Kings Island will debut the world's seventh giga coaster in Spring 2020. "Orion" will feature a 300-foot drop and reach speeds of 91 mph with eight hills.
With 5,321 feet of track, it will be Kings Island's tallest, fastest and longest steel coaster, the park says.
"At 91 mph, it will be the seventh fastest coaster in North America and the 10th fastest coaster on planet Earth," says Kings Island General Manager Mike Koontz. Two other coasters go about the same speed: Millennium Force (93 mph) at Cedar Point and Leviathan (92 mph) at Canada's Wonderland, so technically it will be the 13th fastest.
"Orion is the single largest investment in Kings Island history," he adds. "To give you perspective, it cost about the same to build this entire park in 1972."
Park officials say Orion will cost more than $30 million to complete. Several local companies will be involved in building the coaster: Clermont Steel Fabricators, RE Middleton Construction and Cintech Construction.
Giga coasters are very tall and extremely fast. To qualify they must be between 300 and 399 feet tall and complete a full circuit.
"A giga coaster is going to be noticed, it's really going to stand out in the skyline. It's going to be huge," says American Coaster Enthusiasts Communications Director Elizabeth Ringas. "It's also one of the coasters in the world that's known to be re-rideable because giga coasters don't go upside down."
Ringas says the ride will be a great addition for the park.
"It offers a ride to some people who would be intimidated to go through inversions," she explains. "It will have a lot of G-forces but not the turning G-forces. It's all about airtime when you talk about a giga coaster, and for a lot of coaster enthusiasts that's what they look for."
Orion will be situated at the back of the park behind "Flight of Fear." Kings Island describes the theme this way:
Themed to the park’s new Area 72, the ride features the latest prototype vehicle developed by the Project X initiative. Scientists are in a race against time to develop technology capable of weaving transport vehicles through a coming meteor storm and traveling to a new planet within the Orion constellation. For the program to be successful, it needs volunteers to help with testing.
Koontz adds it's "themed after a secret research facility that has been studying the effects of flight on man for several decades."
As WVXU previously reported, Thursday night's announcement - one the park calls "the largest in the park's 47-year history" - ends months of speculation
Speaking before the announcement, Ringas said amusement park fans were excited.
"It's something that we just live to hear the details of," she said. "We know it's something big for the park."
The announcement was scheduled for 10 p.m. Park visitors were invited to stick around after closing for the reveal.
"There really hasn't been too much this time from Kings Island," Ringas said. "They've been super silent and that almost makes it more exciting because there's always so much speculation and rumors."
The most widespread theory is that the park is getting a giga coaster, and that turned out to be correct. Giga coasters are very tall and extremely fast. They're between 300 and 399 feet tall and complete a full circuit. There are fewer than 10 in the world.
"Even if it's not a coaster, it's great for us to see them succeeding and getting something that will drive the public to want to visit again and keep enhancing the park," said Ringas.
She said she had a feeling the announcement would be "big and grand" and if the crowd's reaction is any indication, it was.
Kings Island's last new roller coaster was Mystic Timbers, which opened in 2017.