The Beast (roller coaster)

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The Beast
PKI-Beast.jpg
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 $4,000,000
General statistics
Type Wood
Manufacturer Kings Island
Designer Al Collins
Jeff Gramke
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. Built in-house by the park, it opened in 1979 as the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster in the world. Decades later, The Beast is still the longest at 7,359 feet (2,243 m), spanning more than 35 acres (14 ha) and utilizing the surrounding terrain for many of its elements. Two lift hills contribute to the ride's duration of more than four minutes, which also ranks as one of the longest among roller coasters.

The Beast has been rated in the industry as one of the top roller coasters in the world, having earned a solid reputation among roller coaster enthusiasts. It has consistently placed in the top ten overall in annual rankings released by Amusement Today since the publication's debut in 1998. After nearly 40 years, it also remains one of the most popular rides at Kings Island, having accommodated over 53 million riders.

History[edit]

Ruth Voss, public relations manager for Kings Island, issued a press release on July 10, 1978, announcing plans for a new roller coaster. The statement read, "Kings Island Family Entertainment Center will open America’s champion roller coaster in the spring of 1979." It was the first official announcement from the park, who had been secretly planning the new ride for three years. Looking to replicate the national exposure the park received from popular rides such as The Racer and record-breaking events such as Evel Knievel's bus jump in 1975, Kings Island knew it needed to introduce another record-breaking attraction to keep the momentum going.[1]

Original plans focused on building a replica of the iconic Shooting Star, a roller coaster which once stood at Coney Island in Cincinnati.[2] Charles Dinn – director of the Kings Island's construction, maintenance and engineering division – recorded measurements of the Shooting Star's layout and dimensions prior to its demolition in 1971.[1][2] A site near The Racer at Kings Island was also chosen as the location where the replica would be built.[2] Park management later determined that it was in their best interest to shelve the idea and push forward with a bigger design, although it would be resurrected several years later in the construction of Mighty Canadian Minebuster at Canada's Wonderland.[1][2][3] For the 1979 coaster, Kings Island set its sights on a record-breaking ride that would transcend nostalgia and appeal to a wider audience.[2]

Construction[edit]

The site selected for the new project was a wooded area in the southeast corner of the park, which spanned more than 35 acres (14 ha).[2] The area's naturally-occurring, rugged terrain consisted of cliffs, hills and ravines.[2] Utilizing the landscape as opposed to leveling it allowed for more investment in the layout itself.[2] Beginning in 1976, Dinn and his team, including chief engineer and surveyor Al Collins and his assistant Jeff Gramke, spent two years researching and designing the new roller coaster.[1][4] They would progress through the tens of thousands of formulas needed to produce record-breaking results without the assistance of scientific calculators or computers.[1][4] "Everything had to be calculated by hand", recalled Gramke in 2014.[4] John C. Allen, the world-renowned coaster designer behind The Racer, was originally approached twice to lead the design but declined each time.[4] He shared design formulas, however, and acted as a consultant throughout development.[1][4] Among his important contributions were the design of several components, including a tire-driven launch system that increased capacity to 1,000 riders per hour.[1][2]

Primary design and construction was handled internally by Kings Island.[5] Part of the design and engineering work was subcontracted to Curtis D. Summers Engineering, a structural engineering and architecture firm located in Cincinnati.[1][6] Summers was tasked with designing the roller coaster footings – underground, steel-reinforced concrete pillars that support the weight of the structure[7] – as well as a cable system for the helix.[1] The collaboration between Dinn and Summers would later lead to the pair teaming up in the formation of the Dinn Corporation, a construction firm that went on to design and build eleven more coasters.[6]

Opening[edit]

The Beast opened on April 14, 1979, as the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster in the world.[8] It is often credited as the first modern-day wooden roller coaster to generate a marketing campaign.[citation needed] From elaborate animated commercials to numerous television spots, the ride gained worldwide notoriety.[citation needed] The Beast originally featured three underground tunnels, but the second and third were joined together by its second season of operation.[citation needed] Two enclosed tunnels were added to the double helix finale in the second season as well.[citation needed]

In 2000, the park introduced The Beast's successor, Son of Beast, which became the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, as well as the first modern-day wooden coaster to feature an inversion.[9][10][11] Although Son of Beast set several new records, The Beast retained its wooden coaster records for length and ride duration.[12][13][14] Son of Beast was later demolished in 2012.[15]

Ride experience[edit]

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

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 feet (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 train comes out of the first drop still underground until it exits the tunnel, where the train makes a hard left-hand turn and enters an airtime hill, going under the second lift. The train then climbs upward, makes a right turn, and speeds into a covered brake shed. Once through the magnetic trim brakes, the track turns to the right and continues 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 ground in relation to the topography of the land.

As it exits the tunnel, the train gains speed veering right, then takes another hard turn to the right on a slight incline. The track goes downhill, rises uphill, and then passes over a set of trim brakes before climbing the second lift hill. At the top of this lift, the train turns left and begins a gradual, 18-degree drop. During the descent, the track tilts to the left in preparation for the upcoming double helix that features a highly-banked turn to the left. The drop itself measures 141 feet (43 m) from the crest of the lift hill to the lowest point of the helix. The signature double helix features two long tunnels and turns riders counterclockwise twice at very high speeds while ascending. After exiting this element, the train dips through another small hill into the final magnetic brake run and returns back to the station.[16]

Records[edit]

When it opened in 1979, The Beast set several world records among roller coasters including height, speed, track length, and ride duration.[1][12][11] It still retains the latter two among wooden coasters, and its length of 7,359 feet (2,243 m) continues to be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.[1][12] The Beast has held world records for the following:

  • Tallest wooden roller coaster at 110 feet (34 m), tied with Screamin' Eagle at Six Flags St. Louis when it opened[1][17]
  • Longest drop on a wooden roller coaster at 141 feet (43 m)[18]
  • Fastest wooden roller coaster at 64.8 mph (104.3 km/h)[1][19]
  • Longest track length on a wooden roller coaster at 7,359 feet (2,243 m)[12]
  • Longest ride duration on a wooden roller coaster at 4:10[12]

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 the achievement located near the main entrance to the ride. As of 2018, The Beast ranks third among other Kings Island attractions in the number of rides given, which is over 53 million.[20]

Golden Ticket Awards: Top wood Roller Coasters
Year 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Ranking 3[21] 7[22] 6[23] 12[24] 7[25] 8[26] 7[27] 8[28] 8[29] 8[30] 8[31] 7[32] 7[33] 7[34] 7[35] 8[36] 8[37] 6[38] 6[39] 6[40] 5[41]
NAPHA Survey: Favorite Wood Roller Coaster[42]
Year 2005 2006 2007
Ranking
2 (tie)
5
4 (tie)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Keeter, John (October 2, 2017). "The Beast: The original biggest, baddest, tallest, fastest wooden roller coaster in the world". Kings Island. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Helbig, Don (June 25, 2017). "The Story Behind The Beast". Kings Island. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  3. ^ Marden, Duane. "Raptor  (Cedar Point)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e Richardson, Rachel (October 24, 2014). "Ohio man is The Beast's 50 millionth rider". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  5. ^ "The Beast". Kings Island. Archived from the original on 11 April 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Southwest Ohio Amusement Park Historical Society". Archived from the original on February 13, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  7. ^ Weisenberger, Nick (April 12, 2011). "Coasters-101: Foundations". Coasters-101. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  8. ^ "Kings Island's The Beast Celebrates 35th Anniversary". UltimateRollerCoaster.com. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Kings Island Sells Pieces Of Troubled 'Son Of Beast' Roller Coaster". CBS 62. October 9, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  10. ^ Krosnick, Brian (March 4, 2016). "Inside the Demise of the Record-Breaking Roller Coaster that Went Too Far". Theme Park Tourist. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Halter, Jon (June 1979). "Kings Island". Boys' Life. pp. 14–16. ISSN 0006-8608. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d e Levine, Arthur (February 13, 2018). "The 10 Longest Roller Coasters in the World". tripsavvy.com. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  13. ^ Marden, Duane. "Wood Record Holders – Length". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  14. ^ Condie, Todd (April 2004). "Cincinnati Magazine". 37 (7). Emmis Communications: 168. ISSN 0746-8210. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  15. ^ "Demolition completed for Son of Beast". WLWT. November 20, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Marden, Duane. "Height – Wood". RCDB. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  18. ^ Marden, Duane. "Drop – Wood". RCDB. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  19. ^ Marden, Duane. "Speed – Wood". RCDB. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  20. ^ Helbig, Don (February 6, 2018). "This Day in Kings Island History: The Beast is Named". Kings Island. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  21. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 1998. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  22. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 1999. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  23. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. August 2000. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  24. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  25. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. September 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  26. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 10&ndash, 11B. September 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  27. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 14&ndash, 15B. September 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 3, 2007. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  28. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 22&ndash, 23B. September 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  29. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 30&ndash, 31B. September 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  30. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 11 (6.2): 42&ndash, 43. September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  31. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 12 (6.2): 42&ndash, 43. September 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  32. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 13 (6.2): 38&ndash, 39. September 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  33. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 14 (6.2): 38&ndash, 39. September 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  34. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 15 (6.2): 46&ndash, 47. September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  35. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 16 (6.2): 46&ndash, 47. September 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  36. ^ "2013 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 17 (6.2): 40&ndash, 41. September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  37. ^ "2014 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 18 (6.2): 38&ndash, 39. September 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  38. ^ "2015 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 19 (6.2): 45&ndash, 46. September 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  39. ^ "2016 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 20 (6.2): 46. September 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  40. ^ "2017 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 21 (6.2): 50. September 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  41. ^ "2018 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 22 (6.2): 48. September 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  42. ^ Surveys - National Amusement Park Historical Association

External links[edit]

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