by Andrew Rybarczyk
This week much has been discussed about the new trademark filing, Valravn for Cedar fair. It has led to a fury of discussion and debate about what the name might be used for if anything at all. First, let’s look at what a “valravn” actually is. The term originates from Danish folklore and is described as a raven that scours a battlefield consuming the bodies of fallen knights and soldiers. Another cool aspect of the mythology is that a valravn can actually assume the form of a knight after consuming the heart of a child. Pretty graphic right? It can also take other forms such as a half wolf creature. Overall, I think it’s a pretty cool name, but what is it going to be used for? I’ve compiled a list of possibilities, some far-fetched, some a more of a possibility. So let’s take a look at what this might be
Cedar Fair over the last few years has been transforming the front gates of its parks. Cedar Point was first with the amazing GateKeeper flyover. This year, it was Fury 325 with the dive under the new entrance. Valravn could do this for another park but would probably have to be unique. We know that a dive coaster is rumored for Cedar Point, but what if it’s not for Cedar Point but rather its neighbor to the north, Canada’s Wonderland? A dive coaster into the center of the plaza would be a spectacle for sure. Now this by itself might not be a longshot, but what if last year’s hot rumor of Centurion actually comes true? What if Canada’s Wonderland not only gets one coaster but two? A Centurion vs Valravn dueling coaster that interacts would really up the ante for a park that has a lot of coasters but only a few really top notch coasters. A new wing coaster and a new dive coaster with interactive elements could make Canada’s Wonderland the top park in North America.
Dark rides are all the rage at Cedar Fair with Matt Ouimet stating that all the parks would be getting a dark ride sometime in the future. Every one of the dark rides thus far have a central enemy such as the Dragon at Wonder Mountain or the steampunk octopus in Voyage to the Iron Reef. The valravn described in mythology fits this description as a pretty cool baddy. The question is what park might it fit in? My first thoughts go to Kings Island or Kings Dominion. Drawing of the medieval feel of the story could fit with the parks name. Yes, I know it’s a bit of a stretch but is it any more of stretch than Voyage to the Iron Reef? A medieval theme for a dark ride could be a really fun topic to explore.
Even though most people are focusing on the possibility of a coaster, it could also be used for haunt. This is less likely due to the language of the filed trademark that states for amusement rides, but also for various merchandise. The valravn and battlefield theme could work as a pretty cool haunt. Imagine an ancient warzone with raven screeches and special effect attacks. You could also pull in the various incarnations of the valravn including the knight and wolf as the haunt progresses.
The easiest answer is that Valravn will be connected to the oft rumored Cedar Point dive coaster. The imagery created by the valravn diving to the battlefield to eat the bodies of the fallen is perfect for a B&M dive coaster. The minute I heard the name and read what it was, Sheikra at Busch Gardens Tampa immediately came to mind. If placed at Cedar Point, Valravn would fit nicely with not only the area but the recent additions. Two years ago, GateKeeper introduced the character of the guardian that has been thoroughly promoted and merchandised. Rougarou this year introduced another new mythical character into the Cedar Point lineup. Valravn would continue this trend. The area also provides an interesting situation as well with the coaster being placed right next to the old bird, Raptor. One would assume that the entrance to the new dive coaster would be located right next to the iconic Cobra Roll of Raptor. In addition, if painted the right color, Valravn and Raptor could be a great complement to each other. A black and purple color scheme would be striking next to the green Raptor. Add in a few grave stones or battlefield landscapes and you could have a very awesome experience. On top of that, you could even add the old Fear Faire haunt to travel under Valravn and have theming that can be kept up all year and heavily utilized during the haunt season. I was skeptical at first of the idea of a dive coaster but if themed correctly it could be a real hit for the park.
So those are my major ideas of what Valravn could be. Obviously its pure speculation at this point and there could be a number of different other possibilities. In fact, it might just be a red herring that is never acted upon by anyone. Overall, I think Valravn is a pretty cool name with a backstory that could lead to some pretty interesting concepts being integrated. Hopefully, when we finally find out what Valravn is, it’s just as good if not better than what we are currently envisioning.
By Dwain Sponseller
I have always imagined what it would have been like to travel the high seas on a ship made from just the timbers of an oak tree in the 1600s. We may have the modern technologies today, but a trip to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana can get you pretty close in a modernistic fashion. This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Thunderbird Media Day Preview and I want to tell you a little bit about the day.
Hundreds of media and coaster enthusiasts arrived at the park around 6:00am on Thursday morning. I had decided to travel to Louisville and stay the night and get up early Thursday and arrive at the park. For the second year in a row, media day turns out to be one of the coldest mornings of the spring. At a temperature of 35 degrees, I was happy I had brought my jacket alongside. We arrived at the gate where they had us alphabetized. The ride auction winners were escorted back first and then they escorted the rest of us back. The three woodies were quiet and greeting us on this beautiful Indiana morning. After the long trek to the back of the park, we finally arrived at the magnificent orange colored track and elegant ride station. There were park employees there to greet us and breakfast was laid out for us to partake in. (I will get back to the food later in this blog) We began the festivities with an opening ceremony from Koch family and the president. We counted down the launch to the first ride and watched as she sped down the first piece of track.
The ride was then opened for everyone to ride and we took our first rides on the first ever launched wing coaster in the country. This seems like a good place to give my review of the ride. Let me first state that the queue line and ride station is excellent. The station is made to look old and barn like which fits in with the cornfield landscape of the area. There is a silo on the outside of the station that is actually the elevator for the ride. When boarding a train, the train in front prepares for launch and the sound effects of thunder and the flashing lights make it feel like a thunderstorm. The train creeps out to the launch pad and then the fog surrounds and out you go. The ride is short but powerful. My favorite part of this coaster is the launch. This is by far the smoothest wing coaster I have ridden. The transitions are flawless and the coaster is one that you can re-ride over and over again. The restraints are your normal B&M wing type and the greatest thing is the harness does not lock. After riding the coaster in every seat, my favorite seat is the front right outside seat, but many like the left side for the near miss effects in the ride interaction building. Overall this coaster ranks very high on my list because of the overall smoothness and re-ridabilty.
I want to now take this time to truly thank the people of Holiday World for the hospitality and kindness throughout the entire day. They went above and beyond to make everyone at media day feel welcome and satisfied. I want to take this time as well to talk about the food and things were given throughout the entire day. Unlike many media days that last just a couple of hours, this media day lasted all day and was ripe full of activities for everyone. When we arrived at the ride, they had laid out a breakfast that was fit for a king. They had orange juice and all the fountain drinks that we are accustomed to all day long at Holiday World. They had fresh cinnamon rolls with crème cheese icing that was to die for. They also had in house made breakfast sandwiches that were piping hot. They wheeled out coffee and hot chocolate for everyone as well and this was only the beginning. Thunderbird and Voyage were open all morning and you could ride as many times as you wanted on both world class coasters.
When it was lunch time, we were treated to an unbelievable feast of BBQ pulled pork, country fried steak, and all the fixens. There was even a delectable pecan cobbler for dessert. After lunch, the park resumed rides on Thunderbird and the backstage tours of the ride began. We were able to go into the belly of the ride and get pictures and video from different angles that aren’t normally allowed. One of the best moments of the trip was the opening of the Raven and Legend roller coasters as now we were able to experience the entire plethora of wood and steel the park had to offer. Normally the media day would end here, but not at Holiday World. They kept Thunderbird open until everyone was tired of the ride. We were offered a dinner inside of the Plymouth Rock Café that consisted of Pizza and dinner wraps. We also were able to sample the new Thunderbird ice cream throughout the day.
In closing I just want to say once again how thankful I am for this opportunity to represent COASTER-net at Thunderbird Media Day. The people at Holiday World are world class and their park is evidence of that. The park was able to raise a ton of money for Give Kids the World and it was great to be a part of that as always. If you are preparing for a trip to a world class place with world class coasters…make sure you add Holiday World to your list. May the Queue Lines Be Ever In Your Favor!
by Daniel Westfall
I go to many Media Days around the country, and hands-down I have to say that SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the chain that owns all the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Parks theme parks as well as Water Country USA and Aquatica water parks is one of the best in terms of hosting these events.
The first thing to say about this is that every employee is happy to have you there. From the parking attendants that make sure you know where to go to the VIP escorts who are there to make sure you have every question answered and that you get everything you need, to the designers and park executives that make themselves available to all the media for easy access and provide great information.
As with most rides there is a strict "no lose articles" policy on this ride, and lockers are provided nearby, but unlike most rides, fanny packs are also provided by the park for riders to put small lose articles in (keys, a phone or a wallet) where you may not want to rent a locker just to stash these items. The fanny packs don't interfere with the restraints, which is really a lap-bar only system with a "comfort collar" that I will explain. The "comfort collar" is there simply for your "comfort" that you have something over your shoulders holding you it, though it is not really part of the restraint system. The straps are fairly lose and do not give any of the feeling of either the "child-lock vests" we had on wing-riders or the "head-banging" issues we had with traditional OTSR restraints.
It was my experience that the ride is most intense in the front row. Here you will experience the most extreme g-forces as you get pulled out of your seat through several negative-g and zero-g elements. Those preferring a bit tamer ride should ride in the middle of the coaster where you still get a lot of thrills, but a much smoother ride and better chance of being able to "re-ride."