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 Review of Raven @ Holiday World
2 Rating Posted by: PhantomNik on 1/9/2008 3:04:00 PM
Once upon a May night glistening, while I in this park were listening,
To the screams that rose above the distant trees galore –
The park was empty, it was later, but the sounds of glee grew greater,
Sounds of many coaster people dropping to the forest floor.
"A wooden marvel", I declared, "giving great rides ever more:
Must be Raven, I am sure!"

And so ends my brief poetic dabbling, as I’m not about to continue the rhyming and butchering of Poe’s classic. Besides, with Timberman’s classic gem posted below, I know I wouldn’t be able to come up with something that good! During my trip out to Holiday World last May, I had the distinct pleasure to experience their triple threat of coaster greatness. There was Voyage, which became my new #1 overall coaster, The Legend, which wowed me with its frantic pacing and twister action, and then Raven, the modest black bird that perches itself off to the side of the park’s entrance plaza. Raven, to some, might look just like an average wooden coaster, as nothing jumps out with it or causes a jaw-dropping reaction like its mighty brother in the Thanksgiving section. Yet, I assure you, this bird packs a ton of wallop into its rather modest structure!

From the ground, the only real views of Raven which are visible are from the parking lot. And even then, it’s pretty clear that this could be one top coaster, as much of what you can see is still partially masked by some very dense foliage. I am a very big fan of coasters like this, which interact well with rather undisturbed nature around it. As we departed the car and went towards the front gate, I was very intrigued by what parts of Raven I could see – and even more intrigued by the parts I could not. A rather large sign adorns the side of Raven’s lift hill, right by the park entrance, proudly displaying the #1 status the coaster had shortly after its opening. Hmmm, I thought, would this coaster, like the Phoenix, be one of those gems that hides all of its glorious surprises from the rider until they hop aboard? Or is this "fowl" exactly that, reeking of disappointment? There’s only one way to find out!

There’s something simple and wonderful about the look of all the Holiday World woodies, especially the Raven. No flash, just the simple beauty of the wooden structure, topped off with vibrant and colorful flags as riders approach the ride’s apex. Sitting comfortably in the Halloween section of the park, Raven hugs the outer edge of the park, eagerly awaiting to take riders on a dash through the woods. The entry to the queue is perfectly done, with stately brick pillars supporting a hauntingly simple black metal arch sporting the coaster’s name. Just like the poem, it has this spooky look to it without being scary. The queue heads up some stairs through the station house made to look like an old spooky house, which is an equally nice touch. After a very minimal wait thanks to an equally enthusiastic and efficient ride crew, I hopped aboard Raven in the very last row, with simply no idea of the tremendous ride that awaited me.

After departing the station and ducking down below the brake run, the train hit the lift hill, with trees all around. I was filled with excitement as Raven leveled out at the top of the lift and slowly glided towards the first drop. It was at that point when this mighty bird took over this journey! As though we were a raven swooping down on unsuspecting prey, the coaster whipped and nose-dived down the amazing first drop. This 110 foot plummet is surprising, as you dive underground into a perfectly placed tunnel. The drop itself is incredible, and I was ejected from my seat for the entire drop from the back row! Two more nice hills follow, with more blissful airtime bursts, especially in the back. Then this bird kicks into overdrive and the real fun begins!! The coaster then does an excellent banked curve over Lake Rudolph, and you really can feel the G’s at that moment

Review Comments

shag9004 on 1/9/2008 6:28:35 PM said:
Awesome review. You consistently give us some of the best reviews on this site and this one is no exception. I can definitely see giving this superb little coaster a 10. Its proof that you dont have to have the tallest, fastest, or longest ride in the world to have a great caoster. Thanks again!!
Timberman on 1/9/2008 10:41:07 PM said:
As ever, a thoughtful, detailed, and well-written review, this time with a bit of poetic flare to boot! I didnt feel cheated by any of my rides on the Raven, but clearly this is a ride that has to be ridden at night in order to experience the full effect. I will definitely have to make that a priority. This little coaster is a marvel, and one of the very best, in my opinion, of any size.
shag9004 on 1/13/2008 6:00:56 PM said:
People normally line up to ride the back but Im telling you, my front seat ride in the pitch black dark right before the park closed was a definite 10 and one of the best experiences I have ever had on any coaster. The airtime is not as prevalent, but flying through the woods with the wind flying unimpeded into your face is a great feeling.
psu_dude on 1/15/2008 3:46:58 PM said:
I simply must find a way to get to this park. Their wooden coasters sound awesome, and this one especially sounds like a unique experience. Once again, this is a masterpiece of a review by one of, if not the, premier reviewers we have here on the site. Tremendous review!
ginzo on 1/15/2008 5:53:20 PM said:
^Be sure to stop by Indiana Beach if you head out that way. I think Indiana Beach is a better overall experience than Holiday World. Though Holiday World does have an absurdly good water park for its size and location.
PhantomNik on 1/16/2008 5:40:13 PM said:
^^^I must add that I did take 2 of my spins in the very front, with one of those being in pitch black darkness, and the slight decrease in airtime was made up for by the breakneck pacing and blitzing feeling of speed as we tore through the woods. Of my 8 total rides, that one ranked #1, so I can totally agree with what youre saying shag! I had tears streaming down my face when we hit the brakes, and it was just an incredible ride!

As for Indiana Beach, that is certainly on my to-do list when it comes to cool looking parks. Their setup looks amazing, and Cornball sounds like one heck of a great coaster! Now add in Steel Hawg, and this place is looking better and better! Quick question though, can you actually stay on that pier? Their site looks like there are hotels right by the park on their beach.

shag9004 on 1/16/2008 10:20:12 PM said:
I know its all been said before, but it is amazing that such a small coaster can pack such a punch. The back seat is totally insane when you hit the 60 foot drop in the middle of the ride. But like I told you, that front seat ride at night was pretty much a perfect 10 for me. I have ridden the front in daytime and the effect is not quite the same but still good.

Ive never been to Indiana Beach. I guess I need to make it a point to get there this summer, huh?

ginzo on 1/17/2008 9:18:31 AM said:
^^PhantomNik, Indiana Beach does have hotels right in the park.


However, Im not sure that theyre worth it. I think they book up pretty fast, and arent exactly the nicest looking places. You might try the Pinewood Inn, which is much cheaper and right next to the park. If youre looking for more upscale accommodations, there is Best Western up the street a few miles.
psu_dude on 1/21/2008 12:24:22 PM said:
^That comment makes my eyes hurt reading it! Way too much "chat shorthand" for my liking. But anyway, if you read the review its pretty clear that Raven is a wooden coaster, and there are no loops on it. Im not sure what ride you are thinking of. In fact, Im not sure of a lot of things after trying to decipher that gibberish! LOL
PhantomNik on 1/23/2008 10:34:41 AM said:
While your posts are somewhat difficult to sift through, I do believe that you are thinking of RAPTOR at Cedar Point in Ohio. That coaster is inverted (you "hang" from the track), it is green and it has many loops/inversions. Its name is somewhat close to Raven, but Raven is a wooden coaster at Holiday World, which is in Indiana. Hope that helps, and welcome to the site.
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