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April 14, 2014

Kings Island's The Beast Celebrates 35th Anniversary

Mason, OHThe Beast roller coaster celebrates its 35th anniversary at Kings Island today. Opened to the public on April 14, 1979, this record-breaking wooden coaster is still the longest in the world and one of the fastest as well. Over the years it has earned the status of being an iconic attraction at the park and is known by coaster enthusiasts around the world.

The Beast Roller Coaster, Kings Island, Autumn
The Beast celebrates its 35th anniversary at Kings Island this year. This legendary wooden roller coaster is still the longest in the world.

Charlie Dinn, Kings Island's Director of Construction, Maintenance, and Engineering at the time, spearheaded the construction of The Beast, a massive project that would elevate the park to a new level.

The design and engineering was subcontracted to Curtis D. Summers Engineering firm in Cincinnati. There staff designers Al Collins and Jeff Gramke with the assistance of John C. Allen from Phildelphia Toboggan Company designed The Beast without the use of any modern computers.

When the roller coaster debuted to the public at it was truly like no other of its kind. Considering the lack of modern devices to assist in the design this roller coaster was really ground breaking for its time. The Beast was designed to break records and debuted as the tallest, fastest, and longest wood roller coaster in the world. Designers incorporated features like underground tunnels, a second lift-hill and a signature feature, the massive 540-degree banked helix, half of which is enclosed in a tunnel.

For four-minutes riders speed along more than a mile and half of wood track built on 35-acres of heavily wooded terrain. The designers used the natural terrain to enhance the rider's experience. Unlike most roller coasters, when The Beast takes off after the first drop, it feels as if you're going a great distance from the point where the coaster begins.

The media and invited guests were the first to ride on Friday, April 13 and did so in a downpour. A day later the ride was unveiled to the public.

Since 1998 The Beast has been honored each year as one of the Top 10 Wood Roller Coasters in the annual Golden Ticket Awards conducted by Amusement Today. In October 2004 the American Coaster Enthusiasts awarded The Beast the club's Coaster Landmark Award.

The Beast photo courtesy of Kings Island. All rights reserved.

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