However, I will say that I enjoyed our ride on Banshee better this time around. The coaster is still a far cry from what I look for in a B&M Invert, but the coaster has the cool inline-twist at the end and with age comes a bit of a rattle and some character. My preferred inverted coaster at the park is definitely still Invertigo.
Oh look what stands tall over the park at a height of 287 ft? It’s Orion with it’s 300 ft drop! And that my friends, makes it a Giga coaster. If you don’t think it’s a giga coaster, then shoot us a message because we’re ready to defend that title. The fact that so many coaster enthusiasts don’t is strange to me.
I want to immediately give a shoutout to Kings Island for the brilliant theming. Not only is Sci-Fi always a great way to go, it’s also easy to mess up. For Area 72 the park did exactly what they should have and beautifully tied the park’s history, the recent pop culture surrounding sci-fi, and the rides in the area together. For those who have yet to go, Area 72 is a government facility focusing on space related matters, the station wagon outside is a conspiracy theorist broadcasting to the world. Genius.
Once entering Area 72, the theming really starts to tie everything together. The station wagon out front does a great job combining both Flight of Fear and Orion into its story, the rides themselves perfectly compliment each other too. Thanks to Kings Island for the many Firehawk shoutouts in both audio and visual form all over Area 72.
The renewed queue and entry set up for Flight of Fear is great, and may it get busy and the lines get long, you’ll be able to enjoy a view of Orion from a new extended queue. Inside the showbuilding for FoF the lighting effects and show scenes are well maintained, and so is the station. The ride itself remains a real ass-kicker and a must-do for me when I visit the park.
Let’s talk Orion! We’re big fans, which is almost not surprising as we seem to have such differing opinions from the rest of the enthusiasts community. We may not think Diamondback or Banshee are all that, but we really think Orion is fantastic. The lineup of elements on the ride is unique and we much appreciate how different the elements are from the other B&M Gigas built prior. The ride has a great balance of forces while also throwing some serious air at you about 5 times throughout the ride. The ride is a bit on the short side, but overall really delivers and quickly entered the top 5 at the park for me.
One of my favorite elements is the ride’s big helix, which has sustained forces that took me by surprise. I really appreciate that Orion‘s layout feels so unique. The layout plays with elements we have not yet seen on B&Ms biggest coasters and the ride does such a stellar job complementing what Diamondback already does. When I hear criticism for Orion, I am sometimes confused. Were we really looking for a slightly taller Diamondback? Because I wasn’t. I wanted unique elements, speed, forces that were new to any coaster at Kings Island, and that’s what we got. If you’re looking for an airtime machine, walk a few steps and get on the park’s more traditional B&M hyper. Looking for height, speed, and graceful aerial movements with some great forces, Orion is the place to be.
And I will round out this quick review with another mention of Kings Island’s devotion to a complete product. While there are some switchbacks, Orion‘s queue is full of easter eggs from previous Kings Island attractions, as well as some current ones. The ride has a story, a purpose, and I feel that was well portrayed throughout all of Area 72. The nighttime light package on Orion was also incredible with a light show on the supports and that Cedar Fair signature LED lift hill beam. Overall, I was very impressed and think that Orion and Area 72 as a whole are some of the best we’ve seen at a Cedar Fair park yet.
To my surprise Kings Island still had a quick fireworks show at the end of the night, and while that meant no more Orion or Beast right before closing, we got several rainy night rides on Adventure Express. It was incredible, so if you’re ever bummed about the queues for some big attractions closing early, I highly recommend Adventure Express in the dark.
Ohio is one of the many places we’ve visited lately, check out some of our other reports: