Finally had time to write up my thoughts. Have a read if you want!
I got to ride Orion 4 times on the 4th. Here are my thoughts:
Theming: As many have stated before me, the theme of the whole area and Orion specifically is fantastic. I hope Cedar Fair and Kings Island specifically, continue to move into this direction. The space theme is fantastic and I was lucky enough to see the area at night, as I went on the one day the park was open until 10. Gosh! It is cool at night. It’s the first time I have wanted to just stand and watch instead of doing something else... that is saying something.
I was originally disappointed by the lack of a large plaza sign like Banshee, but I think I have settled on the idea that I like the elevated area giving you a fantastic view of the coaster more. This is the only spot in the park where the station and theme are front and center and it’s fantastic.
The theming in the line is solid, but it really gets good when you get into the pre-show hut. There is so much detail and cool things to look at in there. I won’t spoil it too much but I was definitely impressed.
The station is about what you’d expect for a hangar theme but I actually thought it was nice. The hanging flags are cool and it feels fun in there. I also like the the line is blocked from seeing into the station until the very end. It’s a cool little thing that adds to the anticipation. Also, there are fans in there!!!
The ride: let me preface this by saying that I am going to go through each element and my thoughts apply generally to any row in the train unless otherwise mentioned. I got 4 rides, rows: 7, 4, 2, 5.
Lift Hill: You get some nice views on the way up and man do you really book it to the top. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were going 16mph up that hill. You slow a little at the top before dropping but I don’t mind as the back row would get like -2 Gs if it didn’t slow down. Side note: the lift motor is really loud when the chain is moving at top speed. Not really a positive or negative, just a note.
The Drop: Hands down the best drop in the park and it’s up there with Fury for the best I have ever been on. The back row really gets some good whip over the top and throws you down. I didn’t get a ride in the very first row sadly but the second row is close to that. You don’t get ejected so much out of your seat but it is arguably as good as the back due to the sensation of falling lasting longer since you crest slower. I think I’d go back row of it was one or the other, but I see the appeal to both. Love the drop!
The first element (a giant banked turn): I’m sorry, it’s just not a wave turn. You bank the same direction as you turn and therefore get pushed more into your seat than out of it. That said, sitting on the right side of the train will net you some really interesting air time. I felt like my body was experiencing normal air time while being sideways banked. Being pushed into the right side of my seat while floating was interesting and honestly super unique and fun. The closer you get to the left side of the train the less air time you will feel. It turns into more of a high banked speed turn which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are on the left outside seats. Looking down from that high up while going that fast is really cool and I like it. Expect more air time towards the front of the train vs the back as well. It’s a solid element and while not my favorite on the ride, it is definitely fun. I don’t understand why people think every element must have air time. Yes, air time is awesome, but I like to enjoy a variety of elements on my rides.
The turnaround: I liked this element. It’s nothing crazy, a pop of air in the front or not much in the back but you get really high up and don’t really lose much speed throughout the turn. Before you know it you are diving back low to the ground and pulling some good positive Gs.
The speed hill: Ladies and gentleman... I give you the signature moment of the ride. Wow was I impressed! Watching the POV I was worried it would be slow and mild floated over the hill but boy am I so glad to be wrong. You don’t glide, you fly. What I would consider ejector air time turns into sustained strong floater throughout the entire hill. You absolutely fly over it and wow it’s fun. You will enjoy this hill no matter where you are in the train. Might get a little more fun on the left side of the train when you come out of the banking but it shouldn’t be very different. This might be my favorite coaster element in the park. And might be second only to SteVe’s large outer-bank on rides I have been on. 10/10 stuff here
The floater hill: Let me tell you right now, people worry about trim breaks way too much. It’s there to get you over the hill at the right speed. And I really feel like it’s the right speed. I seemed to get mid tier to strong floater depending on the location in the train and I also felt like it was sustained longer than a typical hyper hill, could just be me though. Not a unique element but it was good no doubt.
Helix: I’m not a helix fan. Never have been and I don’t think I ever will be. Generally, I find them to be taken too slow and to not do much for me. I don’t dislike this helix though. You get some very good positives throughout the whole thing with them being slightly weaker at the top then the low points. I also really like the shape of this helix compared to the normal ones. This is unique and non symmetrical and I like that. You won’t get anything crazy out of this element but it’s one of the better helixses I have been on. A mid tier element but I’ve definitely ridden worse
Side-ways air-time hill 2: Fantastic moment! This is ejector air and boy is it fun. The only thing that could make this element better is if it was sustained until the ground. Definitely the sleeper element of the ride but right up there with one of my favorites.
Break: You get a good pop of air going into the breaks (especially in the front of the train). This is better than no air time for sure. But be prepared to get slammed Flight of Fear style because boy do those breaks hit hard. You have a lot of speed going into the break run and if you are not careful, your head will know it.
Overall thoughts on ride experience: This is a great ride. The pacing is fantastic, each element is unique and provides its own unique forces. Could the ride have been one or two elements longer? Of course. Did I want more? Sure. Did I feel let down? No. The ride time is similar to Mystic Timbers, which gets far less hate for being short than Orion. The pacing on both of those rides are great and they are aggressive until the end. Call me crazy but I don’t care that it isn’t longer. It’s fun how it is. Also, the length allows the lift hill to be really fast which is cool.
Do I like it more than fury? Probably not? Levi? Never ridden so I don’t know. Millie? Definitely. I may be in the minority in that but half of Millennium is spent copying previous elements or gliding through boring tunnels. I would ride Orion every single time over it. The extra 15ish seconds do not make it better for me. This is a world class ride that deserves to be treated as such and I’m thrilled to have it at Kings Island.
Extras: Is there a rattle!? I’m a little sadden to report this but yes, yes there is. The dark blue train is the smoothest IMO and the middle seats are definitely better than the outside but you will rattle a bit no matter what. I heard a while back that the park has issues with it because of the soil types in southwest Ohio. Not sure if that is true our not but considering all 3 of our B&M’s have a rattle I would venture to say it might be right. That or we are very unlucky. The rattle is bearable though so while it may be unfortunate, it doesn’t kill the experience for me.
Lighting Package: HOLY MOLY THIS THING IS SO COOL. The views this ride and the lights it has are unreal. I wanted to stand in area 72 and watch, they were that good! Just bring these lights to Banshee and you’ll catch me having park withdrawals needing to get back.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask. I will try to respond to them all!
pics for fun: