Kings Island’s new $30 million roller coaster is going vertical.
The first of Orion’s 184 pieces of track was installed Saturday where the station will be located.
The start of construction on the project, soon to be the 10th fastest roller coaster in the world, comes just weeks after park officials announced the giga coaster at a special event that found coaster devotees cheering about the new addition.
The new ride 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.
Riders on the new coaster will plunge down a 300-foot first drop, sending them on a high-speed journey over seven more hills and 5,321 feet of track at speeds up to 91 MPH.
While Kings Island is not again open to the public until Halloween Haunt starts Sept. 20, construction crews took advantage of the weather last week to mark the first signs of vertical construction for the new coaster, according to park spokesman Chad Showalter.
When completed, there will be a total of 181 ride columns and 148 track pieces, and crews will be working through the winter to ensure the ride opens as scheduled next spring.
Orion will become the tallest (287 feet) and fastest roller coaster with the longest first drop at Kings Island. It will be the park’s longest steel roller coaster and second-longest overall behind The Beast.
Orion is the third roller coaster at Kings Island designed by Switzerland-based Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M), joining Diamondback, which debuted in 2009, and Banshee, which debuted in 2014. Seven of the top 20 ranked steel roller coasters in a 2018 poll conducted by Amusement Today were designed by B&M, the most by a ride manufacturer on the list.
Click here to watch a live stream of Orion’s construction.