I’ve now ridden Velocicoaster 8 times, (5x front, 2x back, 1x middle) and feel in a much better position to be able to give my thoughts and views on Universal’s new Intamin coaster. It’s a great ride, let’s first be clear on that. Will it make my top 5 ?? …. read on, and you will find out. Be warned, if you venture any further there will be a few spoilers, so if you are determined to ride it “blind” then now’s the time to go and read another post.
I knew from the passholder preview ride, I had no real clue as to just how good/bad Velocicoaster was going to be. Heck, I didn’t even know the names of the Raptors, but now I do :) So please say hello to Blue, Charlie, Delta and Echo, when you pass them in the queue line. You will be seeing a lot more of them as the queue line/ride continues. The big screen introduction, after the locker area, makes so much more sense now as well. White coated Claire Dearing has come up with this crazy idea of building a roller coaster thru the Raptor paddock. Trainer, Owen Grady, thinks it’s an insane idea, and from what happens after that, he’s most probably right. You see Owen’s buddies poking and prodding the 4 caged Raptors, and then watch as their BPMs go into the red. When you are in the train ready to launch, all this falls into place, so be mindful of this as you watch the big screen presentation.
The single rider line is very hit and miss. I’d say if the regular line is more than an hour, then go for the single rider, but other than that the regular line seems to be the quickest way to the station. Timing is everything to get the full advantage. Quite often the single rider line would close due to too many people waiting, although it does eventually open back up again. One good thing though, you can still choose where to sit, as both regular and single lines end up at the exact same place in the station.
The front, for me, is absolutely the best place to be. Everyone I spoke to, and there were a fair few going round and round, all agreed. The launch into the top hat is one of the better parts of the ride, but the speed of the train going over the top is relatively consistent, so you don’t get that drag down ‘whip’ effect from the front section. There is some of course, but not as much as a regular lift hill/first drop coaster.
As we sit in the train ready for that first launch, the Raptors in the 4 cages are getting well pissed. This is where I think Universal missed an opportunity to make the experience even better. You get launched, but so far as you can see the Raptors are still in their cages. How about if they could somehow have the doors accidently open or be broken open, and just before the train heads down the track, there the Raptors are, all free and ready to pounce on you ?? That way the fast getaway would actually mean something. It would also help to further the story line when seeing the Raptors at various places in the first half of the ride.
Velocicoaster is a ride of 2 halves. Station launch to top hat launch, and top hat launch to end of ride. Breaking that down even more, I’ll say the first half, is also a section of 2 halves. Let me explain. The first half of the first half is great, an amazing launch out of the station followed by a lot of back and forth dodging rocks and Raptors as we go. The second half of the first half, is blah to say the least, especially when in the front seat. In the back you don’t notice it quite as much. You just weave around a few bends in the track, and not a lot is going on ……… until you reach the paddock exit, where the second launch shoots you forward, and up and over the top hat. Now this is where the coaster really excels. The ride portion after the top hat is what makes Velocicoaster a worthy top 5 contender. People still rave about the heartline roll, but for me that 1-2 seconds of being upside down is the best part of the ride. The train is still traveling at a fast pace as we head back in towards the station, and only when it gets back inside does it start to slow down.
Another trick I think Universal missed takes me back to the queue line when you see the top hat launch and the 4 Raptors chasing after the train. What would have been awesome would be to have some sort of viewable projection screen/mirror as you’re heading out of the paddock. On that screen you can see Blue, Echo, Charlie and Delta chasing after you as you speed off to safety. A big ask I know, but that’s the sort of thing that makes a great coaster into a potential #1 coaster.
The coaster is an absolute stunner to see in the dark. I have never seen a better nighttime coaster. The pale blue lighting on the trains makes it a sight to behold. My ride in the dark was OK, but the true beauty of the Velocicoaster in the dark, is watching it zip past you on the track.
And now a bit of a warning …… Velocicoaster is a bruiser, well for me it was. The restraints are excellent at keeping you secure, but after repeat rides you can feel them start to dig into your lower abdomen every time you come out of your seat on an airtime section. I have 2 very nice brown/yellow areas that attest to that. Again, it could be just me, but just a heads up if you’re planning to ride it 5+, 10+ times in a row.
Only one of the 7 post passholder preview rides took longer than 30-45 minutes to get from entering the queue line, to exiting into the Discovery center. They run it with 3 trains, but had a “technical difficulty” occur, and pulled 2 trains to leave just one running. All the other times we were constantly moving slowly towards the station. When things get really busy there is an extended queue line outside the building, and that takes you very close to the heartline roll element of the track. In fact, I thought just for a one off I wouldn’t mind being out there just to get what would undoubtedly be some great photos.
And so ….. does it make my top 5 ??? Maybe joint 5th with Copperhead Strike (yes, I love that ride), but Maverick is, in my opinion, a better coaster, so it stays in 4th place. Maverick is relentless and never lets up, but that blah second half of the first half, puts Velocicoaster behind Maverick in my books.
It’ll be interesting to hear what you guys think, when you all get chance to ride it.