MASON, Ohio — The Beast is back, and it has broken its own world record.
Kings Island is taking the wraps off its legendary wooden coaster after crews spent the winter re-tracking and reworking the popular roller coaster.
It's all part of Kings Island's 50th anniversary, which will include the repainting of several other coasters. The Beast is the highlight.
It was 43 years ago when riders first experienced the world's longest wooden coaster with a thrilling 1.5-mile route through the woods including two lift hills and multiple tunnels.
After all these decades, the ride still holds that record, but now it will be even better, after a major re-tracking project.
"When you have something like that, it's a national treasure," said Chad Showalter, park spokesman. "You have to take care of it. And that's what we are doing in this off-season."
Showalter gave WCPO 9 News a behind-the-scenes tour of the revamped ride, including the first drop into a tunnel, that has been smoothed out and made even steeper.
"It's increased to a 53-degree drop, and that lets it go lower into the tunnel," Showalter said.
New track, changed entry into turns
Cincinnati-based coaster manufacturers The Gravity Group engineered the improvements, which include 2,000 feet of brand new track and a new entry to the final double helix turns, which had gotten a bit rough over the years.
A bonus from the revamp: as a result of the new tracking, The Beast got a few feet longer.
"It's beating its own record," Showalter said. "It is going from 7,359 feet long, to 7,361 feet long."
"I am really looking forward to how The Beast is going to feel this year. Because Gravity Group does a fantastic job on all their coasters," he said.
Gravity Group built The Voyage at Holiday World in Indiana, as well as the Kentucky Flyer at Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville.
The park opens for the season April 16, but unfortunately, Beast fans will have to wait a little longer due to all the time required for testing and state inspections of the revamped ride.
Look for the bigger, badder Beast to debut sometime in May.
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