Opening soon at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the Jurassic World VelociCoaster will be Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster. Under construction for over two years, this highly anticipated new roller coaster is just months, or perhaps even weeks, from opening.
Let’s go over all of the rumored details for what we’ll experience on the ride and in the queue, as well as the official coaster stats and the latest construction progress in this update. Check out the video version of this story below for additional visuals.
It has been two years since we first talked about the proposed track layout and ride rumors for a new roller coaster coming to Jurassic Park. Since then, we’ve learned that the ride is actually based on Jurassic World, but the rest of the land is staying Jurassic Park (at least for now).
Now in 2021, this nearly complete ride has been testing with up to four trains running simultaneously, which is probably the most they will run at a time once it’s open. Since the trains are numbered, we can see that there is a 5th train, but it will likely be used as a spare that can be swapped out as needed.
We’ve seen them running trains with water dummies, as well as real people — like when they were filming riders for promotional footage back in January.
At night we’ve seen the ride testing with the train’s lighting package on, including the back booster lights, which were the final LEDs to be tested. In addition to looking great, the lights on the trains are expected to be tied to the story of the ride somehow. There are rumors that the attraction has also started testing with sound effects on, but not during the park’s operating hours just yet.
Manufactured by Intamin, the Jurassic World VelociCoaster will be Florida’s fastest launch coaster, with a top speed of 70 miles per hour. It will also be the state’s tallest launch coaster, with a maximum height of 155 feet. The track length is more than 4,700 feet.
The ride’s minimum height requirement will be 51″ (129.5 cm) tall. The trains use a lap bar that is lowered into place, but will not have shoulder restraints, despite the ride featuring inversions.
The story for the attraction will have us visiting the Jurassic World theme park, where they are unveiling a new ride for their carnivore expansion. This will put us onto a specially designed roller coaster that will take us into the raptor paddock, and allow us to “safely” ride alongside a pack of dangerous velociraptors.
It will feature characters from the Jurassic World film series like Owen Grady, Claire Dearing, and Dr. Henry Wu. These characters will likely address us from monitors in the queue areas to teach us about the raptors, and how the ride was designed specifically to keep us safe from them.
The first scene is expected to feature digital “windows” into the holding pens where we see the raptors let loose into their paddock, right before our first coaster launch. This launch will take us from 0 to 50 miles per hour in 3 seconds.
Universal is touting this ride as two coaster experiences in one, with the first half twisting and turning through the rocky velociraptor paddock. As well as some near misses from the intricate rockwork, we will also get dangerously close to all four raptors from Jurassic World during this first half of the ride: Blue, Charlie, Delta and Echo. They appear to be stationary figures, but are incredibly detailed and could be accompanied by timed sound effects as we zoom passed them.
The coaster’s second launch will take us from 40 to 70 miles per hour in just 2.4 seconds, sending us straight up the ride’s tallest portion, the top hat. This 155 foot-tall maneuver above the park’s lagoon will see us plunge right back down a 140-foot drop in front of the Discovery Center at an 80 degree angle, the steepest coaster drop at the resort.
Universal says this second part of the ride is where riders will pull some serious g-forces. Now that we’re not cooped up in the paddock, we can get out and reach some higher speeds. After recovering from the top hat, we’re sent into a first of its kind zero-gravity inverted stall that will send riders upside down for 100 feet of track. There’s also a one-of-a-kind, 360-degree barrel roll over the lagoon, which we’ll hit at 53 miles per hour right before the ride concludes.
The shape of the Velocicoaster heartline is interesting. And spinning with the vehicle shows riders being thrown into negative G's. 🙌🙌 #Velocicoaster @UniversalORL #Universal #Orlando #Florida #Roller #Coaster #Islands #of #adventure #themepark pic.twitter.com/q5OuxY386I
— Amusement Insider (@AmusementInside) January 26, 2021
There were rumors for some sort of final show scene as we turn the last corner before reaching the load/unload station. The story would have a raptor chasing beside us and then another dino would jump out in front of us for one last scare. It’s possible that this final effect has been cut, considering the structure that was designed to hold the leaping dino was never constructed along the final turn (see yellow circled area in photos below).
The entrance for the Jurassic World VelociCoaster is down by the water in front of the Discovery Center, on the side facing the front of the park. The sign for the entrance has been installed, as well as two raptor statues and the fire torches flanking each side.
Inside the queue we have heard there may be a lobby of some sort, decorated in the slick, almost futuristic style of Jurassic World, and possibly featuring more statues of the four raptors we’ll see on the ride. Somewhere in the queue there will be a window that looks into the tunnel for the ride’s second launch. This way guests waiting in line will be able to see the trains being launched at 70 miles per hour, creating some anticipation.
There have also been rumors for the raptor stables inside of one of the queue areas. This could feature all four raptors, but secured in muzzles so we can pass by them safely, and maybe pose for a selfie. A similar setup recently debuted at the Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition in China. The figures there include some limited facial movements.
Unlike all of the other rides that require lockers at Universal Orlando, the VelociCoaster is expected to try something different. Rather than putting your loose items in a locker before entering the queue, this attraction may offer lockers right before the load area. That means you can use your phone or camera while waiting in line, and still be able to secure them in a locker before riding.
This also means they will only need a fraction of the lockers themselves, as only those actually on the ride will need to store items at the same time, and not everyone in the queue. The lockers are expected to be double-sided, allowing guests to store their stuff on one side, hop onto the ride, and then collect their belongings from the other side on their way out, without getting mixed up with the other riders.
Outside, the entire courtyard area in front of the Discovery Center has been redesigned. The pathway leading down from the Jurassic Park area now features two raptor statues on pedestals, welcoming you into this Jurassic World VelociCoaster courtyard.
A new directional sign was installed pointing towards the pathway with these raptor statues. And it appears that a wait time sign is located under the “Summer 2021” part. This wait time sign will help let guests know how long the wait is without having to walk all the way to the entrance area.
The bypass bridge was completely rebuilt for this project, and is expected to be open year-round going forward. It was previously only open during peak seasons when the park was extra busy. And a large wall was installed behind the Mythos restaurant to help block the view of backstage areas.
When the ride opens, this entire waterfront courtyard, the bridge, and possibly even the concrete slab behind the new backstage wall may be utilized as extended queue. With social distancing measures in place, and with long lines expected in the early days of the attraction, they may need all the space they can get.
Ahead of the grand opening, new merchandise is now available for sale at the parks. VelociCoaster shirts, mugs, pins, and lanyards featuring some of the coaster stats can now be purchased. Walls are also down around the paddock viewing areas, allowing guests to see completely into the area.
Universal has not announced a specific opening date as of this writing, but it’s possible that they could in the coming days or weeks. It’s also possible they might just open it up one day. While the ride is nearly complete, testing and programming will probably continue for the rest of this month. Training for more VelociCoaster Team Members is also expected to ramp up this month.
While I am hesitant to speculate, as things can change at any time, (especially after what we saw with the Hagrid opening,) I am hopeful that we may see some type of previews or soft openings ahead of the official grand opening. Fingers crossed anyway.
That’s all for now, but be sure to check out the video version of this story for additional visuals.
Stay tuned for more news as it happens for the Jurassic World VelociCoaster, and subscribe to the news feed or enter you email address below to never miss an update. Main Photo: @bioreconstruct | Original Photos: Alicia Stella | Other photos as labeled