1969 E. Pat Hall's dream of a theme park in the Carolinas is presented in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Inspired by Disneyland, Six Flags Over Georgia, and AstroWorld. The park would be named Carowinds, which derived from the two states and the winds that blew through them.
According to E. Pat Hall, it took seven tries to come up with the final blueprints for the park's layout. E. Pat Hall wanted to develop smaller hotels around the park and an industrial park, but his biggest vision was a large Disney-esque resort hotel that would be connected to the park via a monorail. While the monorail would be installed, the resort was never phased in. Other plans included a indoor Football field and a lake open to boating.
Groundbreaking and construction on Carowinds started, the park would have a historical theme. It became forseen that Carowinds would not open in 1972 due to construction delays, the new opening date was set to be March 31th, 1973. However the Monorail would still fail to open on time.
The grand opening year for Carowinds, two weeks before the park opened to the public it was the host to the first ever joint session of the North and South Carolina legislatures, this was a step in E. Pat Hall's dream of bringing North and South Carolina closer together.
March 31st, 1973 finally arrived, and the gates to Carowinds were opened at last. Many guests had arrived before the sun even rose, and despite heavy rain, 7,000 people attended the park that day. With special guests on hand, a marching band playing, balloons being released, and the Melodia locomotive blowing her whistle, the ribbon was cut, and the first official guest, 11 year old Jimmy Henderson, led a parade of guests into the park. Every ride in the park was ready for opening day with the exception of the Monorail, which opened in June. 12,000 people visited the second day of operation, and for seven consecutive weekends Carowinds set attendance records. During the year picnic pavilions, parking, and queue lines had to be expanded to meet demands. In its first season of operation, Carowinds drew 1.23 million visitors. The total cost to build Carowinds was $30 million dollars while admission to Carowinds was $5.75, and an extra 75 cents to ride the Monorail.
Whlie various improvements were made to the park were made to the park, attendance went down from 1973. The park drew less than one million visitors during the year. The biggest improvement was the Stagecoach, a large restaurant and lounge. The restaurant seated 144 people The Stagecoach is now the Country Kitchen. Admission to Carowinds was $6, and the Monorail was included. Carowinds is put up for sale in late 1974.