needs volunteers to help with testing. Eager Kings Island guests are those volunteers.

Riding over and over While the Beast, the world’s longest wooden coaster, remains a guest favourite, Koontz believes “Orion certainly is the showpiece of 2020 and certainly will be one of the guest favourites for many years to come. I tend to look at the entire collection of rides that Kings Island has to offer and Orion is a great addition to that lineup. “I think our guests will enjoy many aspects of the

ride,” Koontz continues, “including the 300 foot first drop, the speed, and the incredible views of the park. The reaction to the ride has been great. I think every guest has their favorite part of the ride, whether it’s the front seat, back seat, the speed, the airtime, the helix, and more.” Koontz has ridden Orion several times, both in the front and back. “I enjoy the view from the front seat the best. My favourite part is the 300 foot drop and the speed of the ride.” Kings Island has a second giant B&M coaster, the

230-foot tall Diamondback, introduced in 2009. Although there are ride similarities, Koontz believes they provide guests with two very different ride experiences. He’s quick to point out that the park also operates a third B&M coaster, the 2014-build Banshee, a 167-foot tall inverted coaster. “B&M has built more giga coasters than any other

ride manufacturer,” notes Koontz. “We asked them to build a ride that was not only tall and fast, but one that our guests would enjoy riding over and over again. We already have reports of guests who have ridden Orion well over 20 times since opening about 20 days ago.”

Staggered seating “The entire construction process went very smoothly,” he recalls. “Erection of the ride required the use of lifts that would extend well beyond 300 feet in height. There are not many of those type of lifts in the country.” “The addition of Orion and the re-themed Area

72 offer guests a story driven attraction,” Koontz emphasises. “Orion has certainly changed the skyline of the park. But opening Orion during the pandemic

Coaster enthusiasts from around the world are

adding Orion to their list of must-ride coasters in 2020.

is not a good gauge of how this ride will impact park attendance. We expect to see increased attendance over the next couple years as a result of Orion when the pandemic ceases.” The COVID-19 protocols that the park has

implemented include social distancing on the ride itself and routine sanitisation of the seats, restraints, and other guest touch points. Because the B&M vehicles seat four across a row, social distancing may be achieved by staggered seating. In one row guests occupy in two centre seats, the next row riders use the outboard seats. Guests are required to wear face coverings while in the queue line and on the ride.

Construction Facts

Orion has 181 ride columns and 148 pieces of track.

It took 168 days to erect the ride after the first piece of track was delivered.

The total weight for the Orion track, columns and bolts is 4,953,000 pounds (2,246,643 kg)

It took approximately 74,200 man hours to manufacture the steel components for Orion.

To give Orion its striking blue and gray color palette, it took nearly 4,000 gallons (15,142 l) of paint.

If put end to end, the total length of tube for all steel columns is 10,800 feet (3,292 m).



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