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Blog #984

Orion - 7/7/2020

Today I made my first trip of the year to a theme park, Kings Island.  It has been a late start for the amusement park season (thank you COVID-19).  But today was a beautiful day to get to the park with blue skies and some clouds, bright sun and temperature in the 90s.

My first ride of the day was on Kings Island’s new giga-coaster, Orion.  This beautiful blue and white steel speed machine is the centerpiece of the newly rethemed Area 72 section of the park.





Click here to see all of my pictures of Orion.

Flight of Fear, next to Orion, received some new theming elements outside and few updates in the queue.  Out in the plaza there are audio announcements that tie the whole area together with its military space research theme.  And one additional theme item that I think is very clever is that just outside of Area 72 is a renegade radio broadcast claiming conspiracy theories about aliens and a government coverup.

Next I rode WindSeeker, Beast, Mystic Timbers, Banshee and Bat.  The ride on Beast was a little rough, or maybe I’m just not back in the zone to ride woodie just yet.  I also took in the views from the Eiffel Tower.

Of course, the most obvious changes to the park are the new safety procedures due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Before entering the park each guest, including season passholders, were required to get a timed reservation.  Upon entering the front gates, each guest had their temperature checked and was asked a few health screening questions.  While in the queues, guests maintained social distancing of six feet using markers on the ground.  Seating on the coasters were assigned using every other row or used staggered seating.  Just before boarding Beast, the ride was stopped so that the seats, restraint bars and handrails were wiped down with disinfectant.  The ride attendants said that this was done every half hour.

All employees and guests were required to wear face masks.  Throughout the day I saw one employee and two security guards enforcing this directive with park guests.  In fact, one guard was reminding guests that were already wearing their face coverings to pull them up to also cover their nose as well.  I was very happily surprised with how well all of the guests and employees were universally complying with the face mask rules.  After seeing thousands and thousands of guests wearing masks nonstop for hours, in the 90 degree plus temperatures and while traveling at up to 91 miles per hours on the coasters with absolutely no issues, I do not ever want to hear anyone complain about having any problems with face masks.

Behind the new fencing surrounding the former site of Vortex heavy equipment was caring up the last remaining pieces of the defunct coaster.



Before heading home, I got a second ride on Orion.  In spite of the effects of the pandemic, it was a good day at the park.

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