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gforce1994

The Mysterious Bavarian Beetle

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The Bavarian Beetle is a ride that is very mysterious. We know everything about the ride, but we know very little about it’s operation at Kings Island.

949109BF-0D42-4784-9D4F-85F9C3091FCB.png
I did a recreation and article about the ride. It’s fascinating to note that the commonly accepted stats of the ride are incorrect.

You can check out the recreation I made here: https://coasternation.com/kings-islands-bavarian-beetle-pov/

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That's a good recreation of the ride - I especially like how you included the lighting along the track. From pictures and videos I've seen, the ride looked really nice at night.

Two super minor corrections in the article...

Quote

The new facade consisted of a facade mountain with a jovial figure on the top.

The little mountain facade with the figure wasn't added until 1976. The ride only had the "swoop" (which was also at Coney Island) before then (as it seen in the picture of the ride you included in the article).

Quote

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.

I'm not sure if a lack of ridership had anything to do with the ride's removal. I don't believe that the park has ever officially stated a reason, but it's worth noting the ride was involved in some litigation after an elderly man allegedly broke his neck on the ride in 1974. The story was covered in a lot of newspapers in 1978, the same year that the ride was quietly retired. And the ride was almost immediately replaced by Ferris Wheel, which was opened by August. Ferris Wheel was slightly relocated in 1982 to accommodate Festhaus' construction.

Bavarian Beetle is such an obscure ride and its closing date was misreported for so long (as 1979, 1981, or 1982) that a lot of people have unfortunately taken those wrong dates as fact. Also, for what it's worth, I compiled a lot of different pictures of the ride in an old thread here.

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58 minutes ago, TombraiderTy said:

That's a good recreation of the ride - I especially like how you included the lighting along the track. From pictures and videos I've seen, the ride looked really nice at night.

Two super minor corrections in the article...

The little mountain facade with the figure wasn't added until 1976. The ride only had the "swoop" (which was also at Coney Island) before then (as it seen in the picture of the ride you included in the article).

I'm not sure if a lack of ridership had anything to do with the ride's removal. I don't believe that the park has ever officially stated a reason, but it's worth noting the ride was involved in some litigation after an elderly man allegedly broke his neck on the ride in 1974. The story was covered in a lot of newspapers in 1978, the same year that the ride was quietly retired. And the ride was almost immediately replaced by Ferris Wheel, which was opened by August. Ferris Wheel was slightly relocated in 1982 to accommodate Festhaus' construction.

Bavarian Beetle is such an obscure ride and its closing date was misreported for so long (as 1979, 1981, or 1982) that a lot of people have unfortunately taken those wrong dates as fact. Also, for what it's worth, I compiled a lot of different pictures of the ride in an old thread here.

Thank you for the response.

The lighting was a pain, as each individual light fixture severely slowed my laptop down. At the time I recorded, my PC was at 5 FPS.

Is there any reason why the fixture was added later on?

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3 minutes ago, gforce1994 said:

Is there any reason why the fixture was added later on?

Kings Island added a lot of fiberglass theming and details all over the park in the mid to late 1970s. They were created by park sculptor Farrel Coffey, and I suspect that he is responsible for the mountain and climber added to Bavarian Beetle. Adding new theming to old attractions was an easy way to rejuvenate them and make them more interesting (plus, 40+ years later, it makes it easier to associate dates to old photos and videos :lol:)

Here's a fun article about Coffey and his work on the Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad figurines, starting on page 64: https://books.google.com/books?id=jR0DAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA64&ots=JibZPowj6r&dq="Farrell Coffey" "Kings Island"&pg=PA64#v=onepage&q="Farrell Coffey" "Kings Island"&f=false 

 

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51 minutes ago, TombraiderTy said:

Kings Island added a lot of fiberglass theming and details all over the park in the mid to late 1970s. They were created by park sculptor Farrel Coffey, and I suspect that he is responsible for the mountain and climber added to Bavarian Beetle. Adding new theming to old attractions was an easy way to rejuvenate them and make them more interesting (plus, 40+ years later, it makes it easier to associate dates to old photos and videos :lol:)

Here's a fun article about Coffey and his work on the Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad figurines, starting on page 64: https://books.google.com/books?id=jR0DAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA64&ots=JibZPowj6r&dq="Farrell Coffey" "Kings Island"&pg=PA64#v=onepage&q="Farrell Coffey" "Kings Island"&f=false 

 

That’s pretty neat. Are any of the figurines still around?

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3 minutes ago, gforce1994 said:

That’s pretty neat. Are any of the figurines still around?

The train figures were kept in one of the maintenance “graveyards” and allegedly, they were melted down a few years ago.

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8 minutes ago, gforce1994 said:

That’s pretty neat. Are any of the figurines still around?

From the article, Coffey worked on the Mary Rose Inn and the bear. Both are still part of the train ride:

IMG_0226.JPG

IMG_4214.jpg

3 minutes ago, KIghostguy said:

The train figures were kept in one of the maintenance “graveyards” and allegedly, they were melted down a few years ago.

I'm interested in hearing more about that (and what "a few years ago" is). I believe most of the figures were removed from the train ride mid-1990s and were off property by mid-2000s at the latest (though I personally suspect they were all gone before the end of the 1990s).

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31 minutes ago, TombraiderTy said:

 

From the article, Coffey worked on the Mary Rose Inn and the bear. Both are still part of the train ride:

IMG_0226.JPG

IMG_4214.jpg

I'm interested in hearing more about that (and what "a few years ago" is). I believe most of the figures were removed from the train ride mid-1990s and were off property by mid-2000s at the latest (though I personally suspect they were all gone before the end of the 1990s).

Unfortunately, there’s no good view of the figure on the Beetle. 

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39 minutes ago, TombraiderTy said:

 I'm interested in hearing more about that (and what "a few years ago" is). I believe most of the figures were removed from the train ride mid-1990s and were off property by mid-2000s at the latest (though I personally suspect they were all gone before the end of the 1990s).

"A few years ago" would have been--supposedly--around 2015 or so when the figures were actually destroyed.

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Thank you for the response.

The lighting was a pain, as each individual light fixture severely slowed my laptop down. At the time I recorded, my PC was at 5 FPS.

Is there any reason why the fixture was added later on?

I wonder who helped you with that lighting and other details??? Hmmm. LOL

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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22 minutes ago, gforce1994 said:

Unfortunately, there’s no good view of the figure on the Beetle. 

This is the best one I've seen, though I imagine you've already seen it and referenced it for your recreation. I believe it came from an old Viewmaster reel (not sure the original source on uploading it online):

PbicBxX.jpg

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The fact it was made out of Fiberglass answers one question I had, how was the figure supported. I couldn’t find any alteration to the supports of the structure in the original photographs. It’s still a neat addition they added to the ride.

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42 minutes ago, Oldschool75 said:

I wonder who helped you with that lighting and other details??? Hmmm. LOL

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Shout out to @Oldschool75 for the help with referencing the actual ride. 
 

Fun fact: I did not realize there were two sets of lighting fixtures on the ride. One set (I refer to them “Davit arms”) were on the drop, while the three piece sets were in the turns.

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Here is a cleaned up shot of what everyone finds online. I have some good ones 086bcbed70f8b9d3e370f4c76744d0b2.jpg
floating around somewhere.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, Oldschool75 said:

Here is a cleaned up shot of what everyone finds online. I have some good ones 086bcbed70f8b9d3e370f4c76744d0b2.jpg
floating around somewhere.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Nice restoration. It’s interesting that the ride was popular (all images I’ve seen is of the ride with a full queue), but nobody took images of the ride.

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7 hours ago, TombraiderTy said:

 I believe most of the figures were removed from the train ride mid-1990s and were off property by mid-2000s at the latest

 

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34 minutes ago, SonofBaconator said:

 

That’s the million dollar question.

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I understand why they stopped the actors/actresses because it became a transport ride in the late 80s so it didn't make sense. Still if you look at other amusement parks that have railroads they still offer props for guests to view.

Look at Cedar Point:

 

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13 hours ago, SonofBaconator said:

I understand why they stopped the actors/actresses because it became a transport ride in the late 80s so it didn't make sense. Still if you look at other amusement parks that have railroads they still offer props for guests to view.

Look at Cedar Point:

 

I’m guessing because many of the sets may have interfered with the Picnic Grove. On the tours I’ve taken, the sets are up against the Picnic Grove.

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14 hours ago, SonofBaconator said:

I understand why they stopped the actors/actresses because it became a transport ride in the late 80s so it didn't make sense.

I believe that the park discontinued performers on the train long before WaterWorks... in fact, I think they only existed until the mid-1970s. All those fiberglass figures that Farrel Coffey sculpted appear to have replaced the actors (although it's worth noting that there was a mixture of performers and figures when the ride opened, although those figures were from the Coney Island and Lake Como Railroad and not created in-house).

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This video shows the mountain and climber as well as an incomplete pov from the ride(The Beetle clips start at around 4:18). Judging by the home video, the ride seemed kinda rough. For those who got to ride it, was it or was the recording just really shakey?(It was taken on a video camera from the 1970s) 

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I’ve been on a few, they’re really rough, but fun. IMO, the roughness can be a bit overwhelming at times.

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I rode the Wildcat at Cedar Point but not the Jumbo Jet.  These rides are vicious.  I walked off counting myself fortunate to be walking after having my knees continuously walloped and my neck yanked.  From what I can tell, the Wildcat had a very similar layout to the Beetle.  

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57 minutes ago, Skibum said:

I rode the Wildcat at Cedar Point but not the Jumbo Jet.  These rides are vicious.  I walked off counting myself fortunate to be walking after having my knees continuously walloped and my neck yanked.  From what I can tell, the Wildcat had a very similar layout to the Beetle.  

It was similar. Beetle was made by S.D.C, while Wildcat was made by Schwarzkopf.

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Schwarzkopf coasters are still amazing. but in this case the SDC Galaxi  (the model of Barvarian Beetle).  has a superior layout compared to the Wildcat.   The Wildcat brutally hits  the brakes straight out of the final helix and gives a gut punch with the lap bar.   The Galaxi made a jig jog around the lift hill and then around another turn before the brakes.  Galaxis also run 2 car trains versus one on the Wildcat. 
 

The Galaxi at Kings Dominion had a fatality in 83.    These coaster don’t have a lot of clearance and a kid perished when he hit his head on the ride.  It’s believed he stood up.    The one at KD was removed after that. 

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56 minutes ago, super7 said:

Schwarzkopf coasters are still amazing. but in this case the SDC Galaxi  (the model of Barvarian Beetle).  has a superior layout compared to the Wildcat.   The Wildcat brutally hits  the brakes straight out of the final helix and gives a gut punch with the lap bar.   The Galaxi made a jig jog around the lift hill and then around another turn before the brakes.  Galaxis also run 2 car trains versus one on the Wildcat. 
 

The Galaxi at Kings Dominion had a fatality in 83.    These coaster don’t have a lot of clearance and a kid perished when he hit his head on the ride.  It’s believed he stood up.    The one at KD was removed after that. 

The Beetle didn’t slam into the brakes as the final drop was heavily trimmed.

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