It’s time for another aerial photo update at the still unannounced Jurassic Coaster at Universal Orlando. A little more coaster track has been installed, a bird of prey moved in, and most of the station area was enclosed in the time since our last photo update.
One of the most exciting developments in the last couple days, is that we may have spotted what looks to be a coaster train car sitting in the maintenance bay! Let’s dig into these beautiful photographs taken by Bioreconstruct on Twitter, to see how this amazing “Velocicoaster” is progressing. Update: Check out the video below for additional details and visuals.
As usual, I do want to start by reminding you of what the completed project will look like in our track layout. From the aerial photos, we can definitely see the station/queue building starting to match the plans, as well as the entire waterfront area. We’re still missing the exterior covered queue area that will go in front of the structure. That will act as the ride’s main entrance.
In the next couple photos below you can see where the exterior covered queue area will connect to the indoor queue area. Currently, it’s just a big opening in the wall.
We can also get a good look at that tall top hat section of the ride here. Riders will be launched up that section, in what will likely be the ride’s highest speed. They will then come back down in front of the Discovery Center.
Last week I discovered an osprey that appeared to be creating a nest at the very top of this section of the coaster. An osprey is a bird of prey, also known as a raptor. And the irony of a raptor building a nest atop the raptor coaster was not lost on me. Since then however, it does appear that the osprey has moved on. Her and her nest may be gone, but her poop stains remain.
UPDATE: Just hours after this story was published, photos have been posted to social media of two ospreys now perched atop the track! The nest is still gone, but it seems like the birds aren’t ready to move out just yet.
— Inside Universal (@insideuniversal) August 17, 2020
While we’re looking at the top of the tallest section of track, there was something else that was installed up here since our last update. What appears to be several LSM fins have been installed. Some refer to these as trim brakes, but I have to wonder if this is what Intamin, (the coaster’s manufacturer,) refers to as an “anticipation stall.”
If this is an anticipation stall, it would slow the trains on their way down the decent, allowing riders to anticipate the next section of the ride. It’s not meant to bring the trains to a full stop, like Shiekra at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, but instead slow the train a bit before the drop. Although, others I have spoken to believe they may only be there for backup safety reasons. Only time will tell, after we see this start testing (or official information is released).
The next photo shows the waterfront’s progress, including what might be some sort of water feature for the splashdown after the trains come down from the top hat. You can also see a poured railing that goes along the entire length of the walkways along the water.
This next couple images show a closer view of some of the railings being installed along the water.
Not much has changed over the bypass bridge area, but more of the railings have been installed on this side as well. We’re not yet sure what that round foundation is going to be for in the middle of the 540 track segment. Some rumors say it may only be for a power or pump house, which will be surrounded by trees. Others have speculated it could be for some sort of themed element, but I’m not so sure about that.
While this last turn isn’t yet completed, before heading into the final brake runs around the maintenance building, the cage theming has been installed along both sides of the structure.
Track has been installed for some of this last section of the ride as well. Once connected together in a couple spots here, the entire circuit will be complete, as this last area is all that remains.
This next image shows an overview of the queue/load and maintenance building. You can see how the cage theming that has been installed near the end of the ride, on top-left, matches the cage theming for the first part of the ride on the right.
Flipping our view to the reverse angle of this area, we can see that there is an opening on the backside of the maintenance building. If we look closer inside, we can see what appears to be a coaster train car wrapped in plastic.
The next image shows the steel for the last curve of the cage being installed, but look closer inside that opening in the maintenance building.
The coaster trains are expected to be shaped similarly to Pantheon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, as seen below. To me, the plastic wrapped train car seen in the maintenance bay looks to be shaped like this as well.
Below is the best look yet at what might be a train for the Jurassic Coaster, sitting inside maintenance bay.
Some of the last sections of track for this area can be seen sitting in the field a couple miles away from Universal Orlando. We’re down to only a few pieces left to install.
Zooming back out now to see the entire site, let’s move on to talk about some of the work being done around the first sections of the ride.
The next photo shows the load building, with the first turn of the ride seen on right. Atop of the load structure is a small third floor. The inside queue is located on the first floor, load station on the second, and this smaller third floor will be used for Team Member areas, including a break area/locker room, and a control room.
The tower, with the false warden lookout on top, is actually an elevator shaft that will take ADA guests to and from load area, and Team Members to and from the third floor. Stairs were also installed, but they are now out of view.
From the ground we can see the orange walls of the third floor, sitting below the fake warden lookout. In the foreground, work continues on themed elements around the first section of the ride.
In this next image, the arrow at the top is pointing to work going on for what might be a themed window. This will give everyone at load a view into the raptor enclosure. It might be themed similarly to the windows overlooking the Indominus rex paddock in the Jurassic World film, but here it’s for a raptor paddock. The second arrow is pointing to the ride’s first launch.
The next photo shows the first launch, coming out of the small show building that is scene one. We’re expecting scene one to somehow involve the opening of a transfer gate to allow us into the paddock. Then we’re launched out into the fenced in enclosure. The second arrow is pointing to the second, and final, launch. This is the long launch that takes us up the top hat in the middle of the ride.
Everything between the first and second launch is going to be absolutely covered in rockwork. The first launch takes us from the cage theming directly into a dark tunnel beneath a massive pile of rockwork. And what looks to be framing for additional rockwork is being installed to help block the view of what is coming next around every turn throughout this area.
Below is a wide angle view of the entire raptor paddock area. Electric fences will be installed along the left side, separating the area from the walkway across from the River Adventure entrance.
It’s looking like this first half of the ride is going to jam-packed with tight turns and surprises around every corner, while the second half will really open up and let us enjoy the speed of a velociraptor.
That’s all for now, but be sure to check out our recent vlog for a more detailed look at some of this amazing rockwork up close. And a big thanks to Bioreconstruct for the superb photography in today’s update. If you’re not following him on Twitter, you’re missing out on the best theme park photo updates around!