by NICK BUCHANAN
Known for its boundary-pushing innovations to craft bigger and better roller coasters, the self-proclaimed “Roller Coaster Capital of the World” is back at it again.
Meet Valravn, Cedar Point’s newest planned addition. The ride was announced on Aug. 9 through a live-streamed media event as the world’s largest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in the world. Boasting a 223-foot tall lift hill, a top speed of 75 miles per hour, and a vertical drop of 214 feet, Valravn will break ten world records when it opens at the start of the park’s 2016 operating season. It will also allow Cedar Point to regain the record for the most rides offered in one amusement park (72 attractions in total).
Cedar Point has a record-breaking history: 10 of the park’s 16 operating roller coasters broke at least one record at the time of their maiden rides. Perhaps most notably, the park was the first to break the 200-feet, 300-feet, and 400-feet height barriers with Magnum XL-200, Millennium Force, and Top Thrill Dragster, respectively.
“When we talk to our guests, that’s what they expect from us. They want rides that are bigger and better than they’re going to get anywhere else in the world,” said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of the park, during the event. “We look forward to adding to this skyline with another ride that’s going to be the tallest, fastest, and longest of its kind.”
Dive coasters are relatively unheard of; Valravn will be the third of its kind in the United States. Manufactured by Swiss industry giant Bolliger & Mabillard, dive coasters are set apart from other breeds of roller coasters by the angle and intensity of their initial drops.
“Right at the apex, this roller coaster will perch and hold, and wait in anticipation to drop,” said Rob Decker, senior vice president of planning and design for Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. “It’s that freefall that we’re after. We want your stomach to be able to flip three times before you [take a] 90 degree freefall drop.”
The announcement of the ride was accompanied by the unveiling of Cedar Point’s first “virtual experience.” In the embedded YouTube video below, viewers can take a virtual ride on the animated rendering of the ride. While watching the video, viewers can also tilt the camera 360 deg. to completely immerse themselves in a panoramic, life-like experience. The video can also be accessed by a special app that can be downloaded by iPhone and Android users.
The ride’s announcement was originally slated for Aug. 18, but was postponed after the Aug. 13 death of one of the park’s guests. The 45-year-old guest entered a restricted, fenced-off area under the Raptor suspended roller coaster to retrieve items that he lost while on the ride, where he was struck and killed by one of the roller coaster’s trains. The incident was investigated and the ride has since reopened.
Cedar Point, America’s second-oldest amusement park with history dating back to 1870, sits just one hour away from Tiffin University’s campus in Sandusky, OH. Though it operates seven days a week during the summer, it is open only on weekends now through Nov. 1. The park’s annual HalloWeekends, which adds haunted houses and attractions to the park’s normal lineup, will run from Sept. 18 through Oct. 31.
Tickets can be bought at the gate or online at https://www.cedarpoint.com/tickets/. More information and updates on Valravn can be found at https://valravn.cedarpoint.com/.