Construction is underway for the Orion roller coaster at Kings Island in Mason. When completed in spring of 2020, it will become the tallest and fastest coaster at the park. The first drop is 300 feet and it will reach 91 miles per hour. The track is 5,321 feet making is the longest steel coaster and second-longest overall behind The Beast that is 7,359 feet long. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Orion will be one of only seven giga coasters in the world. They are a class of roller coasters with a height or drop of 300 to 399 feet. It will replace Firehawk, a coaster that was demolished following the 2018 season.
The new ride will be “non-stop fun the whole way,” according to Jeff Gramke, manager of facilities, engineering and construction at Kings Island.
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All the steel for the ride should be in place by the end of January, and the park is expected to start running the ride for tests in February.
“It depends on weather,” he said. “In Cincinnati, that’s sometimes problematic, but that’s the goal, to have it ready to go by January.”
Gramke said most of Kings Island’s other coasters are 215 feet high and less, “so going up 300 (feet) is a huge, huge jump.” Orion is 287 feet high but uses the contours of the land to travel below the coaster’s base in the first drop.
The ride is scheduled to make its debut when the park opens for the 2020 season next April.
“It’s great,” said Gramke, who has overseen construction on all of Kings Island’s coasters except The Racer and Woodstock Express. “It’s the evolution of what this park has been”