Universal Orlando Resort today opened its Jurassic World VelociCoaster for annual passholder previews.
Initial reactions on social media were almost exclusively enthusiastic for the Islands of Adventure coaster, which the resort is dubbing Florida's tallest and fastest launch coaster. The Intamin track runs 4,700 feet and features two launches, a two-second LSM launch from 0 to 50 mph, and a 2.4-second LSM boost from 40mph to the ride's top speed of 70 mph.
The track's Top Hat measures 155 feet, with a barrel roll above the Islands of Adventure lagoon providing another signature moment. The ride's queue and preshow features multiple animated velociraptors as well as filmed appearances from Jurassic World stars Bryce Dallas Howard, BD Wong, and Chris Pratt, who reprise their roles in the films.
You will need a sold-out reservation for the AP preview this week, but Jurassic World VelociCoaster opens officially to the public on June 10. If you are thinking about a trip, our travel partner offers discounted tickets on its Universal Orlando tickets page.
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There are show scenes on the ride, from what I have heard. I'm in LA, still, so I wasn't in Orlando today to ride.
"I dunno...all of the AAs and theming are in the queue and pre-show? Sorry, that's disappointing. I thought this was a themed coaster, not a coaster with a cool queue." - That's Hagrid's.
Having ridden this coaster I can truly say this is a top notch thrill coaster. The lap bars add for a truly terrifying experience. Universal did an outstanding job with this ride. After I got off I was truly shaking. This is a must ride for any coaster enthusiasts. The inversion over the lagoon is the best part!
@Still a fan The ride goes too fast to see and justify AA's.
The once in the queue are stunning and fitting. The Raptors in the ride are screen and realistic static figures.
The ride looks stunning and for sure is a winner.
They could've slowed down the ride for scenes in which raptor AAs come after you. Come on, that would've been awesome.
Static figures and screens is a bit of a cop out.
@Still A Fan if this isn’t a themed coaster I don’t know what is. You’re impossible to please
I encourage everyone to hold out of watching videos ahead of you riding it! It so great the first time you enjoy the ride first hand with no spoilers. Riding Hagrid's Motorbike last summer not knowing anything about the ride made for a fun and memorable first ride through. Same for Flight of Passage (waiting four years not looking at any videos was tough but worth it). Big Grizzly Mountain at Hong Kong Disneyland had a surprise element that spooked us out big time but then had us laughing about it to this day. If I had seen the video, we wouldn't have been surprised like we did.
I know the temptation is strong... I might've already seen the Indominus Rex in action at Universal Studios Hollywood before riding the updated version... but still, just think about that before pressing play on the video.
Thanks Jk-12345. Appreciate your quick review. Another win for Universal !! I look forward to riding this one, as I am really a fan of launch coasters.
Sorry, this isn't a themed coaster. It's a thrill coaster with themed window dressing. Like the Hulk coaster.
From what I’ve heard this is definitely a themed coaster. All the people I’ve heard from that have ridden it say the theming is out of this world, and very themey overall. The theme of the ride, from what they told me, is very on-theme with what the rides theme is. Take that with a pinch of themed salt however because I’ve yet to be immersed myself. In the theme that is.
Still a fan, if you don't consider VelociCoaster to be a themed coaster due to lack of animatronics, then I guess that means every coaster at WDW except Seven Dwarfs is also not a themed coaster. While I haven't been on it myself, from what I've seen it seems on par with something like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as far as theming goes.
As for me, I wasn't planning to visit Orlando this year unless both VelociCoaster and Iron Gwazi could confirm openings, but the reviews from this one are so astronomically high that I might have to do a weekend trip at some point just to check it out for myself. It looks to dethrone Hagrid's for the title of best coaster in Florida, and I could easily see it landing on my top ten steel list.
While true it isnt themed on the level of Hagrids It is indeed a thrill coaster at heart with some nice theming elements to it. All in all this is a huge win for Universal and definitely something I'd say closes the gap between them and Disney. If Universal can deliver these type of experiences plus the future addition of Epic Universe, They will surpass Disney who at this point besides Guardians and Harmonious isnt bringing much notable to the table that isnt already a clone elsewhere.
I can't wait to see it later this Fall. It looks so incredible even off of the ride. The views from the new bridge, from across the lake, everywhere are astonishing. I like the locker system and kid exchange areas as well. They pushed the envelope on so many things besides the ride itself, and they all seem like homeruns (time will tell when there are bigger crowds though).
I'm also looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy, Tron, etc., in Orlando. I just think it's great that both parks continue to push forward on projects, even if there are some delays. When Disney and Universal compete, it's the guests who come out the winners.
I did snort when I saw that someone suggested *slowing down* a coaster with the prefix “veloci” in it for… animatronics.
It's a pretty thrilling ride and is going to make a great park experience even better. A kid can run with Raptors, ride a motorcycle, and smash with Hulk all at the same park.
Like the Kong ride, this is a big missed opportunity, and could have been so much more. For example, you could have been chased by raptor AAs while racing away, the coaster could be zig zagging through a forest, confronted by (moving) raptors at every turn. How cool would that be? Instead, it's just another speedy coaster with lots of dino window dressing.
As a result, Universal gets to produce this at half (or less) the cost of what could have been. Disappointing.
@StilaFan: Key issue with that is the same thing that hampers so many rides: Cost and making effects that seem great on paper work in real life.
I was lucky enough to ride Everest in early 2006 so I saw the Yeti in its prime and amazing effect but yes, it does cost a lot to keep that running at such a high level and likewise here. This would have been tricky even without Universal taking a huge blow financially in 2020.
Plus, to bean counters, spending a couple million on an effect that many riders may not even notice for a few seconds doesn't make much sense. Sadly, it often comes down to the budget making a ride work.
"Like the Kong ride, this is a big missed opportunity, and could have been so much more. For example, you could have been chased by raptor AAs while racing away, the coaster could be zig zagging through a forest, confronted by (moving) raptors at every turn."
Because advanced AA's should be able to move at 70 MPH (or even 40 MPH) - SMH
Lots of coasters slow down or stop for various reasons, including show scenes, AAs, etc (Hagrid, Seven Dwarves, Slinky Dog, Everest). The AAs wouldn't have to move all that fast. They could be in your path, lunging at you while you go by. In Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom, there are huge Carnotaurus AAs that chase your vehicle or loom over you, and that ride opened in 1998! I do believe AA technology has advanced since then.
You guys are making a lot of excuses for Universal, but that's typical of a lot of posters on this site. Every time Universal sneezes, you guys applaud and praise Universal Creative.
This is supposed to be a new marquee attraction, but it's pretty obvious that it was the victim of budget cuts. I guess the pandemic is their excuse, but they planned, budgeted and designed it long before the pandemic started.
And yes, to hell with the bean counters. This is a theme park forum, not an accounting one.
Chad says: I did snort when I saw that someone suggested *slowing down* a coaster with the prefix “veloci” in it for… animatronics.
Uh, the "veloci" part refers to velociraptors...not velocity.
"Uh, the "veloci" part refers to velociraptors...not velocity."
Velociraptor means "swift seizer" in Latin, containing the same root "velox/c" used in the word velocity. Did you ever consider why Velociraptors were named so? SMH
And yet here's Still a fan challenging the derivations of words and judging the quality of a coaster having NEVER ridden it. Again SMH!
"This is supposed to be a new marquee attraction, but it's pretty obvious that it was the victim of budget cuts. I guess the pandemic is their excuse, but they planned, budgeted and designed it long before the pandemic started."
Let's also be clear here. When Universal decided to remove Dueling Dragons/Dragon Challenge, they all along planned to replace it with TWO coasters. Hagrid's was the first with Velocicoaster being the second of the 2-coaster deal with Intamin. Perhaps you were asleep in 2019 when Hagrid's opened and had tons of technical issues that resulted in thousands of disappointed guests and hundreds of hours of downtime over the coaster's first year. If I were at UC, I'd probably take the lessons learned from Hagrid's and port them over to the next Intamin installation too, which is likely why this new coaster doesn't have nearly as many starts and stops (blocks) as Hagrid's, which was reportedly a main reason for the downtime (overheating of LSMs and brakes that required additional cooling systems to handle the maximum number of trains). Also, the plan all along was to replace Dueling Dragons/Dragon Challenge with 2 coasters that collectively provided a wider appeal. While there was a clear difference in intensity between Fire/Chinese Fireball and Ice/Hungarian Horntail, both coasters had a 54-inch height requirement. Hagrid's is undoubtedly more of a "family" coaster with a 48-inch height requirement with a lower top speed, while Velocicoaster appeals to the thrill seekers with a 51-inch height requirement and 70 MPH top speed.
As with most major attractions, I'm sure both coasters went through changes and redesigns over the course of their development. After all, what is now Velocicoaster was reportedly supposed to be a wing coaster (like Furius Baco) themed around the Gyrospheres from Jurassic World. It's impossible to know how far the Gyrosphere concept went in development and whether the decision to green light Velocicoaster was made because of budgeting. It's also altogether possible that cost overruns on Hagrid's could have impacted what ultimately became Velocicoaster given that the 2 were a package deal.
Nonetheless, compared to other high speed (>50 MPH) launching roller coasters in the world, I would challenge you to find one with more theming. Also, there's no way to know whether UC has additional affects and features that may be turned on or installed at a later date. The coaster is only going through AP previews right now, so it's very possible that not everything is operating at 100% during this soft opening/testing period. Don't forget the Indominus Rex on the JW overlay of USH's attraction was not activated for over 20 months after the attraction debuted in summer 2019.
Yeah, Russell, I'm sure the average guest gives a crap about the latin root of the word. Keep splitting hairs to make some point, I'm sure that gets you somewhere.
It's a raptor coaster without raptors. A big disappointment.
P.S: Stop pretending you're some kind of Universal insider who is privy to their decision making.
"P.S: Stop pretending you're some kind of Universal insider who is privy to their decision making."
This from the same person who claims "it was a victim of budget cuts". The development of Velocicoaster has been pretty well documented, so you don't need to be a Universal insider to know the process the park went through to get where they're at today. However, a little knowledge and backstory might educate some here that think they can criticize roller coasters from YouTube videos and determine that perceived failings are because of budget cuts.
I mean really Still a fan, you're just digging your hole deeper here. You've got some fair criticism, but perhaps reserve some judgement until you've actually ridden it before calling it "a big disappointment".
And the only Raptor coaster I know that is devoid of Raptors is in Sandusky.
I think Universal is getting away from mixing complicated ride systems and lots of show scenes after their long history of unreliable openings. Look at the impressive animatronics and augmented reality in Jurassic World, Pets and Mario Kart which use simple systems like boats, omnimovers, bus bar and EMVs (for the Beijing JW). Velocicoaster has lots of theming that won’t need constant upkeep added to the nightly coaster maintenance.
I will probably enjoy the ride, for what it is. I liked Kong too -- for what it is. But both could've been so much more. I'll leave it at that.
Universal could have built that coaster to the moon instead of a simulation on the Fallon ride, that would be "So much more"! Which by the way, Fallon (F&F) deserves the disappointment Still a Fan is unjustly giving to V-Coaster! At least it seems they have learned a very financially painful message with creating a ride just to say they have a new ride?
I actually do enjoy Kong too, nothing spectacular but enjoyable when working.
Although I'll skip it until the Plexi is removed though, the reflections are amazingly annoying!
As always, thank you, Russell, for your sane, informed answers to most comments. To that, I’ll add — did anyone read jk_12345’s review of this coaster?? It sounds totally intimidating and badass, regardless of how many animatronics it may have. Give Universal a break and just wait to experience it before you judge it. I, for one, can’t wait to ride this thing!
This looks like a thrilling coaster with some themed elements, but it's nothing close to Disney's themed coaster masterpieces like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Expedition Everest and Matterhorn. If VelociCoaster were in a Disney park, fans would complain that it's not up to Disney standards.
Everest is a masterpiece? A boring coaster with a terrible layout and a broken animatronic. I'd rather go on a hundred other bare bone coasters. Mako and Manta and Sheikra and Cheetah Hunt are all far superior rides.
You'd never find anything like Velicicoaster in a Disney park since it would have the stroller brigades clutching their pearls more than Alien Encounter.
For a high thrill coaster, Velocicoaster is incredibly themed.
@Still a fan, you seem determined to find fault with this ride. Not sure why. It looks like a well designed and genuinely thrilling coaster with great theming, yet you’re dumping on it because it doesn’t slow down for some AA Raptors?
From Russell Meyer “Because advanced AA's should be able to move at 70 MPH (or even 40 MPH) - SMH”. That actually made laugh. Spot on!
i was able to ride Velocicoaster 3 times yesterday. first time on row 5, then row 1 and row 12. i have to say it is INTENSE. i just had my first rides on Lightning Rod a week and a half ago so i think i can say i just experienced the most ejector airtime of my life in the last 10 days. overall, i'd give the nod to row 1 but coming over the top hat on row 12 was a huge thrill. biggest surprise was the heartline over the lagoon finale. themeing is great but not sure it needs any raptor AA's as you probably wouldn't notice them much. you will definitely notice the jagged rocks and waterfalls in the first half.
regarding the restraint systems...i'm just slightly on the larger side and had no issue and the same went for a couple other larger guys in my group. they are very forgiving and with the ride attendants giving them the extra push, everyone is snug. that said, there were several times throughout the ride when i wondered about that. all in all, it definitely lives up to the hype and is a very intense and exciting ride.
Yes, Still a Fan is engaging in a Disney vs. Universal debate! And valid points are being made against Universal. Finally, and thank you, Still a Fan, for the pushback against Universal.
Now with that being said, this looks like another fantastic E-ticket attraction for IOA/Universal, the best theme park...IN THE WORLD! At least until Epic Universe opens. Enjoy the jealousy, Disney fans.
@mbrussmco .... myself, and I’m pretty sure all other UOAP’s, would be intrigued to know just how you managed to ride 3 times yesterday ??
There were strict protocols in the way all registrations were confirmed, including scanning of the QR code, checking passes, e-mails and ID.
Unless you have 3 separate UOAP passes ??
Makorider, yesterday was not an AP event. i am in the travel biz and it was a client preview (after the AP events, of course). we literally had it to ourselves so was able to get multiple rides on it. It's a great perk!
I'm in the wrong business .... LOL :)
well, this hasn't been a great year to be in the travel biz obviously, but they always do a private client event (or events) AFTER the team member and AP events are done. i still have never forgotten the awesome party they threw when back to the future opened. it was indeed epic!
This coaster is one long THRILLER. I thought this ride would be a little more intense than Hagrid but WOW!!! Hats off to the developers of this swift ride that doesn’t require a seemingly mile high climb seen two highways over to give lots of airtime and thrills. I felt like I was going to fall out of the thing for most of the ride!! (I said a little prayer over the lap bar and pressed it a few extra times before take off, gulp.) The smooth, quick, tight turns keep you wondering exactly how much room there is when you go through them—I trusted I could keep my arms up and said “whew” a couple of times for what appeared to be near misses by the tracks and rocks. Funny enough, my arms went down for the barrel roll over the water, though come to think of it it’s probably the one hanging section when to let go. (That is, if one wants to imagine they might fall ever so safely into the water, hee hee.) I suppose seeing the roll coming unlike the other flips gave me the “uh oh” moment wishing for a magical shoulder harness or least a trusty lap bar buckle to appear. I sat mid coaster and that braking on the top hat with air time and arms up had me flying for sure.
While the theming is mostly in the queue and the overall look, it does nicely for me anyway. Because there is no crazy showcased vertical like on the Ripit or a loud roar going into a loop like the Hulk, the 9, 10 and 11 year olds with us thought this was just going to be a speedy coaster with a couple of dinosaur jump scares along the way. Not. They were super duper scared by the animatronics in the queue and immediately claimed this to be their favorite Universal coaster after riding.
Smart move making the two sided lockers. They are small like the other free lockers for the rides and items shoved in could fall out of the other side when retrieving so be careful with fragile possessions —it’s a FIFO first in first out system. Haha
Because Universal has lots of IP that continues to resonate with me, I personally don’t follow the stories on the rides too much. I mostly just like being in it. Though a good story is certainly appreciated, I’m guessing many passengers probably create their own abstraction based on what they recognize, the physical experience and a few catch phrases that can be heard. The queue has plenty to take in. Honestly, I can’t even hear half of what Hagrid says on his ride, but love it nonetheless.
Even more, this ride doesn’t have a “holding chamber” for the backstory told by familiar characters like many other rides have—the line keeps on moving for greater throughput in that part of the queue—so there is lots less flatulence to sniff about. The past year has changed things so most story chambers are walkthroughs now, yet you get to catch most of it on Velocicoaster while keeping the circulation going in your legs.
Maybe we will be lucky enough to experience the coaster at night someday. It must feel somewhat different like Hagrid and something to look forward to.
I find the end of the rides at Universal to sum up as “you made it, yay” or “you did it” so my humble takeaway theme from this ride was to get the heck outta there so that you leave those velociraptors in the dust, literally. We did it and we made it and our family hopes that you will, too.
@20shaz, great review. Thanks for that. I can’t wait to ride this thing! What was your favourite element of the ride?
20shaz, well done, man, great review...and yes, i was a bit skeered of the falling out feeling and my arms up were arms down most of the ride. 80sMan, the biggest surprise for me was the intensity of the heartline roll over the lagoon...and going through the top hat i had the sense i had when i first rode a B&M heartline roll, which was "how is this going to work?"
Thanks 80s and mbussmco.
So many nice elements. Only rode once and for this first experience I’d have to pick the top hat. After looking back at some of the influencer website reviews for this initial event, I think they are spot on with the main features, but what is truly missing in the reviews and ads is the sell on how pleasant the ride is for a “thrill” coaster.
I’m a coaster simpleton and non engineer so bear with me here. Promotions for Velocicoaster elevate coaster fan and designer catchphrases “zero g” “air time” “headchopper” and all this nonstop blah blah that indicate kinda what to expect. Yep, it sounds trendy cool. But so what to everyone else? I wish I had the words to express this elegantly. To me, the understated, winning takeaway that might be appreciated is in the sizing and layout of the mechanical elements and the resulting effects on the rider. I’m getting a little older and even though I want to, I can’t really enjoy thrill coasters as much as I used to or have to be selective about the rest of day in the park. Too much uncomfortable stress on the body. For example, I can do Hulk but sometimes the positive and negative forces around the big loop and other banking parts leave my head and stomach little woozy. The head senses just can’t compensate like they used to for spins and the weight bearing on my core lingers a little too long after the ride.
It can be seen that this coaster’s configuration carefully considered the impact forces have on the riders. Most twist and steep turns are balanced enough by quickly countering with a twist or turn in the other direction. The acceleration to the apex and braking had just the right amount of positive g switching into a swift -what feels like - net zero for the descent on the other side. Further, the freedom to hang just a bit and feel weightless in the longer inversion (especially over the walkway) is refreshing compared to what could have been a head and shoulder banger from a harness. Near the end, ample time on straight track wittingly sets the riders’ line of sight and body level going into the barrel roll to consciously and physically appreciate the element as it was meant. Essentially, the ride has all of the right corrections lacking in other headlining coasters. I can tell Intamin’s years of expertise with these coaster types paid off handsomely here. I, for one, exited the ride with a “whoa, that was intense” and I still felt good.
Velocicoaster is an exciting, optimized attraction smartly designed to enhance the rider experience by addressing the preferences of Universal guests while providing popular elements most coaster fans want.
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I dunno...all of the AAs and theming are in the queue and pre-show? Sorry, that's disappointing. I thought this was a themed coaster, not a coaster with a cool queue.