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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire

Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire

Capler

Posted:
2/11/02 at
3:42:12 PM

We really should have a memorial service for the poor fallen coaster. It will be a shame to just do nothing to honor its memory.

I call upon The Reverend of URC to say some kind words in order to comfort the grieving board. After which I ask all member who would like to come foward and speak to do so. But first I will do the solo...........

Oh where, oh where could my Drachen Fire be
Coaster God took her away from me
Shes gone to heaven, so I've got to be good
If I want to see Drachen Fire when I leave this world...........

"oh nooooo, pleeeeease bring Drachen Fire back. She was sooooo young. Struck down in her prime. Oh, Coaster god, what are we going to do now? Where will the endangered speckled headed bald eagle roost now? Where will BGW store it's Halloween decorations? Oh god, what will happpen to the rumor mill that seems to always include something about Drachen Fire. Coaster God, no, no, no, no, ooooooh have mercy on us all. I don't think I can go on"

Paint with no primer eventually changes from metal to rust.

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by Cool Coasta at 2/11/02 3:49:20 PM

Let me be the first to say that this idea is really lame =p

Helloooooo,---remember there are people grieving here on the board. (nm) by Capler at 2/11/02 3:57:36 PM

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by Zimm at 2/12/02 8:48:39 AM

*** That is a funny post. But I do have a question about that nest on the top of the lift hill. I don't think BGW (since it does so much for animals) would move the nest with the birds still there, so did the residents of the nest move away? I think it may actually be illegal to move a nest that birds are actually living in. Anyone know about this?

Zimm

Theme Park Brochures and Maps

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire Photo Icon by drachen drachen Profile at 3/19/11 2:58:56 PM

Dug this one up. Paul's dissertation on Drachen Fire in the MCBR thread got me reminiscing. I thought I'd share some of my Drachen Fire memories too, but in a dedicated Drachen Fire thread. Instead of starting a new one, I decided to search the archives.

Warning: by the time I'm done, this may be a novel. I'll also copy and paste Paul's account. I'd love to read more thoughts and opinions if they are out there.

Drachen Fire threads were rampant in 2002, due to the fact that the ride was dismantled that year. Many were happy to see it go. Others, like me, were incredibly saddened. There is so much new blood on this site since 2002, perhaps some would like to read some first-hand Drachen Fire accounts.

I used to post on this site under a different username, which happened to be my first name. I stopped posting for about two years, and when I started back up, someone else was using the same username. Instead of continuing to use my name, I opted for a bit more anonymity, and to pay tribute to one of my favorite coasters, and became drachen in 2002.

I don't have Paul's behind the scenes experience. I don't have his extensive riding experience either, having only ridden Drachen Fire about 10 times or so, including 3-4 times in 1994, pre corkscrew removal.

I think people are fascinated by Drachen Fire because of several things. First of all, it was so short-lived. Most coaster fans didn't get to ride it, so there is a mystique about it.

Also, it has a reputation of being a wicked ride. There were a lot of firsts on Drachen Fire, including many really neat features that have yet to be repeated on a coaster since.

Most of all there is controversy throughout its history. It's design story, corkscrew removal story, and its demise are all shrouded in some mystery. I don't think anyone outside of Busch Entertainment truly knows the full circumstances of each.

For me, my love and fascination for the ride boils down to two things.

Drachen Fire's Visual Impact

As a 14-year old kid heading to Busch Gardens for the first time in 1994, I didn't know what was even there as far as rides go. I think I had seen a picture of Nessie's loops, but that was it.

Driving around, trying to find our way in, we ended up on a road on the east side of the park. I remember seeing the tops of Drachen Fire's lift, first inversion, and cobra roll above the trees. I stared in awe out the window, as I had never seen a roller coaster that big. It was intimidating. I was pretty excited, and a little nervous.

I loved Drachen Fire's look too. I often call it the sexiest coaster I've ever seen. It was so curvy and twisted. The electric blue color really popped, and those bright red, glossy, rounded-front trains were gorgeous.

Additionally, the trains had lighted panels on the sides. It was the coolest thing to watch the ride at night. Why hasn't that been done again?

Drachen Fire - The Ride

I loved it, and I never found it to be that rough. Maybe it was due to the fact that I was younger and tougher. But I've always been able to figure out a coaster and ride defensively when I had to.

Drachen Fire had a nice little drop out of the station, which provided a fun yank in the back of the train. Coming of the lift was the well-documented first inversion. Again, why hasn't this been done again?

It was awesome, and I loved looking up (down) at the ground from about 130 feet in the air. You can't do that anywhere now. There are loops that are higher than that, but on a corkscrew, the upside down portion has no track or supports underneath it, between you and the ground. Additionally, you didn't pull out of the inversion, you just kept dropping.

The first drop was followed by a fabulous airtime hill, into the cobra roll - the only one Arrow ever attempted. Maybe for good reason, because I always felt that was the roughest portion of the ride.

You pulled out of that element and made a very sharp, steep inclined turn to the left, up into the block brake. Next came the wonderful drop off the block into the first corkscrew, which was removed after the 1994 season. If you weren't careful here, you took a nice shot to the ear as the train pulled out and turned immediately to the left to enter the cutback element.

The cutback was a lot of fun. It was the element that greeted you as you walked back toward the coaster. Yet again, we have yet to see this element return on a coaster. Well, RCDB says Sky Rocket at Kennywood has one. Haven't ridden it. Is it the same? One thing that made Drachen Fire's so cool was that the supports were so stinkin' close to the track.

You left the cutback and entered the last corkscrew which lead to a wicked helix, followed by a 180 degree turn into the brakes. Whew!

I went to Busch Gardens in 1994, '96, and in '97 while the Drachen Fire was operational. I also went in 1999 as it stood quietly, which was sad for me. But, each time I was there, I was the guy that kept wanting to ride it over and over. Again, the 'roughness' didn't bother me.

Controversy

From what I understand, Busch approached B&M to design two sit-down coasters in the early 1990's. Because of B&M's commitment to two stand-ups and the first Batman in 1992, they were unable to deliver on Drachen Fire, and Busch gave the project to Arrow - a decision that would have had to have been made at the latest in summer of 1991.

Many say that there are many B&M type elements in Drachen Fire, including support structures and layout. I don't know. Kumba was the first B&M sitdown in 1993. How can B&M be given full credit for the layout if "their" layout didn't show up for another year? The amount of involvement B&M really had in Drachen Fire remains a mystery.

Perhaps Busch had designed a similar layout for both coasters intially and awarded B&M the project. B&M couldn't deliver, for whatever reason, and Arrow finished the job.

Arrow made some changes, due to their limitations. Some positive changes included the addition of the first drop inversion and cutback.

As mentioned above, a corkscrew was removed in 1994. I don't think the corkscrew was removed because it was rough. Rather, I think it was deemed that the transition between the corkscrew and cutback was the roughest part of the ride. By removing the corkscrew they could create a straight shot to the cutback, eliminating that shot to the head I spoke of above. The attached picture below shows the corkscrew and turn nicely.

The coaster's demise is shrouded in controversy as well. I've heard word of lawsuits, mechanical failures, guest dissatisfaction, low ridership. I'm sure the truth is a little bit of everything.

The bottom line was the ride wasn't performing (and really never did perform) to Busch Garden's standards, and the decision was made to sell the ride in 1998. No matter how many entusiasts loved the ride, the public did not, and it was decided that the park would go in a different direction.

There were rumors that Knoebels was interested. I would have loved that, but it didn't happen. There were no takers, and the ride was dismantled and scrapped in early 2002.

I read on Wikipedia that the metal was melted down and used in Griffon's supports. As much as I like the idea, I don't know if there is any truth to it.

The truth regarding the design, corkscrew removal, and demise is out there somewhere. I doubt you'll find it on any fansite.

I miss the ride. I hold it responsible for sparking something inside me that started my fascination with roller coasters. I loved riding Drachen Fire, and I loved watching it do its thing just as much.

*Edit The link below has some neat pictures and videos imbedded. For that reason I included it. I find the article to be flawed and based soley on the writer's opinions.

* This Post Has Been Modified * User Submitted Picture

Drachen Fire History

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by drachen drachen Profile at 3/19/11 3:06:44 PM

(not me, alpengeistno3)

Oh no, you didn't!! Drachen Fire was easily my favorite ride long before I started working at Busch (and before Alpengeist came in '97). I rode it just over 1600 times before they pulled the plug on it in '98. I could easily write a book about inch of that ride :)

Like most Arrows, Drachen Fire had its rough spots. The turn coming out of the batwing (cobra roll) was very abrupt from them having to sandwich the block brake between the batwing and Big Bad Wolf's village, but not much worst than the one going into Anaconda's block brake. The most notorious bump was coming out of the original 1st corkscrew going into the cutback inversion. I always rode in the back and you could literally watch the heads snap as the train plowed through that turn. When they took the corkscrew out in '94, the brakes added to the incline did little to actually slow the speed of the train, so it transferred all that energy to the entry and exit points of the final corkscrew causing a good double whack to people's heads.
Since I was the 1st to run around for another ride, my mom used to always tell me how people would complain about the headaches they would have after their one ride. The ride was no rougher than SFGradv's GASM or Anaconda, but for some reason, it never clicked with Busch Garden's clientele. We would have turnstile numbers under 100 PPH regularly after 8:00 PM ON A WEEKEND!

We had very few mechanical shutdowns on DF, so it was a very reliable ride operation-wise (never did an evac the whole year I worked there, while I did MANY on Alpengeist the following year.) We did have to stop the lift anytime the new silent anti-rollbacks kicked in to try to get them to retract (which was quite frequent of some days). I notice there is a golf course just on the other side of the service road that runs where Drachen Fire's cutback used to stand and wonder if there were legitimate noise complaints from some high rolling golfers (I don't know if that was King's Mills famous course that used to host Tiger Woods et al back in the day, but I would be surprised if it was).

The wrap around corkscrew, for me was the most disappointing part of the ride. It really looked good in pictures and staring at it from the front seat before you go over the lift, But it didn't really deliver as good a thrill as a straight 150 ft plunge to the ground would have. In the back, you got a nice pop of airtime coming off the lift that is interrupted by the loop about 30-40 feet down. The view going upside down above the trees was unique, but once you dropped out of the element, you never got back the airtime that you would have gotten from a straight plunge.

Now to get this back on topic, the block brake did bring the train to a complete stop. But with the tightening layout (especially before the corkscrew was removed, it delivered a great 1-2 and delayed 3rd punch to finish of the ride. Something Anaconda lacked after its block with the meandering through the butterfly "loops".

Well, hope that gives you a solid enough picture of Drachen Fire. (This was the abridged version, lol. Maybe we should do a separate topic for the unabridged version of everything that I heard about the ride, rumor and fact.) One day, I should scan some of my pictures into my computer because I have pics from almost every angle possible from being able walk the grounds in the morning before we opened.

Paul

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by alpengeistno3 at 3/19/11 8:57:00 PM

Well, you guys are a little early. Drachen Fire's birthday isn't until April 4 and it will be its 20 anniversary next year in 2012. But I appreciate reading the tribute. Most of my friends did not realize what an amazing and unique ride we had in the Tidewater area.

I posted most of my thoughts above, but I can still remember my anticipation for Drachen Fire in April 1992. We got to the park right at opening and there was already a line beyond the bumper cars. Only 1 train was in operation (supposedly there was an issue with the other train valleying between the block and batwing (cobra roll) at the media preview the day prior. As we slowly inched around that corner, you could see a ride unlike any in the state. 150 ft tall, beam supports as opposed to the scaffold style of Loch Ness and BBW, bright red trains (that lit up with LED lights at night), completely out in the open with little tree coverage. The train route was altered to tunnel through the massive supports that held up the corkscrew 130 ft in the air above.

I can't remember how long the wait was, but no one complained about roughness on that day. It was simply the most amazing ride ever for most everyone I had heard from. Once the park got all 3 trains operational, the ride commanded no less than a 15 minute wait throughout most of the day for the rest of season when I went there (usually once every 2 weeks.)

Then in 1993, something changed. The station was empty most of the day while nearby BBW would have a full queue. People started coming off, complaining of neck pain and headaches. Such short lines were pure nirvana for me and other die hard coaster enthusiasts who would ride the ride for hours at a time. (one day, I rode 72 times straight, only taking a break for lunch around 2:00)

Then in 1994, the corkscrew was removed. It was a huge blow to the rapid fire pacing of the end of the ride, but overall, did nothing to tame the ferocity of it. Lines still were non-existent. People still complained of headaches.

Other operational changes were made to the ride (the years blur together for me); extra bracing added to the batwing, silent anti-rollbacks added to the lift hill (one of the ride ops there before me told me they were a test for Loch Ness, but they were always engaging for no reason, so they never progressed beyond Drachen Fire). In the 1998, the park decided to hold off opening Drachen Fire until Memorial Day. The move did nothing to increase interest in the ride, so it was shuttered for what was supposed to temporarily at the end of July. I heard a variety of rumors that the ride would be returning and that maintenance was working to improve the ride by slowing down the troubling post block brake sequence.

That was my last year working at Busch as I had graduated from college with my Master's, so I did not get to hear any more inside info about the plans for the ride beyond what was posted on RRC. I was excited about the prospect of another park purchasing and resurrecting the ride (I used to dream about it sitting in the spot currently occupied by I-305 at Kings Dominion as the ultimate "rub in Busch Garden's face".

We all know how the story of Drachen Fire ends. My biggest disappointment at the time was that equally rough or rougher rides like Anaconda or the OTSRed Flight of Fear continued to operate and Busch could not do anything to save a far more special ride like Drachen Fire.

Paul

* This Post Has Been Modified *

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 3/19/11 9:19:51 PM

> *** That is a funny post. But I do have a question about
> that nest on the top of the lift hill. I don't think BGW
> (since it does so much for animals) would move the nest
> with the birds still there, so did the residents of the
> nest move away? I think it may actually be illegal to move
> a nest that birds are actually living in. Anyone know about
> this?

> Zimm
>

Depends on what species it is and if it's endangered or protected. As far as a nest on a lift hill, you would be moving them out of harms way so that wouldn't be illegal. If you need to move a nest with an endangered species all you have to do is contact the state division of wildlife and they'll relocate it if it's in a bad area.

Jen

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by drachen drachen Profile at 3/20/11 6:19:32 PM

> Then in 1993, something changed. The station was empty most
> of the day while nearby BBW would have a full queue. People
> started coming off, complaining of neck pain and headaches.
> Such short lines were pure nirvana for me and other die
> hard coaster enthusiasts who would ride the ride for hours
> at a time. (one day, I rode 72 times straight, only taking
> a break for lunch around 2:00)

I understand that roughness was an issue. However, I feel that the low ridership was mostly the result of Drachen Fire's placement in the park.

It was well off the beaten path, and you had to walk a mile to get to it. There was nothing else around it but a souvenir stand. It was located in a dead end too, so the path was only 'fed' from one direction.

Had BGW developed the area a bit more, maybe with a few flats, or had a second path leading to it (hard to do, due to its location) ridership would have been better.

I think BGW has realized this, since nothing has been added in DF's spot since it was removed. The whole area is getting re-done now, and I'm sure accessibility will be better than it was.

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 3/20/11 6:56:25 PM

But it seems to me, even a dead end section of a park still attracts people if it has a signature ride.

I think of Titan at SFoT - it is well of the beaten path. They took over part of an old parking lot for its queue area. The only other thing in the area is a scrambler ride. But Titan still has very high ridership.

- Pat-O

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 3/20/11 7:25:05 PM

Question: If they were to have relocated the bumper cars to another area of the park and used that space for the entrance to a coaster [this being before BBW was taken down], would that have helped Drachen or whatever coaster they could've built there?
Based on the map, if that attraction wasn't in the way, you'd have a pretty reasonable/easier entry way to the coaster than to go look for the ride.

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by alpengeistno3 at 3/20/11 11:09:20 PM

> It was well off the beaten path, and you had to walk a mile
> to get to it. There was nothing else around it but a
> souvenir stand. It was located in a dead end too, so the
> path was only 'fed' from one direction.

> Had BGW developed the area a bit more, maybe with a few
> flats, or had a second path leading to it (hard to do, due
> to its location) ridership would have been better.

> I think BGW has realized this, since nothing has been added
> in DF's spot since it was removed. The whole area is
> getting re-done now, and I'm sure accessibility will be
> better than it was.

The suits at Busch used that as the excuse and I don't buy it. If the ride is one that people want to ride, people will find it. Point in case, Batwing at SFA is at the biggest dead end of any park. The ride has no problem garnering a line on the slowest days (mostly because of the painstakingly long loading process for 1 train operation.) I haven't noticed any ridership problems, yet.

Grizzly at Kings Dominion used to have one of the most hidden entrances of any park (a small sign behind the arcade. I say "used to" because putting Hurler and Hypersonic in has opened up the deep foliage enough so you can see the ride. 20 years ago, you could not see any of Grizzly from the ground (not even the boarding station.) The ride could easily draw an hour wait on busy days and a full station on slow days for years to come.

Drachen Fire was only 2 years old when the lines stopped coming. It was the tallest ride in the state of Virginia at the time. NO ONE who came looking for that ride had a problem finding it! (heck, the two most asked questions was "where are the bathrooms?" and "how do I get to the Big Bad Wolf," both of which are not very "hidden".) The problem was not location, it was simply that once people came to ride, they had no desire to return.

The reason nothing else has been added is rumored to be because of noise complaints from the neighboring Kingmill resort. It was reported that Alpengeist's layout was developed to turn the apex of the drop away from that area so James City county would allow it to be built above the tree tops. Now, since Busch has concerts back there whose decibel levels would engulf all the screams from the coasters combined, I suppose you can put as little stock in that rumor as you want, but noise complaints were also said to be part of the reason that Drachen Fire was tested for the silent anti-rollbacks before Loch Ness (there is a golf course just on the other side of the fence separating the park from the construction access road).

Paul

* This Post Has Been Modified *

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by drachen drachen Profile at 3/21/11 5:12:33 PM

> The suits at Busch used that as the excuse and I don't buy
> it. If the ride is one that people want to ride, people
> will find it. Point in case, Batwing at SFA is at the
> biggest dead end of any park.

I agree that if people want to ride a coaster, they'll find it. But even with a map and signs posted in the park, Drachen Fire was still very much out of the way and hard to find.

I don't buy the comparison with Batwing at SFA because you can at least see that coaster from anywhere in that park. Even though Drachen Fire was 150 feet tall, it was hidden from view from every vantage point in the park because of the thick trees. The only way you could see it was if you were on a a tall ride that took you up over the tree line, like Loch Ness.

> Grizzly at Kings Dominion used to have one of the most
> hidden entrances of any park (a small sign behind the
> arcade.

I always thought Grizzly's entrance was oddly placed. It's so hidden. But, it was never in a dead end, was it? It's at least placed on a path that people travel to get to and from the flume and the back side of the Eiffel Tower. It doesn't take away from Grizzly's popularity and the fact that people we looking for it.

> Drachen Fire was only 2 years old when the lines stopped
> coming. It was the tallest ride in the state of Virginia at
> the time. NO ONE who came looking for that ride had a
> problem finding it!
> The problem was not location, it was
> simply that once people came to ride, they had no desire to
> return.

No doubt. I totally get that it was the least popular of Busch's 3-4 coasters and that people stopped looking for it, especially if they had already ridden it and didn't like the experience.

Alpengeist was certainly the nail in Drachen Fire's ridership coffin, as those looking for high thrills had a closer, smoother ride to choose. With the addition of Apollo in 1999, it became an easy decision to just get rid of the ride.

However, I can't help but think that if DF's entrance was on a main midway that more people would have lined up to ride it. There had to be a demographic that said something like "I like Drachen Fire, but I don't feel like walking all the way back there." (I can just picture a Roller Coaster Tycoon peep saying that...)

> The reason nothing else has been added is rumored to be
> because of noise complaints from the neighboring Kingmill
> resort.

It seems like this new area BGW is creating will take up some of both Big Bad Wolf's and Drachen Fire's footprint. Like I said, I'm sure the area will be more of a walking loop, instead of a dead end.

Paul, any truth to the rumor that DF's steel was used in Griffon's supports?

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by alpengeistno3 at 3/21/11 6:29:23 PM

> I don't buy the comparison with Batwing at SFA because you
> can at least see that coaster from anywhere in that park.
> Even though Drachen Fire was 150 feet tall, it was hidden
> from view from every vantage point in the park because of
> the thick trees. The only way you could see it was if you
> were on a a tall ride that took you up over the tree line,
> like Loch Ness.

Anyone who rode BBW or the train would get more than an eyeful of the "huge" blue and silver roller coaster "back there". Anyone there to ride coasters (which is more than just us enthusiasts) would not leave without finding out where it is/how to get there. Like I said, more people asked me how to get to Big Bad Wolf, as apparently they had seen Drachen Fire from the train and totally missed Wolf on their way in.

> Grizzly at Kings Dominion used to have one of the most
> hidden entrances of any park (a small sign behind the
> arcade.

> I always thought Grizzly's entrance was oddly placed. It's
> so hidden. But, it was never in a dead end, was it? It's at
> least placed on a path that people travel to get to and
> from the flume and the back side of the Eiffel Tower. It
> doesn't take away from Grizzly's popularity and the fact
> that people we looking for it.

True, I'll toss you another example. Back in 1996, Flight of Fear was pulling 2-3 hr waits on all days. It is located at what was a dead end in the back of the Congo area and enclosed. Most people who got in line did not even know there was a roller coaster in there. Like Drachen Fire, the ride was notoriously rough, but people still came. Then, Volcano opened in 1998 (1999 in reality.) FOF continued to draw crowds, but the complaints of its roughness became more pronounced and the lines
started to get shorter. Walk-on rides were not unheard of in the early and late parts of the day. It got to the point where they would have to wait for 15 people to show up to launch a train during the last hour. KD was faced with a similar situation as Busch with Drachen Fire, but rather than scrap the ride, they got Premier to install the lap bar trains. The ride got a new lease on life, drawing lines (not the 2 hr lines of the opening years, but walk-ons are rare. Now that the entrance to I-305 is back there, it's not really a dead end anymore, but the point is that the same "off-the-beaten path" logic could have been applied to FOF. KD realized that fixing the ride would help (Busch realized that too, but their "fix" was not good enough.)

> However, I can't help but think that if DF's entrance was
> on a main midway that more people would have lined up to
> ride it. There had to be a demographic that said something
> like "I like Drachen Fire, but I don't feel like
> walking all the way back there." (I can just picture a
> Roller Coaster Tycoon peep saying that...)

Yes, but the location was not the reason our Roller Coaster Tycoon peeps didn't want to walk back there. Batwing is an even longer walk to a dead end than Drachen Fire, but the ride did not punish people for walking back there (well, not physically, at least. The painfully long one train ops on the other hand...)

> The reason nothing else has been added is rumored to be
> because of noise complaints from the neighboring Kingmill
> resort.

> It seems like this new area BGW is creating will take up
> some of both Big Bad Wolf's and Drachen Fire's footprint.
> Like I said, I'm sure the area will be more of a walking
> loop, instead of a dead end.

And I will be curious to see what they do with the new rides layout. Remember, Dorney had noise complaints regarding Hercules that had a direct influence on how they designed Hydra. If the rumor is true, I am willing to wager the new coaster's layout will come WAYYYYY short of the area where Drachen Fire's lift and cutback were (you could literally see the cutback and a putting green when on the service road between the park and Kingsmill) and anything coaster action in that area will be low to the ground well below the tree level.

> Paul, any truth to the rumor that DF's steel was used in
> Griffon's supports?

My last year working at Busch was 1998, so that was well in advance of any planning for Griffon (heck, Apollo was the rumor- of-the-day at the time.) Based on the amount of time between Drachen Fire's removal and Griffon's construction (6 years), I would say my "BS senses" are tingling. Most of the people I knew when I worked there have moved behind the scenes now, but I did see a coworker of mine working on Griffon this Fall when I went to the Bert the Conqueror taping, so if he is back next year, maybe I can ask him about it.

Paul

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by drachen drachen Profile at 3/23/11 12:33:17 AM

> KD was faced with a
> similar situation as Busch with Drachen Fire, but rather
> than scrap the ride, they got Premier to install the lap
> bar trains. The ride got a new lease on life,
> KD realized that fixing the ride would help
> (Busch realized that too, but their "fix" was not
> good enough.)

Yeah, eventhough the technology wasn't around yet, I'm sure some sort of soft-strap restraint, like Vekoma is using now, may have saved the ride. Then again, with pending lawsuits, maybe not.

Then again, really? Were there lawsuits? Can a park be sued because of the roughness of a ride? If the ride is functioning properly, I can't imagine the park can be held liable. Aren't the risks and descriptions of the ride, and warning signs clearly posted? Aren't riders riding by their own free will and choice? I don't know.

> and anything
> coaster action in that area will be low to the ground well
> below the tree level.

Which makes sense if the 2012 ride is anything like Cheetah Hunt. I do, however, like how BGW's tall coasters rise above the thick treeline.

>> Paul, any truth to the rumor that DF's steel was used in
>> Griffon's supports?

> Based on the amount of time
> between Drachen Fire's removal and Griffon's construction
> (6 years), I would say my "BS senses" are
> tingling.

Mine too, but I do like the idea of Drachen Fire being somewhat reincarnated.

I've said it here before, but I like the idea even more of B&M or Intamin re-doing Drachen Fire's layout (and color scheme) with today's technology. I can dream, can't I?

Paul, I guess you and I were the only ones who liked Drachen Fire, since we are the only one's posting here...

Maybe we should let this thread rest, and dig it back up for DF's 20th birthday next year.

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by Absimilliard Absimilliard Profile at 3/23/11 7:12:18 AM

Regarding the Cutback, I'd agree the one on Sky Rocket look quite similar! http://www.rcdb.com/8612.htm?p=28119 . Anyone who rode both Sky Rocket and Drachen Fire, does it feel the same!

Vekoma integrated the cutback as well in 1995. They use it as the third inversion for the very compact Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris. I am unable to locate any lights-on pictures on the web, but from riding Drachen Fire once in 1994 and riding Space Mountain hundreds of time, with over 50 lights on ride... its the same element.

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by Autistic_Savant Autistic_Savant Profile at 3/23/11 7:17:10 AM

My wife and I rode Drachen Fire many years ago---when it was new. We didn't like it. But strangely, I have later found myself attracted to it. In fact, if I were to build my own dream amusement park, I would have Drachen Fire reconstructed.

The way I remember the ride was that it was very different in feel than the more typical Arrow looping coasters of the time. It "swished" you back and forth---disorienting you in all directions. It was similar to riding colliding ocean waves gone bonkers. This must be similar to what the Riverview Bobs was like---tossing you too and fro as the trains struggled against themselves on the relentless diving curves.

Today, if someone were to ask me what defunct steel coasters I would most want brought back, I would say the Busch Garden's (VA) Big Bad Wolf and Drachen Fire.

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by alpengeistno3 at 3/23/11 7:15:01 PM

> Yeah, even though the technology wasn't around yet, I'm sure
> some sort of soft-strap restraint, like Vekoma is using
> now, may have saved the ride. Then again, with pending
> lawsuits, maybe not.

> Then again, really? Were there lawsuits? Can a park be sued
> because of the roughness of a ride? If the ride is
> functioning properly, I can't imagine the park can be held
> liable. Aren't the risks and descriptions of the ride, and
> warning signs clearly posted? Aren't riders riding by their
> own free will and choice? I don't know.

I know one day, they sent us combing the ride area with flashlights after closing because a guy was up at Guest Relations claiming to sue over a lost hearing aid. I doubt any jury would side with someone claiming damages over the ride. All the rules are clearly posted and the nature of the ride was described as "aggressive" with the warning to remove earrings (the primary reason most people raised any serious complaints.) Nonetheless, here in America, a person can sue for anything and the defendant has to provide or obtain representation to defend themselves. Even if every case got thrown out, that has to get annoying after a while.

> Which makes sense if the 2012 ride is anything like Cheetah
> Hunt. I do, however, like how BGW's tall coasters rise
> above the thick tree line.

I totally agree. Nothing put a smile on my face in 1997 more than driving down Rt 60 and seeing Alpengeist rising above the trees from 3 miles away.

> Based on the amount of time
> between Drachen Fire's removal and Griffon's construction
> (6 years), I would say my "BS senses" are
> tingling.

> Mine too, but I do like the idea of Drachen Fire being
> somewhat reincarnated.

> I've said it here before, but I like the idea even more of
> B&M or Intamin re-doing Drachen Fire's layout (and color
> scheme) with today's technology. I can dream, can't I?

It would be funny since Drachen Fire was Arrow's realization of B&M's plans that eventually became Kumba. Could B&M use Arrow's plans to re engineer a new Drachen Fire? Hmmmm...

> Paul, I guess you and I were the only ones who liked
> Drachen Fire, since we are the only one's posting here...

Remember, for 3 years, Busch Gardens tried to pretend that "the big blue roller coaster" (as people riding on the train would comment during the awkward silence in the automated train spiel) didn't exist.

> Maybe we should let this thread rest, and dig it back up
> for DF's 20th birthday next year.

Hey, remember, April 4, 2012 :)

Paul

* This Post Has Been Modified *

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by ROBSCOAST at 3/23/11 10:42:56 PM

Only rode it 3 times in 1997- Post corkscrew...
This was and still is My favorite of all the Arrow Loopers!
Never will understand how such a beautiful, and Unique Ride became so unpopular.

As I have told others, I have no desire to go back To Busch- They Took out there best 2 coasters.

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile at 3/26/11 9:08:42 PM

Count me in as a fan of Drachen Fire. I only got to ride it a few times in 1992 and wished I could have gone back to ride it again before it was removed. It's still my favorite Arrow, even to this day, and would love to see it reincarnated.

I don't think location had anything to do with the ride not getting riders. I've seen photos on the Net showing they've turned the old ride station into one of their haunts and it seems no one has a problem finding it.

G-Dog

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by ROBSCOAST at 3/26/11 9:49:10 PM

Now that's a thought, Next year will be the 20th anniversary of DrachonFire. Maybe the park could dig up the design and give it back to B&M- DrachonFire 2.0 !!!

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by RobLec RobLec Profile at 3/26/11 9:57:05 PM

> I don't think location had anything to do with the ride not
> getting riders.

We have friends who live in Virginia. They remember one thing about DF... ROUGH!

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 3/27/11 12:16:37 AM

> Now that's a thought, Next year will be the 20th
> anniversary of DrachonFire. Maybe the park could dig up the
> design and give it back to B&M- DrachonFire 2.0 !!!

Would be a nice idea, but it depends on how much space this new launching coaster takes up. There won't be enough room for a B&M sitdown and a launching coaster in the same area.

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by Ligtnin78nic Ligtnin78nic Profile at 3/28/11 2:36:09 PM

I rode Drachen Fire in July 95 (two scorching hot summer say w/ the dragon).It was rough but nothing compared to Great Adventures torture machine Viper.I never rode a coaster I didn't like and Drachen Fire was one of a kind.Loved coming out of that first inversion and the major airtime from the hill between the first drop and cobra roll.GASM(Scream Machine)I think was smoother than DF.I was hoping for DF to get a new home or Busch to fix the problems.Arrow Loopers are my favorite.The harness hurt my ears but thats what tyleonl for.lol With GASM gone we only have few Arrow mega loopers left,Vortex,Viper(Magic Mountain)Anaconda,Viper,Darian Lake.Hope one of Drachen Fires trains are going to the coaster museum like GASM,BBW.Wonder what happened to the trains etc.

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by Schrecken Schrecken Profile at 4/12/11 8:38:45 PM

I rode DF my first and only time back in the fall of 97'. I was at the park with a friend and my mom (who was a non-coaster rider, so I rode the coasters with my friend while she waited for us) and it was fairly crowded. I hadn't been to the park in ages (not since I was a child, in 97' I was 27) so basically everything was new to me, save for Nessie. All of the coasters, including Nessie, had lines in excess of an hour, but yet when we finally made it back to DF, it was basically a walk-on.

My first impression before riding was what a visually impressive coaster DF was - the layout, the colors, the landscaping - a totally aesthetically pleasing section of the park. But as I waited in line I wondered why this one coaster was a walk-on when all the others had a long wait.

It didn't take long to find out, as I did find that one spot (not sure if it would have been better before they re-profiled it as this was after that) to be very rough and it wrenched my neck pretty good. I had no lasting effect (maybe a headache that went away after 15 mins or so, but not as bad of a headache as I had gotten from SOB when it had the loop, that one lasted at least a half hour) but it did leave me with no real desire to ever ride it again. My friend also said that it hurt his neck, but he was much taller than me so I don't think he got the full brunt of the neck whipping (from talking to many people I find that the taller than average - and shorter than average - people seem to avoid much of the head and neck issues found on Arrow loopers).

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by drachen drachen Profile at 4/13/12 11:35:06 AM
Drachen Fire would have turned 20 on April 4th of this year. I thought it would be appropriate to dust this dusted-off thread from last year.

I still miss this ride, and wish that it could be re-built by B&M or Intamin on is old footprint. I can dream, can't I?

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 4/13/12 3:11:07 PM
You are not alone. Though I would hope if they build it, they put the entrance some place close than 'in the woods'.
Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by alpengeistno3 at 4/13/12 8:10:14 PM
Bravo, Drachen!! That was a fun little trip down memory lane. I did remember Drachen Fire's 20th on April 4th, but I forgot we had done this whole thread just last year, lol.

I'm going to Busch tomorrow, so I will need to take a special Memorial train ride through the area that was once home to Drachen Fire (now home to the big green "Black Forest" of Verbolten.

Phil, I told you they wouldn't build anything that could be heard over there, didn't I? All of Verbolten's Black Forest is inside of that building. No noise whatsoever!!

Paul

Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 4/13/12 8:25:29 PM
True, but I still dream though :) Get some pics of the park. I'd love to see VB from other parts of the park.
Re: Not so final thoughts of Drachen Fire by alpengeistno3 at 4/13/12 9:46:15 PM
Cyclone_Phil said:

True, but I still dream though :) Get some pics of the park. I'd love to see VB from other parts of the park.

I'll get what I can. Boy, I need to get off the computer and go to sleep. I've gotta be on the road in 5 hours!!!

Paul