Home > Forums > Critics Coaster Discussion > View Topic
( Moderators: ThmPrkCrtc, BobFunland, adriahna )
Hop Forums:
Page [ 1 of 2 ] [ 1 ] 2 
Author Drachen Fire
Posts: 69
Registered: 4/17/2002

Rank: Senior Critic
5/6/2005 9:15:38 AM
Can someone please tell me what happened with it. Why didnt B&M originally design it like BGW wanted? Why was the six inversion taken out? Why did they want to modify it and why did they scrap it? I remember riding Drachen fire in like 5th grade in 90 something. I dont remember it being as rough as people said it was. All I remember is being scared I was gonna fall out because all the inversion felt really slow. I wasnt a big coaster fan but I can remember saying this ride looks like something in the future with the yellow lights on the trains and the blue and silver paint. I loved it. Can someome please give me the story in a nutshell?
Posts: 2636
Registered: 7/19/2002

Rank: Experiment 626
5/6/2005 11:45:25 AM
Drachen Fire was scraped due to low ridership. This was caused by a combination of an intense ride that scared people off and the poor location it had in the park. Why pay loads of money to maintain a ride that no one is riding?

My Track Record


Coaster Events Page Updated 4/18/05

If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose righteousness. -Theodore Roosevelt

Posts: 521
Registered: 3/31/2005

Rank: Gold Critic
5/6/2005 11:52:26 AM
Question: When noone is riding the ride doesn't that signal a 'Red' Flag that there is something that the riders didn't like? I am wondering the same thing ruffryder was, why didn't they just try to make it more comfortable and enjoyable for riders, if that was the issue, instead of just saying, 'The heck with it, we will just trash it!' Anyone feel me here?

I don't buy the scaring people off thing either. If it was that scary, they need to build more of those babies.

And the money they spent should have been to make the ride a better experience, like they did when they removed an inversion. I doubt it would have cost more to maintain than to get rid of, but who knows, right?
Posts: 4037
Registered: 10/13/2004

Rank: Platinum Critic
5/6/2005 12:58:40 PM
First off, it would have taken a good deal of money just to change the ride. Plus, who knows what it would turn out to be like after all of that work. It's easier just to get rid of it and get something else somewhere down the road.

The second comment is pretty, I'm sorry, dumb. The general public does not think that way. There is an intimidation factor that plays in for a lot of rides, but when that intimidation turns into fear for wellbeing interms of headbanging, knee knocking, jumbled up stomachs and the fear of dying, then they get a little turned off and decided to spend their time a little more wisely. They don't spend money to get into a park to get thrown around like they are in the mosh pit of a Korn concert. Not everyone likes scary and intense stuff, and parks cater to the general public.

And once again, it was easier to just scrap the ride and not bother with changing the ride itself.
Posts: 6207
Registered: 2/29/2004

Rank: Platinum Critic
5/6/2005 2:40:27 PM
A severe maintenance problem could easily cost more then a new ride. I'm not sure since like some of you I have only seen picturers, but once the bad rep started it would probably have been impossible to change. i.e. shockwave at SFGAM once gthe word of mouth started that became a walk on ride the last couple years. It even got to the point for me that it made my now way do I ride list. Heck I was still nervous on GASM at Great Adventure.
Posts: 521
Registered: 3/31/2005

Rank: Gold Critic
5/6/2005 3:22:38 PM
Hmm both good points guys. I just wish that maintenance would better maintain coasters so they could last longer than they do.
Posts: 1067
Registered: 3/6/2003

Rank: Platinum Critic
5/6/2005 3:49:09 PM
OK, I am the self-appointed resident expert on Drachen Fire. I did work on it(something I have probably overstated but I keep saying anyway) and got the full inside story.
I will try to give the full details.

It starts in the early 90's when Busch Gardens Williamsburg decided it needed a new coaster to compete with King's Dominion which is only an hour away. They wanted to make a splash, so they went to a new company Bolliger and Mabillard. Anheuser Busch wanted to build two huge B&M's to put them over the top, but B&M could only build one. Busch decided to put it in Tampa since Florida is more popular. That coaster became Kumba. Busch was forced to go to a company that had done good work before with Loch Ness Monster and Big Bad Wolf, Arrow. This was going to be the third coaster at BGW and they wanted to make headlines and grab more attention. Arrow took the B&M design including new trains designed for it. Arrow used it's engineering and track for the ride. The result was a disaster. B&M and Arrow use different engineering ideals when building coasters the most important being center of gravity. That is what makes you feel weightlessness or pressure. B&M uses the riders heart and arrow uses the center of the train. Because of that they couldn't duplicate B&M's signature smoothness. B&M had designed the ride to have a zero-g roll, but instead it became a camel back hump. The basic problem however was that the track was too short for the trains. You would hit turns harder and the trains couldn't absorb the pressure. The worst turn was after the cobra roll, when you took a hard left up to the mid course brake run. If you didn't know it was coming, it would jar you hard to the right and then left. The shoulder restraints were at the height where you would hit your head the hardest. The first corkscrew after the MCBR had the same effect so they took it out.

I started work there in 97 and there were already plans to try and fix it. They were going to replace almost the entire back half of the track to make it almost a new ride. However, ridership was getting lower and lower and complaints were mounting. We had to make sure that ladies removed their large earrings. I saw a couple get ripped out. It was ugly. People would get headaches all the time too. I actually didn't see too many people throw up. It wasn't a nauseating ride just painful. It seemed to go through elements strangely because the two major pieces(track and train) were not supposed to go together.

BGW cares about people and couldn't stand the complaints. Drachen Fire was shut down and when nobody wanted to buy it, it was torn down.
Drachen Fire was put in a strange place because at the time, it was supposed to be a gateway to a new part of the park. But those plans died when they realized the Drachen Fire wasn't what they expected. Shortly thereafter, they made the decision to hurry and build a new coaster,this time B&M wouldn't be allowed to turn them down. The result, Alpengeist. Which itself was going to be part of a new country, Switzerland that would replace New France. But that went away when they realized that the most popular restaurant in the park was Three Rivers Smokehouse. They shut down a fried chicken place in France to eliminate competion in the new restaurant, Trapper's Smokehouse.

Anyway, sorry I went on the tangent but you see how Drachen Fire led to the way the park is now. BGW will never do business with anyone other than B&M from now on.

Sorry this is long, but I wanted people to know the story that I know. Drachen Fire could have been a great ride, but things didn't work out that way. Lesson learned and the park is better now.

I hope that answered everything. My hands hurt now, but if there is anything else please ask. I promise I won't make it so long. Clicky Web Analytics