With all that has been going on in the world, it’s nice to check in on something that makes me happy, and that’s the progress of the new roller coaster being built at Islands of Adventure. The new thrill ride, referred to by many as the Velocicoaster, will feature high speeds, inversions, and two coaster launches.
A few days ago our good friend Bioreconstruct took to the skies over a mostly empty Universal Orlando to take aerial photos of construction. In the photos we can see several new footers for the roller coaster, lots of new structures and walls going up, and most exciting of all, the first pieces of track that have been installed! Check out the photos, as well as some rumors and updated graphics, below.
Let’s start with a quick check in on another project going on in Jurassic Park, the new permanent location of the Raptor Encounter, which was evicted from its original location to help make way for the new coaster. Once open, this new Raptor Encounter location will replace the temporary one currently set up on the other side of the Pizza Predattoria restaurant.
The first foundations have been poured, which is where guests will have their photos taken in front of the raptor. Plus, the border outline for the actual raptor pen has been installed. Just like the original Raptor Encounter location, “electric” fences will be added to these bases.
Below the Raptor Encounter area appears to be a new section of extended queue that connects to the queue for the Jurassic Park River Adventure. It’s possible that this new section of queue could allow guests waiting in line for the River Adventure to get a view of the raptor as they pass by. It’s also possible that part of this section of queue could also be utilized by the Raptor Encounter itself, as needed. See the labeled version of the photo below for details.
Heading back to the coaster itself, let’s start with some fantastic views of the whole work site, then zoom in on some of the new footers being poured, and check out those first pieces of track that were installed.
Here’s a reminder of what the entire area should look like once it is complete. In the graphic below you can see the entire track layout as it was proposed in permits with the county. The green area will be the queue and load area. The gray areas will be walkways and an extended waterfront area, which can already be seen taking shape on the ground.
Here’s a quick overlay of the proposed track layout onto an aerial photo. It’s by no means exact, as it is only a 2D image laid on top of a 3D photo, but it can give you a general idea of where the track will be placed. (Once we start seeing supports installed it will be easier to create a more accurate representation.)
In the image below you can see how the waterfront area has been reshaped to match the plans. Also, the arrows are pointing to new footers that were recently installed.
More footers are being created near the bypass bridge, on the right side of the site. In the photo below you can see an area in the box that has been drained. Inside, rounded forms are being created over pilings that will soon be poured with concrete to create more footers.
Additional footers are also being poured on land, including this section below, located in front of the Discovery Center.
Moving on to where most of the action has been lately, the former Triceratops Encounter plot. This is where they’re building the queue, load and unload area, and a large portion of the new attraction. It’s also where the first pieces of track have recently been installed.
The arrow in the photo below shows the direction the coaster trains will be traveling as they make their way down the second, and largest launch. Passing through a tunnel and picking up speed, the trains will then fly upward into a top-hat maneuver after exiting the tunnel over the lagoon. Since the back half of this tunnel will be enclosed, the track for that section was installed first.
You can see that the section of track that was installed is wrapped in a black corrugated plastic tube to help protect it while work is ongoing. Below the installed track are several supports that have also been installed, wrapped in blue plastic.
A temporary work bridge has been added over the end of the launch tunnel, so workers can move between the two areas.
To the side of the massive launch tunnel, the foundation for the floor to what will become the maintenance bay has been poured. You can see rows of what will become footers for coaster tracks inside the maintenance areas, where multiple trains will be stored inside. Around the perimeter of the maintenance area will be the conclusion to the ride, taking riders on one last U-turn before disembarking.
You may have noticed the tall tower that has been constructed. In our last rumor update we discussed how this attraction may be themed as an InGen raptor research facility. It is believed that the tower will be part of the theming, and will be visible from the ride. It may also serve a practical purpose as well, perhaps housing a staircase.
Near the tower, walls have started to go up for what will make up the main structure for the attraction. This structure will house the majority of the queue and the load/unload station. Workers can be seen pouring concrete forms to create these massive walls between the coaster and the side of the Discovery Center.
The image below shows a possible configuration for the queue building and other structures. (The track is not shown in this image.) Green represents the main structure, while the orange sections are possible themed tunnels. These tunnels would be for transitioning in and out of dinosaur paddock area on the ride. All of this area will be surrounded by electric fences. You will be launched into the paddock, and then launched out of the paddock when you head out to the lagoon. After the coaster sections in front of the Discovery Center and over the lagoon you will return through one final tunnel, before the ride concludes.
At the bottom of the photo below you can see work going on for the foundation of the structure for scene one. It is not yet known what will take place in scene one, but we suspect it may have something to do with us heading towards the raptor paddock area, and in true Universal fashion, something goes wrong. Next thing you know, we’re launched into the paddock, and trapped inside with the raptors.
Before we go, here’s an updated look at the roller coaster track for this attraction. It is currently being staged off-site on some of Universal Orlando’s southern property near the future site of Epic Universe. Hopefully soon we’ll start to see more of this track leave here, and be installed at Islands of Adventure!
While the parks are closed to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, it does appear that (at least some) construction for the Jurassic Coaster is still going on. The plan was to open this new roller coaster sometime next year, but there’s no telling what may happen now given the current situation.
A big thank you to Bioreconstruct on Twitter for the amazing aerial and on the ground photography. You should definitely do yourself a favor and subscribe to his feed for incredible theme park photography.
Stay tuned to the site for continuing coverage of this new attraction, and be sure to see 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. Stay safe out there!