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