“BGWFans is Always Right”
Writing about rumors is remarkably uncomfortable for us. We typically try our best to stick to stories for which we have some amount of actual evidence—whether we can share that underlying data with our readers or not. The only reason many of those stories work is because of our reputation. Without it, no one would trust an article where we talk about having seen proof of something unless we provided the actual proof. In this business, that’s often impossible for us to do safely.
The importance of our reputation goes far beyond our relationship with our readers though. Our reputation is quintessential to literally everything we do around here.
People inside SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment talk to us because of our reputation for dealing with sources safely and honestly. Many of you take time out of your day to read BGWFans articles because you believe that, at least on some level, BGWFans can be trusted to convey an honest assessment of our impressions and beliefs. When local journalists reach out to us for information, they do so because BGWFans has built a reputation for accuracy. What the community thinks of BGWFans is the only thing that really gives BGWFans any value.
Thankfully, over the last 13-ish years, it’s my impression that we have earned a great deal of trust within this community. Furthermore, I believe that we have a track record that legitimately justifies that degree of trust. We have historically maintained this reputation by exercising an enormous amount of restraint regarding what we do and don’t publish. This restraint has led us to ignore countless rumors over the years. Oftentimes, those rumors amount to nothing at all and hindsight proves that we made the right call. Occasionally though, our frequent insistence to wait for proof has significantly harmed our coverage.
We believe the answer to this issue is transparency. When we share our hypotheses about an upcoming attraction or event, we strive to make the fact that we are just sharing “our best guess” crystal clear. That said, by doing this, we are also, in effect, entrusting our readers with a responsibility of their own.
We are not only counting on our readers to onboard the idea that what is being written about is speculation, but also to remember that fact well into the future. We have to trust that BGW fans—both in our core audience and in countless Facebook groups, Instagram chats, etc. to which we’re not directly privy—won’t conflate that speculation with BGWFans claiming a fact. Furthermore, we need to convince ourselves that, two years down the line when the truth finally does surface, enough people will remember the differences between what we said would be true and what we said could be true.
Unfortunately, not everyone reads the text of our articles. They’ll read the comments below a Facebook post or Tweet that links to one of our stories, assume they understand the post, and move on. They will often come away with the belief that “BGWFans says [theory] is going to happen” when, in reality, we have often proactively, expressly stated otherwise.
All of this is problematic when dealing with speculation, but it’s even more treacherous when writing about rumors. When we share a rumor, we are, in effect, asking you to trust us enough to believe that the rumor really exists and that it’s compelling enough to be worth your time. In the same breath though, we’re also relaying that you shouldn’t trust us more than we explicitly tell you to because, then, you’d be susceptible to believing something that could be false.
All that said, the point here is that what you are reading right now is the written equivalent to a tightrope performance. Yes, obviously we have to strike the perfect balance of confidence and self-doubt throughout to accurately relay our message. Even more importantly though, this performance is largely worthless if you, the viewer, don’t perceive the risk involved. If you believe we’re walking this tightrope with an invisible safety line—a degree of confidence that we’re not willing to expressly state—you’re going to walk away believing that we think something we don’t.
When our readers defend BGWFans online (thank you, for the record), it is often done through statements like “BGWFans is always right.” While that may technically be true the vast majority of the time, I do worry that it can give people the wrong impression.
If we say we believe something to be true, we believe it to be true. If we say we have seen evidence of something, we have seen evidence of that thing. That said, if we say we are speculating about something, that speculation will frequently be incorrect. If we say we are sharing a rumor for which we have yet to see any proof, we have yet to see any proof of that rumor and there’s a significant possibility that it will prove incorrect.
The point here is that plenty of the assessments, plenty of the speculation, and plenty of the rumors we have shared here over the years have been wrong. That said, whenever we have “gotten it wrong,” it should only be in areas where we have expressly outlined uncertainty. When we tell you the risk is real, the risk is real. There’s no hidden cord attaching our ankle to the tightrope. When we fall—and from time to time we will—please keep that in mind. We warn you of the danger for a reason.
When people think of BGWFans, we don’t want to be thought of as “always right.” Depending on someone’s interpretation of that phrase, it can be an unobtainable standard. We want to be known for being “always honest.”
This is going to be mighty ironic after that opening, but since I know many of you won’t have read it: THIS IS A RUMOR. We have seen NO EVIDENCE to support it. We are not claiming anything is or is not occurring. This type of article requires extreme nuance. Please read what we actually write—do not assume you know the story based on scanning one or two paragraphs.
The Tightrope Act
Over the past month or two, there has been a growing chorus of insiders all echoing the same story: Mäch Tower’s future is currently thoroughly in question. Many of these folks have great track records for reliability and it strains credulity to imagine that even one or two of them—let alone many more—would be intentionally misrepresenting the information they are relaying.
Furthermore, basically every bird is singing a near-identical song—something to the effect of “Mäch Tower may not make it to 2023.” There’s some disagreement on whether or not a final decision has actually been made yet, but basically everyone we have spoken to agrees that very serious conversations about Mäch Tower’s short-term future at the park seem to be taking place.
Talk of Mäch Tower’s demise has not been uncommon throughout its nearly twelve year life. Due to numerous technical issues during construction, the ride failed to open on time and ended up being delayed many months into 2011. Less than a year after its debut, the ride, in the park’s own words, was “closed indefinitely” before reopening following consultation with its manufacturer, Moser Rides.
In the years since, Mäch Tower has been stripped of its special effects—namely its custom on-ride audio and its uniquely-frightening vibration effects. All the while, Moser’s tower has remained notoriously unreliable—experiencing multiple, unplanned, extended closures. If that wasn’t enough, Mäch Tower has also remained consistently unpopular—to the point where Busch Gardens Williamsburg has begun restricting its operating hours to only the busiest times of the day.
There are an abundance of reasons why Busch Gardens Williamsburg would want to remove Mäch Tower—I don’t think you’ll find anyone credible who would deny that. In fact, we’ve spoken to former Busch Gardens Williamsburg maintenance staff who will openly testify that they wish they had been able to burn the ride to the ground themselves. The question though is whether or not it’s actually about to happen. Unfortunately, the best answer we have at the moment is that we don’t know.
We know a lot of credible people are suddenly hearing that it’s very much on the table, but it’s nearly impossible to rule out some degree of circular reporting when dealing with rumors like this. Maybe everyone is just hearing the same thing from the same, incorrect place—that’s certainly a possibility. Maybe the rumored talks are still ongoing and a final decision doesn’t actually exist yet—meaning that a “correct” answer has yet to materialize. Maybe the rumored talks were real, but the park ultimately decided to keep Mäch Tower running for now. We just don’t know.
That said, what we do know is that there’s currently a lot of smoke. At some point, when there’s enough smoke, it seems at least fairly likely that there’s an actual fire somewhere. Sure, there are alternate explanations, but at the very least, it seems like all that smoke is at least worth warning people about, right? It’s something we should be keeping an eye on.
So, ultimately, I don’t know whether or not Mäch Tower will be back in 2023. What I do know though is that if I were a fan of the ride, I’d be making an effort to get some cycles in on it over the next couple months. Even if you just think the bare minimum of this rumor is somewhat likely—that there could be high-level discussions within the park regarding the ride’s near-term future—that’s cause for some real concern in my opinion.
We have seen the reaper come for a fair number of Busch Gardens Williamsburg attractions recently—from Eggery Deggery to Da Vinci’s Cradle to Battle for Eire. As the park’s ambitious expansion plans continue to materialize, don’t be surprised if there are more cuts to perceived “dead weight” on the way.
To the folks who do read what we actually write, sincerely: thank you. It means a lot and I hope you got something worthwhile out of it. If you did and you’d like to see more, reach out on Twitter and/or Facebook—we love chatting with you all. If you’re looking for more in-depth discussion on this specific topic, the ParkFans Mäch Tower thread is the place to be.