The Beast at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, is one of the world’s best roller coasters.
Even after all these years, it is one heck of a ride, especially at night. On today’s show, we will talk about the Beast and why it should be on your coaster bucket list. But first, if you haven’t been here before, be sure to take a moment to hit that subscribe button. I am Robert, and I am Michele, and we are the coaster geeks! On this podcast, we tell stories about how we travel the country each summer on our quest to ride some fantastic roller coasters and hit up music festivals along the way. Well, at least before COVID. Let’s get started!
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Did you know that the beast was the first big coaster that I rode when I was a kid? I was eight or nine, and we lived in Huntington, West Virginia? While I cut my teeth on the Big Dipper at Camden Park, it wasn’t until I went to Kings Island that I became a true coaster geek. I remember that first trip in the late 1970s like it was yesterday.
In the autumn of 2018, Michele and I traveled down to the Lower 48 for the Rock n Roller tour’s fall leg to go to the Louder Than Life Festival in Louisville, Kentucky. Right before we were supposed to go, they canceled the music festival because of the remnants of a hurricane, but since we already had plane tickets, a rental car, and hotels, we decided to go anyway.
It was Michele’s first time going to Kings Island and my first time back in many years and we wanted to go. While this is not a podcast, about our trip to Kings Island, we will do that another time, we wanted to tell our fans about our impression of The Beast.
Before we jump in, we had to stop at the local Skyline Chili. I HATED it! Well, that sums that up!
Now, for a review of the much hyped woodie. It’s been the longest wooden roller coaster in the world for nearly four decades. I’ve been looking forward to riding it for years. Between expensive Cincinnati airfare from Alaska and our decision to go to Cedar Point first on our inaugural rock n roller tour in 2016, it’s taken me years to make it to Kings Island and the Beast.
The Pre-Ride Experience
As we neared the section of the park where the Beast lurked, we found a pretty cool sign and a coaster landmark from the American Coaster Enthusiasts. The sign also helps people find the Beast as the station is tucked away in the park’s corner, and only parts of the ride’s track can be seen from other lift hills. Part of the Beast’s mystique is its location on 35 wooded acres in the back of Kings Island. The station was a lightly themed sawmill. We were pleased to find an exciting station with a gaggle of ride operators with the gift of gab. They kept the station abuzz with excitement as trains filled with happy riders entered and exited. We have found that a lively station is a trademark of a world-class roller coaster through our travels, and the Beast is no different. This is especially true during our trip because it was right in the middle of their Halloween spooky fest.
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 full 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, and we were in the front car!The Beast has been the longest wooden roller coaster in the world for nearly four decades. Click To Tweet
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 Ohio wilderness had officially begun. The second drop was a memorable airtime hill that hugged the rolling terrain. At night the trees and the track are barely visible. This was one of the most remarkable sights we have ever experienced on a coaster. The cool air in the woods was a welcomed relief from the humid stickiness of the packed station. Remember, we are from Alaska, and even in September, it feels like we are on the equator!
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, a few more turns set us up for the second lift hill. The first half of the ride’s real strength 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.
On coasters like the Big Bad Wolf, when it was still around at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, the second lift hill really steals the momentum of the ride. Because most coasters would be over by this point, we didn’t mind the break in the action. We 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 tamer in pictures, but we had heard such great things about the mighty Beast’s helix. And we weren’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 all these years, it’s 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 us three amazing rides and it lands at number 2 on our experience of woodies in the United States, the top spot going to The Voyage at Holiday World.
What do you think, Coaster Geeks, is The Beast on your Top Five list? Let us know in the comments. And while we still have your attention, would you do us a favor and give us a review? And if you really like us, tell your friends about our show and follow us on our social channels, just search Coaster Geeks pod.
See you next time.