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, 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. Built in-house, it opened in 1979 as the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster in the world.[1] The Beast remains the longest wooden coaster at 7,359 feet (2,243 m) and spans more than 35 acres (14 ha), utilizing the surrounding terrain for many of its elements.[2] 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.[3]

The Beast has been consistently rated one of the top roller coasters in the world since its debut, having earned a solid reputation among roller coaster enthusiasts. After more than 35 years, it remains one of the most popular attractions at Kings Island and has accommodated over 50 million riders – third-most at the park.[4]

History[edit]

Kings Island originally had plans to build a replica of the iconic Shooting Star, a roller coaster which once stood at Coney Island in Cincinnati.[5] 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.[5] A site near The Racer at Kings Island was also chosen as the location where the replica would be built.[5] Park officials later determined that it was in their best interest to shelve the idea, which would later be resurrected as Mighty Canadian Minebuster at Canada's Wonderland.[5][6] Instead, they wanted to design a better roller coaster that would transcend nostalgia and appeal to a wider audience.[5]

The site for the new project was a wooded area in the southeast corner of the park spanning more than 35 acres (14 ha).[5] The area's naturally-occurring, rugged terrain consisted of cliffs, hills and ravines.[5] Utilizing the landscape as opposed to leveling it allowed for more investment in the layout itself.[5] Beginning in 1976, Dinn and his team, including manager Jeff Gramke and chief engineer Al Collins, spent two years researching and designing the new roller coaster.[4] They would progress through the tens of thousands of formulas needed to produce record-breaking results without the assistance of scientific calculators and computers.[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 to lead the design but declined.[4] He did pass on some design formulas, however, to Gramke and Collins.[4] He also helped solve an issue with the ride's hourly capacity by designing a device that improved the speed of loading and launching trains, increasing the capacity to more than 1,000 riders per hour.[5]

The Beast opened on April 14, 1979, as the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster in the world.[7] It is often credited as the first modern-day wooden roller coaster to generate a marketing campaign. From elaborate animated commercials to countless television spots, the ride eventually became famous worldwide. The Beast originally featured three underground tunnels. By its second season, the second and third underground tunnels were joined. Also after its first season, two enclosed tunnel structures were added to the double helix finale, one of the most well-known features of the ride. Kings Island’s Director of Construction, Maintenance, and Engineering Charles Dinn oversaw the ride's construction and later formed his own construction firm in 1982. Originally called the Dinn Corporation and later known as Custom Coasters International, the construction firm went on to build more than a dozen roller coasters across the United States.[8]

In 2000, the park opened a successor to The Beast, Son of Beast, which became the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. It was also the first modern-day wooden coaster to feature an inversion, a vertical loop that was removed in 2006.[9] Son of Beast was designed to break several world records, but one it did not attempt to break was ride length. As a result, The Beast would retain its world record for longest ride time.[10] The Son of Beast was later dismantled in 2012.

Construction[edit]

It is commonly mistaken that the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) was heavily involved in the roller coaster's construction and design, since The Beast uses the same PTC trains that The Racer uses. In reality, the trains were the only part of the ride that PTC had a hand in. Primary design and construction was handled internally by Kings Island.[11] Part of the design and engineering work was subcontracted to Curtis D. Summers Engineering, a structural engineering and architecture firm located in Cincinnati. Summers' team worked with in-house designers Al Collins and Jeffrey Gramke as well as John C. Allen who provided profiling and dynamics specifications.

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 climbs 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 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 it 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.[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 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 2014 2015 2016 2017
Ranking 3[13] 7[14] 6[15] 12[16] 7[17] 8[18] 7[19] 8[20] 8[21] 8[22] 8[23] 7[24] 7[25] 7[26] 7[27] 8[28] 8[29] 6[30] 6[31] 6[32]
NAPHA Survey: Favorite Wood Roller Coaster[33]
Year 2005 2006 2007
Ranking
2 (tie)
5
4 (tie)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Halter, Jon (June 1979). "Kings Island". Boys' Life. pp. 14–16. ISSN 0006-8608. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Record Holders - Length". RCDB.com. Retrieved July 16, 2017. 
  3. ^ The 10 Longest Roller Coasters in the World TripSavvy. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ohio man is The Beast's 50 millionth rider Cincinnati.com. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Marden, Duane. "Raptor  (Cedar Point)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 1, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Kings Island's The Beast Celebrates 35th Anniversary". UltimateRollerCoaster.com. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2017. 
  8. ^ "Southwest Ohio Amusement Park Historical Society". Archived from the original on February 13, 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Local 12 Breaking News". Local12.com. Retrieved July 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ Condie, Todd (April 2004). "Cincinnati Magazine". 37 (7). Emmis Communications: 168. ISSN 0746-8210. Retrieved July 29, 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Beast". Kings Island. Archived from the original on 11 April 2010. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 1998. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 1999. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. August 2000. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Top 25 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. September 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 10–11B. September 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 14–15B. September 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 3, 2007. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 22–23B. September 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 30–31B. September 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 11 (6.2): 42–43. September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 12 (6.2): 42–43. September 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 13 (6.2): 38–39. September 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 14 (6.2): 38–39. September 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 15 (6.2): 46–47. September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 16 (6.2): 46–47. September 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 2, 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  28. ^ "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 24, 2015. 
  29. ^ "2014 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 18 (6.2): 38–39. September 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  30. ^ "2015 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 19 (6.2): 45–46. September 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  31. ^ "2016 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 20 (6.2): 46. September 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  32. ^ "2017 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 21 (6.2): 50. September 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  33. ^ 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