The Beast is an old-fashioned wooden roller coaster at the Kings Island amusement park in Mason, OH. The attraction, which cost about $3 million to design and build in-house, debuted in 1979 as the world’s tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster. After decades, its 7,361 feet across 35 acres of undulating land are still the most extensive. The ride lasts for more than four minutes thanks to two lift hills, making it one of the longest in the world. The ride’s first drop angle was heightened and it was extended by 2 feet during a refurbishment in 2022.
Over the course of two years, without the use of computers or scientific calculators, the Beast was conceived of and built. During creation, renowned coaster architect John C. Allen met with lead engineers Al Collins and Jeff Gramke, providing them with design formulas and techniques. Construction of the enclosure over the helix’s grand finale wasn’t scheduled to begin until 1980 because of problems uncovered during preliminary testing. The park’s public relations manager, Ruth Voss, is credited with coming up with the name of the coaster in early 1979 when she overheard building personnel calling it “a beast of a project.”
On April 13, 1979, there was a press preview for the record-breaking roller coaster, and it was positively received. Since its debut, Amusement Today’s annual Golden Ticket Awards magazine has placed The Beast within the top ten best wooden coasters. American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE), which conducted one of its first official events at Kings Island in 1979, is just one example of the many organizations that have spoken positively about it. In 2004, the coaster was given the Roller Coaster Landmark status by the American Council of Engineering Companies. For almost 40 years, it has been one of the most popular attractions at Kings Island, drawing in excess of 54 million riders.
Kings Island’s public relations manager Ruth Voss released a news statement in July 1978 announcing the park’s intention to build a roller coaster. The announcement read, “America’s champion roller coaster will debut at Kings Island Family Entertainment Center in the spring of 1979.” The park had been working on the new attraction in secret for three years prior to the announcement, which was the first public confirmation of its existence. Kings Island wanted to keep the momentum continuing by creating another record-breaking attraction, similar to the way that successful rides like The Racer and record-breaking events like Evel Knievel’s nationally televised bus leap in 1975 gained them national attention.