Beast at Kings Island | Roller Coaster Reviews
Once again, I traveled westward for another much hyped woodie. This time I was in search of the Beast at Kings Island. For nearly three decades it’s been the longest wooden roller coaster in the world. I’ve been looking forward to riding it for a decade. Between expensive Cincinnati airfare and that fateful April day in ’05 when Kings Island closed for SNOW!, it’s taken me years to make it to Kings Island and the Beast.
The Pre-Ride Experience
As I neared the section of the park where the Beast lurked I found a pretty cool sign and a Coaster Landmark plaque from the American Coaster Enthusiasts. The sign also helps people find the Beast as the station is tucked away in a corner of the park and only parts of the ride’s track can be seen from other lift hills. Part of the mystique of the Beast is its location in 35 wooded acres in the back of Kings Island. The station was a lightly themed saw mill. I was pleased to find an excited station with a skinny, speckled DJ with the gift of gab. He kept the station abuzz with excitement as trains filled with happy riders entered and exited. Through my travels I’ve found that a lively station is a trademark of world-class roller coaster and the Beast is no different.
An Unforgettable Night Ride
After hearing, “Enjoy your 4 minute and 50 second ride” we were off. The train took a smooth right turn out of the station and we approached the lift hill. As always, the lift hill built the anticipation of the drop to come, but on this particular ride there was an additional treat. A large pink moon hung over the dark wilderness. It lightly illuminated the forest below. Riders were awe-stricken by the beautiful sight and now we were about to be treated to an unforgettable night ride on the Beast.
We plunged down the opening 135-foot drop and immediately into the rocky mouth of an underground tunnel. The train flew out of the tunnel and banked to the left and our journey through the Ohioan wilderness had officially begun. The second drop was a memorable airtime hill that hugged the rolling terrain. At night the barely visible trees were accented with fireflies. This was one of the most remarkable sights I’ve ever experienced on a coaster. The cool air in the woods was a welcomed relief from the humid stickiness of the packed station.
Next the train banked to the right and stormed through the long, flat covered section. After a right turn and a small dip the train charged into the second tunnel. This tunnel was much longer than the first and at times was pitch black, especially at night. After exiting the second tunnel there were a few more turns that set us up for the second lift hill. The real strength of the first half of the ride was the speed, just a touch of airtime on hill #2 and the sheer distance covered in an unusual atmosphere. For the second act the Beast really lived up to his name.
The Beast’s Famous Helix Finale
On coasters like Big Bad Wolf, the second lift hill really steals the moment of the ride. Because most coasters would be over by this point I didn’t mind the break in action. I had already been given a satisfying ride, the rest was like a bonus. Atop the lift the train turned to the left and began a long (141 feet), but very gradual 18-degree drop. It couldn’t look more tame in pictures, but I had heard such great things about the mighty Beast’s helix. And I wasn’t disappointed.
At first, the train gradually gained speed, but before we knew it we were barreling towards what appeared to be a black dead end in the mouth of the first helix tunnel. Somehow the train stayed on the track and we experienced some vicious lateral g-forces. It’s complete mayhem in the helix tunnels, but for some reason even after 28 years its not a rough or painful experience. After surviving the first covered helix the train marches around the downward helix and plows through another covered helix. Then, finally, the Beast released his grip on us. We coasted for a while back to the station where we passed over a dispatching train set to embark on the same 4 minute and 50 second adventure we had just experienced. The Beast gave me three amazing rides and it lands at number 6 on my Top Ten Coasters. Final Rating – 10.0 (Superior)
What’s Your Take?
Got a comment or question about Beast? Leave a comment below. Photos 2-4 courtesy of CoasterImage.