Kings Island opening debuting planet’s seventh ‘giga’ coaster, Orion

Kings Island’s new roller coaster Orion is opening this season. Contributed Photo
Kings Island’s new roller coaster Orion is opening this season. Contributed Photo

Guests entering Kings Island  this year will be introduced to new additions, including a new restaurant and themed area.

But the majority of those who turned out for the the July 2 opening for passholders and the July 12 opening for single-day ticket holders will be there to see the Orion, the seventh giga coaster on the planet.

The new ride features a 300-foot first drop and speeds up to 91 miles per hour along 5,321 feet of track.

“We believe that Orion is the most popular ride debuting in the country in 2020, and will be one of the most cited reasons guests come to the park,” said park spokesman Chad Showalter.

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Kings Island has a tradition of adding new rides and attractions each season, Showalter said. Major new attractions such as Orion debut every three or four years to stir interest and boost park attendance.

“Our guests visit the park to create memories with the people in their lives that matter most,” Showalter said. “Whether it’s their tradition of riding the Grand Carousel, experiencing the newest ride together, or simply spending time watching the Royal Fountain on International Street. It’s about the time they are able to spend with each other.”

Kings Island also will debut the new Area 72 themed section of the park that replaces the park’s former themed area, X-Base. Area 72 is the home of Flight of Fear and Orion, and is themed as a government research facility focused on studying the effects of flight on man.

Meteor Canteen is a new fast food counter service location in Area 72. Showalter said the park would reveal the menu in the coming weeks.

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Keith James, past president of the Themed Entertainment Association and the CEO of Jack Rouse Associates, a Cincinnati-based theme park design firm, said the timing of when parks introduce new rides varies from park to park.

“The regional theme parks, like Kings Island, Cedar Point, the Six Flags parks, usually put in a large scale, new piece of equipment every second or third year in order to generate repeat attendance,” James said. “The destination theme parks, like Universal or Disney, may not do so as often, but when they introduce something, it tends to be huge, such as Harry Potter at Universal, or the new Star Wars areas at the Disney parks.”

Guests have become used to parks adding new rides, and therefore often wait for them to be added or introduced before they return, he said.

Kings Island, and all of Warren County’s attractions, are taking “significant steps” to try to ensure the safety of their guests and employees as they reopen, according to Scott Hutchinson, spokesman for the Warren County Convetion & Visitors Bureau

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“Kings Island is always an incredibly popular draw for us here in Warren County, but with the addition of Orion this year, there seems to be more buzz around the park and around our region than ever before,” Hutchinson said. “Any time any of our attractions introduces something new and exciting it’s a boost for our market, and a 300-foot, record-breaking roller coaster is hard to top.”

He said the visitors bureau is hopeful those businesses will enjoy a successful return to business.

“Industry trends suggest that easily accessible, driveable destinations like ours will be popular choices for travelers in the months ahead, so we are optimistic in that regard,” Hutchinson said.