Kings Island’s Bavarian Beetle Coaster POV
In 1972, Kings Island opened with 3 roller coasters: Bavarian Beetle, Racer, and Scooby Doo. Many folks know about the Racer and Scooby Doo (now Woodstock Express), but few remember the Bavarian Beetle. The story of the Bavarian Beetle started in 1969 at Cincinnati’s Coney Island.
Coney Island had an massive expansion in the 1950’s. Classic rides such as the Turnpike and Wild Mouse were added to the park. These rides proved to be immensely popular and crowd favorites. The expansion continued into the 1960’s as the classic Von Roll Sky Ride, Monster, and Log Flume were added. Further expansions were planned such as a 331 foot tall Intamin Eiffel tower replica that was to be placed by Sunlite Pool. In 1969, as the development of Kings Island was well underway, the park decided to remove the Wild Mouse and replace it with a modern steel coaster.
The park purchased a S.D.C. Galaxi coaster. The ride, built in 1970, was named Galaxi. It stood a whooping 55 feet tall, and had an overall length of 1,700 feet. The ride was placed at the end of the Coney midway by the far turn around of the Shooting Star as it operated for the 1970 and 1971 seasons. It was then decided that the ride would be moved to Kings Island and rebuilt in the Oktoberfest section. Furthermore, it was to receive a new theme and new name at Kings Island.
Renamed the Bavarian Beetle, the ride was purposely placed in the NW corner of the park (approximately where the Festhaus is currently located), opposite of the other signature attractions such as Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad and the Racer. The new facade consisted of a facade mountain with a jovial figure on the top. The courtyard around the ride had pennants with the German tricolor.
The ride was popular, however images of the ride are sparse, due to other attractions receiving more attention. When Lion Country Safari was added, the entryway from Oktoberfest circled around the coaster. Furthermore, the placement of this path forced the relocation of the Rotor to the south of the coaster.
After lack of ridership, the ride suddenly closed in the middle of the 1978 season. By 1979, the ride was removed, with the only remnant of the ride being a concrete pad. The site remained empty until 1982, when the Festhaus was built on top of the former site.
The Bavarian Beetle might have been a small relocated coaster, but it’s impact was tremendous as it was the only steel coaster in the park for the 1972 park opening. The legacy of the ride continues with the opening of Orion in 2020. Orion, a giga coaster, is 245 feet taller than the Beetle. Furthermore, the park has recently released Bavarian Beetle souvenir pins, that can be purchased at retail locations in the park.
Using old photos and ride specs, we recreated the ride virtually. Take a front seat ride on the original Bavarian Beetle right now!
For tickets and more information, visit the official Kings Island website by clicking here.
Stay connected with Coaster Nation!
Subscribe on YouTube!
MORE GREAT VIDEOS!