Featured Photo #20 – The Coaster with a Cult Following

Editorials and Rants Featured Photos

Raven Roller Coaster - Holiday World

Wikipedia describes a cult following as: a term used to refer to a group of fans who are highly dedicated to a specific area of pop culture. It goes on to define it as a: small but very passionate fan base. I think the term accurately describes coaster enthusiasts love for Holiday World (and years ago) Raven in particular. Before The Voyage brought international attention to the Southern Indiana park, the Raven was a fan favorite. I remember seeing it atop many a top ten list on the message boards back in the day.

However, when I rode Raven back in 2006, I was a bit underwhelmed. I don’t think that my expectations were too high as I knew what to expect. I just didn’t (and still don’t) get the love affair with the ride. I would imagine that the unique terrain ride with a short, but fun trip through the woods scratched old-school woodie fans right where they were itching. And, I’m sure the small enthusiast-friendly amusement park only enhanced the experience.

Don’t get me wrong, Raven is a fun ride that I’m looking forward to riding again someday. Personally, I’d just classify it as a bit overrated. But, on the other hand, an overrated ride couldn’t have happened to a better park. If it’s success helped make Legend and The Voyage possible then I’m not complaining. See more overrated roller coasters.

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of Holiday World’s Raven? What do you think of this photo? What roller coasters or theme parks would you consider as having a cult following? Leave a comment below.

Photos, content, and the most insightful, entertaining, or amusing reader comments from my Photo of the Week posts will be included my new book. Read more about my book project. All images are the property of TheCoasterCritic.com


Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.


  1. Why would you look at Wikipedia for this information?

    • What's wrong with Wikipedia?

    • Wikipedia has information about everything, it's just that you can't always trust the information you get from it.

    • I just pulled the definition from Wikipedia because Dictionary.com didn't have the word 'cult following'. That's the only thing I used Wiki for.

  2. If you want to talk about a coaster with a cult following, a good place to start would be across the park with Voyage. Not passing judgment on the ride, but the level that some of the fanboys are dedicated to it is insane.

  3. When I first rode the Raven 9 years ago, it was an incredible ride. My buddy and I spent the afternoon with the park’s coaster "care giver".(His alleged job title!) I think his name was Jeff and he was wonderful impromptu tour guide, especially behind the scenes. Holiday World hired him away from CCI. He was recovering from a broken arm and couldn't wait to get back to work and fix the so-called glitches only he felt on both The Legend and The Raven. We felt nothing but perfection and both were fast and smooth as butter on hot glass. The air on the Raven’s ravine drop was remarkable, especially in the back seat and almost cartoon like in that we felt like we were a few seconds behind the train itself. We almost literally flew through the woods a couple of dozen times, with that back seat giving up some incredible air.

    I understand Jeff’s moved on, so maybe The Raven is no longer flawless. At the time, however, it certainly topped my very long list of woodies. I'm grateful for the resurgence of the wooden coasters, and now there are quite a few really, really good ones out there. And I also agree that Holiday World staff and management rank very highly in the friendliness and customer service departments. Not just with enthusiasts but overall. They were so nice they were almost scary, in a Stepford like way. Many other parks could take a lesson. And for a small, family-owned park that had no full-size coaster until they built The Raven back in 1995, they’ve managed to hold their own quite nicely with now three great wood woodies.

  4. I've rode the Raven when I went to Holiday World when I was 8 or 9. That was before I became an enthusiast. I got to go on the Legend, but my cousins pulled me into the waterpark before I could ride The Voyage. Then a severe storm swept through the park, and everything shut down!!!!!

  5. I agree that Raven is an amazing coaster but a little bit overrated because Legend is almost the same rided but twice as long.I never understood why Raven is ranked higher than Legend on all the coaster polls.Just like Voyage and Legend are the same type of wood coaster but Voyage is better because it is twice as long!

  6. I think The Raven was so highly rated as it was one of the first really excellent coasters to be built over the last two decades. Even Holiday World kept building better and better coasters with The Voyage topping nearly everyone's North American list. El Toro is almost neck and neck with it. But that's progress. Many parks have bucked the "bigger, taller, faster" trend and have been concentrating on brilliant and unique layouts as well as getting riders to keep their coaster on their favorites list for years to come. The most overated coaster ever is The Beast, which is firmly ensconced as my worst wood coaster for being boring and extremely painful, not to mention subjecting one to that pain for such a lengthy time.

    After the era of the Bill Cobb and Summers & Dinn (i.e. Mean Streak, Hercules, Texas Giant) woodies, smooth and re-rideable was a refreshing change from big and painful. Their basic designs were good (Son of Beast being an exception), but did not age well at all. I do blame a lot of that on poor maintenance as well. I've ridden much older wood coasters that ride like they're almost brand new in comparison. (Hint to parks: Carefully maintain your woodies. A good coaster should have a shelf life much longer than 10-20 years!)

  7. Aren't most of its cult followers night riders? Cause I've heard this thing is 10x better at night. Do you remember how smooth it was?

    • Most rides are 10x better at night, especialy special effect rides and terrain coasters.

  8. Count me as a Raven cult member. I rode it at this year's Holiwood Nights and thought it was even better than I remembered.

    I have always wished it had an air-time hill in the tunnel after the first drop rather than flat track, but other than that I love it.

    I love The Voyage too, but the jack-hammering and more bizarre track sections gives me a headache after a while. The Raven is far more re-ridable.

    I find the Legend's hills lacking except for the double up on the return and the following big drop into the tunnel. The "helix" just does not work right (not like The Beast or Mr. Twister). I will say I have grown to appreciate The Legend more over the years.

  9. Perhaps I am the odd one out but I like the Legend most of all with the Voyage coming in second and the Raven being a distant third (although I'll admit I haven't had one of those night time rides that people talk about).

    I find the rolling hills of The Legend to be just a ton of fun and fitting in very appropriately with the theme (it makes me feel like I am on horseback).

    The Voyage is great but I can only take so much of that before I need a break and I kinda thought the Raven was a little boring.

  10. I'd have to agree with you coaster critic, I went last summer and the ride wasn't as satisfying as The Voyage which left me in awe. Terrain coasters like Boulder Dash are fun, but their wasn't enough airtime or close calls to make it a good terrain coaster.


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