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Carwardine Colony is the flagship park of the Carwardine Parks chain. It is the largest park in the Carwardine Parks chain. It is located in Newport News, Virginia.

History

Design and construction

During the 1973 oil crisis, Christopher R. Carwardine had read an article about a family who were angered that they had to take a 2-hour drive to Lakeside Amusement Park in Salem, Virginia and continually refuel along the way, which inspired Christopher to feel he could develop his own theme park. In 1975, Christopher registered "Carwardine Colony" as a trademark, and used it for the name of his real estate company (Carwardine Colony Real Estate Inc.) for a few years to keep the trademark while he planned his amusement park.

After a few years of being unable to find a good site in the Richmond, Virginia area, Christopher purchased a disused landfill in Newport News, Virginia known locally as the "Trash Heap from Hell". Over a 2-year period, the land was cleared & re-developed to create the Carwardine Colony amusement park.

Christopher, his wife Hiroko, and Christopher's college buddy Marv Simpleton helped with constructing the park. Christopher personally spent 12 hours a day, every day to reassemble The Flying Turns, a vintage bobsled coaster that formerly operated in Georgia and Ohio, in it's new location at the park, and Marv spent several days and nights assembling the Carwardine Mines mine train coaster, which was built by Arrow Development, while also working on the theming for the attraction.

In mid-1979, the Carwardines and Simpleton were joined by Dean Joe Fawkes, a wealthy businessman who also wanted to work on an amusement park. As new roller coasters and rides began to be added, the three parties began to hire more and more workers to get the park finished. The Chessie System also invested in Carwardine Colony Real Estate Inc. as they had interest in the under-construction theme park as well.

Opening

Carwardine Colony, with it's final construction cost estimated at US$121 million, was officially opened on May 25, 1980 by the Governor of Virginia of the time, John N. Dalton (a rarity for many U.S. theme parks) along with Christopher R. Carwardine and Dean Joe Fawkes. At the time, the park employed 230 employees and operated from Monday to Saturday, with the park being closed on Sundays for maintenance work. Carwardine Colony was described as "Newport News' answer to Disneyland" by the media due to it's ambitions. Reportedly, fellow Virginia theme parks Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Kings Dominion were so interested in what their competition was building that staffers from the aformentioned parks would visit the park in disguise to scope it out. It was notable at the time for being one of the very few theme parks in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States where a single admission fee covered unlimited turns on all of the rides and attractions. This admission fee was $10.99 for an adult and $5.23 for a child. The park welcomed 730 guests on it's first day of operation. Within the first four months of operation, Carwardine Colony attracted 340,000 guests and was predicted to be the biggest tourist attraction in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States by the mid-1980s.

1980s





1990s

For the 1990 season, Carwardine gained the rights to the Simpsons characters for 10 years, it was extended for 5 years and 1 year twice before being sold to Universal Studios.

Areas

  • Entrance
  • Coney Island
  • Kids Kountry (renamed PBS Kids Neighborhood from 2003-2007, name changed back to Kids Kountry in 2007)
  • Mine Shaft
  • Time Machine

Current rides

Roller coasters

  • American Arrow (1995; A Schwarzkopf Steel Coaster; had originally operated under Oscar Bruch on the German fair circuit as Skyline from 1986-1994)
  • Carwardine Mines (1980; An Arrow Dynamics mine train roller coaster, original Arrow ride op control panel replaced with a Huss-TechEruo TE-1000 layout back in 2001) [Mine Shaft]
  • City Jet (1990; A Schwarzkopf CityJet/Jet 400 roller coaster, relocated from the original Kid's World, trim brakes removed in 1994, repainted in 1998) [Kids Kountry]
  • Classic Cyclone (1982; A PTC wooden roller coaster; Formerly known as "Cyclone" [1982-1991], damaged by a hurricane in 1996, track rebuilt by CCI after said hurricane) [Coney Island]
  • Fast Forward (1980; A Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop coaster, was given replacement parts from Huss-TechEruo in 2015 after several instances of downtime throughout the years) [Time Machine]
  • The Flying Turns (1980; A John Miller Flying Turns bobsled coaster; formerly operated at Rose Park (1972-1977) and Euclid Beach Park (1930-1969); gained an ACE Landmark Award in 2003, often closes a month before the park does) [Coney Island]
  • The Fury (2016; A TOGO stand up roller coaster, relocated from Kings Dominion, gained new ST-Replace trains from Huss-TechEruo in 2018) [Mine Shaft]
  • Garfield's Feline Fury (2017; A Mack Rides Powered Coaster; formerly known as Spreeblitz at Spreepark; had to be partially rebuilt by MSC Incorporated when installed at Carwardine Colony due to having been SBNO for several years) [Kids Kountry]
  • Jr. Cyclone (1998; An Allan Herschell kiddie coaster, relocated from Opryland USA) [Kids Kountry]
  • Ladybug Tivoli (1980; A Zierer Medium Tivoli coaster) [Kids Kountry]
  • Lasso (1985; An Arrow Dynamics suspended swing roller coaster, originally painted Orange/White, before being painted Silver/Gold in 1995, and then being repainted Orange/Black in 2007) [Mine Shaft]
  • Monstar (1999; A Morgan hyper coaster, it is 277 feet tall) [Coney Island]
  • Nightmare: The Scream Machine (2013; An indoor Gerstlauer bobsled coaster) [Mine Shaft]
  • Nitro Rush (1993; A 210-foot tall Arrow Dynamics looping roller coaster, built as kind of a hybrid between Drachen Fire and Magnum XL-200, retracked by Morgan in 2003)
  • Redwall: Escape from Malkariss (2003; A Bolliger & Mabillard flying roller coaster; damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, track rebuilt by MSC Incorporated following said hurricane) [Mine Shaft]
  • Sagwa: Rickshaw Run (2003; A Premier Rides roller coaster modeled after The Joker's Jinx at Six Flags America) [Kids Kountry]
  • Twin Spiral (2004; An Intamin Impulse coaster; clone of Wicked Twister at Cedar Point, but with a different color scheme) [Time Machine]
  • Zero G-Force (2007; A 320-foot tall Intamin Accelerator coaster with an inverted top hat element, has a similar layout to Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure, a net was added below the inverted top hat in 2008 to catch vomit) [Time Machine]
  • Zyclone (2012; a Zamperla spinning roller coaster) [Time Machine]

Flat rides

  • Carousel (1980; originally played calopy music from Capital Records, in 2000, they were replaced with Carwardine's regular stock music tracks) [Coney Island]
  • Carwardine Mover (1980; a one station WedWay PeopleMover across Carwardine Colony, rerouted in 1999 and 2003 for Monstar and Sagwa respectively) [Entrance]
  • Cosmic Avenger (1989; A Zamperla Telecombat ride) [Time Machine]
  • Enterprise (1980) [Time Machine]
  • Himalaya (1980) [Coney Island]
  • Mega Man ZX Double Strike (2007; A Zamperla Hawk 48 ride) [Time Machine]
  • Monster (1980; An Eyerly Monster ride) [Mine Shaft]
  • Phoenix Twister (1990; A Huss Condor ride) [Mine Shaft]
  • Pirate (1980; A Huss Pirate Ship ride) [Time Machine]
  • Pool Sharks (1988; A teacups style ride themed to billiard balls) [Coney Island]
  • Sky Tower (1980; A Huss Sky Tower ride) [Entrance]
  • Sky Whirl (1980; A Waagner-Biro/Intamin Sky Whirl dual triple ferris wheel ride, only remaining Sky Whirl in the United States)
  • Super Mario World (1990; A dark ride themed to the "Super Mario" video games, refurbished in 1993 for Super Mario World, 1995 for Yoshi's Island, 1996 for Super Mario 64, 2002 for Super Mario Sunshine, 2007 for Super Mario Galaxy and 2017 for Super Mario Odyssey) [Mine Shaft]
  • Surf's Up! (2007; A Zamperla Disk'O ride with a surfing theme) [Coney Island]
  • Twister (1980; Mack Swing-Bob ride) [Coney Island]
  • Wipeout (1982; A Chance Rides Trabant ride) [Mine Shaft]

Kiddie rides

All of the park's kiddie rides are located in Kids Kountry. Kids Kountry saw two updates, first one in 1993 and and one in 2015.

  • Baja Buggies (2015; A Zamperla Jump Around ride with dune buggies)
  • Blast Off! (2015; A Zamperla Jumpin' Tower 16 ride)
  • Convoy (2015; A Zamperla Convoy ride)
  • Care Bear-y Go Round (1980; A small carousel themed to the Care Bears, Formerly known as "Kids Kountry Carousel" [1980-1986])
  • Fire Chief (1993; A Zamperla Crazy Bus ride themed to a fire truck)
  • Mini Motorcade (1980; A Hampton Rides kiddie umbrella ride with motorcycles and jeeps)
  • Mini Twister (1980; A kiddie Himalaya ride)
  • Rocket Ships (1980; A Hampton Rides Sky Fighters ride)
  • Roundabout (1980; A Mangles Kiddie Whip ride)
  • Ship Ahoy! (1993; A Sartori Mini Pirate Ship ride)
  • Sky High (1993; A Zamperla Mini Enterprise ride with helicopters and robots)
  • Teacups (2015; A Zamperla Mini Teacups ride)

Playground Kountry

Built in 1993 to make a central hub for Kids Kountry.

  • Dome Climber (1993)
  • Merry-go-Roundabout (1993)
  • Monkey Bars (1993)
  • Sandpit (1993)

Restaurants and food stands

  • Beachcombers (A quick service food stand) [Colony Coast]
  • Carvel Ice Cream [Coney Ialnd]
  • Carwardine Cafe (A cafeteria style restaurant) [Entrance]
  • Coney Island Hot Dog Hut [Coney Island]
  • Kids Kountry Snack Shack [Kids Kountry]
  • McDonald's (Based on the late 1950s take-out design) [Time Machine]
  • Subway [Entrance]
  • Starbucks [Entrance]
  • Pizza Hut Express [Entrance]

Gift shops and game stands

  • Coastal Cove Treasures [Colony Coast]
  • Kids Kountry Trading Post [Kids Kountry]
  • Redwall Shop [Mine Shaft]
  • Time Machine Arcade [Time Machine]

Live shows & meet-and-greets

  • Busytown Theater [Kids Kountry] (Added 1990; animatronic versions of Huckle & Sally Cat, Lowly Worm, Lynnie Raccoon, Hilda Hippo, and Bananas Gorilla entertain guests; the showtapes were originally voiced by Carwardine staff until 1995 when they were re-recorded by the cast of The Busy World of Richard Scarry)
  • Care Bears Meet-and-Greet [Kids Kountry] (Added 1987)
  • Redwall Meet-and-Greet [Mine Shaft] (Added 2004; Matthias, Cornflower and Mattimeo mingle with guests)

Colony Coast (water park)

Colony Coast was added to the park in 1989. Colony Coast received a slight makeover in 2007 with a new restroom/changing room building, a new cabana area, and new attractions. In 2018, it became free for all Gold Passholders or higher.

  • Bumper (1989; A ProSlide MultiBump)
  • Hurricane Halfpipe (2007; A halfpipe water slide)
  • Hurricane Hill (1990; 8 New Wave Products Tube Slides)
    • Hurricane Allison (An open tube slide with enclosed sections) [Pink Tubes]
    • Hurricane Barry (An open tube slide) [Yellow Tubes]
    • Hurricane Chantal (An entirely enclosed slide that's transparent, transparent sections fabricated by WhiteWater West) [Orange Tubes]
    • Hurricane Dean (An entirely enclosed slide with lights) [Green Tubes]
    • Hurricane Gabrielle (An entirely dark enclosed slide with an open drop) [Blue Tubes]
    • Hurricane Hugo (An entirely enclosed slight completely in the dark) [Purple Tubes]
    • Hurricane Iris (An enclosed slide with an open drop) [Brown Tubes]
    • Hurricane Karen (An enclosed slide with open sections) [Red Tubes]
  • Freefall (1989; A ProSlide Freefall)
  • Kids Pond (1989; A Fred Langford Kids Slide Complex)
  • Luge Cruise (1989; A Fred Langford Mat Slide)
  • Mastodon Mountain (2007; A ProSlide Mammoth slide)
  • Quad Sliders (1989; A Fred Langford Tube Slide Complex, Several clones of the complex came up, including 'Cuda Falls, TBA and a mirrored version at New Roseland Park) [White, Alternate Yellow, Alternate White and Alternate Green Tube Designs respectively]
  • Splashin' Rapids (2007; A lazy river)
  • Tidal Wave Pool (1989; A wave pool)
  • Tornado (2007; A ProSlide Tornado, repainted in 2017)
  • Turbo Twister (2007; Two ProSlide TurboTwisters, due to the rotting structure thanks to several hurricanes, age, lack of maintenance and the fact ProSlide doesn't support that model of TurboTwisters anymore, it turned from transparent to dark with a few light patches, the track was entirely replaced by ProSlide, the ride was now made opaque with a few lights, the entrance and exit were heavily tweaked and even some of the supports were redone.)

Carwardine Studios

Carwardine Studios is an indoor/outdoor filming studio using for filming live-action commercials for both Carwardine properties and other companies, as well as being used for various TV shows & movies filmed in the Newport News area as well as music videos & commercials for other clients. The studios opened March of 1990. It was expanded with 2 more studios in 1997, another 2 studios in 2001, and another 2 studios in 2005. An effects stage and backlot were added in 2003, the first production to use the effects stage was Kids for Character TV, which also filmed in Studio 4.

The most iconic film shot at the studios was the critical & commercial success The Defects (nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Visual Effects), the second most popular was Mickey Mouse, while that film was mostly filmed at Carwardine Studios, with location shoots also occurring in other locations in the Newport News-Williamsburg area.

The facility is equipped with high-end HDTV facilities, Red Digital Cinema equipment, and a backlot.

Studio 1 (Indoor, 200ft high)

  • Super Mario World ride ad (1990)
  • TMS America Offices (1991-present)
  • The Ride Op (1997, for the dorm scenes)

Studio 2 (Outdoor)

Studio 3 (Hybrid, indoor section 100ft high)

  • Storage area (1990-present)
  • The Defects (1992, movie - Universal Pictures)
  • Nitro Rush ad (1993)
  • Waterpark Expansion announcement trailer (2006)

Studio 4 (Indoor, 150ft high) [ADDED 1997]

Studio 5 (Outdoor) [ADDED 1997]

Studio 6 (Indoor, 125ft high) [ADDED 2001]

CAMERAS: RED Dragon 5K

  • Toon Jukebox videos for "Star Trekkin'", "CAN CAN WORLD", "Girl U Want (Devo)", "Happy Children", "Whirly Girl", "Watch Us Work It", "Danger Zone (VERSION II)", "S.I.B. (Swelling Itching Brain)", "Shake It Up (VERSION II)", "Zoolook", "That Greasy Kids Stuff", and "Butterfly" (filmed 2019; released 2020)

Studio 7 (Indoor, 175ft high) [ADDED 2001]

Studio 8 (Indoor, 100ft high) [ADDED 2005]

Studio 9 (Indoor, 100ft high) [ADDED 2005]

Effects Stage (Indoor, 188ft high) [ADDED 2003]

  • Kids for Character TV (2003 TV special)
  • Toon Jukebox videos for "Star Trekkin'", "CAN CAN WORLD", "Girl U Want (Devo)", "Happy Children", "Whirly Girl", "Watch Us Work It", "Danger Zone (VERSION II)", "S.I.B. (Swelling Itching Brain)", "Shake It Up (VERSION II)", "Zoolook", "That Greasy Kids Stuff", and "Butterfly" (filmed 2019; released 2020)

Backlot (Outdoor) [ADDED 2003]

Former rides

Roller coasters

  • Blaster (2001-2010; A Vekoma Giant Inverted Boomerang coaster, relocated to Whalom Park as "Launchpads" in 2011; replaced with Zyclone) [Time Machine]
  • Count Coasterula (1999-2015; A Vekoma Bat Flyer family roller coaster; replaced with a Kids Kountry expansion; relocated to The World of Redwall as "Lord Cayvear's Patrol") [Time Machine]
  • Super Cyclone (1992-2012; A RCCA wooden roller coaster; Replaced with Nightmare: The Scream Machine; scrapped for spare parts for the other wooden coasters at Carwardine's parks) [Coney Island]
  • Vortex (1988-2003; A TOGO Ultra Twister pipeline roller coaster; Replaced with Twin Spiral; relocated to Brilliance Port as "Tornado" in 2004) [Time Machine]

Flat rides

  • Calypso (1980-2010; A Mack Calypso ride, relocated to Darien Lake as "Sidewinder", replaced with a part of Zyclone's queue line)
  • Chaos (1998-2006; A Chance Chaos ride, it had various mechanical issues and was scrapped, replaced with Mega Man ZX Double Strike)
  • Beach Beast (1997-2019; A Huss Top Spin ride, Replaced with more cabanas and a restroom building) [Coney Island]
  • Fear Fall (1985-1999; An Intamin 1st generation Free Fall ride, relocated to New Roseland Park as "Mine Shaft") [Mine Shaft]
  • Skylab (1987-2006; A Huss Sky Lab ride, replaced with Surf's Up!) [Coney Island]
  • VR Troopers: Virtual Reality Adventure (1995-2002; A 4D motion simulator ride with VR Troopers; Replaced with Time Machine Arcade) [Time Machine]

Kiddie rides

  • Buggies (1980-1992; A Traver Kiddie Tumble Bug ride, replaced with Sky High)
  • Roadsters (1980-1992; A carousel style kiddie ride with 1960s style sports cars, replaced with Fire Chief)
  • Tiny Tilt (1980-1997; A teacups style kiddie umbrella ride with a tilting platform, replaced with Jr. Cyclone, relocated to Kid's World)
  • Kiddie Swings (1980-1992; A kiddie Wave Swinger ride, replaced with Ship Ahoy!)

Trivia

  • The park has a height limit of 550 ft, the only park with a height limit taller than 500ft.
  • Carwardine Colony comes in third from Six Flags Magic Mountain and Cedar Point in terms of having the most roller coasters in one park.
  • The projection tunnel added at the end of Flying Turns for Carwardine Colony in 1984 is the first ever use of CGI for a regional theme park chain.
  • Welcome to the PBS Kids Neighborhood was the name of the TV broadcast of the opening day celebrations for the Kids Kountry area when it was renamed PBS Kids Neighborhood.

Easter Eggs

  • The words "Friends don't let friends use "friends don't let friends" sentences" are written on one of the emergency exit doors for Studio 6 of Carwardine Studios. This phrase had been coined by Christopher R. Carwardine to mock an employee at Carwardine Colony who made a T-shirt reading "Friends don't let friends visit Disneyland."

See also

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