Let's do initial ride reviews here...
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.
Great review. You mentioned the restraints not hindering the coaster's maneuvers - did they tighten during the ride (like on GateKeeper) due to forces? As for the view, I cannot wait to provoke my extreme fear of heights with ride in the front row.
I don't know why people are whining about GK restraints tightening, because I've not experienced that. Valravn pops you out of the seat in the last hill, so I would say the restraints are tip top.
Thanks for the review! Is it smooth like Gatekeeper? On a scale from 1-10 with 10 being Top Thrill terrifying and Woodstock Express being 1, where would you rate it in terms of scare factor? I'm really afraid to go on it, but I think I'll love it. I hate the weightless and unsecured feeling on Skyhawk and I'm afraid that first drop will feel like that.
I thought they fixed Gatekeeper's restraints after the first year?
1999: First visit
Halloweekends- Harvest Fear, Tombstone Terror-Tory
Ride Operations- Professor Delbert’s Frontier Fling
I agree completely with Jeff's review... Fantastic ride, that zero-g is the highlight! More of a "complete" ride than the other B&M dive coasters in the US. The ride plaza and surrounding area is just perfectly executed. Huge fan of the ride, definitely a must ride each visit! After 10 laps today, my favorite seat would be front right followed by back right. I just think that side offers a bit more than the left, but really not a bad seat on the ride. Those views... Unreal. Huge thanks to CP and their amazing staff for hosting the event today.
Photos I took at the event today:
My Park Photography
I certainly appreciate the ride review as well... we cannot wait to ride it on Friday and Saturday! Now, I just have to research the forums to see if fanny packs are permitted on the ride, or if those also require a locker!
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That picture of the station and lift lit up from perimeter road is gorgeous
Best photos of the ride I have seen thus far! Thanks for sharing with us!
I thought they fixed Gatekeeper's restraints after the first year?
The restraints still tighten throughout the ride every time there are intense g-forces.
Fantastic pictures Invertalon. Thanks for sharing.
The Gatekeeper restraints had the tightening issue for only part of its first season. It was resolved by Halloweekends and is not something I have experienced or read about on either Banshee or Thunderbird. So you are either unlucky in your seat choice or are mistaking the entire restraint tightening versus just the vest.Last edited by Chuck Wagon, Thursday, May 5, 2016 12:36 AM
-- Chuck Wagon --
aka Pagoda Gift Shop
Yeah, the Gatekeeper vests are fine and do not tighten anymore.
I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks,
than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.
I believe what TPP is asking is: "Does the part of the restraint that functions as a lap bar tighten during the ride?" In other words, are your legs pinned to the seat by the end of the ride? I do have this issue on Banshee.
The original issue with the GK restraints - that during the ride the vests would retract/tighten and lock - was fixed.
However, there is another small issue (not so much an issue as an unavoidable characteristic of hydraulic lap bars), wherein the lap bar will close a bit more during the ride's more intense positive-G moments (the bottom of the first drop for example), and will of course remain in that tighter position for the remainder of the ride.
That the vests no longer lock alleviates this enough that it's not a big deal, in my opinion. But it still can result in being stapled into the seat by the time you hit the brake run.
Those are beautiful photos; thank you for sharing them with us. Looks like CP nailed the layout and integration big time!
Coaster Addict Dwayne said:
Now, I just have to research the forums to see if fanny packs are permitted on the ride, or if those also require a locker!
According to an image I saw from media day on WKYC's website, they are permitted, however, glasses require an athletic strap.
That's exactly what I was asking. Thanks for rewording that.
While Gatekeeper is my favorite ride at CP, and I ride it at least 30 times per year, I do have a couple of issues with the restraints. Firstly, the lap bar does get tighter if I don't push forward on it, especially where positive g's are strongest. Secondly, the vests constantly pull down on my collar bones. Fortunately, if I get stuck waiting for the hosts to finish cleaning up the puke in the station, I can push up on the vests to keep them from digging into my collar bones. Unfortunately, if I let the restraint get tighter on my lap, I must wait until they unlock them to alleviate the discomfort it can cause.
So, to say there is no issue with them is not quite accurate for everyone. I will still take them, any day, over the Raptor or Rougarou headbangers.
Valravn is the perfect addition to CP. like Jeff said, I was expecting SheiKra, and got so much more. It's heavy on the G's, but still and easy ride to ride.
When I first walked off, my first thought was "I freaking love it"
Steve, your pictures are wonderful as usual. Thanks for sharing.
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