Work on the unannounced Jurassic Coaster is happening faster than ever. The coaster track is almost entirely installed, new rockwork is being fabricated more and more each day. And even the load station is starting to be enclosed.
Let’s take a look around the site from the air and from the ground, while we discuss what we know, and what we think we know about the impressive Velocicoaster. Be sure to check out the video version below for additional visuals. And a big thanks to Bioreconstruct for allowing us to use these amazing photos of the coaster’s progress.
For anyone that hasn’t been following along with this project, here’s a quick recap: Universal Orlando is building a new roller coaster, which is thought to have been manufactured by Intamin. It is being built at Islands of Adventure in the Jurassic Park section. Many believe the ride will be named “Velocicoaster,” and Universal recently confirmed that they do intend to use that trademark, so it’s certainly possible.
The first half of the ride takes place in what used to be the old Triceratops Encounter, a former walk-through attraction that closed many years before this project got started. The second half of the ride takes place over the lagoon and in front of the Discovery Center. We’re expecting this to be a pretty thrilling coaster, with several inversions and the highest speed in the park, rumored to be somewhere around 70 miles per hour.
Now that you’re all caught up, one of the biggest milestones for the coaster was completed recently. The tallest section of track was installed on the top-hat element. Since this is the tallest part of the project it was topped off with a flag, which appears to have a Jurassic emblem on it.
The full circuit has not been completed, as last section of track hasn’t been installed yet. The final turns near the end of the ride have been left out so construction equipment can pass though more easily. Other than that, and the final brake run around the maintenance building, it does appear that the rest of the track layout has been completed.
The ride itself will start just to the left of the Discovery Center. We will enter a transfer cage before being launched into the Velociraptor paddock surrounded by concrete walls and electric fences. We’ll twist and turn several times throughout this area, while narrowly missing large amounts of rockwork style theming and a rumored waterfall.
We can see some of the rockwork taking shape in the area. It appears as though these themed elements will be layered, allowing the track to weave in and out of them. This is sure to create some headchopper type thrills while obscuring what’s coming up next out of view.
The warden’s watch tower has been installed above the station. While the lookout section at the top is just for show, the tower below looks like it might be used as stairs or an elevator leading to a Team Member area being built on the roof of the the queue. This watch tower features a basic Jurassic logo on the sides, which could be for either Jurassic Park or Jurassic World, but we’ll get into that a bit more later. I can imagine spotlights and fake surveillance cameras being added around the tower as well, to make it seem like they take keeping an eye on the raptors very seriously.
And speaking of raptors, as I have mentioned on my recent vlog update, we are expecting at least six animatronic figures to be placed around this attraction. These are still rumors at this point, but I have heard from multiple sources that we can expect to see some moving raptors in the paddock area of the ride and a couple more in the last scene before unload.
When our time in the paddock area is complete we will be launched out over the lagoon, and up that very tall top hat element. This second and final coaster launch is expected to be the fastest part of the ride. On our way down in front of the Discovery Center we will pass over a water feature, which is rumored to flow down to the lagoon.
We will then circle around the bridge near the Three Broomsticks patio area, return back in front of the Discovery Center, enter a heartline roll, and then head back to the paddock area.
It’s this last section, where we’re reentering the cage, where the final sequence will take place. In my first rumor video about this attraction, before any of the track had even been installed, I had theorized that we may possibly see some sort of screen tunnel for the final scene. It sounds like I was wrong though, and instead, animatronic figures will be used.
As we make our way down the final brake run leading to unload, it sounds like a raptor will chase along side of our train. While we’re paying attention to the raptor on one side, the attack comes from the other, as a second raptor jumps out in front of us for one last scare before we turn left into the station.
In addition to the 6 possible animatronics, there’s been talk of another 2 static figures that may be part of this project as well. It’s possible these could be part of the queue, where will see some raptor muzzles near the stable doors. Or, another theory is that these figures may just be statues, perhaps part of the new courtyard area in front of the Discovery Center.
While the land already has a Jurassic Park arch when you enter on the Hogsmeade side, this new courtyard area in front of the Discovery Center may have its own entry signage when entering on the bridge from The Lost Continent. This may be an opportunity to create an almost mini-land within the larger Jurassic Park land—Maybe even complete with its own ‘Welcome to Jurassic World’ entry sign.
Which leads us to the age-old question, will this land be entirely re-themed to Jurassic World? And the honest answer is, I do not know. The rumors for awhile said that they only had the budget to build the coaster and not re-theme the River Adventure, and that might still be true… But I guess that’s not going to stop the new attractions being added from being themed to Jurassic ‘World’ and not ‘Park.’
When Islands of Adventure reopened last month, the new and improved Raptor Encounter opened as well. This permanent location not only features an adorable 6-month old raptor, in addition to being able to meet Blue, but it includes theming elements taken directly from Jurassic World. The background walls and color scheme are certainly reminiscent of the style from the newer films. However, if that wasn’t enough to convince you, the new Raptor Trainer uniforms have a Jurassic World logo on them.
So, we now have a Jurassic World meet and greet inside of a larger Jurassic Park land. And the new coaster will likely continue the trend. While the tower may feature a nondescript logo, and it’s rumored that the queue will feature InGen logos instead of Jurassic ‘Park’ or ‘World’ icons, there will probably be characters and more taken directly from the new film series.
The raptors themselves will be the ones from Jurassic World, with Blue featured most prominently. It’s even rumored that the coaster trains will be blue in color. While waiting in line for the ride we will also be able to see the raptor muzzles along the stable doors for the paddock. There’s even a chance that one or two of the rumored animatronics or static figures could be raptor heads inside of these muzzles.
Who knows if Universal intends to keep the larger area themed to Jurassic Park—including Camp Jurassic, the River Adventure, and the restaurants—while adding this new coaster and the Raptor Encounter as a sort of Jurassic World mini-land inside. Or, maybe they’re playing the long game, and while it might not be at first, perhaps the entire land will eventually be converted as the years go on. Let me know what you think they’ll do in the comments.
It may seem like construction is moving fast, but the so-called ‘Velocicoaster’ is still not expected to open until next year. Permits have construction wrapping up by the spring of 2021, but with testing we might not see a grand opening until the summer. As for an official announcement? I don’t expect Universal to say much about this project, (even though we can see it with our own eyes,) until the end of the year. They may want to only focus on promoting their seasonal events for the fall for time being.
That’s all for now, but a very special thanks to Bioreconstruct for providing us with such amazing photography. If you aren’t yet, be sure to follow him on Twitter. You won’t regret it. And for a look at what this coaster might be like when it’s complete, check out Amusement Insider’s virtual POV video.