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Let's be honest here... Big Bad Wolf wasn't THAT amazing...


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I never thought there was much to BBW. I will miss it, but if it has to go to make room for something else, so be it. What I don't like about this whole situation is the park's comments about the reason. It doesn't add up. If it was getting old and the supports were failing and would cost too much I could understand. But this whole Arrow told us 25 year service life and that's it is BS.

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For me it's just that it's one of those memories I had riding when I was a kid. It was my first ever suspended coaster when I was about 5 or 6, and I remember riding it over and over. While I did get to ride it recently before it closed, I still enjoyed the ride a lot. It's just one of those things, flying through the village and bringing back that awesome feeling as a little kid being amazed by it all.

 

Just for the record, it was in my top twenty. But I'm a realist and still understand why it would be removed, even if it isn't replaced with something that's "OMG, BEST RIDE EVER!" material. I know when I'm there it's just one of those rides I go on a few times and move on.

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Yet another (useless) opinion:

 

I do miss and will continue to miss the Wolfster, for a few reasons:

 

1. The historical semi-significance. After the Kings Island Bat debacle, BBW was the first successful suspended coaster. That's kind of cool.

 

2. The non-enthusiast rideability factor. BBW was a ride that I could take almost anybody on. Friends who really didn't like big roller coasters could ride this and enjoy it. Always great to share a passion with people that aren't quite so deep into it.

 

3. The freaking awesome teaser commercial the park made back in the day. I think I saw it at an early ACE CoasterCon, but it was produced before construction was well along, so there were no shots of the ride itself. Mostly just POV footage of flying through the trees a few yards off the ground. Then an "American Werewolf in London"-inspired scare. One of the best coaster 'mershes ever.

 

4. I just love suspended coasters in general. The sensation of swinging out around the turns is a great one for me, a fantastic emulation of soaring flight. SFMM's Ninja is far from the best ride at that park, but it is very high on my list of must-rides when I'm there. (KILLS me that I missed Eagle's Fortress!!11!!11! Hate! Anger! Pain! Arrrgh!! )

 

5. The uniqueness of the layout, with the opening dash through the village and the big final drop. Love or hate it, you must admit that it was one of a kind.

 

Just my two cents.

 

(I do have a good feeling that the ride replacing it will more than make up for BBW's removal. )

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I rode BBW in 07 and from all of the press it had over the years, I was very disappointed in it. It was my first suspended coaster. It started off pretty blah and then when I thought the best part was coming (the drop) we hit a trim and it slowed the drop. I just thought overall that it was very blah. I was none too impressed. I rode Top Gun/whatever it is called now at KI this summer and thought it was 10 times better than BBW. It was faster and a lot more fun and I thought it swung a hell of a lot more than BBW. So I wasn't too sad that they tore down BBW.

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What's always ironic to me is that I hear countless people say this was a great "starter coaster" for non-enthusiasts, or folks too scared or nervous to ride the larger coasters. However, one look at the signature drop doesn't seem like it would evoke the kind of calm, confident feeling in too many non-coaster folks.

 

As for my thoughts......

I'm happy to say I got one ride on it, but I'm more anxious to see what replaces it rather than stand in line for another ride.

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While I have never ridden BBW, I have ridden Top Gun/Flight Deck at Kings Island. While during the day it is just an average coaster, I rode it during Halloween activities at night and I loved it. I don't know if the layout is close to BBW or not, but if it was just as good or better the TG/FD, I wish I would have rode it.

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Here is my 2 cents on BBW.

I rode it back in 86 and thought it was a great ride, Since then Ive ridden Top Gun/ Flight Deck, Iron Dragon, and the one at SFMM.

comparing the 4 of them its my number 2 among arrow suspended coasters.

It's a shame to see it go. (especially since no replacement has been announced)

Saying it has become to hard to get parts for is hard to believe.Saying it ain't as popular is hard to believe. There are plenty of 20 plus year old arrow coasters out there with parts available. (it is a great intermediate coaster for many people)

It seems that management/owners gave up on it, just as they did on Drachenfire back in the day.(imagine if they would of kept both of these old arrows along with Lochness. how cool the park would be with three arrows and three B&Ms) The footprint of the ride is very unique and don't seem very usable for anything other than a coaster.

Personally I think the Dive machine is very booring and way too smooth and tame, not even in my top 50.

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What's always ironic to me is that I hear countless people say this was a great "starter coaster" for non-enthusiasts, or folks too scared or nervous to ride the larger coasters. However, one look at the signature drop doesn't seem like it would evoke the kind of calm, confident feeling in too many non-coaster folks.

 

I don't know that I'd have called it a "starter coaster," but in my experience, I could get my non-dork friends to try it and they'd be scared, but they'd like it, and would want to re-ride. Not so on Nessie, or any other major coaster at that park.

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"Considering how fast Ninja goes, I wouldn't be surprised if the track is cracking and the ride is having a lion's share of maintenance issues at SFMM. It'll either be the next to go, or face a Vampire-level facelift, which would really be cool for that ride, providing the trains give a smooth ride." (PayneTrain)

 

I've been concerned about Ninja in that sense as well, but at the last WCB, Jay said they were planning to keep it. Of course, Jay is no longer at SFMM, so anything goes now. If I'm not mistaken, Ninja only has two of its original four trains running now; the other two having been used for parts or just plain worn out. I always thought the Vampire trains would greatly improve Ninja, and hope that the park considers it. But we also have to remember that Ninja is close to 23 years old.

 

Unfortunately, I never had the chance to ride Big Bad Wolf, but that particular ride isn't where my concern is---it's the fact that there are already not many suspended coasters left. For me, this is a type of ride that truly gives a unique experience.

 

No doubt there will be something new and exciting in Wolf's old spot.

 

Eric

 

I thought Jay said that they had made upgrades to Ninja to ensure that it wouldn't suffer the same fate as BBW. Of course, my memory could be a little fuzzy since WCB was back in March, but I thought he said something along those lines. As you said, anything goes now since Jay's gone, but I thought all of Ninja's downtime last year was done to make improvements. If that's true, then I wouldn't necessarily expect Ninja to be the next suspended coaster to go, but I do agree that newer coasters are definitely more thrilling, so I won't be surprised

when its retirement is announced.

 

But of course, I'm no expert, I'm just going based on what I thought I heard at WCB...feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Sorry for going off-topic, but here's what I will say about BBW...I never got the chance to ride it (I've never been to BGW), but I definitely would have liked the opportunity to do so before it closed. Just because it is gone will not prevent me from going there eventually, as there are plenty of other coasters there. But I get what locals and some other people are saying about nostalgia- it sucks to lose a favorite ride.

 

Even though Rocket Rods at Disneyland wasn't the most thrilling ride out there, and even though it wasn't themed very well (not to mention the long lines and frequent breakdowns), it was still a favorite of mine as a kid and I miss it...so basically Rocket Rods was my BBW.

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Here's my 2 cents...I'm not too crushed that BBW is gone, but at the same time, my Mother loved it. She also loves Iron Dragon at CP, because it's exactly at her level of coaster riding. It's a shame coasters like these are going away, because my whole family were able to ride them.

 

Yes, I know it was aging and not as prominent as it used to be, but it just seems that coasters today are all about giant hills and insanely fast speeds to thrill the teenagers, and coasters that families can ride seem to be falling by the wayside. You make me think, Rob, with what you write in 'Kidtums Corner" in the Magazine, about how so many parks seem to segregate families with their attractions, and you're absolutely right. What BGW has done is a good example of this. If we go back there, there will be no coasters that myself, my sister, or my Mother can ride all at once, except for Apollo's Chariot. Until BGW actually builds a woodie (Not likely) that leaves us with few options.

 

You have to remember, not everyone who goes to a park is a coaster enthusiast. I think there should be stuff for EVERYBODY, and that's why it's a shame that BBW had to go. It may not have been amazing, but it still managed to entertain.

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"Considering how fast Ninja goes, I wouldn't be surprised if the track is cracking and the ride is having a lion's share of maintenance issues at SFMM. It'll either be the next to go, or face a Vampire-level facelift, which would really be cool for that ride, providing the trains give a smooth ride." (PayneTrain)

 

I've been concerned about Ninja in that sense as well, but at the last WCB, Jay said they were planning to keep it. Of course, Jay is no longer at SFMM, so anything goes now. If I'm not mistaken, Ninja only has two of its original four trains running now; the other two having been used for parts or just plain worn out. I always thought the Vampire trains would greatly improve Ninja, and hope that the park considers it. But we also have to remember that Ninja is close to 23 years old.

I thought Jay said that they had made upgrades to Ninja to ensure that it wouldn't suffer the same fate as BBW. Of course, my memory could be a little fuzzy since WCB was back in March, but I thought he said something along those lines. As you said, anything goes now since Jay's gone, but I thought all of Ninja's downtime last year was done to make improvements. If that's true, then I wouldn't necessarily expect Ninja to be the next suspended coaster to go, but I do agree that newer coasters are definitely more thrilling, so I won't be surprised

when its retirement is announced.

A little bit off topic: From what I can tell they have been tinkering with the trains a lot. Two trains sit in the far back areas of the transfer track, probably never to be used again, dusty and torn apart. They are probably salvaging parts for the two operating trains. Recently, they refurbished the OTSR's on one, and when I went last there, they were about half way done with the other one, which was sitting right next to the ride track. I think they will be able to maintain what they have for a while, but yes, the ride has to be retired. I would assume within the next 5 to 10 years. They could get a company in there to build custom parts for them, but for the amount of money they'd have to put into that, it probably wouldn't be realistic to invest all that into a ride over 20+ years old. It would be interesting to see what they'd replace it with since it's in such a specific place wound into the hill and log ride.

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^SFMM put a lot of work into Ninja last year. At WCB, Jay said the ride's control system was replaced. He further went on to bring the maintenance manager (sorry, his name eludes me) into the discussion, who tactfully indicated they had a handle on the issues that forced BBW's retirement. I took this to mean track issues (metal fatigue). The take home - the ride is ready for many more years of operation.

 

Purely by coincidence, I visited BGW about two weeks before BBW met its end. We were there for Apollo, Griffon and Darkastle - the Wolf was a throw-in. My family enjoyed our ride, but it was rough and rattly enough I was the only one who wanted a reride. I figure it was far better than Ninja in it's heyday, but that had long been lost to the past.

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You have to remember, not everyone who goes to a park is a coaster enthusiast. I think there should be stuff for EVERYBODY, and that's why it's a shame that BBW had to go. It may not have been amazing, but it still managed to entertain.

Ding ding ding!

 

Most of the new roller coasters built today are either extremely intense and thrilling OR extremely dull and boring. IMO, the closest thing Busch Gardens Williamsburg has to a a "family" roller coaster now is Loch Ness Monster. Grover's Alpine Express is just plain boring. (A credit is a credit though...)

 

Like I said before, Big Bad Wolf's removal makes me more excited for what's to come.

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^SFMM put a lot of work into Ninja last year. At WCB, Jay said the ride's control system was replaced. He further went on to bring the maintenance manager (sorry, his name eludes me) into the discussion, who tactfully indicated they had a handle on the issues that forced BBW's retirement. I took this to mean track issues (metal fatigue). The take home - the ride is ready for many more years of operation.

Thanks for that information. I didn't attend the WCB last year (although I hope to go this year ). I really enjoy my rides on Ninja, and feel that its very under appreciated, especially next to newer, bigger, and more intense rides that now fill the park. It really is a good ride, although on that last lift hill I could take a nap, get out and go to the bathroom, stop for a snack on the way back, then get back in the train. I'm glad that they put the time and effort into Ninja and have the maintenance handled because with the Green Lantern, S:EFK, and all the other projects going on in the park, I don't think they could wing a Ninja replacement at this time without leaving it SBNO. It's also good to have those intermediate "stepping stone" rides scattered through the park.

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I guess it's just a sign of the times. The Arrow Suspended coaster may have had its time to shine in the 80's ,but ever since the Beemer invert came along, it's been slowly going the way of the Dinosaur.

 

I was even gonna mention Eagle's Fortress at Everland as an exception, before I found out that it's been SBNO since 2009...not a good sign at all...

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^Maybe he meant the first really exciting and less 'meh' installation. X-LR8 was pretty much 'meh' both directions, so I've heard.

 

No, he meant what he said: first successful. As in it didn't tear itself apart.

 

Having said that, XLR-8 was beyond meh. It took lameness to new heights. It wasn't quite as bad as Iron Dragon, but it was nowhere near as much fun as BBW.

Turning the back half of the train around in later years was interesting, but nauseating. I always felt ill after a backward ride.

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^Ah...I used successful as a synonym for popular/enjoyable. But I guess that might be plausible.

 

Since he mentioned the "Bat debacle", I'm sure he meant successful as in "didn't have to be torn down shortly after it was built because of poor engineering"

 

By most accounts, The Bat was a bitchin' ride, but it was almost always closed and the trains couldn't handle the stress of the violent swinging. The curves in the track weren't banked and the cars often swung out to the full limit.

 

[edited to add this video]

Bat footage begins around 1:50 or so.
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OK, I've stayed silent on this subject long enough...

 

Yeah, I do think it was amazing, and so did everyone else!

IN IT'S FINAL YEAR!!!

'i

Where were all those people from like 1996 to 2008? I think I probably visited the park about 25 times between those years and I don't think I ever waited more than about 15 minutes for Big Bad Wolf. And usually, it was a walk-on.

 

If they thought it was so great, why did they wait to come visit until it was about to go away?

 

--Robb

 

Hmm, BBW was almost always the longest line in the park when I went, yet had excellent capacity. In fact, in 2005-2006 (time period my friend was the ride's supervisor) it was the most popular coaster in the park (just by a hair)..... That kind blows that "It wasn't popular" rumor out the window . It WAS an EXTREMELY popular ride. It is a massive loss. It was the only place you could experience the huge swinging of the suspended coaster, next to Eagle Fortress and Bat which both closed because of the same swinging action! No other suspended swings out like that. An unbelieveable out of control feeling where you swung pretty far above horizontal, even if it was for only a second on the Wolf. I've now ridden every suspended in North America and people may argue Vortex or Ninja or whatnow, uh no... Ninja was not at its top speed doing a wicked S-curve. Vortex and Flight Deck don't have the unbelivable change in direction BBW had (or Bat...or EF). BBW was the only place in the world you could experience the change in direction of EF, even if it was only once. I just don't (respectfully) get why some people feel it needs to be argued if it was a loss or not? Some don't like the suspended coaster. Some don't like B&M hyper coasters. I love the suspended coaster, and Wolf was the best I had ridden. I don't like B&M hypers. I would have gladly traded Apollo's Chariot for keeping the Wolf any day. Everyone has their own opinion. Styles of coasters can be love or hate. Until EF was ridden enough to be included in Mitch's poll, BBW reigned as the best suspended in the world. BBW was indeed in my personal top 10 out of over 300, and only Alpengeist beat BBW in Williamsburg in by book. I don't think that it being ranked around #100 is a big deal. The style of ride was out dated. Great Bear at HP will drop in rankings like crazy in the future as it was twice as young as BBW was. As other rides come out that overshadow what another does, the ranking drops. BBW may have ranked much higher than #100 in the past, but we will never know. Mitch wasn't doing a poll in 1990 to see if it was still ranking as "low" as it did in the years leading to it's demise.

 

Similar example: Lets take the Big Lebowski. Anchorman. Evil Dead. All kinds of cult movies. Some love them. Some hate them. BBW had it's own "cult." So does the Beast. Both incredible terrain rides. Both are/were epic at night. Both give/gave feelings that many argue are unmatched by other rides. Nostalgia has nothing to do with this post. Want rides who's ranking is affected by Nostalgia? I have 2 examples for you. Beast and Cyclone. Neither does anything great. Beast is long. Cyclone beats the S*it out of you. They rank too high for what they do, yet they are not THAT high on the rankings. Are they popular...hell yes.

 

It was just a damn good ride in my opinion and feel many under appreciate it. I can't change minds of those that feel that way, but I hate to see some that are seemingly trying to change the opinion of people to not think the ride was that great. It is all personal opinion.

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Turning the back half of the train around in later years was interesting, but nauseating. I always felt ill after a backward ride.

Funny you mention that because I felt the same way. I almost never get "sick" on a ride, and not that backwards XLR-8 made me sick either, but if there was ever something that made me feel even just slightly nauseous, it was that!

 

--Robb

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