Specific Type: Wooden, Terrain, Kilo-Coaster
The roller coaster race was just getting underway in the 1970’s, and parks everywhere were after the biggest, fastest, and most twisted creations. That same decade, the ability to add loops and inversions to coasters was becoming common as guests sought to see the sensation of going upside down. However, the wood coaster was getting lots of attention as well. The whole second age of the coaster race began at Kings Island with the introduction of the Racer, an out and back wooden coaster at Kings Island, located just north of Cincinnati, Ohio. ,Kings Island sought to create what was to be one of the greatest coasters ever built. Thus, during the last half of the 70’s, Kings Island research set to build a massive wooden coaster to be located in the back of the park, to be hidden deep in the woods away from view, making the entire ride a surprise for guests, and due to the ride’s location, it was an ideal ride to ride at night. Vertical construction began in 1978, and in 1979, the Beast opened to the public, ready to thrill all but the lowliest of park-goers. At the time, the Beast held multiple records. At the time it was the tallest, fastest and longest coaster in the world, but , as bigger coasters were built, it retains the record for longest wooden coaster in the world. The four and a half minute, 7,359 foot ride hauls riders through nearly 35 acres of densely packed woods, featuring 4 tunnels, ground hugging hills, and a 540* double helix at the finale. The ride requires a second lift to accommodate the helix, but it serves as a nice breather between the sections.
Changes have been made to the Beast over the years. The first tunnel we know today was originally split into two separate tunnels. This was also when the final helix was fully enclosed. The original 4 bench, 5 car trains were later converted to the 3 bench, 6 car trains we ride on today. Later, new magnetic braking trims were added, slowing down the train much smoother than previously. For its 30th year anniversary in 2009, the entrance to the ride was relocated back to where it was during its opening year, and the final helix was retracked.
Future riders used to locate the ride by following the signature ‘footprints’ of the behemoth behind the Eiffel Tower, heading into the Rivertown section of the park. What appears to be an abandoned mine hut serves as the rides stations, long enough to accommodate the 6 car, 36 seat trains, which there are 3 of running the course. Once the restraints are checked and the thumbs up are up, the train departs. After winding through a wide turn to the right, the train engages the first lift, hauling trains up at a 30* angle up to 110 ft. in the sky. The chain slows at the top as riders get to view the infamous finale and staring at a 45*, 135 ft drop into an underground tunnel.
The train roars through the tunnel, reaching 61 mph in the process. As the train enters the daylight, the train throws riders around a heavily banked turn to the left. The train rises a bit, then enters a valley, providing some, if only the smallest bit of air time which is rare in the ride. The ride hits its maximum speed of 64.8 mph at this point. After rising from the ravine, the train careens to the right and runs through a covered part of track, with some breaks to shave a bit of speed. However, they soon prove useless as the train drops to the right along another ground hugging drop and levels , entering tunnel number 2, which rounds in a counter-clockwise direction. After exiting, the train goes through a series of drops with slight curves to the right, eventually hitting the lowest point of the ride. At this point, the train rounds a sharp curve to the right, providing some much needed lateral g’s and then rises on a small hill. The train slowly accelerates down the hill as riders get to eyeball the ride’s biggest hill, the 141 ft lift that feeds riders into the helix finale. The train levels out at 14 stories, and at a 18º angle, the train slowly builds up speed until reaching 55 mph into the lower half of the helix and enters tunnel number three. The train rises slightly as the helix prepares to shoot trains into the top half of the tunnel, thus, completing the fourth and final tunnel. The train rounds a wide turn, coming parallel with the first lift, rises, and enters the final brakes.
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