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July 24, 2009

Busch Gardens To Retire Big Bad Wolf After 25 Years

Williamsburg, VA — After 25 years of operation the iconic Big Bad Wolf roller coaster will take its last trip through Busch Gardens' Bavarian village on Labor Day, September 7.

"We hate to see The Big Bad Wolf go," said John Reilly, Busch Gardens' general manager. "We realize The Big Bad Wolf is a guest favorite. We're making the announcement now so coaster fans can ride one last time before it closes after Labor Day."

The Big Bad Wolf is notable since it's the world's first suspended coaster and is credited with taking roller coaster design to a new level when it opened in 1984. Since its debut more than 29 million guests have ridden this roller coaster.

Besides its signature drop over a cliff above the Rhine River, one of the best attributes of The Big Bad Wolf is its 42-inch height requirement, which is six inches less than most comparable roller coasters its size. As a result The Big Bad Wolf has many fans — young and old alike — who often cite it as their introduction to the coaster experience.

"The Big Bad Wolf offers a thrilling ride experience coupled with aggressive ride dynamics. While it remains a safe attraction, it has simply reached the end of its service life," said Larry Giles, Busch Gardens' vice president of engineering and design.

According to industry sources, Busch Gardens would have to make an expensive multi-million dollar investment to purchase new trains and refurbish the 25-year-old roller coaster in order to continue its operation.

Theme parks typically retire rides instead of investing in an old attraction. Generally the industry consensus is that you cannot get a return on that investment and there is no effective way to re-market an old attraction.

Park officials said they are reviewing several design concepts for a new park attraction to replace The Big Bad Wolf, but no announcement is planned at this time.

For fans its time to make plans to visit Busch Gardens Williamsburg to goodbye before The Big Bad Wolf rides into history.

See related: Big Bad Wolf, Busch Gardens Williamsburg,

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