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Kings Island | Orion | B&M Giga Coaster

tomahawk

Moderator
Staff member
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Social Media Team
More reviews are coming in! Logan from Thrills United seems absolutely smitten with it, proclaiming it his second favourite B&M coaster behind Fury:
EDIT: Sorry for double posting!
We don't need review updates for everyone who rides it. If someone is wanting to watch the videos, they probably know where to find them.



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Matt N

Well-Known Member
We don't need review updates for everyone who rides it. If someone is wanting to watch the videos, they probably know where to find them.



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Sorry @tomahawk... I was only wanting to provide a few reviews because not that many people have ridden it and it might help to gauge expectations a little.
 

Llama Drama

New Member
Hmm.

It seems I'm split into both camps at the same time on this.

One one hand, I still fully agree with all the critiques, criticisms, and qualms regarding the ride's layout/stats. Yes, its still disappointing that its not actually 300 ft, not a long ride, and has mediocre elements etc. I get all that, and agree that they could've done a lot better with everything related to the ride itself.

But on the other, I would like to say that the thematic aspect of this attraction, and everything aesthetically-related to the ride, I actually love, and think they did really well with (or at least, based on the photos/video I've seen thus far).

So no, I can't say agree with the "better had they not even tried" idea with regards to the theming. Well, I mean obviously if I had the choice between better/longer coaster with no theme vs. lesser coaster but themed, I would choose the former. However, that's based on the assumption that the theming for this ride cost a significant enough amount of money to where they could have added significantly more track instead, which I'm skeptical, to say the least...

I mean, how much do some corrugated metal buildings, props, and some cheap signage here and there cost? Are IMAscores expensive? (to anyone who might know that) That may have been the most costly part of it and even then I can't imagine was that expensive.

The theming package in total probably did not cost much, but that's okay! I'm a believer that the little things can go a long way. Example: the Beast "pawprints" were restored in Rivertown last year. That took nothing more than a few cans of paint and a stencil, but me being a nostalgia person I loved that!

And I love a lot of the touches added to Orion's que and around Flight of Fear as well. So I suppose that does put me in the "better than nothing" camp. As I've said before, I'm perfectly content with CF's level of theming. No, I obviously don't want a ride plopped straight onto a parking lot (and while it still has the lines!) but I don't need Disney, Universal, or Phantasia-level to be intrigued either.

I won't be able to go out and ride this thing until sometime later this month, so I won't be able to give my real opinion on it all until then. But let me say, consider me someone who is really looking forward to the "full experience" that Orion has to offer: the que, pre-show, IMAscore, and every other little touch and detail added into the new 'Area 72'. I like space stuff, so idk maybe that has something do with it. Anyways...

So yes, do consider me a part of the "better than nothing" crowd if you must. But that doesn't mean I'm not still in the "layout could have been better" group as well.
 

bob_3_

Active Member
OK so I was meant to be there by now and riding it so I've kinda tortured myself with watching all the opening week footage and reviews and this is the general vibe I get from what riders are saying...

What Orion does is outstanding, the drops just as good as the other gigas the sideways hill gives you an insane kinda of zero-g moment, the speed hill is great, the pacing is really great, it's forceful and fast, the theming is well executed with a great atmosphere (I too love space stuff).... BUT it's missing maybe one or two extra elements. The sentence that stuck with me is that Orion is "half of an elite status coaster", where what it does is exceptional but it doesn't do enough.

I can defo see this as being a marmite coaster for a long time, but (being a massive B&M fanboy) I think they have a winner here.
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
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Had the chance to visit yesterday (with a longer trip report inbound shortly, especially for how Kings Island handled their Covid-19 protocol. Spoiler: they did a good job).

For Orion, here's some hot takes and review:

Theming
.... It actually, kinda, worked! Area 76 (or whatever number we are using) is a nice doubling-down of the secret military base theme established allllll the way back when Flight of Fear was installed in 1995. While Firehawk was adapted to a test-pilot-ish theme to match, the back area felt rather unconvincing to say the least; just a few hangars and military-looking apparatus strewn about. While the military-looking appartus have been further strewn about with the new and improved military base theme; some additions of lighting package and fresh coats-of-paint to existing structures has the whole place pretty satisfactorily themed. To play out the Orion story-line (AsTeRoIdS iN sPaCe!), some asteroid impact sites have been added around the base, one even "damaging" some of the Flight of Fear hangar. A portion of the queue also goes through a prep room, telling the story of how each of the former roller coasters in the park were test projects, culminating in Orion (aka Alton Towers Secret Weapon Light Motif)

And yes, there's A LOT of concrete laid bare along the site. But... it isn't too bad? In that, it's a lot of dead space that you don't need to ever walk along. Or at least, you get a good vista view of Orion which is nice.

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My favorite part of the theming is a new addition just before you enter the base - a conspiracy theorist broadcasting from his beat-up Volvo. (Audio is being perpetually piped out) The truth is out there, folks.
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Queuing
I give Kings Island props on this one, as they were thoughtful on mitigating excess Covid queuing/excess queuing in general that occurs for a big, new coaster. Setup outside the queue, visitors were given timeslot cards for an hour window when they may return to ride. Basically, grab a card, come back at the allotted time, ride, repeat. Easy system, that while not as sophisticated as a virtual queue, meant actual queue times were ~30-40 minutes each ride (at half capacity for Covid loading).
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Ride Experience
Ahhh... you wanted to go there? After I was telling you how surprisingly well done the theming was? And the good job on queuing?

Alright, the ride. Let's get this out of the way first - this is the worst Giga coaster I've ever ridden, and is moreso competition with Hyper B&Ms than it's Giga brethren. I have it slotted between Apollo's Chariot and Diamondback on my "Hyper" scale, and it's my 43rd favorite roller coaster overall. Full stop.

But as Don Helbig has made readily apparent - that is kinda what the park was going for. Nowhere in this layout is there a "top 10" spirit of contention - it's too short, too small, and too-few-airtime hills do count against it. BUT, for what is there; it's actually pretty alright. In true B&M tradition, you will find floater airtime hills for days, giving the better ride in the back of the train. Specifically, while I still need to ride a few more times to figure out if the first sideways airtime hill actually does anything; there was a good floater tug on the turn around and speed hill. The speed hill was the best element IMO. That unfortunate trim half-way through however leads to aimless meandering through the second half. And while you get some pops of airtime in the final airtime hill (really moreso due to the transition of the train, similar to Fury's treble cleff turnaround) and (yeah, I'm about to write this) hill into the brake run - you're just grasping for straws of airtime at that point.

I do think it's better than Diamondback. I don't think it's the best coaster in the park. And I also think the GP will find it pretty fun, but recognize the far too many similarities to the Hyper across the way. As in.... every rider onboard was asking the same question of if it was built by the same people who built Diamondback. 😅

TL;DR Talking Points
- The Orion theme is pretty solid.
- The Orion ride is what we expected, lots of floater.
- Don't go in with high expectations, take it for what it is.
 

Llama Drama

New Member
Well hey, glad I'm not the only one who digs the theming. Sure, it ain't Disney. But...neither are the ticket prices. So, fair compromise if you ask me!

As for your thoughts on the ride itself. Yeah can't say I didn't see that coming. I just had this sense all throughout reading your review that it wasn't going to end one the best note lol. You know something's up when someone skates around the inevitable, unavoidable truth for as long you did.

I haven't ridden yet but I'm still optimistic. I'm not nearly as well traveled as the average lot, so think I'm still going to really like it regardless.

As for the whole "bigger Diamondback" phenomenon, in all fairness I think those comments were going to surface from the GP no matter how different the layout of Orion would have been. It'd still have the same track, same supports, same seats/restraints etc. - every notable cosmetic feature that the GP are able to make a connection. To my knowledge guests at CW and Carowinds still share similiar sentiments with regard to their hyper/giga combo, and we all know how different Fury and Intimidator are.

It seems that Millennium Force and Magnum will remain as the only hyper/giga combo that in no way shape or form are confused for by anyone.
 
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