Why are these coasters gone?

Thursday, July 29, 2004 11:20 PM
Drachen Fire
Buzzsaw Falls
or better yet a bunch of Arrows coasters?

I was watching a promotional video from Arrow and a lot of the coasters shown are now gone...
Is it size, up keep, ride experience or something else?

also what is the REAL reason for the two coasters above to have been demolished?

Thursday, July 29, 2004 11:59 PM
The real reason Drachenfire was torn down? Well, here it goes...

I've been sitting on this for a long time. I'm ashamed of it, really, and I was afraid of what other people in the enthusiast community would think if they knew. It's high time that I took responsibility, though, and so I'm finally going to speak up.

It was late spring in 1997 that my family and I took a vacation to the Richmond/Williamsburg area of Virginia. We were there with my cousins and we were missing school for the vacation. Sorry teachers. Anyway, we had planned to spend three days at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and I was really looking forward to that time.

Well, you can imagine my surprise when I disembarked from Drachenfire, ears ringing, head pounding. This wasn't what I signed up for! I was missing school for a good time, not for the same sort of headaches I got while sitting in European History. I was so disappointed with the ride that I couldn't look at it. It had deceived me, see, because it looked so amazing. I was hurt, truthfully -- physically and emotionally.

When we got back home from our vacation, I needed catharsis. I needed to rebuild myself and my relationship with roller coasters. I needed to let someone -- anyone, really -- know that this Drachenfire was an impostor; a ride that promised great things, but instead took your dreams and left you nauseated and with a headache. I did what any good civic person would do and I wrote a letter.

It seemed inocuous enough, I though. I wrote Busch Gardens Williamsburg and explained how disappointed I was with that ride and suggested, somewhat jokingly, that they replace it with something a bit more worthy of their guests' time. I was just being a spunky teenager.

Well, you can imagine my horror when I first learned that they'd begun to act upon my suggestions! I was just dissatisfied with the ride, but I didn't want them to kill it. I was just kidding! Alas, by the time I was able to get back in touch with the park, it was too late and the ride was closed. I wrote more letters. I called. I paced in front of park, carrying signs of protest (send pictures if you have, please), but the park had listened to me and taken my suggestion to heart.

My hobby was never the same. From that day, I learned to appreciate all coasters and the different rides they give. I learned that every coaster, just like every person, is a little bit different. They're all special in their own way. That day, I grew up.

I'm sorry to say, though, that Drachenfire had to die so that I might go on. I wish there were some other way, believe me. I wish it more than anything else in the world.

So, that's it. That's why it was demolished. I can't express enough how sorry I am for my young, brash arrogance. I didn't believe that one person could make a difference, but now I see that sometimes, that's all it takes.

As for Buzzsaw Falls...

Friday, July 30, 2004 12:05 AM
Sniff, sniff. That's beautiful.
Friday, July 30, 2004 12:21 AM
Rip Drachen!! :>(

Where did ya get the video? *** Edited 7/30/2004 4:21:26 AM UTC by Crashmando***

Friday, July 30, 2004 12:22 AM
Shame on you for closing the Drachen Fire...well not really. Drachen Fire for me was like getting punched in the head for 2 minutes. That was one of Arrow's biggest disappointments. The fact of the matter is this....Arrows simply do not age well. They just seem to get more rough with age. Drachen Fire is gone, Steel Phantom was reprofiled into a hyper, and I hear that a ride on Viper at SFMM kind of hurts these days as well. All of those rides were or are Arrow coasters performing elements at high speed, unlike say Vortex @PKI, which has gotten rougher, but aged much better than any other Arrow I have ridden. Maybe it's because they don't hit the loops at a high speed. The main problem has been the head banging on the hard plastic restraints. I've said this before, but isn't it time that somebody build a better over the shoulder restraint? Something that isn't quite as rigid as hard plastic. i think that it would increase the shelf life and ridership of multi-loopers quite a bit.
Friday, July 30, 2004 12:29 AM
For years I've been angry at an enormous yet indeterminate number of people, while all the while I should have been channeling it all towards Maddie. The hell if I'm going to introduce her to some architects and model builders now. Even if I knew some. Hmmph.
Friday, July 30, 2004 1:47 AM
....and that is why I think this girl is the funniest poster on here!!
Friday, July 30, 2004 3:06 AM
Pulitzer Prize winning story, maddie.


Friday, July 30, 2004 3:13 AM
Most Arrows don't age badly. (PKI's Vortex has, though due to premature computer engineering) Look at Cedars Corkscrew and Mine Ride and Geaugas Double loop. Those are aging very well and thats due to wonderful maintenence.

Drachan Fire was an under-engineered ride that didn't do what Arrow wanted it to. It's too bad about it, and im sad i never got to try it.

Viper at SFMM would be a great... but intense ride if they pulled the damned trims off it, and put new trims in better places. Arrow built coasters to be fun and intense, now we have these overly smooth Swiss rides that feel like a newly paved highway.

Arrows haven't gotten rougher... The new ones have gotten smoother. Thats where the difference lies.

Friday, July 30, 2004 3:29 AM
Wow, I've never heard it put like that, john, but you are absolutely right! Its not that they all Got rough, its just that we were introduced to something smoother, and in alot of cases, I think that made people remember things quite differently.

Cool beans!

Friday, July 30, 2004 10:25 AM
Here's the short answer: they sucked.

mOOSH [knows all about suc--ah, never mind]

Friday, July 30, 2004 11:00 AM
BSF was taken out due to high maintenance costs and low pph. HFEC has never been too overly impressed with the performance of the ride as things went wrong with it from the start. PowderKeg™ will be a much better ride, however there is a lot grumbling by park guests to SDC about BSF not being there this year.

and Moosh I don't want to hear any stories about sucking. That's just gross. :)

Friday, July 30, 2004 11:06 AM
Drachen Fire - Beat the #$%&@! out of the riders. No one wanted to ride it because of this. Rough rides also don't fit Busch's image.

Buss Saw Falls - Don't know for sure, but there seemed to be lots of tacked on modifications indicating it had design problems. I also suspect that the park felt that the beautiful view from the location could be better used.

Arrows - I sure that each has it's own story. Though in general, they are no longer as thrilling to people as they once seemed.

Friday, July 30, 2004 1:38 PM
Drachen Fire was removed because it was originally designed by B&M, but the project was handed over to Arrow because the Swiss couldn't figure out how to put a loop around the lift hill. So Arrow just took the designs that B&M had made, switched the track and trains, and !viola! we have Drachen Fire. ;)

Actually, I have a brochure from Arrow that has the blue prints for Drachen Fire's cobra roll and helix on the front and back covers, with what seems to be a list of parts for the rides track and support structure. An interesting little blurb at the bottom of the parts lists reads:

Thus drawing is the property of Arrow Dynamics Incorporated and shall not be reproduced, published, or disclosed, in whole or part, without the written consent of Arrow. It it to be used only for production of items for Arrow. This document or copies are subject to reutrn upon demand and are distributed with the understanding that it shall not be used in any way detrimental to Arrow.

If B&M would have had any part in the design of Drachen Fire at all, I think they would have been mentioned at least once in that information.

Anyway, I've found that maintenence determines how well Arrows age. (Well, really any type of coaster, but we'll stick to Arrow) All three Arrows at PKI are very enjoyable, especially Vortex. While it does have three or four major head banging transitions, the ride itself is very smooth. The same goes for Adventure Express; a few bad transitions, but a relatively smooth ride. Bumpiness from hunting or poor track design is at worst minimal. *** Edited 7/30/2004 5:43:39 PM UTC by CoasterKrazy***

Friday, July 30, 2004 2:21 PM
Ditto what Moosh said ;o)
Friday, July 30, 2004 2:49 PM
My thoughts....

Personally I think bad Arrows opened up bad Arrows.

IMO, it is not a maintainence issue but rather poor design. Arrow did some pretty good mine trains, and some amazing work at Astroworld like the Alpine Sleigh Ride, and XLR8 in it's time.

When they got into loops, and more intense thrills they were the first. They were the pioneers and yes some did go wrong. If you ever saw any of the older coaster shows they would show Ron Toomer bending wire as his method of designing track layouts. Then he would always say I just design them, I will not ride them. Well he did not ride them or he would have known more about a lot of his design flaws.

The model T ford was a piece of junk compaired to todays cars. What product has not gotten better over time? You have to give Ron and Arrrow credit. Someone had to be first, and all of the others learned because of it. There are some things you just cant do in a track and make it comfortable for riders.

Going back to the question about why they are gone....another reason has to do with the way they were built. These days if a coaster is too uncomfortable for park goers, they can be moved, retracked, and remarketed elsewhere. (Thriller, Texas Tornando, Zonga) In early arrow days the track pieces were wielded together, unlike today where they are bolted.

The welded track left very little hope for relocations because it required more time to dissasemble, rebuild, and this lead to $$$$$ , which in turn lead to making it not worth reconstructing.

Friday, July 30, 2004 2:50 PM
I wish I could find the page that I found before from Arrow, but I can't seem to locate it. On that page, they explain that they can go back and make smoother curves than they had previously. So, if the parks would put up the money, they could get new track sections. Do I see this happening? No.
Friday, July 30, 2004 3:02 PM

Markieb said:

The model T ford was a piece of junk compared to todays cars. What product has not gotten better over time? You have to give Ron and Arrrow credit. Someone had to be first, and all of the others learned because of it.

Wonderful analogy.

Today we would even think of using a Model T except for novelty/nostalgia/car enthusiast purposes. But in 1908 it was cutting edge and people marveled. I think it's safe to say that none of us on these forum could appreciate using the Model T as a viable form of transportation today.

Arrow is similar in this case. They broke that wall down and people went nuts for these cutting edge creations. Now they seem like boring, rough relics next to the superior creations of today and it's hard to justify their worthiness.

Give it another 20 or 30 years and we'll be saying the same things about the coasters we rave about today. Coaster aging and technical advancements will render them obsolete as well.

(Sing it with me) "It's the circle of life..." :)

Friday, July 30, 2004 6:21 PM
before SFA changed Joker's Jinx to a lapbar restraint coaster, I heard it was the bumpiest ride anywhere. I went on a trip and people really didn't want to go on it. D the Great is right, without the hard plastic restraints, the ride is very smooth (although I don't like it that much). *** Edited 7/30/2004 10:21:46 PM UTC by Austin***
Saturday, July 31, 2004 12:42 AM
Going back to what the person said about some Arrow coasters being "born bad," I think it all relates to their specific genetic makeup. I see it all the time in puppies, so are just evil when they are born....where am I going with this? Um, awkward silence....

Actually, Orient Express was a great ride -- UNTIL THE HELIX. I swear I had Kindergartners that could draw better circles then what this helix made. It was terrible and I think that if the coaster would have just made a big "S" curve into the station brakes it would have been A LOT better and easier on the ears.


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