The Beast at Kings Island has continued to be one of the most popular attractions in the park since its opening over 40 years ago. The coaster holds the title of the Longest Roller Coaster in the World, and rightfully so. Its 7,361-foot-long track weaves and dips through 35 acres of wooded terrain for over 4 minutes.
While the sheer length of the coaster and the fact that it has stood the test of time would be enough to impress any rider, the story of how this massive coaster came to be and how it paved the way for many of the best roller coasters in the world is truly incredible. Let’s look at why The Beast remains a king among coasters and how modern-day coaster riding wouldn’t be the same without it.
The Beast's Impressive History
In the late 1970s, Kings Island was looking to add another coaster to its roster following the success of The Racer, a racing wooden coaster at the park that is also still operating today. The company picked a plot of land near The Racer and originally planned to make a replica of the Shooting Star coaster from the former Coney Island park in Cincinnati (which closed in 1971 and had many of its attractions relocated to Kings Island).
However, eventually, Kings Island decided they wanted to go bigger, and rather than clearing the land for this replica coaster, they would create a record breaker that would bend and weave with the land, which would save the project money.
The Beast was designed and built in-house by King Island, and while they consulted with coaster designer John C. Allen, this was the first coaster design for many on the team. Not only that, but when the coaster was being constructed computers were not available yet, so the team had to do all the calculations and land surveys completely by hand.
Even more astonishing, they did not use test dummies to test the coaster, the construction team did the test rides themselves. The design was improved and modified so many times that the result varied greatly from the initial design.
The coaster was secretly designed and planned for a couple of years before it was announced in 1978 by Kings Island, who called it a “Champion Roller Coaster.” The name for the coaster came from the parks Public Relations manager who heard members of the construction team call the coaster “a beast of a project.”
In the end, the coaster cost about 3.5 million dollars. At the time of its opening in April of 1979, The Beast held the record for Tallest, Fastest, and Longest Roller Coaster in the World. The fact that this in-house designed, record-breaking, behemoth coaster continues to not only welcome guests but stand as one of the most iconic coasters in the world is truly impressive.
The Beast Stands The Test of Time
The Beast features two lift hills, a 540-degree helix, speeds of 65 miles per hour, and a 125-foot-long underground tunnel following the first drop. The view from the top of the first lift hill is breathtaking before you make your way plunging down to earth spending the next several minutes twisting through the wooded terrain. Check out Kings Island’s Official POV video below. In 2004, The Beast was declared to be Roller Coaster Landmark by the American Coaster Enthusiasts.
Over the years, The Beast has undergone many improvements and refurbishments. Within its first few years of operation, the trains had to be modified because they were too long for the turns. In 2003, the rides braking system was updated from “skid breaks” to a magnetic braking system.
Following its most recent refurbishment, The Beast now features a 53-degree first drop, slight modifications to its helix to improve force distribution, a smoother ride, and 2 additional feet of track. That’s right. The world’s longest roller coaster became even longer...