It’s been a month and a half since our last update, and the wonderful Bioreconstruct has taken to the skies over Universal Orlando once again to bring us some beautiful aerial photography. The photos below show the progress for a few of the projects going on in the Jurassic Park area of Islands of Adventure, including the still yet-to-be announced massive roller coaster being built.
It looks like all, (or pretty close to all,) of the coaster’s footings have been installed. Steel is going up for the coaster’s train maintenance building. And lots of little touches are being added, which is making it look more and more like the proposed track layout every day. Let’s dig into all of the photos and see what we can learn!
Just like last time I want to start by checking in on the progress for the new, permanent Raptor Encounter location. Once open, this new Raptor Encounter will replace the temporary one currently set up on the other side of the Pizza Predattoria restaurant.
The new Raptor Encounter area can be seen in the image above, being built between the Jurassic Park River Adventure queue on the left and the Pizza Predattoria restaurant on the right. The red steel arch will be the new entrance for the Raptor Encounter. The white concrete circle area in the middle of the photo will be where the Raptor stands for photos when meeting guests, and the larger steel building in the back will be the dressing room for the raptor and trainers. The current dressing room being used is the temporary tent on the right with the two storage containers beside it, so this will be an upgrade for the team.
Jumping now to the main attraction, the new Jurassic roller coaster, below is an overview photo of the entire construction site. It appears that all of the coaster’s footings have been placed and poured, ready for track supports. In fact, some supports have already gone up near the start of the ride! A flurry of activity is happening on the left side of the site, especially around the coaster’s train maintenance structure.
Looking at the proposed track layout and area development plans below you can see that more and more of the site is starting to line up with this graphic. The red area in the graphic is the maintenance building, which is what we can see being constructed now with new steel framing going up.
In the image below we can get a closer look at the area with the most work happening. The maintenance building can be seen in the middle-right. (Note that most work walls have been removed along the edge of the work site, at bottom of image, while the parks have been closed to guests.)
In the next image below we get an even better look at the maintenance building. The long tunnel in the center of the photo will be the coaster’s second, and biggest launch. There will also be a launch near the start of the ride, but this second launch will pack enough punch to send the coaster trains up a top-hat maneuver over the lagoon.
We might be seeing our first pieces of actual theming for this roller coaster, taking shape on the roof of the launch tunnel. The criss-cross beam design along the middle of the launch may actually be the final design. This would give part of the launch tunnel an open air design, not only letting light in, but also giving a point of reference to how fast you are traveling. Imagine seeing these beams fly by above you at an incredible rate. This section of the coaster will be themed as an exit tunnel for the raptor pen, taking us from a fenced in enclosure, out to the open lagoon.
As we pointed out in our last update, track for the tunnel has already been installed, and were the first pieces of track to be installed. This is likely due to the fact that the tunnel area is being partially enclosed. The track is covered in a protective corrugated plastic so it isn’t harmed during construction.
Zooming back out, the photo below shows the large launch tunnel in the middle. To the left of the launch, and the right of the Discovery Center, will be the queue areas and load. Below that is a square structure for scene one. This scene will have us entering the raptor paddock areas, and will set us up for the first launch of the ride. Looking closely at this area reveals that some coaster supports have been installed.
Zooming way out, the image below gives you an idea of where the trains will exit the launch tunnel and then head straight up into the air in a top-hat maneuver. Then, the trains will head back down, towards the front of the Discovery Center, going from left to right.
The track will come back down nearly all the way to the ground in front of the Discovery Center. Trains will pass over some sort of fountain display, which is taking shape now on the ground. It’s rumored that a splashdown effect, using water jets, will be utilized as the trains pass through this area.
The trains will then head towards the Hogsmeade area, before entering a large 540 degree turn, and then head over the lagoon, back towards the main coaster area. The arrow in the image below shows the back patio of The Three Broomsticks, which will have a view of this section of the coaster.
Let’s check in on the roller coaster track staging area a couple miles south of the theme park. There have been trucks carting away some of the supports from this area in recent weeks, taking them to the coaster site. It’ll be exciting to see more and more of this move away from the staging site to be installed in the coming months!
There’s one other project going on at the edge of the Jurassic Park land at Islands of Adventure. While this work is for a new and improved locker area for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, it will have some effect on the sight lines for Jurassic Park.
The attraction’s new locker area is being built to the left of ride’s entry gate. This new locker area will be replacing the cramped and often crowded location inside the building. As you can see in both the image above, and the image below, the backside for the new lockers will be facing the Jurassic Park area. If you were to walk through the Jurassic Park arch currently, you would see the backside of the locker wall directly ahead of you.
While early plans for this (long overdue) locker addition were rumored to include sculpted rockwork to help block the view of the area from Jurassic Park, it’s starting to sound like that is no longer the case. Instead of rockwork, expect to see scenic paint on the wall facing Jurassic Park, with additional foliage planted between it and the area to help block the view.
In the image above we’re getting one last look at the entire area, with all three projects numbered. Number 1 is the Potter locker project. Number 2 is the new Raptor Encounter area. And number 3 is for the Jurassic coaster. This area is already looking a lot different as it is… But imagine how it will look once the coaster track is installed!
As always, a big thank you to Bioreconstruct for these amazing aerial photographs. His contributions to the theme park community are invaluable. Check out his Twitter feed for additional recent aerial photos flying above ALL of the Orlando theme parks.
Stay tuned to the site for continuing coverage of this new attraction, and be sure to see the video above or our previous piece for more details on possible theming for the coaster. Subscribe to the news feed to never miss and update or enter your email address below to be notified when we post something new.
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Comment and question:
1) Wow, this is going to have a real visual impact. Hulk is big, but narrow. This will be one-third of the lagoon water front?!
2) Given size, could raptor “pen” be large enough to hold a triceratops walking puppet like the one at USH? In fact, give me all the puppets from USH and add stegasaurus and ankylosaurus…