I remember The Big Bad Wolf when it opened. My dad and I stood in line for hours to ride. We rode it at night. It was fantastic and scary racing through the woods in the dark. When you went down the hill toward the water, it didn't get much better than that.

I rode TBBW at BG in the 1980s. It was, as you say, my first "big boy" roller coaster. Honestly, I can't even remember if I was allowed to ride the Loch Ness monster or not, whether I was allowed but too scared, or if I did and wasn't that impressed. But either way, the ride that made the lasting impression was The Big Bad Wolf. My family was regular "Virginia beach toursists" for several summers in a row, and that was the ride I always wanted to go on. I got the quintessential 80's cap with the red and black styling and the foreign legion flaps on the back. Even when I was older and had ridden on many inverted coasters, I found there was something uniquely thrilling about the Big Bad Wolf. I tried to think about what made the wolf so exciting and concluded it was the visual effect. The visuals were perfect. Being inverted, the track wasn't in your line of sight. And the obstacles were position to make use of the swinging forces -- something that even when suspended under the track like for Alpengueist, you don't get. Having G forces pull you out of line and up toward an obstacle was truly awesome. I was also convinced that the ride was actually running through the buildings of Oktoberfest and that you could see your friends below if you kept your eyes peeled. (I guess you couldn't). But the effect of the buildings was that convincing. Only now, years later, reading this article, did I discover it was a staged prop village. The dead-ahead obstacle was the staple "finale" of many early thrill carny rides that pre-date roller coasters (WDW's Pinnochio ride comes to mind), but the big bad wolf took that and updated it for the age of roller coastsers. Nothing else has come close that I've ridden And then there was the drop. The visual without the track below you was so much more exciting than what now stands as the final drop in Verbolten, even though they are probably the same speed and vertical. You felt like you could end up in the lake with BBW! As an adult now with my own kids, I enjoyed Verbolten more than any of the other current coasters. But the novelty of the "surprise drop" in the dark is a 1-shot deal. Unlike the thrills of the Big Bad Wolf, which seemed better every time you rode it.

Being misted as the Wolf "splashed" into the river was the best moment of the ride, but I always loved listening for the bell ringing from the village tower, warning that the big bad wolf was coming.

The Big Bad Wolf was my first grown-up roller coaster. When it ended, my mom had to pry my fingers off of the handles and she was worried she'd ruined any chance of my liking roller coasters at that point. My response? To immediately ask to ride it again!

I'm so sad to find out Big Bad Wolf closed - and apparently we share a birth year, too. I was terrified of roller coasters for a long time but my friend dragged me on this one in high school - he said it was such a smooth ride, I had to ride it. I was hooked! This became my favorite rollercoaster and a must-ride every time I went to Busch Gardens.

I really love your Lost Legends articles. They provide a truly complete deal of the rise and fall of theme parks and attractions.

Could you do a lost legends article on Windjammer at Knott's? I rode this coaster once and it battered me!

I did get the chance to ride Big Bad Wolf. I did enjoy riding it. However, I always viewed it as Busch Gardens' tamest coaster. The swing feature was unique and something I'll likely never experience again. I was sad to see it go, but I absolutely love Verbolten and it makes me smile every time I climb aboard the "WOLF XING" train or see the red eyes surround me in the feature building. And the drop always reminds me of the first time I made the trip in a black suspended car.

I'm lucky enough to have ridden it on its first and last operating days. On a June weekend in 1984, just a week before my 12th birthday, I was at BGW with a church youth group. When we got to the park, there were a ton of signs promoting the Big Bad Wolf, but they all had placards tacked on saying that the ride was not operating, and definitely would not be opening that day. We were all disappointed but had a great day at the park anyway, and had watched the ride testing at several points during the day. Towards the end of the evening we were in New France talking about going home when we heard rumors from other guests that the Wolf was open! As a group we ran to Oktoberfest, where we found a queue that had spilled out into the village and across the original Oktoberfest Bridge (which ran from where Mach Tower is now over to Rhinefeld beside the Carousel), past the Carousel and down the hill to the Rhine River Cruise, where we finally got in line. Not long after we joined the queue, park security closed off the line. As one employee put it, "We're gonna be here until 1am at this point."
It wasn't quite 1am, in fact we got our ride not long after 10pm. But my first ride on the Wolf was as it was always best ridden: in the dark.
In 2009 after the park announced the Wolf's closure, I went to ride it several times and stood in lines I hadn't seen since the late '80s. Everyone in line was there to say goodbye. Many weren't even roller coaster fans, but they had ridden it as a child or teenager in the '80s and some had even met their future spouse on the ride. Everyone in line had a story, and we all shared them while we waited to re-live part of our childhood one last time. As Labor Day approached, I managed to just squeak in on the charity auction for the last ride ever. That ride cost me $111 but it was for a good cause and I got to be the last person to ever ride in my favorite seat on the train: Last car, front left seat. And it was after dark, just as the Wolf was always gave its best rides! That June night in 1984 and Labor Day in 2009 are two nights I will never forget.

The BBW was one of those coasters you could ride over and over. The dramatic swinging of the cars as they made the turn after passing over the river was great. I was always a little concerned that the rideadline staff had to visually inspect the elastic bag that hung under the shocks after every ride. I wondered what they were expecting to find. I can see how all of that swinging machinery shock absorbers systems might become a liability as the coaster approached it's third decade of operation. Still miss it.

Big Bad Wolf was my first roller coaster. I remember that day so clearly. I was 5 or 6 I think and all I wanted was to get my face painted. So my mother bribed me. I could only get my face painted if I road the roller coaster. Our family friend who was like a second dad to me, rode it with me. I was terrified.the whole ride my head was down and my eyes and mout were open wide. He said "you have to life you head and watch!" I tried to look at him but literally could not lift my head. I loved that roller coaster but didn't ride it as much because it was so hard on my head as is lochness. It is funny though. Watching the video and realizing how much has changed made me miss it.

My favorite memories of the Big Bad Wolf involve my daughter, who first tried to charm her way onto the coaster at the age of 2 and a half. She finally reached "coaster height" for it at the age of 4 and spent almost 2 cold, rainy hours riding it as one of 3 passengers.... She still misses it.

When I found out the Big Bad Wolf was closing that summer I sat down and cried literally. The Big Bad Wolf was my first grown-up roller coaster and I had been eagerly awaiting my first born son to meet the night requirements so that I could share this right of passage with him. At the time of its deconstruction he was nearly a toddler. When I returned to Busch Gardens I said I did not want to try the new coaster, I was resentful the park would just replace such a unique classic. My sister eventually talked me into it telling me that it has a wonderful surprise and I would love it. Verbolten was in its second summer and we waited hours in line to ride. I was blown away at the ride, it's very much more unique than the dozens of other roller coasters I have enjoyed and yes, the final drop was quite reminiscent of Big Bad Wolf. I will definitely be back this summer to finally share with my son, I can't wait! Thank you for posting this article, I never quite knew why they took Big Bad Wolf down and after scrounging as much memorabilia as possible I will make sure my son knows of its legend.RIP Big Bad Wolf

My best memory of the Big Bad Wolf is actually my last ride on it. The ride was getting ready to close for the night and I was in line for the front row. As train after train filled up suddenly I was the only person left standing in line. Finally it came to be my turn and I got into the first car and pulled down my harness it took me a second to realize that I really was the only person on the ride. The silence except the sounds of the wind rushing by and the sounds of the roller coaster flying at the speed of fright are something I'll never forget it was something I'd never experienced because I was so used to being on a packed train. When the train pulled back into the station tears flooded my face as I realized that the ride I had spent my childhood riding was going to be gone when we came back a few weeks later for Howl-o-scream. The big bad wolf was one of my first roller coasters and was the first for both my brothers. It will always hold a special place in our hearts. We quite frequently walk by Verbolton and say do you remember that time when we stood in line for the big bad wolf for two hours during the thunderstorm and the entire line was singing songs. Or some other memory we have of the big bad wolf.

I had the great privilege of being on the last run ever of the Big Bad Wolf. Busch Gardens "sold" each seat for the last run with all the proceeds going to benefit their wildlife fund. We had to wait for over an hour after the park had closed because the line to ride was so long. But we got to spend time with the park general manager and so many other HUGE BBW fans that it was a great time. Best money spent ever. It was my first "big" coaster. Verbolten is a great replacement but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for BBW.

In reply to by Vickie (not verified)

What an awesome experience!!

I worked at Busch as a performer in 1989 and 1990, then again in 1992. LOVED the Big Bad Wolf! Early in the summer we'd go ride the Wolf over and over again at the end of the day when the crowds were light and the air was cool. Best suspended coaster ever (I rode Cedar Point's Iron Dragon in 1994. No comparison. Not even close). Sad to hear that it is no more.

I remember riding this when I was 7 years old, the year it opened. It was not my first roller coaster, but it was one of my favorites. My first coaster was the Super Duper Looper at Hershey Park when I was 3 years old - I'm not kidding, back in the 80's there was no height restrictions.

It was the first of its kind and my dad went and bought me a t-shirt that was all "ripped" at the bottom and on the sleeves that said, "I survived the Big Bad Wolf". I wore that shirt forever.

I'm sad that it's gone. And I haven't been back to the park since it's been removed, but my sister and my niece were there last year and they said the new coaster is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. ... I really like how they included the hill at the end - you know - so we will never forget the Big Bad Wolf!!!!

My family went to BG on vacation several times. My mom hates roller coasters but said she would go on the Big Bad Wolf! We were all so excited that she wanted to ride it. Well, as soon as the ride goes down that first hill she's screaming, a terrified high pitched scream. When we got off the ride she was shaking, but also half laughing, half crying. She said she thought it was a'gentle swaying ride by the way it ca,e back into the station!!!' Needless to say she never went on again!

I have so many great memories of this coaster! Getting stuck on the lift hill in the dark and howling like wolves, waiting for the front seat, and riding with my Mom, who didn't do many coasters. She's gone, and when they shuttered the station, Dad and I stood in front of it and shed a few tears. Verbolten is amazing, but I'll always miss the Wolf.

I really enjoyed your writing! I was fortunate to have been a life long visitor and employee at Busch Gardens. I do miss The Big Bad Wolf, a classic. Their original coaster "The Glissade" had no seat belt or harness! Just sit and hold on! We also had a brief time to ride "Drachen Fire" in the Early `90's Thanks for the memories!

I loved Big Bad Wolf. In many ways it was a superior ride to Vortex. I really miss it. The best riding was in the last hour the park was open. If there was no one in your seat queue, the operators would let you stay on, otherwise we would jump out and run right back in line. We got at least a dozen rides in a row that way. And most of the ride was in the dark. Swinging through the Bavarian village in the dark, with only a few lights on the facades really added to the excitement. And then there was the drop in near darkness. Oh, yeah! We had so much fun on the wolf. My friends and I would start howling in the station and the rest of the train would pick it up. Wild fun. We're heading to Busch next year sometime and we intend on riding Verboten. Close friends have sung its praises. But, we will still miss the wolf.

I worked at Busch Gardens as a musician from 1989 to 1990, and I remember that feeling when you realized that *you* were the wolf. It was a revelation! What a great idea it was for a park that truly focused on the details. It fit so well with the story telling, the shows and the characters. BG always reminds me of old Warner Brothers cartoons... Fun for the kids, but so much great detail work that it keeps the grown-ups happy too!

Big Bad Wolf was the first rollercoastermy husband had ever been on and he was 26 years old when he road it! It was also the last day of the Big Bad Wolf's run. He loved it!

I worked at BGW in 1984 when THE BIG BAD WOLF opened. I was an Audio Tech for the band called WOLFGANG. We played right outside the entrance to the ride. Oh, how many times did I ride "THE WOLF"! It was GREAT! We even got to ride AFTER the park was closed! I miss those days. I now live in Australia where the theme parks are only open from 9am - 5pm! SMH (Shaking My Head)

As an original member (drummer) of the Big Bad Wolf Band... WOLFGANG!!!!... I am proud to proclaim what a BAD ASS roller-coaster the BBW was!!!!! We rode it countless times... We listened to it throughout our absolutely FUNtastic show... We were the BBW missionaries of music... guiding the spectators onto the wild, wild woods... One of the best summers of my life!!!

I worked at Busch Gardens the summer The Big Bad Wolf opened and it was spectacular. So different from any other ride I'd ever been on. After the sandbag tests and all the safety checks they had either 2 or 3 "employee" days where we could ride and ride and ride. Which I did. Scores of times and, frankly, in several different iterations of sobriety. :-) But in the end it was one of my favorite things about being a performer there. Besides simply being a performer there.

I went to Busch Gardens in Summer of 2008, when I was 13. I was a coaster junkie, and my mom hated them. But she decided to try the Big Bad Wolf. It was one of the only coasters my mom and I could enjoy together, rather than me constantly riding alone. Really sad to hear that it's gone, as the new coaster sounds fun to me, but probably not for her :(

The Big Bad Wolf was my first roller coaster ever. I was 9 when my dad took me. It was the ride that launched my love of roller coasters. While I LOVE verbolten, (definitely a worthy successor) it always makes me a little sad to have to tell people about the Big Bad Wolf.

I have such fond memories of the Big Bad Wolf! It was my kids first coaster and they just loved it! My girls are 20 and 17 now, and they first were able to ride at about age 4 or 5! Both of my kids are extremely tall and getting on the BBW wasn't a long wait for them! My husbands sister had lived in Williamsburg about 17 years ago , we all got season passes upon her moving there. All the adults were coaster fans so spending weekends at Busch was a great way to spend a family weekend! The Big Bad Wolf brings back great memories of my kids racing through the queue at the end of then night to ride again and again, and near closing time, if no one was in line, they could just stay on and ride again! They loved riding it at night! The howling wolf and plunging down to the river in the dark was the best! Now we are still season passholders all these years later! Even though we live in PA, a 5 hour drive is well worth a 2 or 3 day weekend at Busch! And you are absolutely right about walking around the park even if you don't ride, eating and drinking the fantastic ethnic food from the countries a great relaxing day while taking in a show! Now I think Verbolten would do BBW proud! It pays great homage to that old coaster and watching a friend for the first time when that coaster drops is quite enjoyable! Whatever BG has in store for the future, I cant wait to see , because it just keeps getting better and better! get yourself a season pass, its the best value of the year! take your family in the summer and then go back for Howl-o - scream! I will forever be a BG fan! And when I think of the Big Bad Wolf, I will always see my kids at that small age running through the queue!

For quite a few years after we moved to the east coast Busch Gardens was an annual trip for almost every season/holiday of the year that it was open. No trip was ever complete without a few frolics through the country side on the Big Bad Wolf.

The ride that always comes to mind every time I think about the Ol' Wolf is the one with my sister where the whole ride we could hear a man screaming in the front row, terrified. After the ride ended it turned out it was a huge marine who may of had a little bit to drink but honestly was frightened the whole way through the ride, ill never forget it.

The next summer after it was torn down I can remember coming back and just standing on the bridge gazing at where those concrete pillars still stand missing it so much. Later that evening I found one of the last shirts they had in stock referencing the Big Bad Wolf. I'll cherish that shirt forever.

I remember being a teen and how much I loved The Big Bad Wolf! I also remember sharing my love of this coaster with my son, who at the time was 8! We still have a picture of us in front of the famous coaster! We certainly miss it!

The Big Bad Wolf was my very first coaster to go on and my most favorite part was going over the water. I road that coaster so many times I lost count and after riding it my mom bought me the wolf plush toy as a reminder. But it saddens me that I couldn't share that experience with my two kids. Maybe they should think about a Big bad wolf 2 or werewolves.

We live in WA State & travel the country riding coasters. In the summer 1998 my wife was sent to Washington DC for 3 months for her job. One of the weekends I visited we went to Williamsburg so we could visit Busch Gardens. Alpengeist & Big Bad Wolf have always stuck in my mind from that weekend. I'm sad to hear that it's no more but feel fortunate that I traveled over 2600 miles & had a chance to experience it. Loved that ride!

It took me a long time to get up the courage to ride roller coasters. My family would go to Busch Gardens every year, and Loch Ness Monster was always the first stop when we got into the park. I used to have nightmares with the sound the cars going up the tracks and the screams of the people as they fell. Big Bad Wolf was the first coaster I ever rode, and it hooked me. I didn't know it until it's 25th year, that Big Bad Wolf and I shared a birth year. It was hard to see it go. I'm a huge fan of Verbolten though, and love that the final drop is the same.

BBW was a fantastic ride. Remembering this ride takes me to my childhood and witnessing my grandfather having the most wonderful smile and his eyes light up as he said "that is the best ride ever". He loved that ride and I enjoyed getting to ride with him. It was my first "big kid coaster". As an adult a few years ago, I got to experience Verboten (sp?) I was fortunate to have my kid ride it with me and he rode it with his grandparents. We all shared a similar excitement. It is a wonderful ride to replace that space in tbe park. It's thrilling on every level. BBW will always be missed but there are many years of fun to be had on Verboten.

This one truly brought me to tears. Big Bad Wolf was my first coaster and made me want to venture on to experience other coasters. Suspended coasters were my favorite. 2009 was my last year living in Virginia and I remember riding it for the 25th anniversary. If I had known that it was closing I would have riden it many more times and gotten pictures. Just so incredibly sad.

I grew up about an hours drive from BGW and we were pass holders most of my young life. I'm one of the many kids for whom Big Bad was their first "real" coaster. But even as elementary schoolers turned to high schoolers this ride was always a must do! The drop at the end was amazing. We were so sad when it closed.

Verbolten is a great ride in its own right, but the heavy use of strobes combined with the launch makes it difficult to ride more than once a day without feeling sick. We could ride BBW over and over

I loved Big Bad Wolf. My grandfather used to take me to Busch Gardens every summer and this is the only roller coaster he would get on. He and I thought it was wonderful, especially since the suspended track made it a really smooth ride.

I am one of those who had the privilege of calling this my first big roller coaster... And I loved it! Even after I moved on to bigger and faster coasters this was one of my favorites (as was Dracken Fire)! It will be missed, and heaven help them if they remove Lochness Monster!

I was thinking the same thing about the Loch Ness Monster! I live 30 minutes away from Busch Gardens Williamsburg and go every year with my Platinum Pass...it is so nice being so close to the prettiest park in the world! The Big Bad Wolf is dearly missed but it could sure give you whiplash. It is part of the reason why my youngest son in now a roller coaster junkie...

Wow that was the first big roller coaster my youngest daughter rode. The Excitement in her face when we went on it. It was a family trip with her dad and brother and sister and me. I even still have the shirt of who is scared to ride the big bad wolf.

First let me thank you for a wonderful detailed story. It was tugging at my emotions as I read it but when I watched the video I just broke down in happy tears. Oh somewhere after the drop down to the river there was a water mister said that the water hitting your face would get you to breathe again!

In reply to by Jerry "Jerbo "… (not verified)

The mister was a cool feature of this coaster...I sure miss this coaster and riding it with my sons...

I grew up with The Big Bad Wolf (born the same year BGW opened). I am saddened that my kids won't get to experience it. Always one of my favorites. My kids and I love Verbolten too. All the coasters at BGW are fun and fabulous! My now favs are Griffon And Tempesto. Would love a newer style like Big Bad Wolf. The swinging was such fun

This coaster was born the same year I was. When I was 5 years old it became my first ever Rollercoaster. I loved it. I would go during weeknights in the summer with my mother and ride it over and over. Some nights there would be some fun employees that would howl in the microphone while the coaster head out to the track. So much fun and so many happy memories. I truly miss it.

We rode Big Bad Wolf one time several years ago. It was so deceptively exciting! You had no idea what was coming once you got into the forest. Wish I could have ridden it again!

I went to Busch Gardens years ago with my family. I was about 12 and just began riding larger coasters. I will never forget the uniqueness of Big Bad Wolf. The excitement of the final drop over the Rhine River will alway be something I remember. I didn't realize Big Bad Wolf was gone until I read this article. I will definitely miss it.

My first job at BG was "the wolf cart" which was the predecessor to the exiting gift shop. It was during the testing phase...before the brake system was perfected...and it was scary! But when it opened it was such a differnt and amazing ride...i remember there being a hour wait to ride and the peopme coming off it were ready to wait again! A truly amazing coaster in its own right!

Thought it was a good complement to the Loch Ness Monster and it was new for its time. Have to get back there but live on the west coast now.

The first time I was able to get to Bush Gardens was in October of 2012 (BEST time tongo there IMO btw the whole park becomes a haunted house pretty much with 7 different themed areas) and for sure Verboten was a lot of fun.

Big Bad Wolf was my first "big girl" roller coaster as part of an 8th grade field trip. But I remember having to wait for two trains to be cleaned because people had gotten sick! I never understood why, but later when my mom rode it she said the swinging almost did her in as well.

I do agree that Verboten is an awesome replacement. Mom and I went back last year, and we screamed/laughed our whole ride...before running back and doing it again!

My wife and I went to Busch Gardens (before kids) and LOVED the Big Bad Wolf. We must have rode it 20 times in 2 days. As a coaster junkie, it had a great mix of theming and just enough thrills.

Sorry to hear it is gone!

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