What do the roller coasters Gwazi, Dragon Challenge, and Ozark Wildcat have in common? They are now mere memories and were removed, perhaps much sooner than expected. In Gwazi’s case (I under stand it is actually still standing but being slowly picked apart), it had long failed to live up to the expectations Busch Gardens Tampa Bay had for it, and had been only running one side of the ride for many years. But the end of Dragon Challenge (formerly Dueling Dragons) came as quite a surprise to many enthusiasts. It would have been very hard to predict that the large Bolliger & Mabillard pair of inverted roller coasters was next on the long list of now defunct rides. Ozark Wildcat’s home, Celebration City, did not last even 10 years.
What Causes a Roller Coaster to Become Defunct?
Sometimes rides are torn down because their structures are no longer viable, having exceeded their designers expected product lifetime (Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens Williamsburg) and others were simply failures, having terminal design flaws (Windjammer Surf Racers at Knotts Berry Farm). Other defunct coasters like Hypersonic XLC at Kings Dominion and Viper at Six Flags Great Adventure may be considered to have been prototypes, never able to overcome their growing pains and it no longer made business sense to warrant any further investment. It is also common for a ride to be removed to drive greater crowds with a new, shiny, and more thrilling or comfortable replacement.
What’s Next To Go?
There are many trends to point to when trying to predict what’s next on the chopping block. The phenomenon of the Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) conversion continues a clear pattern of parks updating mediocre older wooden roller coasters to acrobatic and thrilling hybrids. We are seeing the once trendy stand up roller coaster being shown the door. Arrow Mega loopers like Shockwave at Six Flags Great America and the Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags Great Adventure have only one example left in Viper at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Here are some of the roller coasters we think may be on their way out, when the screams of joy (or pain) from their riders will cease to pierce the air of the parks they call home: