Winterfest doesn't return due to low attendance, but the Skytower Christmas Tree becomes a Carowinds tradition until 2003. The skytower tree returned in 2005 with Winterfest, and is still done today. The island located in the very center of the park opens as Smurf Island. (NOTE: Photos of Skytower tree is from 2005.)
Carowinds replaces the Flying Dutchman ride with Blackbeard's Revenge. Blackbeard's Revenge used a huge pivoted room that rotated to create an illusionary swinging effect on guests who were securely seated on a stationary platform. At one point the room rolled over completely, giving riders the sensation of being upside down.
Frenzoid opens in the County Fair after the area undergoes a remodeling. A 17,000 square foot lake is added in front of the Frenzoid and 145 shade trees are added to the County Fair section.
Carowinds decided to go little and add three new rides to Hanna-Barbera Land. Bamm Bamm's Boat Float(Kiddy Rapids, Removed 2004), Elroy's Skychase(Kiddy Swings), and Boo Boo's Balloon Race. Also Carowinds opened a baby center. This is the park's 15 season!
Once again Carowinds gets guest wet by adding White Water Falls, a classic shoot the chutes and the park's best water ride. Sadly White Lightnin' closed and was dismantled on October 10, 1988. The Black Widow was removed from service, and was replaced with the now defunct Cimema 180.
RipTide Reef opens on the former location of and behind White Lightnin'. Riptide Reef includes two major slides, the wavepool, and a few kiddy slides.
Gauntlet(Now GR8 SK8) swings into Carowinds with tons of fun, it is a Chance Falling Star type ride.
The Paladium is renovated increasing the seating cap. to 13,000 people, it is now a separate part of the park and is no longer free to anyone. The Speedway Cars close forever at the end of the season.
With only standing room left, Vortex whirls you into two inversions and several twists and wild turns while standing up. Paramount purchases the park halfway through the summer.