UPDATE @ 10 p.m.: A new steel roller coaster named "Orion" will debut at Kings Island in the spring 2020.
“It’s the newest Giga coaster” said Mike Koontz, vice president and general manager. It will be the tallest and fastest coaster at the park, he told a crowd of hundreds gathered at the park.
A Giga coaster is defined as one with a height or drop between 300 to 399 feet, according to park officials.
It will move at 91 mph and feature a 300-foot drop, he said. “Beginning today, coaster enthusiasts from around the world are adding Orion to their list of must-ride coasters in 2020.”
When Orion opens, the area will be re-named Area 72 themed after a special research area. Orion features the latest prototype vehicle developed by the Project X initiative, he said.
Scientists are in a race against time to develop technology capable of weaving transport vehicles through a coming meteor storm and traveling to a new planet within the Orion constellation, he said.
“For the program to be successful, it needs volunteers to help with testing,” Koontz said.
“I can’t wait to ride Orion. How ‘bout you?” he asked the crowd.
Five Things to Know About Orion
- When it debuts in spring 2020, it will become the tallest (287 feet) and fastest (91 mph) roller coaster with the longest first drop (300 feet) at Kings Island. At 5,321 feet, it will be the park's longest steel roller coaster and second-longest overall behind The Beast (7,359)
- Orion will be the world's seventh Giga coaster, the fourth in the nation and fifth in North America.
- The first drop will take riders down the length of a football field. At 300 feet, it ties for the world's seventh-longest drop on a roller coaster.
- At 91 mph, Orion will be the seventh-fastest roller coaster in North America, 13th fastest in the world
- Orion will be the third roller coaster at Kings Island designed by Switzerland-based Bolliger & Mabillard, joining Diamondback (2009) and Banshee (2014). Seven of the top 20-ranked steel roller coasters in a 2018 poll by Amusement Today were designed by B&M, the most by a ride manufacturer on the list
Hundreds have gathered and the party has started tonight in anticipation of the Kings Island announcement of its addition for 2020.
The new attraction is to be announced at 10 p.m. at an open-to-all guests event. Park officials have extended the Coney Mall hours from 8 to 10 p.m.
Kings Island officials haven’t let slip any details about the addition, but our news partner WCPO in Cincinnati has surmised that based on blueprints filed with the city of Mason, and construction in the park, the addition will be a major roller coaster.
The blueprints appear to show a 300-foot tall coaster on the site of the former Firehawk ride, one that dwarfs the iconic wooden coaster The Racer next to it.
It is called only “Project X” in the plans, according to WCPO.
We have a crew at Kings Island and we’ll update this developing report as we learn more.