Orion, Kings Island’s new roller coaster, is taking shape

Orion, Kings Island’s new roller coaster, is taking shape
The base of the 300-foot long first drop on Orion, Kings Island’s new roller coaster, is now in place. (Source: Kings Island Twitter)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The base of the 300-foot long first drop on Orion, Kings Island’s new roller coaster, is now in place.

The first of 148 drops in the coaster was set on Monday.

"It’s a Giga. So, it’s way up there,” the Manager of Facilities, Engineering, and Construction at Kings Island, Jeff Gramke, said.

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The 30 story drop will last more than 10 seconds.

“We don’t have anything 300-foot-tall here at the park," Gramke said. “Cedar Point our sister park does have some big tall ones but this is the biggest one here at Kings Island.”

Crews hope to hit Orion’s top height by Halloween, have all the steel fabricated by the end of January, and have the $30 million roller coaster finished by February.

“It feels like a roller coaster now, Vice President of Maintenance and Construction at Kings Island, Jamie Gaffney, said. “When we start setting the first feet of track on its foundation, that’s when it starts feeling like you’re going to have another roller coaster that’s world-class.”

The roller coaster will follow the natural terrain that will allow riders to feel its 91 miles per hour pace.

“If you guys remember Mystic Timbers, it runs low to the ground and is fast through trees and makes it seem really really fast as well,” Gaffney said. “It’s probably a little more than half the speed of this one. When you come off that first hill it’s going to be quite a ride from there."

Roller coaster enthusiasts are not the only ones who are excited about Orion, so are some engineers who have been working at Kings Island since 1972.

“Actually, all of it. I have been here 48 years, so I’ve seen them all,” Gramke said. “I’ve seen the park open and I’ve seen everything since then.”

Orion will be one of seven giga-coasters in the world.

The public can watch the construction through a live web camera located on top of the Eiffel Tower.

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