Big Bad Wolf (roller coaster)

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Big Bad Wolf
The 99-foot 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; -76.644861Coordinates: 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
Closing date September 9, 2009
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. First opened on June 15, 1984, the ride operated for 25 years, and was closed on September 7, 2009. The footers, queue line, and station were left standing and have been re-purposed for Verbolten, an attraction introduced in the 2012 season.[1] The complete #2 train, some sections of track, the ride control panel, and other artifacts from the ride such as lift chain segments and chain dogs were sent to the National Rollercoaster Museum.[2]

Ride experience[edit]

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 though 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.[3]

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 a 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.[4]


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.[5] Busch Gardens then handed the contract to Arrow Dynamics, who built the ride known as the Big Bad Wolf.

After the failure of The Bat at Kings Island, Arrow Development/Arrow Huss refined its own suspended roller coaster concept and opened XLR-8 at Six Flags Astroworld in 1984. Big Bad Wolf was supposed to open on March 18, but it 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.

On July 24, 2009, it was announced that the Big Bad Wolf would be retired after 25 years of operation. The land on which Big Bad Wolf stood was cleared at the end of the 2011 season to make room for the construction of Verbolten that was opened in 2012.[6]

While the Drachen Fire roller coaster was in operation, guests would get a spectacular view of the village portion of the ride, as the pathway which lead to the Drachen Fire area went directly past the Big Bad Wolf village, and offered a viewing area. This area was closed off when Drachen Fire closed in 1998. The final drop and turns were visible to guests on the Rhinefield Bridge portion of the park, and today continues to provide excellent views of the Verbolten roller coaster which follows a near-identical path to the final portion of the Big Bad Wolf.[7]

Technical information[edit]

The ride used three trains, each comprising seven cars with four seats in each, for a total capacity of 28 riders per train. During the circuit, the ride ascended two lift hills.


On May 2, 1993, a park employee was struck and killed by a moving train while working in a restricted area. According to his family, he was sent into a restricted area of the ride to clear a fallen branch that was obstructing the view of one of the ride's security cameras. Two guests on the ride who saw the man before impact claimed that he appeared to be unaware of the oncoming train.[8] The ride was closed for a week during the investigation.[9][10] The employee's family attempted to sue Busch Entertainment Inc., however a judge dismissed the case because of state law that prevented the recovery of civil damages for job-related injuries.[11]

On March 1, 2003, a contractor hired to perform off-season painting work was killed while painting the Big Bad Wolf. The man was painting on a high-reach vehicle which overturned. James City County fire officials said the man was dead by the time they reached him.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paitsel, Nicole (March 22, 2012). "Busch Gardens Opens for 2012 Season". The Daily Press. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Munch, Richard. "National Roller Coaster Museum". Park World. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Marden, Duane. "Big Bad Wolf". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Marden, Duane. "Big Bad Wolf". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Flying Coaster at Schwrzkopf Coaster Net
  6. ^
  7. ^ C, Joel. "Big Bad Wolf Review". Coaster Critic. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Murray, Matt (May 8, 1993). "Supervisor: Man Doing his Job When Struck by Busch Ride". Daily Press. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Murray, Matt (May 5, 1993). "Man Struck By Ride Dies". The Daily Press. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Murray, Matt (May 22, 1993). "Daughter: Man Hit By Ride Sent to Area". The Daily Press. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Smith, Brian (November 17, 1993). "Worker's Lawsuit Rejected". The Daily Press. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  12. ^ Judith, Haynes (March 2, 2003). "Roller Coaster Painter Killed in Fall". The Daily Press. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 

External links[edit]