I decided with only a few weeks to go to fly up to Cleveland for the Valravn media day at Cedar Point. I ended up not going up to Carowinds last year for the Fury 325 opening and regretted it, so I wasn't going to make that mistake twice. Unfortunately, I don't think the rest of the family will make it up there this year, because our big Alaska cruise is going to be epic, and epic in cost.
In any case, here's what I posted on PointBuzz:
I had my first laps on Wednesday, for the media preview. Once I got beyond the extreme green glow of the Raptor lift at 4:45 a.m., I was impressed with the scope and size of Valravn in real life. It's quite a bit more impressive than any photo can really show.
From a design standpoint, this is the evolution that you would probably expect for the dive coaster category. While I imagined it wouldn't be vastly different than Shiekra at Busch Tampa, I was pleasantly surprised. Here's the thing... the taller drop is, obviously, longer. It's probably only a fraction of a second, but it just seems to drop forever. It's fantastic. If you're sitting in the back, it tosses you out of the seat and seems to hold you just away from the train. It doesn't feel like any other first drop.
The other thing that impressed me is the forces in the first two pull-outs. If you're standing in the middle of it all, you can appreciate that these are fairly compact, and presumably that's what makes them feel as extreme as they do. G junkies will love it.
After the second vertical drop, it's the roll that I found extraordinary. I'm not sure how they did it, but this is the perfect floater roll, and it seems perfect in any seat of the giant trains. It was totally unexpected. The airtime hill also doesn't mess around, with some pretty solid air. The restraints do not impact these moments at all.
The left and right ends of the train offer different experiences. While the right will pop your heels over head in the first inversion, the left does that for the roll. Front offers easily the best visual on any coaster ever (you can literally see the entire park), the back has that crazy push out of the seat on the vertical drops. I can't pick a favorite. They're all good in different ways.
I can't give enough credit to the design team for the way they integrated the ride, the new walkways, the marina gate, into one beautiful and consistent package. While the views from the main midway are certainly impressive, walking into the area from either end is the most visually interesting thing in the park since Corkscrew.
I think the ride will be a huge hit in a park that seemed to have it all. I bet it will be good for Blue Streak traffic, too.