When you go to Carowinds this summer, there's no way to miss Fury 325 with its green and aqua tracks towering over the park, its rails twisting and turning right next to the parking lot, and its cars hurling screaming passengers literally under your feet as you enter the park.
The new roller coaster is 325 feet tall - more than 30 stories - and reaches speeds of 95 miles per hour. That first hill has an incline of 81 degrees. That's right - the hill plunges almost straight down.
And as you plunge to the ground, it's just a lap bar and a seat belt that keeps you in. "That drop feels like it will never end," explained Rita McPheeters, who was visiting with her son from Washington, DC. "You really come up and out of your seat. It's a great feeling."
Fury 325 keeps you twisting and flying for the entire three-minute, 25-second ride. There's no calming down. Even on the last hill, you'll experience "airtime" or "lift," which are the cool roller coaster fan terms for when you lift out of your seat and just the lap bar keeps you in. It feels like you're flying through the air.
It is North America's tallest and fastest giga coaster, which is a roller coaster that makes a full circuit and has a height between 300 and 400 feet. Its opening is, as one roller coaster enthusiast explained, "like the Super Bowl for roller coaster fans."
"It's an epic coaster," said David Lipnicky, of Grand Prairie, Texas, vice president of the American Coaster Enthusiasts. "There's a flying sensation - a sense of freedom you don't get in everyday life. That's why we came."
Roller coaster enthusiasts from all over the country have come to the park to ride Fury. And the one word heard more than any other as passengers emerged, still shaking with adrenaline and weak in the knees, was "Awesome!"
"You know, I didn't think they could ever beat the Intimidator," a fan from Pennsylvania said, referring to Carowinds' other show-stopper of a roller coaster, the 230-foot Intimidator. "But they did. They did it."
Fury 325 is conceived to mimic the flight of a furious hornet, paying homage to the region's historic past, when a British general called the area a "hornet's nest" because of the tenacity and fury of Carolina troops during the Revolutionary War. The way the coaster twists and turns on itself, climbing and plunging at dizzying speeds, really does resemble a swarm of hornets.
Fury actually takes riders into both Carolinas, starting on the North Carolina side of Carowinds and then crossing into South Carolina as it hurtles underneath the park's entranceway bridge.
With the addition of the Fury 325, Carowinds now has two of the 10 biggest coasters in America.