2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Kings Island's The Beast

February 1, 2010, 12:28 PM · Theme Park Insider readers have voted Kings Island's The Beast as the eighth seed in the Best Roller Coaster bracket of the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament.

The Beast

Built by Kings Island's in-house design team, led by Charlie Dinn, The Beast opened on April 14, 1979 and is the oldest ride in this year's Best Roller Coaster bracket.

Dinn went on to form his own coaster design company, which built a dozen coasters, including Mean Streak at Cedar Point and the old Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas. His daughter, Denise Dinn Larrick, co-founded Custom Coasters International [CCI], which built some of the country's top wooden coasters, including The Raven and The Legend at Holiday World and GhostRider at Knott's Berry Farm.

CCI went under in 2002 and Denise Larrick went on to create the wooden coaster division at S&S. Others at CCI went on to form Great Coasters International [GCI], builder of Dollywood's Thunderhead, and The Gravity Group, builder of Holiday World's The Voyage.

So you can make a strong argument that The Beast is, literally, the father of all great modern wooden roller coasters in America.

At more than 7,000 feet, The Beast is one loooong coaster. Noted for its tunnels and deep-woods setting, many consider The Beast a better ride at night, when a claustrophobia-inducing darkness envelops nearly every section of the track. If there's a knock on The Beast, it's that the ride lacks the airtime you'll find on newer woodies, though its helix and long runs give The Beast a unique ride.

Fans and foes, here's your chance to share your thoughts about riding Kings Island's The Beast. Let's hear what you have to say about this classic wooden coaster, in the comments.

Replies (7)

February 1, 2010 at 3:04 PM · The Beast is just not the same ride it was back pre-1987, pre-Vortex. There was a time when walking to the Beast was a real trek into the woods. There was a sense of being in the middle of nowhere when you waited in that load station. AND THEN the ride took you way-out into the wilderness.

There was a very real, very important procession that took place. Did it make the ride more thrilling? I can't argue that, but I'll say that you knew you were heading off to ride that thing.

These days, the Beast is just another ride on King's Island's main pathway. The sightlines to the ride and--more importantly--from it are just too open. Sure, it still hugs the landscape, still has that delicious double helix, but much of what was really magical about the Beast has drifted away.

February 1, 2010 at 4:39 PM · In my very limited coaster riding experience (I hope to expand my horizons to Cedar Point and at least one other park this summer), I've found that The Beast is at the top of my list.

Whenever I visit Kings Island, it's the first ride of the day. There's nothing quite like sprinting through the queue on a cool spring morning, settling into the front seat, and taking in the breeze on the first run of the day.

It always seems smoothest (but not too smooth) first thing in the morning. Perhaps it's the lighter load; the train seems to skirt lightly over the rails as it plunges through the trees.

The final helix is the only ride element at Kings Island that can still elicit a scream me from me every single time. There's nothing more satisfying to me than shrieking right along with the wheels. ;)

As for how it used to be, I only wish I knew. I didn't get to ride The Beast for the first time until 2004 -- it's essentially responsible for kick-starting my interest in roller coasters.

The Beast definitely deserves this nomination!

February 1, 2010 at 8:16 PM · It may not be the best woodie these days, but this sweet ride deserves our respect.
February 1, 2010 at 8:53 PM · Ah one of my favorites. You have to ride this at night to truly appreciate it. I'm a sucker for a good modern day twister wooden coaster, but this one will always have a special place in my heart.

The Beast has been tamed a little over the years with some trim brakes, new trains, and reprofiles to the track, but it still delivers. There just isn't a coaster like it, a mile and a half long, two lift hills, a 740 helix at the end...and it's all sprawled out over 35 acres of forest. There aren't too many coasters out there with a more fitting name than this one. I'm just glad that they've maintained the integrity of the ride by keeping the forest around it intact. If the right voters show up, this one might surprise...I'll call it my "dark horse"

February 1, 2010 at 9:36 PM · It has been many years since I have have been the Beast....I loved it when I first went on it....someday, I will need to go back and ride it again!
February 2, 2010 at 2:07 PM · To the first anonymous poster:
What are you talking about it is open?! In no way is the Beast open, and it is still in the backwoods with nothing around it!
February 3, 2010 at 8:04 PM · This ride is highly overrated. Not wild enough for a woodie.

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