Whos been before? Whats the fan experience like....is the pirate ship as ghey as it looks on TV?
I'll be there. TONS, TONS of parking availability, and with a 4p start, there's bound to be a crapload of tailgating drunkfests going on starting early. You shouldn't have any trouble finding parking around the stadium at all (typically $20). If only every stadium encouraged tailgating as much as I see in Tampa. I've never seen their tailgating lots filled up.
The fans are generally good-natured, and there are a ton of Panthers fans scattered around enough so you won't feel alone. I was at the 2003 opener where we won in OT http://scores.espn.g...ameId=230914027, and even with that tough loss for 'em, the Bucs fans were high-fiving me on an incredible win.
Sunscreen will be kinda important, no joke.
Food options are a bit limited in the upper decks. Last year IIRC were $7 beers, but that's about standard.
Going up and down the ramps from the upper decks is a bit of a pain; add some extra time for that experience. Security check is usually pretty easy and fast.
I like the pirate ship; then again, I like any stadium feature that makes a stadium completely unique and identifiable vs others. I also liked the original Carolina Panther Fight Song, so perhaps my opinion on the ship should be downgraded.