Kings Island opens season with COVID-19 precautions, new coaster


Tony Heitmeyer - For the Sidney Daily News



A Kings Island associate sanitizes the seats on Orion to help prevent the spread of infection during the media preview for Orion on July 1.

A Kings Island associate sanitizes the seats on Orion to help prevent the spread of infection during the media preview for Orion on July 1.


Tony Heitmeyer | Sidney Daily News

An Orion train crests one of eight hills along the more than mile-long track while reaching speeds of 91 mph.


Photo courtesy of Kings Island

MASON – After a monthslong delay due to coronavirus shutdowns, Kings Island amusement park in southwest Ohio opened for its 48th season Thursday, debuting its newest roller coaster, Orion.

Due to COVID-19, the park has implemented several stringent health, safety and hygiene protocols. Guests also are required to utilize a new online reservation system for admittance. The park is open at limited capacity for season pass holders with reservations through July 11. Beginning July 12, daily ticket holders and pass holders with reservations will be admitted.

“We are ready to welcome our guests back to Kings Island for some long-overdue fun,” said Mike Koontz, general manager of Kings Island. “The safety of our guests and associates has always been and will always be our top priority. The park’s new health and safety protocols align with CDC recommendations and have been shaped by information from company and industry health and safety experts, along with our state and local government officials.”

Guests arriving at the park’s gates will enter a tent for a required touchless temperature screening. Any guest with a temperature of 100.4°F/38°C or above will be asked to return home and reschedule their visit. Guests and park associates also are required to wear face coverings, including while on rides; however, the park has established “relax zones” where face coverings can be temporarily removed.

To aid in social distancing, markers have been placed throughout the park, including in ride queue lines and dining locations, and dining and shopping locations have dedicated entrances and exits. Some seats on rides and attractions are unavailable to accommodate social distancing. The park also is working to minimize contact between associates and guests.

To help prevent the spread of infection, more than 600 hand sanitation stations have been installed throughout the park. Restrooms, dining facilities and other busy areas – including ride seats, armrests and headrests – are regularly cleaned and sanitized. Paper park maps are not available this season, so visitors are encouraged to utilize the mobile app; however, there are large-scale maps located throughout the park.

To limit park capacity, guests visiting Kings Island must reserve their date and time of arrival through the park’s mobile app or website. Once guests have made a reservation, they will receive a confirmation email. Walk-up visitors or pass holders without a reservation will not be admitted until further notice. To limit contact, guests are encouraged to purchase a parking pass online.

A pre-entry health assessment must be completed on the day of the visit through the mobile app or upon arrival. Any guest or group who does not pass the health assessment will be asked to reschedule their visit. At least one member of a group or any visitor visiting by themselves must have a mobile device with the Kings Island app installed.

Thursday also marked the debut of Orion, the park’s newest roller coaster. Orion is one of only seven Giga coasters in the world, a class of coasters having a height or drop of 300-399 feet. ​​Orion plunges riders down an exhilarating 300-foot drop before sending them on a high-speed journey over seven more hills at speeds of up to 91 miles per hour. Racing along 5,321 feet of track, it is the park’s tallest (287 feet), fastest and longest steel roller coaster and only second in overall length behind The Beast. The ride is the largest investment in park history, costing an estimated $30 million.

Kings Island offers guests more than 100 rides, shows and family attractions, including 15 roller coasters. An opening date for the park’s 33-acre waterpark, Soak City, has not yet been announced. 2020 Kings Island season passes have been extended through the 2021 season.

For more information about Kings Island, the park’s safety and operational changes or to schedule a reservation and purchase tickets, visit www.visitkingsisland.com or utilize the park’s mobile app.

A Kings Island associate sanitizes the seats on Orion to help prevent the spread of infection during the media preview for Orion on July 1.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2020/07/web1_Kings-Island-5.jpgA Kings Island associate sanitizes the seats on Orion to help prevent the spread of infection during the media preview for Orion on July 1. Tony Heitmeyer | Sidney Daily News

https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2020/07/web1_Kings-Island-2.jpgPhoto courtesy of Kings Island

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An Orion train crests one of eight hills along the more than mile-long track while reaching speeds of 91 mph.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2020/07/web1_Kings-Island-3.jpgAn Orion train crests one of eight hills along the more than mile-long track while reaching speeds of 91 mph. Photo courtesy of Kings Island

Tony Heitmeyer

For the Sidney Daily News