The Beast (roller coaster)

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The Beast
The Beast's lift hill and brake run
Kings Island
Park section Rivertown
Coordinates 39°20′25″N 84°15′58″W / 39.3402°N 84.2660°W / 39.3402; -84.2660Coordinates: 39°20′25″N 84°15′58″W / 39.3402°N 84.2660°W / 39.3402; -84.2660
Status Operating
Opening date April 14, 1979 (1979-04-14)
Cost USD$4,000,000
General statistics
Type Wood – Sit Down
Manufacturer Kings Island
Designer Al Collins, Jeff Gramke, John C. Allen
Track layout Terrain
Lift/launch system 2 Chain lift hills
Height 110 ft (34 m)
Drop 141 ft (43 m)
Length 7,359 ft (2,243 m)
Speed 64.78 mph (104.25 km/h)
Inversions 0
Duration 4:10
Max vertical angle 45°
Capacity 1,200 riders per hour
G-force 3.6
Height restriction 48 in (122 cm)
Trains 3 trains with 6 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 3 rows for a total of 36 riders per train.
Fast Lane Plus only available
The Beast at RCDB
Pictures of The Beast at RCDB

The Beast is a wooden roller coaster located at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio. When it opened in the spring of 1979 in the Rivertown section of the park, it was the longest, tallest, and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world.[1] It is still the longest wooden roller coaster[2] lasting more than four minutes and sprawling over 35 acres (14 ha).

The Beast has been consistently rated as one of the top roller coasters in the world since its debut, having earned a solid reputation among coaster enthusiasts. Even after more than 30 years, it remains one of the main attractions at Kings Island that has accommodated over 45 million riders, third-most at the park.[3]


Originally, the park wanted to re-build a replica of the Shooting Star roller coaster previously located at Cincinnati's Coney Island. Cincinnati's Coney Island was the predecessor to Kings Island and the Shooting Star was immensely popular at the park until the ride was demolished in 1971. The original idea to rebuild the Shooting Star was back-burnered in favor of a terrain coaster utilizing the park's natural wooded hills. The Shooting Star was indeed rebuilt, but not at Kings Island. A replica was constructed at Canada's Wonderland called the Mighty Canadian Minebuster.

The Beast opened on April 14, 1979 as the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster in the world.[4] It is often credited as the first modern-day wooden coaster to generate a marketing campaign. From elaborate animated commercials to countless television spots, the ride became famous worldwide. Because so many people have heard about The Beast, it is one of the most well-known roller coasters in the world. Charlie Dinn, Kings Island’s Director of Construction, Maintenance, and Engineering at the time, spearheaded the The Beast's construction project. Dinn later formed his own construction firm, Dinn Corporation, in 1982 that went on to build ten more notable coasters across the country. The firm eventually became Custom Coasters International.[5]

The Beast originally featured three underground tunnels. By its second season the second and third underground tunnels had been enclosed into one long one so that an access road could be built. Also after its first season, an enclosed tunnel structure was built over the double helix.

In 2000, the park opened the Son of Beast, a "sequel" to The Beast. Son of Beast was the tallest, fastest wooden roller coaster, and until 2006 was the only looping wooden coaster in the world. The loop was removed after the 2006 season for maintenance reasons following an accident.[6] It was also the second longest wooden roller coaster, designed so that The Beast retained its longest wooden roller coaster record.[7] Son of Beast closed in 2009 following another incident, and in July 2012, it was announced that the ride would be dismantled and removed from the park later that year.[8]

In popular culture, R. L. Stine wrote a novel which featured the roller coaster and was named after it, simply titled The Beast. The book also had a sequel called The Beast 2.

The 2009 season was the coaster's 30th year running since its opening. With Diamondback's construction, the entrance of The Beast was restored to where it used to be in 1979. Most of the tracks and supports have been replaced in the double helix, creating a smoother ride.


It is commonly mistaken that the Philadelphia Toboggan Company was heavily involved in the construction of this roller coaster, since the trains on The Beast are the same model of PTC train as is used on The Racer. However, the trains were the only part of the ride that the Philadelphia Toboggan Company had any involvement in. Primary construction was handled internally by Kings Island's Maintenance & Construction department.[9]

While Kings Island was owned by Taft Broadcasting, the design and engineering was largely subcontracted to Curtis D. Summers Engineering, which was a structural engineering and architecture firm located in Cincinnati. Summers' team worked with Taft staff designers Al Collins and Jeffrey Gramke to design The Beast with John C. Allen providing profiling and dynamics specifications; Taft was unique in having constructed most of their wooden roller coasters at Kings Island, Kings Dominion, Carowinds, and Canada's Wonderland during the 1970s and into the 1980s. Following KECO's sale of their theme parks to Paramount in 1992, Summers continued to partner with Charlie Dinn's firm on several coasters at parks around North America. The two firms continued to work together on coasters up until Summers' death in 1992.

Ride experience[edit]

The ride begins with the train making a 180-degree turn out of the station, traveling near Vortex's first drop and through a switch track, which provides the option of diverting trains to a covered storage area. Riders take a slight left turn into the first lift hill and slowly climb 110-foot (34 m). At the crest, the train travels down a 135-foot drop (41 m) into an underground tunnel, passing an on-ride camera.

The Beast is located at the back of the park, near Vortex

The train comes out of the first drop still underground. Out of the tunnel, the train makes a hard left-hand turn, maneuvers the climb and drop of a second hill giving riders momentary weightlessness. The train then climbs upward, makes a right turn, and speeds into a covered brake shed. Once through the trim brakes, the track turns to the right, continuing through a heavily wooded area. Veering left, the track enters the second tunnel. A quarter of this tunnel is underground, while the exit is above. This is due to the topography of the land (in the early years of the ride this section of track was two tunnels that went underneath a service road; shortly after opening, the section of track between the two tunnels was covered over).

As the train exits the tunnel, the train gains speed veering right, then taking another hard turn to the right. The track goes downhill, then rises uphill and hits a trim brake. The train then goes down a gradual descent and climbs the second lift hill. At the top of this lift, the train turns left and begins a gradual, 18-degree drop. The drop itself measures 141 feet (43 m) from the crest of the lift hill to the lowest point of the helix. As the train descends, the track starts to bank left in preparation for entrance into the final helix. The highly banked, high speed, counter clockwise helix is the signature trademark of the ride. Half of this massive double helix is enclosed, which adds to the intensity and excitement. Once through this element, the train crests another small hill, then rises into the final magnetic brake run back to the station.[3]

Awards and rankings[edit]

In October 2004, The Beast was given the Coaster Landmark Award by the American Coaster Enthusiasts club. There is a plaque commemorating this outside the ride.

Golden Ticket Awards: Top wood Roller Coasters
Year 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Ranking 3[10] 7[11] 6[12] 12[13] 7[14] 8[15] 7[16] 8[17] 8[18] 8[19] 8[20] 7[21] 7[22] 7[23] 7[24] 8[25]
NAPHA Survey: Favorite Wood Roller Coaster[26]
Year 2005 2006 2007
2 (tie)
4 (tie)


  1. ^ Halter, Jon (June 1979). "Kings Island". Boys' Life. pp. 14–16. ISSN 0006-8608. Retrieved 7 April 2012 
  2. ^ Record Holders
  3. ^ a b Helbig, Don (February 12, 2012). "A Look Back at the Construction of the Beast". Kings Island. Archived from the original on June 13, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Wonderful King's Island Theme Park". Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  5. ^ "Southwest Ohio Amusement Park Historical Society". Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Local 12 Breaking News". Retrieved July 29, 2012. 
  7. ^ Condie, Todd (April 2004). "Cincinnati Magazine" 37 (7). Emmis Communications. p. 168. ISSN 0746-8210. Retrieved July 29, 2012. 
  8. ^ McClelland, Justin (July 27, 2012). "Kings Island to tear down Son of Beast". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  9. ^ The Beast | Thrill Rides | Rides | Explore the Park | Kings Island - Mason, OH
  10. ^ "Top 25 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Top 25 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 1999. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Top 25 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. August 2000. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Top 25 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 2001. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Top 25 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. September 2002. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 10–11B. September 2003. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 14–15B. September 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 3, 2007. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 22–23B. September 2005. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 30–31B. September 2006. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 11 (6.2): 42–43. September 2007. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 12 (6.2): 42–43. September 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 13 (6.2): 38–39. September 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 14 (6.2): 38–39. September 2010. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 15 (6.2): 46–47. September 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 16 (6.2): 46–47. September 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  25. ^ "2013 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 17 (6.2): 40–41. September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  26. ^ Surveys - National Amusement Park Historical Association

External links[edit]

Preceded by
World's Fastest Roller Coaster
April 1979–May 1981
Succeeded by
American Eagle
Preceded by
World's Longest Roller Coaster
April 1979–July 1991
Succeeded by