It’s time to check in on the rapidly progressing construction of the (rumored) Jurassic Park roller coaster over in Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando. We know that a lot of coaster track has arrived off-site, but we haven’t seen any of it installed just yet. However, lots of preparations are underway around the site, including the addition of several retaining walls, deep foundational work, and other steps necessary to prep the ground for supports.
In the midst of all this construction work, a rumor has been swirling around that this new roller coaster, as well as the entire Jurassic Park land in Orlando, will NOT be based on Jurassic World. Instead, the land is now rumored to remain as Jurassic Park, even though the coaster, rumored to be named “Velocicoaster,” may feature Blue the raptor, as well as other characters from the Jurassic World franchise. We’ll talk a little bit more about this rumor after the photo update below!
We’re enjoying our clear view of the Discovery Center while we can. By the time the coaster track starts going up, most likely early next year, this view will forever be changed. There are a couple cranes on site, and a new barge has shown up in the water along the waterfront area. A buoy line is up to help keep debris from floating into the rest of the lagoon.
Here’s a reminder for the what we expect the full track layout to look like once it is complete, including changes to the new and improved waterfront area.
The proposed coaster layout has it starting in what used to be the Triceratops Encounter area, and then snaking its way to the lagoon, passing in front of the Discovery Center, before returning. No attractions have closed for the installation of the new ride, but the Raptor Encounter moved to a temporary location during construction.
Before we look at all the changes happening in the park, let’s check in on the coaster track that has been staged off-site. Since we last talked about it, there’s four times as much track sitting in the grass of Universal’s southern property, a couple miles away from the park. The track appears to be black, (or at least very dark gray).
There also appears to be metal forms to be used in poured concrete footers being staged behind The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida. It is assumed that these are also for the new Jurassic Park roller coaster. The following image was posted by an anonymous user online, but was taken by a guest during Halloween Horror Nights, in the queue for the Universal Monsters house, which passes through this area.
Moving back to the main construction site, we can see that a new barge has been added in front of the Discovery Center. We can also see the work trailer in front of the Discovery Center, as well as a lot of steel that’s been delivered on site. Work seems to currently be focused mainly on reinforcing the ground so it can withstand the forces of the new roller coaster. This includes installing retaining walls around the area.
Justin Poirier got some shots from behind the action, through the patio door that was left open at Burger Digs. Normally this view is not possible since they added vinyl wraps to all of the windows that face out to this direction. But with the door propped open he was able to get these shots. Check him out at Twitter here.
One of the sections of the coaster that will require the most prep will be the rumored “Top Hat” element. That will be an extremely tall section of track that will have the coaster trains travel nearly straight up and then straight back down at incredible speeds. To help prepare for the installation of this element, a lot of work is being done near Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barge’s raft ride, which is currently closed.
We can see a retaining wall has been installed to keep water from flowing into the area as crews dig deeper and deeper, most likely to prep for some type of reinforcing material to be installed before footers can be placed near the area.
The Popeye ride will be closed until the last week of December 2019. While it is believed that the main reason it has closed is related to prep work needed for the Jurassic Coaster, the raft ride itself is in need of some work as well. This will be one of the longest downtime periods for Popeye since the park opened.
The bypass bridge that connects Lost Continent to Jurassic Park is currently closed. It is not expected to reopen until the busy holiday season. Even though all of the railings have been installed, it looks as though they are keeping the work walls up along the bridge.
The work walls across from Burger Digs, behind the Discovery Center, have come down. These were blocking the former location of the ponds, which have now been filled in. In their place, some of the carnival games have returned, with this area as their new home. You can see where the ground looks different where new concrete has recently been poured and stained, as compared to the old ground near the restaurant.
Only some of the games have returned (so far).
Some of the outside seating for Burger Digs have returned as well, beside the games and along the work walls in the area.
The walls around the new coaster site have now extended out even further, now that the other walls have come down where the former ponds were located. This is making for a tight squeeze between the games and the work walls.
The pathway is also tight near the Pizza restaurant and the temporary Raptor Encounter as well.
Nearly the entire land is surrounded in work walls.
Retaining walls being installed between coaster site and Camp Jurassic can be seen across from the River Adventure entrance.
The work walls end at the River Adventure entrance. All of the snack stands have been removed from this area and the work walls where the coaster will be have moved even further out, making this yet another tight walkway.
While everyone assumed that the Jurassic World re-do of the River Adventure would be imminent after opening at Universal Studios Hollywood, it now seems that that may not be the case for Orlando. Rumors have been floating around that the Jurassic Park land in Islands of Adventure will remain as Jurassic Park, and will not be transformed into Jurassic World. Some have said that Universal Orlando had enough budget to either turn the River Adventure into the Jurassic World ride, or, build the new roller coaster. And, it is pretty clear which path they have chosen.
We’ll talk more about what this new roller coaster’s story and theming may entail in later updates. All indications are that it will be based somewhat on the raptors from the films, and may even include Blue from the Jurassic World series. The land already contains a Blue meet and greet, yet is themed as Jurassic Park, so I don’t think anyone is too concerned about thematic integrity when it comes to Jurassic Park vs Jurassic World anyway.
The new coaster is rumored to be opening by Spring 2021. If you’re thinking about booking your next trip to Universal Orlando, request your free vacation quote from our good friend Elizabeth at Destinations in Florida. She can help you get the best deals on tickets, your on-site hotel room, and more — and her services are completely free!
Stay tuned for more news on this exciting new coaster as it happens! Subscribe to the news feed or enter your email below to never miss an update. Most Photos by Alicia Stella | Other images as captioned | Note: All photos taken from within guest accessible areas.