Big Bad Wolf - The U.S.'s Best Suspended Roller CoasterBusch Gardens Williamsburg submitted a press release today stating what many coaster enthusiasts had feared. Big Bad Wolf will be no more after this season. In fact, they gave Monday, September 7th (Labor Day) as the last day of operation for the classic coaster. ‘Wolf is arguably, the most popular suspended roller coaster in the World and it will be missed. I imagine that quite a few enthusiasts will be making trips down to Virginia before Labor Day. Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

After 25 years traveling at the speed of fright, The Big Bad Wolf will take its last trip through Busch Gardens’ Bavarian village Sept. 7.

“We hate to see The Big Bad Wolf go,” said John Reilly, Busch Gardens’ general manager. “We realize The Big Bad Wolf is a guest favorite. We’re making the announcement now so coaster fans can ride one last time before it closes after Labor Day.”

The world’s first suspended roller coaster took coaster design to a new level when it opened in 1984. And while it cannot claim to be the fastest or the tallest, more than 29 million guests have ridden what has become one of the park’s most beloved thrill attractions. Legions of fans—young and old alike—often cite it as their introduction to the coaster experience.

“The Big Bad Wolf offers a thrilling ride experience coupled with aggressive ride dynamics. While it remains a safe attraction, it has simply reached the end of its service life,” said Larry Giles, Busch Gardens’ vice president of engineering and design.

Park officials are reviewing several design concepts for a new park attraction to replace The Big Bad Wolf, but no announcement is planned at this time. – Busch Gardens Williamsburg

As I said in my other post about the rumors around ‘Wolf’s removal, it will be quite a loss, but I can see where it might be a good business decision. I’m not an expert on Busch Gardens, but if the low ridership and high maintenance costs are in the equation it probably makes since to do something new with that area.

What Will Fill Big Bad Wolf’s Shoes?
With the mention of ‘a new park attraction’ and the ride’s somewhat early removal (before the season’s over) a new ride may be on its way before we know it. But what would be a good ride or roller coaster for the park to add in Big Bad Wolf’s place? Let’s take a look at some possibilities.

Finally, A Woodie in Williamsburg?
There’s been a long-running belief that Busch Gardens Williamsburg would never build a wooden coaster because of a noise ordinance created by the local Kings Mill community. I’ve never confirmed this, but there could be something to it. The sound of a wooden coaster’s rattling structure could carry for miles. If the noise ordinance issue isn’t true, then my pick would be for a terrain wooden coaster as it could fill the gap between the new Grover’s Alpine Express kiddieA Terrain Coaster Like Waldameer's Ravine Flyer 2 Could be a Good Replacement coaster and the larger coasters the same way Big Bad Wolf did.

How about a more fun than intense terrain woodie with a unique layout like Raven at Holiday World? Gravity Group made an excellent terrain coaster in Ravine Flyer 2. If Busch has stayed away from woodies because of their maintenance and upkeep, then a hybrid steel structure like Ravine Flyer’s could be the answer. Waldameer’s President told me in an interview that they chose the more expensive steel structure because it would require less maintenance in the long run.

A Launch Coaster or a Flying Coaster
Looking at the Busch Gardens’ lineup, the park could also go with a launch coaster or a flying coaster to name a few other options. I just hope it’s as unique as Big Bad Wolf was. The good thing is that when it comes to Busch there’s a good chance we’ll get just that. A unique, well-themed ride that uses the park’s rolling green terrain in some way. So whatever will be put in Wolf’s place won’t likely disappoint. It will be interesting to see if the park also removes the Bavarian village that Big Bad Wolf flew through. I’d love to see them reuse that area, but they may need to remove everything for the rumored new country (section).

More on Big Bad Wolf
Read my full Big Bad Wolf review and check the on-ride video in the sidebar. Also, read about the brief history of suspended roller coasters in my Coasterology – Suspended Roller Coasters post.

UPDATE – Check out my comments from an interview I had with the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily on Bad Wolf’s retirement in “Coaster Enthusiasts Say Signs Were There on Big Bad Wolf’s End”.  The article also includes quotes from Lance Hart the man behind ScreamScape.

UPDATE 9/8 – Yes. Sadly, Big Bad Wolf is officially now closed. After my visit to Busch this past weekend, I learned more about why the Big Bad Wolf has closed. Read more about why the park decided to close it and see a video of the final train in this post: A Legend Reaches Its Expiration Date

What’s Your Take?
How do you feel about Big Bad Wolf’s closing? What do you think Busch should put in its place? Leave a comment below. Images courtesy of CoasterImage.

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

42 Responses

  1. Carl

    I was BGW today and the employee told me they are tearing it down to put in a new coaster caled The Son Of Big Bad Wolf to be opened in 2011. I am probably going to go back next Mon or Tues. If I get anymore info I will post here

  2. MarvelMaker

    The wolf sounds, which have been off, were on two days ago when I went for a last ride on BBW. I guess as a way to pay the ride some respect.

  3. Eric Welborne

    Busch Gardens urgently needs a terrain woodie. They need to uphold that "through the woods" experience…horizontally. The Iron Dragon is terrible in comparison. Busch Gardens needs to keep that genius use of landscape going in this way. I'm almost crying today…

  4. Eric Welborne

    I'm very saddened to hear about the loss of BBW. It's the best of its kind. BGW needs to keep the "through the woods" experience with a terrain woodie.

  5. JaMeS

    and ps…

    there will be bits and pieces of the BBW at the new roller coaster museum

  6. Tom

    I think they should add a terrain flyer. Like one where you fly close to the ground around hills and stuff.

  7. Chloe

    Wow. When I heard the news and I called my dad. I cried and he sounded pretty upset because it was the first coaster we ever rode together and I don't think ANYTHING can replace it. I wish you could just re-build it. A lot of people would be happy. My first and last time I rode it was this July. It sucks to see it go and it was my favorite ride in the park as well as a lot of other people and my family. Well it was fun while it lasted. R.I.P. Big Bad Wolf!!!

  8. Judy P in Pgh

    Big Bad Wolf was my son's first steel coaster. He was only 4 when he went on it. He agreed to ride only if I got him a Big Bad Wolf t-shirt. He earned the shirt and ended up riding 4-5 more times. His very first coaster was The Jack Rabbit at Kennywood when he was only 2 years old. He eventually worked at Kennywood for 3 years during college, although the poor thing was assigned to refreshment crew (Potato Patch and funnel cakes), not ride crew like his mom(4 years of Kiddieland!).

  9. Airwol222

    They Need to rebuild it nothing will replace that ride from the heart, and minds of faithful bush gardens familys. The village is still there, and it would make since, and if would save on cost.

    • Mike

      I was at the park this past weekend and it was sad seeing how empty it looked where the Big Bad Wolf used to be. I like a lot of the ideas I hear from people who say they should put a flying coaster in like Manta. If Busch was smart they could call it son of wolf or some theme related to the old coaster. It would be great if they did build a new coaster but that might not happen you know.

  10. mark

    Like most other enthusiasts, I was saddened to hear of BBW's demise. I am hopeful and optimistic that Busch will replace it with an even better coaster. BBW was a fun coaster and an integral part of the "big 5". Let's hope management does the right thing and keep Busch Garden's reputation top notch!

  11. Jack

    I am very sad to see it go! It was also my first suspended roller coaster. That was my father and I favorite coaster! I think that BGW should build a newer version of BBW, make it taller and faster!

    Nothing will beat that beautiful view over top the river and then plunging straight towards the water! R.I.P. Big Bad Wolf you will truly be missed!!!!!

    • Frog

      Good idea! They should make another Big Bad Wolf, with the same concept of the extinct one just somewhat larger and better themeing! B&M anyone?

  12. Scott

    This was the first roller coaster that I have ever ridden….really sad to hear that it is no longer running.

  13. shaun

    A legend has died. I loved this coaster. I will miss it. Bring it back Busch, bring it back.

  14. Jess

    Would you like to know what memories the Big Bad Wolf has for me? The death of a beloved grandfather. Back in the early 90s, my grandfather, George Brown, “Poppa” was working for Busch Gardens. He was radioed to remove a branch that was blocking a camera view on the Big Bad Wolf. He was told that the ride was not running due to the branch. He was told to enter a restricted area to remove the branch. Before he entered the restricted area, he once again requested verification on whether the ride was running or not. He was again told that the ride was not running due to the branch blocking a camera view. My 63 yr old grandpa entered the restricted area of the Big Bad Wolf, per order of his supervisor, & was almost immediately struck in the head & killed by the Big Bad Wolf cars, as they came screaming down the track. Obviously the communication given to my grandfather concerning the status of the ride was incorrect. Sadly, few people know of this incident, as it seemed to be hushed up from the beginning. Anyway, that’s my feelings about the Big Bad Wolf. I wish I had something wonderful to say like everyone else. But sadly, I don’t.


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