Take a ride on the wild side aboard The Beast on its 35th birthday

It's been a bumpy 35 years for one of Kings Island's most beloved attractions.

And we mean that in the best possible way.

In April 2014, the amusement park in Mason, Ohio is celebrating the 35th birthday of The Beast, one of the most popular and terrifying roller coasters in the venue's storied 42-year history.

The roller coaster was officially, and quite appropriately, “unchained” in a steady downpour 35 years ago on Friday, April 13, 1979 for the hundreds of media representatives from around the United States and Great Britain who made the trek to southwest Ohio for the unveiling.

PHOTOS: Historical look at development of The Beast

At the time, the it was the longest, tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, traveling at speeds upwards of 65 mph through a series of banked turns and tunnels.

The Beast is still the longest wooden roller coaster, sprawling over 35 acres across the Rivertown section of the park.

In 1979, members of the media spent four and a half hours taking turns riding the coaster, many attaching cameras to special mounts on the front cars to try and capture the sights and sounds of the unique thrill ride.

It's rumored that the original Kings Island ownership group wanted to re-build a replica of the Shooting Star roller coaster, a longtime fixture at at Cincinnati's Coney Island until it was demolished in 1971. 

However, the original idea to rebuild the Shooting Star was back-burnered in favor of a terrain coaster utilizing the park's natural wooded hills.

A grand total of 48,882,975 guests have taken shriek-inducing rides aboard The Beast, including 2,150,353 in 1980 alone. Not surprising given the fact The Beast's carts can accommodate 1,200 screaming riders per hour.

Each of the three trains on the Beast has traveled a total of 865,000 miles.

In 2004, The Beast was given the Coaster Landmark Award by the American Coaster Enthusiasts, an award designed to recognize coasters of historical significance.

Kings Island and each of its 13 coasters open for the 2014 season Friday, April 18.

Can't wait until the park opens? Take a trip around the park in the media player above or via the video below.


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