a comment.

See more roller coaster showdowns and theme park showdowns. Top Photo Credit 1 – Charlotte Observer, Top Photo Credit 2 – CoasterImage

15 Responses

  1. Gabe

    Both are solid rides, among the best in the world. But in the end, Fury 325 is just a more complete ride while I-305 only offers speed and intensity.

    • Michael

      I think both are great. However I think Intimidator 305 was more intense. Fury325 may be taller and faster and the longest roller coaster in the us however Intimidator 305 is the shorter of all the five giga coasters out there.

  2. Owen

    Hello coaster critic, I read your mini review on Fury 325. I was wondering if it made it into your top ten?

    • Joel

      I need to re-asses my top 10, but Fury didn’t quite grab me and make me think Top 10 status. I’ll revisit my top 10 soon and let you know.

  3. Bobbie Butterfield

    Differences of opinion are what make this interesting. Although I agree with the final verdict that Fury 325 is the better coaster, I disagree with some of Joel’s opinions. (And this is coming from an Intamin enthusiast, surprised to find herself ranking 2 B&M coasters – Fury and Leviathan – above I-305.) First of all, I hate the restraints, which I find cumbersome, on I-305. I find OTS restraints unnecessary on anything other than looping coasters, inverted coasters or extreme rides such as Kingda Ka. (Yeah, TTD gets by without them but for this type of ride I prefer them.) Secondly, I find Fury 325 far less re-rideable than I-305. I enjoyed a number of consecutive rides on I-305 without ill effect but after two consecutive rides on Fury I was feeling somewhat lightheaded. The speed and the angles were a bit dizzying. As to pros and cons, I like the cable lift on I-305 and all those twists in the track make for a novel experience, being snapped back and forth. However, the chain lift on Fury is pretty quick (a vast improvement over Nitro, whose chain lift is agonizingly slow) and the seats are super comfortable. Because Fury has so much more going on than I-305, I consider it to be the better of the two coasters.

  4. That one guy

    I think i305 wins. I love intensity, which is why i305>fury 325.

  5. Truett Mabe

    I like fury 325 better than intimidator 305 because intimidator 305’s restraints HURT!!! Whenever you go on the airtime hills your out of your seat and then the pressure on your legs hurt. However, fury 325’s restraints were very comfortable and I had no problem with them. I definitely like fury 325 better.

  6. Roger Morrison

    First of all, there’s a good minute more of fury. Meaning its a more complete ride. 305 only has a few more banked turns(which are admittedly better). But that is about it. Actually thats all that could possibly be better if you like to get whiplash. Pondering about if Fury is top 10? Hope your run of the mill hypers like Nitro and A.P. will stay abreast while the world passes you by. Good gracious. Most of your guys top ten seems to be on par with Intimidator(Carowinds)in the first place. Fury is in my opinion top dog. RMC need not apply.

  7. dru

    Joel you still need to re ride I-305 post trims yes?
    I doubt it will change your opinion on this showdown but it will improve your opinion of 305…

  8. Kevin

    I’ve never riden Fury, but I know I LOVE 305!! If you are giving Fury the edge over 305, then I’m DEFINITELY going to have to make a rode trip and check it out!!! 🙂

  9. Kevin

    Yeah I find Intamins more ReRideable and yes over Banks are Better With Intamins,,,,,yes fury can make you real light headed the only good thing is the trim on lift hil makes the drop on Fury 325 seem Longer IDK I still like Intamin better LOLOLOL Furys seats also are good for airtime hills but not Excessive Speeds

  10. Coaster Nut

    Well, these are my two favorite coasters out of the 177 coasters I’ve ridden. It’s a close call for me, but I give the slight edge to I-305 for its intensity. I find both coasters very “rerideable.” Thanks to short lines, I was able to ride I-305 18 times in one day and Fury 325 27 times! I could not get enough of either coaster.

  11. Mikeford

    I have gotten to ride all giga coasters this year ( my bucket list) riding Intimidator 305 last on the list. I have never experienced a grey out on a coaster before but that first right hand turn I did it every time . It is a relentless and intense ride that I love. I ride it consecutively 6 times and could not get enough. Fury is great but Intimidator 305 is a roller coaster inthusiasts dream coaster.

  12. Mike ford

    I have rode both numerous times and I305 is on a different level. I love intense rides and I’m telling you I greyed out every time after the initial drop sharp right hand turn. I did not regain my vision until I got close to the top of camel back hill, crazy. I have never experienced that on any other coaster and I have rode Fury, milinium , leviathan, top Thrill and Kingda Ka . If you want the most intense roller coaster this is it .


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