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Big Bad Wolf (roller coaster) facts for kids

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Big Bad Wolf
The 99-foot (30 m) drop over the Rhine River.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Park section Oktoberfest
Coordinates 37°14′00.5″N 76°38′41.5″W / 37.233472°N 76.644861°W / 37.233472; -76.644861
Status Closed
Opening date June 15, 1984 (1984-06-15)
Closing date September 7, 2009 (2009-09-07)
Cost $6,000,000
Replaced by Verbolten
General statistics
Type Steel – Suspended
Manufacturer Arrow Dynamics
Designer Ron Toomer
Model Suspended roller coaster
Track layout Terrain
Height 113 ft (34 m)
Drop 99 ft (30 m)
Length 2,800 ft (850 m)
Speed 48 mph (77 km/h)
Inversions 0
Duration 3:00
G-force 4.0
Height restriction 42 in (107 cm)
Big Bad Wolf at RCDB
Pictures of Big Bad Wolf at RCDB

Big Bad Wolf was a suspended roller coaster in the Oktoberfest section of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Designed by Arrow Dynamics, the roller coaster opened to the public on June 15, 1984. The ride was in service for more than 25 years before closing permanently on September 7, 2009. The footers, queue line, and station were re-purposed for Verbolten, a roller coaster that was introduced in 2012.


Prior to the construction of Big Bad Wolf, Anton Schwarzkopf had designed a prototype ("Flying Coaster") for the park. Even though three-quarters of the new ride had been built, the ride was never completed, and was later completely scrapped. Busch Gardens then handed the contract to Arrow Dynamics. After the failure of The Bat at Kings Island, the company improved their suspended roller coaster concept with banked turns and brakes above the trains.

On November 10, 1983, Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced that they would be building a new Arrow suspended coaster. It would be named Big Bad Wolf and would open in 1984, along with XLR-8 at Six Flags AstroWorld in Houston, Texas. Big Bad Wolf was supposed to open on March 18, but its opening got delayed. Despite this, it was completed and opened shortly thereafter in June. XLR-8 continued to operate until the closure of AstroWorld in 2005.

After Arrow Dynamics went bankrupt in 2002, spare parts for Big Bad Wolf became more expensive and harder to find. The forces of the ride often wore out the trains and track. The location, intensity and lack of spare parts made Big Bad Wolf harder to maintain. The park would have to replace millions of dollars worth in parts to keep it running, but repairing was far beyond their resources.

On July 24, 2009, it was announced that the Big Bad Wolf would be retired after 25 years of operation. It officially closed on September 7, 2009. The ride vehicle, signage and safety rules sign were being donated to the National Roller Coaster Museum. The land once occupied by Big Bad Wolf was cleared afterwards to make room for the construction of Verbolten, a new roller coaster that opened at the park in 2012.

While the Drachen Fire roller coaster was in operation from 1992 to 1998, guests waiting in its line queue could view the Big Bad Wolf's village-themed area of the ride, as the pathway was situated nearby and offered a viewing area. Access to the viewing area was closed following Drachen Fire's demise in 1998. The final drop and turns were still visible to guests on the Rhinefield Bridge area of the park, which continues to provide unobstructed views of Verbolten.

Ride experience


Big bad wolf last drop
Big Bad Wolf's last steep drop. At top, a trim brake was added halfway down this drop during its opening.

Following a safety announcement and recorded departure message, "Thank you and enjoy traveling at the speed of fright!", the ride would start out with two small dips out of the station, turning left then right before ascending the first lift hill. It would then travel down the first drop. The train would then steer its way through a mock Bavarian village, narrowly missing houses and shops. The ride completed three turns, first to the left, then the right, then the left, each of approximately 180 degrees. After the third turn, the ride hit a straight piece of track, then headed towards a helix through a wooded area adjacent to the village.

The train then enters a set of Block Brakes. Following the brakes, the train then turned right, and began to ascend a second lift hill. The second lift hill climbed towards the park's mock Rhine River. At the top of the 100-foot (30 m) lift, the ride turned 90 degrees to the left, before traveling down an 80-foot (24 m) drop, barreling straight towards the river at 48 miles per hour (77 kilometres per hour), swooping to the left in close proximity to the water.

Originally, mist machines were used to enhance the effect that the train was too close to the water. In the early 90s, however, the mist machines were removed. After passing by the mist machines, the train made a 180 degree turn up and to the right, followed by a straight section where the trains would swing freely, before a final 180 degree left hand turn into the final brake run, which then returned riders to the boarding station.


The ride used three trains, each comprising seven cars with four seats in each, for a total capacity of 28 riders per train.


Golden Ticket Awards: Top steel Roller Coasters
Year 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Ranking 9 15 23 26 31 42 39 27 30 32 (tie) 34 24

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