Does Cedar Point's Valravn Coaster Really Break 10 Records?

Setting the Record Straight

The amusement industry has a long and checkered history when it comes to slinging hype. In an effort to promote its latest rides, create buzz, and drive attendance, parks may resort to hucksterism that borders on (or occasionally lapses into) deception. See my article, "A Lotta Water," which details conflicting claims about who has the largest indoor water parks, for some examples.

When it comes to roller coasters, parks can pour on the dubious claims. Every year, it seems, they brag about opening the fastest roller coaster, the tallest roller coaster, or attach some other superlative to their latest (and invariably greatest) thrill machine. But they can't all be the fastest. Or can they?

Parks sometimes resort to finessing their claims with qualifications to justify the superlatives. Take Cedar Point for example. Opened in 2016, Valravn is the park's 17th coaster. By all accounts (including mine), it is a wonderful ride. Read a review of Valravn.

Cedar Point claims that...MORE the coaster breaks 10 world records. Technically, it is correct. But the records that Valravn break are quite specific. Casual fans may not know enough about the industry to fully understand what the park is claiming. The mainstream media may not report all of the details to provide the context for the records. The result is that misleading or incorrectly reported claims may go unchallenged.

Let's deconstruct Cedar Point's 10 world record claims for Valravn and put them into context.

  • 01 of 10

    Tallest Dive Coaster

    Valravn - Preview of drop from ground on Cedar Point's 2016 Roller Coaster
    ••• Cedar Point. Used with permission.

    At 223 feet, Valravn is the world's tallest dive coaster, and it is plenty tall. But the qualification is "dive coaster." It is a specific type of ride. Designed by Swiss manufacturer, Bolliger & Mabillard, a dive coaster refers to a ride that features a tall, vertical first drop. Its trains hang over the edge of the drop and pause before diving down.

    Dive coasters are great rides, and I rate two of them among the best steel coasters in North America. That's why I have great expectations for Valravn. There are currently nine dive coasters in the world. A few of them approach or exceed 200 feet. The Cedar Point ride will best them, but not by a heckuva lot.

    Compared to all roller coasters, Valravn's height doesn't come close to breaking any records. Two of Cedar Point's own coasters, Millennium Force (310 feet) and Top Thrill Dragster (420 feet) handily beat it. The world's tallest coaster, at 456 feet, is currently Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great...MORE Adventure. There are plans to build an even taller one, the 570-foot Skyscraper in Florida. Read more about the tallest roller coasters in the world.

  • 02 of 10

    Fastest Dive Coaster

    Valravn - Preview of second drop on Cedar Point's 2016 Roller Coaster
    ••• Cedar Point. Used with permission.

    Again, the specification is dive coaster. Valravn hits 75 mph, which is quite fast and is surely thrilling. But Top Thrill Dragster, with its rip-roaring hydraulic launch, accelerates to 120 mph. The world's fastest coaster, Formula Rossa at Ferrari World, goes 149 mph. Yikes! Griffon, a dive coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, reaches a top speed of 71 mph. Read more about the world's fastest roller coasters.

  • 03 of 10

    Longest Dive Coaster

    Valravn - Preview of the layout for Cedar Point's 2016 Roller Coaster
    ••• Cedar Point. Used with permission.

    At 3,415 feet, Valravn is the longest dive coaster, but it isn't really all that long by coaster standards. It is less than half as long as another Ohio coaster, The Beast at King's Island. The world's longest coaster, Steel Dragon 2000, crushes the record at 8,133 feet. Another dive coaster, SheiKra at Busch Gardens Tampa, is 3,188 feet long. Read more about the world's longest roller coasters.

  • 04 of 10

    Most Inversions on a Dive Coaster

    Valravn - Preview of second inversion on Cedar Point's 2016 Roller Coaster
    ••• Cedar Point. Used with permission.

    Valravn includes three inversions. That's not a whole lot of inversions. The dive coaster Griffon offers two. By comparison, Gatekeeper at Cedar Point has six upside-down inversions. With an astonishing 14 inversions, the current world's record holder is Smiler at Alton Towers in the UK.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Longest Drop on a Dive Coaster

    Valravn - Preview of Cedar Point 2016 Roller Coaster Dive
    ••• Thjis is what is will look like as passengers hang over the edge of Valravn's first drop. Cedar Point

    A coaster's longest drop is generally tied to its height. Again, the record here is for dive coasters. And again, for all the reasons I cite in the tallest dive coaster above, Valravn's 214-foot drop is long, but considerably shorter than many of the world's tallest coasters.

  • 06 of 10

    Highest Inversion on a Dive Coaster

    Valravn - Preview of Immelman loop from ground on Cedar Point's 2016 Roller Coaster

    The 165-foot "Immelman" loop on Valravn is quite tall. But the highest inversion record to which Cedar Point is laying claim is specifically for dive coasters.

  • 07 of 10

    Most Roller Coasters Taller Than 200 Feet at One Amusement Park

    Cedar Point coaster winter pictures
    ••• Arthur Levine 2005. Licensed to About.com

    Valravn brings the total number of coasters that soar 200 feet or taller at Cedar Point to five. That is quite impressive. By the way, the park introduced the first coaster to reach the 200-foot milestone, Magnum XL-200, in 1989.

    With 17 coasters in all, Cedar Point is second only to Six Flags Magic Mountain (which has 19 thrill machines) for the park with the most coasters in the world. Cedar Point says that Valravn is its 18th coaster. What's up with that? It probably considers Gemini, a twin-track racing coaster, to be two rides. Read more about the theme parks with the most number of coasters.

  • 08 of 10

    Most Rides at One Amusement Park

    With 72 rides, which includes coasters (although that's probably counting Gemini as two rides), Cedar Point certainly has a bounty. I could be wrong, but I believe that without counting Valravn, the park already held the record for most number of rides.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Most Steel Roller Coaster Track at One Amusement Park

    Cedar Point coaster winter pictures
    ••• Arthur Levine 2005. Licensed to About.com

    Cedar Point says that Valravn brings its total steel coaster track to 9.9 miles. I guess some of its coasters are longer than the ones at Six Flags Magic Mountain, which has more steel coasters.

  • 10 of 10

    Most Roller Coaster Track at One Amusement Park

    Cedar Point coaster winter pictures
    ••• Arthur Levine 2005. Licensed to About.com

    By tossing in its wooden coasters, Cedar Point says it has 11.4 miles of total coaster track. See number 9 above.