Goodbye Big Bad Wolf
Busch Gardens Williamsburg:
BGE has finally decided to close the Big Bad Wolf.
Busch Gardens Europe is finally closing the Big Bad Wolf. http://www.buschgardens.com/bgw2/CP/?page=BigBadWolf
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
From James Rao
Posted July 24, 2009 at 10:29 AM
Kings Dominion is adding a giga coaster in 2010, and Busch is tearing down a classic. Someone explain to me how that makes any sense at all from a business perspective?
I so want to blame the InBev takeover for this debacle, but sadly, I think this was the plan all along.
The Big Bad Wolf will be bitterly missed by this heartbroken fan.
Drag. Contrary to popular belief, BBW was not the first suspended coaster. That honor belongs to the ill-fated Bat at Kings Island. Goodbye to a classic ride. Are they closing it to clear for something else? I wasn't aware that they had space issues. Is it an issue with parts and maintenance? If it's the latter, it makes me wonder about the fate of similar rides in the future.
The question now becomes this. What is going to replace it? If they are following a 3 year plan it could be something good. I have a feeling that it may be nothing as long as InBev is involved. I could be wrong I guess...at least I hope I am.
As far as business perspective, Busch better keep an eye on their competition. Kings Dominion ais no longer in the hands of a company that half heartedly improves it's attractions and runs a lax operation in the management department. Say what you want about Cedar Fair and their lack of theming, but they've built some pretty good coasters around the country the past few years. With the arrival of Dominator last year, and the new coaster next year, it seems that they are ready to invest in KD and grab some more of that market share.
I will miss the wolf as well. I always loved that drop over the Rhine River.
That ride is always packed when I go to BGE. I don't know if it's InBev or the Busch family who's behind the decision. None the less, whoever pulled the trigger wasn't thinking.
From Dan M
Posted July 24, 2009 at 11:05 AM
Supposedly, the Big Bad Wolf is being removed to create a better pathway to a rumored new land that is planned to be built where the old Drachen Fire used to be. However anything at this point is mostly guesswork.
From James Rao
Posted July 24, 2009 at 11:55 AM
If that new land (Spain?) includes at least one brand spanking new coaster to replace BBW, then I guess that news would soften the blow. A little.
From steve lee
Posted July 24, 2009 at 2:45 PM
One thing I've read on other sites indicates that it's gotten increasingly difficult to get any sort of replacement parts for the Arrow suspended coasters (since they were taken over by S&S). This could end up being the final days for this type of ride.
Of course, that information is unsubstantiated, and maybe there's someone more knowledgeable who can chime in.
That was the first roller coaster I ever rode!
It's a very good possibility that the replacement parts are getting harder to come by. They simply don't make these coasters anymore, and I doubt S&S keeps parts in stock. I figure that it had somewhat of a factor in the decision.
I think that is something we need to keep in mind for all of the rides out there. Are they able to do the upkeep on them to keep them operating and safe for all of us to ride. It would be a shame to lose a great ride just to do a park makeover, but it is another thing if the parts are not available.
I am really bummed out to hear this news. BBW was my first roller coaster, and for one of my friends, his first and only. Hell, it's the only roller coaster I ever bought a t-shirt for after I rode it ("I Survived The Big Bad Wolf"). I remember being so thrilled, proud and happy that i finally got up the nerve to tackle a big boy ride. I couldn't wait to go running off to my uncle, who was the big family coaster freak, to tell him all about my experience and how amazing it was. I'm sad that I never made it back down there to ride it again. It's like a part of my childhood is getting torn apart for a lame pathway to a new land.
I would also like to say: SHAME ON YOU BUSCH ENTERTAINMENT!! You have side stepped, slithered, pled the fifth and buried your heads in the sand when asked about the fate of The Wolf. How terribly inexcusable and spineless for you to not announce this information at the beginning of the season, take your lumps from the fans, but at least have the decency to afford them the chance to go there and give The Wolf a few last farewell rides. 6 weeks is hardly fair warning, and some of us who live several states away have other things going on in our lives and can't jam a theme park visit into our schedule on a whim. I certainly would have made it a point to visit this summer, but there is no way I can now, and I feel cheated. This is a very poorly handled situation by Busch, and I'm very disappointed in a company who I always felt understood their audience and went out of there way to make them happy. I guess the InBev era continues to tarnish the Busch name. How Sad.
From Ryan B
Posted July 25, 2009 at 5:23 AM
It sucks but hopefully we still have some years left on other arrow suspended coasters. Vortex being the best one anyhow. And I find the front car is always the best and 'most swingingest' on these!
From Jeff M
Posted July 25, 2009 at 5:49 AM
I am also saddened to know the Wolf will Howl no more! Classic coaster weaving through the wooded area of sceanery and the German town. BBW, you will be missed!!!
Here's something to ponder...out with old, in with new??? BGW is known for adding another coaster to this park usually after another of the same type is installed at a sister park. (ie...Montu to Alpengiest, SheiKra to Griffon, and now possible Manta to ????)
I'm not confirming anything, just showing a way of thought that just might be happening??? A new land of Spain (which has been rumored) and a new B&M Flying coaster to go in???
Here is one last thing to think about....
"Bird-eating bat mystery was just solved by Spanish scientists. Many interesting animals live in Spain including wild boar, wolves, eagles and various reptiles. Due to loss of habitat, many species are endangered or declining, like the Iberian Lynx and brown bears. Bats are also prevalent – they are the symbol for the city of Valencia and if you lucky you might just see them flying around at night. In 2007 Spanish scientists proved why feathers are found in the droppings of one rare large European bat. They found the giant noctule bat actually eats birds! Migratory song birds travel at night and the bats snatch them out of the air while they fly."
Hmmm??? like I said...think of the wording used like endangered or declining??? Sounds like Busch conservation talk, or maybe not??? You can decide.....
From James Rao
Posted July 25, 2009 at 1:01 PM
Just an FYI, after sending my email of dismay to the BGW PR folks, I received this reply:
Dear Mr. Rao:
The Big Bad Wolf is a beloved coaster, and it will be missed. If you would like to click on this link, http://bit.ly/WolfFAQ, you will find additional information about the coaster's retirement.
Thanks again for visiting our website. We look forward to your visiting with us soon.
Should you require additional information, please contact our Customer Service & Information Center at 1-800-343-7946.
(name omitted to protect the innocent)
Guest Correspondence Team
The FAQ is the same one already posted in this thread. It was nice of BGW to reply, and I guess this email is better than a kick in the butt, but it doesn't lessen the feeling that Busch/InBev is about to destroy something beautiful.
I tend to wonder how unavailable or unattainable parts for rides are, as opposed to how important accountants deem a rides longevity really is. The coliseum stands after all these years, the leaning tower continues it's lean. The Cyclone (est. 1927, yes I realize it's considered a landmark) in Staten Island, far older than the Wolf and made of wood, somehow still stays operational amidst an enormous amount of speculation that the coney island district will be shut down and turned to privileged housing devs. It's clear to me that the Wolf has plenty of life left in it and if Busch wanted to operate it as a true park classic they could. Just fess up and tell us all that you are tired of the unique experience that the Wolf offers, and you feel that better use can be made of the space that it occupies right now.
I don't know, is it just me, or am I the only one who is turned off by Busch right now. Sans Manta, the forecast seems bleak. No buyer for the parks division, hospitality houses close down in the parks, the wolf gets cut down in an unfavorably fashion. I know things are always in the works for expansion and innovation, but there seems to be a seeping feeling of corporate coldness floating through the air this 09 season.
If Busch really wanted get parts for BBW, they could have them machined themselves. You mentioned the Coney Island Cyclone, and that is how it continues to run. The city owns the ride (which has national landmark status) and leases it to an operator. All the parts for the Cyclone trains have been custom machined by metalworkers. The same probably goes for the Giant Dippers in California, the Dragon Coaster @ Rye, and countless other classic rides.
That being said, it's not cheap to have someone completely reproduce certain parts without the original plans or the dyes that shape the parts. When Arrow had them sitting on the shelf it was easy, and for a while they probably even had a deal on the parts. Now they would have to pay to have some good money to have them reproduced. I would venture to say that many of the the moving parts of the BBW are more complicated that the Cyclone's, which makes it even more expensive.
Perhaps if ridership was still high, then BBW would be saved. The truth is that ridership is likely down and the ride doesn't draw much anymore. Couple that with the expense of maintenance and plans for new attractions, and you have a recipe for death...the same death that has befallen thousands of other rides.
The line for the Big bad Wolf is almost always longer then both Apollo's Chariot & the Loch Ness Monster. Ridership and popularity of it really high. The last few times I went on a saturday the only rides with long lines were Griffon, the Big Bad Wolf, and Curse of DarKastle. Apollo's Chariot was almost a walk on and Alpengeist had a short wait. I was there yesterday and did go to Guest Services and place my complaint about them closing the ride.
From Ryan B
Posted July 26, 2009 at 10:43 AM
Yeah, it seems to always have a long line. Maybe because it takes a while to board? Or maybe because of the low height requirement. I can't wait to ride the new ...sidewalk.
Is it because of ride capacity though? How many trains do they run and how many can they run at the same time? I wouldn't think it was because of load time, but if they only run 1 or even 2 trains, the line adds up.
It could just be a case of simple economics. Older ride + higher maintenance fees + expansion plans = gone. I just can't imagine them getting rid of it if it's really that popular and without good reason.
From Brandon S
Posted July 26, 2009 at 4:04 PM
This is extremely upsetting. Why would they take out the best Arrow Suspended Coaster. I just visited Busch Gardens for the first time a few days ago, and found Big Bad Wolf to be thrilling. That's coming from a person who thinks Arrow Suspended coasters are boring. It wasn't a walk on and had a long wait so I don't think it's because of capacity. This is a sad, sad day.
I am NOT a fan the Arrow suspended coaster. They are slow, boring and are never quite satisfing. However the BBW is the exception to this rule. The Themeing and speed are great and it is a good ice breaker for kids that are afraid of rollercoasters. However so is the Loch Ness. I always rode it in the back for the speed and for the great view of the river in the final drop. While I actually agree that this outdated style should be retired, I will miss it too. The other suspendeds across the country have nothing on BBW. I hope that BGW replaces it with something spectacular.
From Brandon S
Posted July 27, 2009 at 2:40 PM
^But Loch Ness Monster goes upside down. Not really the best introduction for kids. I guess it's a good upside down introduction for kids. Now, what coaster in Busch Gardens is an introduction? There really isn't one. The Big Bad Wolf is a great coaster, and I do not believe it is at the end of it's life.
Do we know that they haven't in fact lined up someone to purchase this ride? That might explain their need to tear it down during the operating season, instead of waiting until winter.
Although it's hard to imagine anybody else wanting to try to fit this into the landscape, much less transfer all the theming.
I haven't been to BG that much this summer, but I have been at several of the concerts which are right near the BBW, and it seemed to me it was breaking down quite a bit. That also makes the lines longer.
The ride was made specifically for the land at Busch Gardens and because of this it would be hard to put it anywhere else.
From James Rao
Posted July 27, 2009 at 6:02 PM
BBW has a 42" height requirement, LNM's is 48". A good starter coaster is in the 40 - 44" range like BBW.
Once BBW is gone, the only whole-family-friendly coaster will be the one in the Sesame Street area, and it is a sorry replacement for the Big Bad Wolf!
I highly doubt that it will be sold and rebuilt at another park. I am sure that the trains and mechanical parts of the ride will be sold.
An online petition has been started to save The Big Bad Wolf. Go there and show you support: Petition Spot
From Brandon S
Posted July 27, 2009 at 10:16 PM
I have signed the petition. This whole situation is horrible. Out of all of the Arrow Suspended Coaster's I have ridden(Big Bad Wolf, Iron Dragon, Vortex, and Flight Deck) Big Bad Wolf is the only thrilling one. Why tear down the best one?
The latest BG commercial did not show any shots of the BBW. Very troubling, it was my first "big-kid" coaster as was my brothers. We're going to trry and make it there before the Labor Day closing.
I would be floored it BG responded to a petition to save it. Call it a case of corporate cynisism.
My daughter rode BBW as her first roller coaster last year. I hate to tell her that she'll never ride it again.... :(
And I enjoy the plucky little thing. What's the point, exactly? Operating costs? Does it really affect BGW's bottom line to eliminate a perfectly functional coaster, especially since it props up an otherwise attraction-less German area of the park? I don't get it.
Well, I can break out my old "Fear the Four" shirts again, but this time pencil in Gryphon over the Wolf....
From Lee Hall
Posted July 29, 2009 at 3:02 PM
Big Bad Wolf will certainly be missed, but what is to become of its old home?
Here's an idea:
Apart from BBW, there isno real draw to that particular area of the park. So perhaps a nice new coaster from B&M (who else?) could fill this void. Perhaps it could be the beggining to a new country that may span over the Rhine river, or maybe even, a new Dark Ride. Not bad for my first post I hope.
Save the Wolf!!!
Join the Facebook group:
Sign the petition:
Whatever they replace BBW with, I hope that it's a family-friendly coaster. My guess is that if the new attraction doesn't have a Germany theme the flat rides near it will be history soon.
I hope that if a new country does come about, it's Spain, the next logical country in the European park.
I guess I'm the only one who won't miss the BBW. Busch was my home park growing up, and BBW was never that much of an attraction for me. People have talked how long the lines are... Its because the capacity for that ride is crap.
... i never got to ride it... ;(
You see what you are doing, InBev. You are depriving a great ride to future coaster lovers.
I will say this again.
The suspended coaster is perfect for Disney or Universal. Can you imagine an enclosed suspended coaster with full-on effects and theming. I can and would love one of them to make it. It is perfect for the whole family.
Do you think anyone would buy BBW, and refurb it? A good machine shop on site might be able to make parts, I once worked in that type of business.
Raul, the people that made those suspended coasters don't exist anymore. they were bought out a while ago, and the people that bought the company don't make any of their products anymore. Just in case you were wondering, it's Arrow Development bought by S&S Power, Inc.
I swear this just fricking sucks. BBW was awesome plus now they are down to 4 coasters WTF, well Im not renewing my season pass I miss Anheusar Busch already.
Eli, I am aware that Arrow went out of business a couple of years ago. However, Disney and Universal are different beasts compared to a local park.
Remember, Arrow helped design many of the popular Disney attractions that still run today from Mr. Toad, Pirates, The Haunted Mansion, The Matterhorn and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Those rides still exist because Disney has the resources to custom build replacement parts for them without the aid of the original designer.
I am not suggesting that Disney or Universal duplicate the Arrow model of a suspended coaster. What I am suggesting is a modern variant that they could create and build with the help of an existing company. That is completely feasible.
I am of the belief that the suspended coaster never reached its' full potential. That style creates a great sense of 'flight' that would work wonders inside of a show building. I can picture all of the near miss opportunities. It could even be made into a terrific dueling coaster.
From Dan M
Posted August 2, 2009 at 2:56 PM
Raul, they did try. Dragon Tower in Beastly Kingdom at Animal Kingdom was supposed to utilize Disney's version of the suspended model. I don't think I can find the article, but one of the Imagineers wrote about the original concept for the ride, where you were to be riding in Cauldrons suspended from a train that was supposed to be designed to look like a bat. Unfortunately, after plans got scaled down and those Imagineers were laid off, they took the idea and made it inverted as Dueling Dragons at IOA.
Thanks for the info, Dan.
I never knew the specifics surrounding the dragon ride at the proposed Beastly Kingdom. It sounds like it would have been great. It also sounds very different from Dueling Dragons.
I wouldn't mind seeing a version of it in a future Beastly Kingdom. The suspended coaster must not die.
I went to Busch Gardens yesterday. I rode the Wolf 2 times. I was so sad after my last ride.
Oddly enough, their were no signs at the ride announcing it's closing.
From John Fix
Posted August 18, 2009 at 2:40 PM
Wow, this is sad. Just rode BBW for the first time today, and it was a lot of fun. The bit over the water was a nice surprise. There definitely was a wait for the ride, longer than for most of the other coasters, so the ride is popular. Must be a combination of parts availability and re-theming of the park.
Regarding a good starter coaster, BBW definitely fit the bill. My younger daughter is not a roller coaster fan, but she did go on BBW and enjoyed it. Honestly, I enjoyed BBW more than Griffon. :)
My family made the drive to BGE this past Saturday. Everyone wanted one more ride on BBW. My children wanted to wait until dark and as always, BBW didn't disappoint. There were lights on in the village and even though the line was backed up all the way in the station, the line moved VERY quickly. There were three trains running. As soon as one pulled out of the station, another pulled in and the other was on the final lift to the Rhine River. The wait time was only about thirty minutes. It was a surprisingly smooth ride...smoother than many of our past rides.
I have been going to BGE since the Park opened and remember when BBW was ready for it's first riders. I understand the ride has aged and it may be difficult to maintain, but, BBW is a true classic. Folks complain about the BBW being rough, but even with my spinal fusion, I ride in or near the front and enjoy every moment!
It would be great if BGE management would reconsider and leave BBW open. I have signed the petition and also joined the FaceBook group, "Save the Wolf". BBW is unique in it's design and themeing and I can't imagine another coaster in that space nor can I see another park purchasing BBW and making it fit into some other terrain. I can't imagine The Wolf rebuilt over some parking lot. The scenery and final drop over the Rhine River are irreplaceable and will always belong at BGE.
Long Live The Big Bad Wolf!
Well, I doubt announcing it's closing was for the money right away, but they're racking it up! It seems like everyone on this site wants one last ride! If that's what everyone wants, the park should get pretty crowded, and the cash should be piling in ;)
I'm sad because my family planned a trip to Busch Gardens Europe the first week of September. But, now we just got free tickets to Ohio which is a good thing because I love Cedar Point, but sadly I will never get to ride the Big Bad Wolf! I looked really fun. Especially the large drop at the end.
Yeah, Mitch, also, that "race" of coasters is dying out, because Arrow went bankrupt a while back and S&S bought them out, but they don't make any of their creations anymore. I think that without BBW, they only have... 3 or 4 suspended arrow coasters. Iron dragon, Ninja, and a couple others, I think.
From Phil Beska
Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:58 AM
I was just trying to figure out if it was possible to make it down to Busch for one last ride last night, and my schedule just won't allow for it. It's so frustrating, dealing with the short notice, and then the premature closure on Sept. 7th. If they would have announced this from the start of the season, myself as well as several other friends would have already made it down there. However much money there making now, it would have been a hell of a lot more I'm sure, if people were in the know from the beginning. Busch won't get a cent from me this year.
This truly saddens me. We haven't been able to make the drive to the park in over 3 years now because of my condition. The short notice is shocking...almost like having the wind knocked out of me. I remember riding it first in 1987 with my new wife. I remember my son first riding it with me...his first real coaster. It's hard to put into words how this makes me feel. It shouldn't really be a big deal...but for me it is.
I will never forget the Wolf...as I have never forgotten Drachen Fire.
I would have loved to ride it one last time...with my son.
I think I figured why BBW closed Labor Day. One of the mazes for HOS is Werewolves taking place in a German village. If the maze didn't take place there we may have had BBW for at least a few more weeks.
i just got back from BG and the ride attendant for BBW told me that they are tearing it down cause its falling into disrepair, and that the coaster they put in its place will be bigger and fasterr than the intimidator, kings dominion's coaster for 2010. she also told me that they were looking at 3 kinds of coaster and that it will probably for 2011 which seems like too short of a time to plan and build a coaster that size.
From James Rao
Posted August 22, 2009 at 7:34 AM
Rumor has been a new land expansion (Spain) plus a
flying coaster (like Manta). I doubt seriously it will be a Giga, and really, with KD just an hour away, why duplicate it? The dive coaster will be unique enough to keep the 3.5 million annual visitors coming back for more.
And if you talked to a ride attendant, they are least likely to know. I am sure what is in the works is in the final drawing stages.
James, you mean "flying coaster"? ... I always feel like BGA is always one step ahead of us... with a woodie. Especially a dueling GCI! I think BGE could hire intamin for the REAL "El Toro"! (If all those spain rumors are true)
A wooden would be good, hopefully it would help bridge the gap from Grover to Nessie. A flying coaster would definetly not fill the spot left by BBW.
From James Rao
Posted August 22, 2009 at 7:35 AM
Thanks, Eli, that is exactly what I meant. Post fixed.
And the flying coaster, or whatever BGW chooses, would be just one attraction in a whole new land that would cover all the area around BBW including the area that used to hold Drachen Fire.
In my opinion, they can just get rid of a majority of those flat rides in the Rhinefield and make a new country that strectches from the Italy bridge to Das Festhaus and all the way if not past the train tracks.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down, Adam. A flying coaster actually could be pretty cool in the BBW area. It could be flying low to the ground, so it feels much faster and a lot cooler, and then it could come over the hill, DO A PRETZEL ROLL OVER THE WATER, and then fly a bunch more over the nice bridge and water, and maybe intertwine with Nessie... not a bad idea, I hope ;)
What I meant was that a flying coaster would not fill the intensity gap between Grover and Nessie. A flying coaster would be awesome and fit beautifully there.
oooooo... ok. I get it now. I had to think it over for a minute ;)
We rode the BBW on it's final day yesterday. It was my first coaster ride at BG way back in 1986 and my 4 yr. old daughter's very first coaster ride ever in 2007! She teared up while we were in line for our last ride. We howled and screamed as we took off, loving every second. When our train pulled in everyone on it clapped and cheered. Apparently, that happened all day. As we walked away, my daughter looked back and said, "Big Sad Wolf." I gotta admit, that made me cry a little.
Ya know 'not finding parts' to me is a cop out. They could've very easily gotten parts from other suspended coasters no longer in service like, oh let's seeeee XLR8 for one not to mention there was one in Asia I believe that was put out of service too, instead they seem to just end up in the scrap pile when the mechanics could be reused. Not finding parts is just an excuse if that is indeed what they're saying is a reason. Aquiring parts from other coasters can extend a coaster's use for a while ya know. That's SOOOOOO wrong! Never will be another one like Wolf, ever! Let's hope they don't get rid of 'nessie'. Now THAT would be a travisty! This seriously ticks me off, it really does. I believe whole-heartedly in progress but not like this.
I was there and rode it on the first ride of the last day
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