Cedar Point, which refers to itself as "The Roller Coaster Capital of the World," certainly has a lot of coasters. Thrill machine number 17 -- 17! -- will be different from the rest. Valravn is now open. It takes passengers up well over 200 foot and dangle them just over the edge of a vertical drop. Then it lets them hang there...and hang there.
And for good measure: hang there.
Valravn Up-Front Info
- Coaster type: Floorless dive coaster
- Top speed: 75 mph
- Height: 223 feet
- Drop: 214 feet
- Angle of descent: 90 degrees
- Ride manufacturer: Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M)
This Ride Will Take Your breath Away
There are two similar rides in the U.S., Griffon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and SheiKra at Busch Gardens Tampa. Known as "dive coasters," Valravn will essentially be the same as its counterparts at the Busch parks, although it will boast slightly better stats. It will be a few feet taller, drop about an additional 10 feet, and rev up a few extra miles per hour.
Based on my other dive coaster experiences, I'll be expecting great things from Valravn. I rate Griffon and Sheikra among the best steel coasters in North America.
Here's what you can expect. Riders will board unusually wide 24-passenger trains that will seat eight across in three rows. The floorless trains will be stripped bare: no fronts, no sides, and no -- you guessed it -- floors. The front row will leave passengers feeling particularly exposed.
The trains will climb a 223-foot lift hill, take a slow, 180-degree "carousel" turn at the nosebleed height, head toward the 90-degree (as in straight down), 214-foot drop, nudge over the precipice, and come to a heart-stopping halt. This is the signature element of a dive coaster. Passengers will stare straight down Valravn's considerable drop for a full four seconds to ponder what will be coming next. If that doesn't seem all that long, try counting to four slowly, and imagine that you are dangling 223 feet in the air. What will be coming next? A take-your-breath-away descent that will hit 75 mph.
That will be followed by a 165-foot-tall "Immelman" loop that will invert the train and send it racing in the other direction. It will soar up, be momentarily slowed by a mid-course brake run, and then race down a near-vertical 131-foot second drop (this time with no hang time at the top).
Before returning to the station, the Cedar Point newbie coaster will deliver three more notable elements: a dive loop, which will send riders head over heels for a second time, a 270-degree roll, which will invert the train and its passengers a third time, and a small airtime hill. Except for the final element, the coaster won't offer much in the way of butt-lifting airtime. Dive coasters are more about the two dive drops and the acrobatics.
The park, in a fit of self-congratulatory PR puffery, is claiming that its new ride will break 10 world records. I break down the claims in my article, "Will Cedar Point's Valravn Coaster Really Break 10 Records?"
It's a Loooooooong Way Down
It'll be quite a dive. This is a view of the first drop from the ground. There will be plenty of nervous laughter and flop-sweat anticipation among passengers as the train hangs over the edge. And there will be plenty of screams as the train finally plunges down.
Up next: Terrifying Loop
Coming out of the first drop, riders will navigate a huge loop. The open, floorless trains will make the loop all the more terrifying.
Up next: Two Dives. No Waiting.
Two Dives. No Waiting.
The second drop, at a "mere" 131 feet, will be nearly vertical. There will be no hesitation as the trains soar over the edge and plummet down.
Up next: Dive Loop
The dive coaster's second inversion will be, appropriately enough, a "dive" loop.
Up next: Cedar Point's New Skyline
Cedar Point's New Skyline
The new ride will take its place among the park's coaster-filled skyline. Take a virtual ride on Valravn. Cedar Point has developed two preview videos:
- Point-of-view video
- Birdseye view video