American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) recognizes The Raven at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation reserved for rides of historic significance.
In an age when corporate theme parks were building larger and faster roller coasters to attract guests, Holiday World president Will Koch (1961-2010) decided that a modest-sized traditional wooden roller coaster would be a perfect addition for the smaller, family-owned theme park. In 1994, he commissioned Custom Coasters Incorporated (CCI) of Cincinnati, Ohio, to design and build a ride for the Halloween section of the park. CCI engineers Larry Bill and Dennis McNulty were the lead designers for the coaster, utilizing the park's natural terrain to create what became a masterpiece of thrills along its relatively short 2,800 feet of track.
Amusement Business editor Tim O'Brien suggested The Raven as the name for the new coaster, after Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem. To fit the Halloween theme of the land, the station was built to resemble a Victorian-era haunted house. The coaster's lift hill peaks at 80 feet in height, while the largest drop at 85 feet is possible because of the natural topography. Reaching a top speed of 48 mph, The Raven also features a thrilling midcourse swoop turn over the park's Lake Rudolph.
Opening to the public on May 6, 1995, The Raven quickly became the park's signature ride and soared to the top of many coaster enthusiasts' "Top Ten" lists. The success of The Raven led other independent and family-owned parks throughout the country to install their own traditional wooden coasters. Its addition proved that an exciting wooden coaster of even modest size could still place a park in the national spotlight.
ACE salutes Holiday World for building The Raven, the first of three world-class wooden roller coasters for the park, and for inspiring other amusement parks to include the traditional thrills of a wooden coaster in their lineup.
Presented by American Coaster Enthusiasts
During Coaster Con XXXIX
June 23, 2016