The world has another giga coaster.
After years of asking and online speculation, fans of Kings Island in Mason, Ohio finally have a roller coaster with a 300-foot first drop. Orion officially made its debut today, inviting its first riders to the park to see what that plunge feels like.
You might be wondering what a “giga coaster” is exactly. Most theme park fans define it as a roller coaster that has a height OR drop of 300 feet. Orion may only be 287-feet tall (that’s still pretty darn high), but it’s first drop falls into a ravine below, taking it to 300-feet – giga coaster standards.
There are only seven roller coasters on Earth that top the 300-foot mark, and now Kings Island has one of them. It’s a design from Swiss manufacturer B&M, a favorite designer for Kings Island. Just steps away you’ll find Diamondback and Banshee, two other B&M coasters in the park.
I rode Orion for the first time today. You can watch my full ride here….
Some quick thoughts…
The drop is the star of the ride. When you get to the top of the lift, the ride feels like it wants to stop, just long enough for you to take in the spectacular view. But before you know it, you’re dropping.
If you’re a coaster enthusiast and you’re reading this, you’ve probably been on a giga coaster already. Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio has Millennium Force and its 300-foot first drop. Carowinds in the Carolinas has Fury 325 and its 325-foot height. I have yet to make it to Carowinds and take on Fury, but I’ve been on Millennium Force plenty of times. Yet each time I climbed Orion today, the thrill was still there. There is something special about breaking that 300-foot mark. The drop just keeps going – and this one is STEEP.
I suspect the first turn will be the favorite element of many riders. When you come out of the drop, you rise up and turn 90-degrees. It feels like the ride is trying to tip you out. From there you hit a few air time hills and some turns before the ride brings you back into the station.
Orion also features quite a bit of theming, more than I was expecting. Everything has a “top secret, something came from outer space” vibe. When you first walk into the new “Area 72,” you’ll encounter a vehicle blasting audio from WERD Radio:
The rest of the area features a meteor that smokes. There are all kinds of building that have a top secret vibe to them. Then, the queue features all kinds of neat Easter Eggs and even some video storytelling. Take a look:
Kings Island re-opens this weekend. The park took some time to walk us through some of the added procedures and safety measurements being taken throughout the park. They include:
- Temperature screenings upon entry.
- 600 hand sanitizing stations placed throughout the park.
- Facemasks are required for all guests. They have some available for purchase if you don’t bring your own.
- There are three “Relax Zones” where guests can remove their masks.
- Social distancing markers placed in all queue lines.
- Roller coasters and others rides will be wiped down and cleaned periodically.
If you would like to go, you will have to make a reservation. All of the details can be found on their website VisitKingsIsland.com.