Daytime coaster testing has begun, right after Universal Orlando shared the first official images of the trains for Jurassic World VelociCoaster. This new roller coaster at Islands of Adventure may be scheduled for a summer 2021 grand opening, but everything seems to be moving pretty fast.
Let’s check out the official train designs, testing footage, lighting tests and more in today’s photo update. See the video version of this article below for additional testing footage and more.
Reaching speeds up to 70 mph and a max height of 155 feet, the VelociCoaster will be Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster when it opens by next summer. It has a track length of more than 4,700 feet and will feature a total of 12 seconds of airtime.
Late last week Universal released a short video and some official photographs of one of the actual coaster trains. Prior to this they had only released concept renderings. They feature a sleek design, plenty of onboard lighting, and some claw marks on the front.
Since the ride is set within the Jurassic World universe, but the land around it is remaining themed to Jurassic Park, you may notice that the trains do not say either franchise name. Instead they feature a generic Jurassic emblem, as well as the InGen company logo. That’s the bio-engineering company that manufactures the dinosaurs in both sets of films. This way, no matter where you’re seeing the train from within the land, it’ll still fit in. Similar generic logos are also being used in theming when visible outside of the ride.
The trains do not offer shoulder restraints, only a lap bar that is lowered into place, despite the ride including several inversions and a zero-gravity inverted stall that will send riders upside down across 100 feet of track.
The coaster cars are covered in impressive-looking blue LED lighting, including 4-point LED light headlamps beside every head rest and other spots around the cars. These 4-point lights seem to match lighting effects that will be seen on the ride and on the electric fences around its perimeter. It’s believed that they will play an important role in the ride’s story.
In the short video released by Universal, they included what seemed to be the first clip from an actual ride POV. It shows the coaster’s first launch, heading out of scene 1, but something I noticed were the 4-point LED lights seem to be lighting up in rapid succession as the train approaches.
It’s possible that in the story for the attraction, the lights on our train “communicate” with the lights at the entry points for the paddock, allowing us entry, and to help keep the raptors in. So, they may be acting as a type of access key, something that would be explained in the queue video.
I wonder if, in-story, these lights could also somehow emit a frequency, or create an electromagnetic field, meant to keep the raptors from attacking the ride vehicle as we pass through the exhibit. It could be explained as something akin to a deer whistle on the hood of your car.
Something we do know for sure, is that testing is ramping up for the VelociCoaster. While crews were testing at night in weeks prior, over this past weekend they began testing during the day. While I was at the park they appeared to be testing two trains. The first half of the day they were using an empty train with the hood on the front car. This looked to be some sort of speed tests, as the train did roll back on the top hat as they’re making adjustments.
Later in the day they appeared to be testing with a second train, this time without the front hood. This train looked like it was carrying water dummies, which are used to simulate the weight of real people. Keep in mind that what we’re seeing now may not be the final speed for the attraction, as they are still fine-tuning.
Checking in on construction progress, the Forbidden Journey lockers are complete. They officially opened today (December 9, 2020). Along the Potter side they are themed with rockwork that is complimentary to the Hogwarts Castle show building. Along the Jurassic Park side they are (lightly) themed as some paddock walls for another dinosaur enclosure. They have planted plenty of bamboo and other plants around the area, which will fill out over time though.
The biggest change to the area, is that the work walls have been moved out along the land’s main pathway. They’re still up near the games, but have been completely moved back around the paddock walls and fences. Not only does this mean there is more pathway space to accommodate holiday crowds, but we can also get a good look at the final paddock walls and theming for this area.
The planters that have been installed to hold all of the new plants and trees can now be seen, as well as the new pathway lighting.
A small merchandise hut has returned to the area across from Pizza Predattoria. It offers both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World related merchandise.
We can now get our best look yet at the two viewing areas along the paddock walls. One is located across from the Raptor Encounter, and the other is across from the entrance to River Adventure.
They feature numbers above each section, which may just be theming to make them look like transfer gates. While they do have pieces of plywood blocking our view, when complete, these two areas will allow us to see into the ride area through these bars.
Some of the LED lights that have been installed along the fences started testing this week. These lights can be programmed to be any color, and while I was there they were blinking red first in the morning, but then switched to alternating red and blue in the late afternoon. It’s possible they could change depending on when the coaster is running or about to pass by.
The lights on sticks at the top have not tested yet. The 4-point lights that match the ones on the coaster cars were not on while I was in the park, but have been tested since. My theory has been that these 4-point lights on the fences will light up timed with the coaster launches, just like their on ride counterparts.
While this area is looking more complete now, with distressed aging on the walls, the Jurassic logo stenciled on, and other various details, this will not be the ride’s entrance. To find the coaster’s entrance we need to make our way to the lagoon-side area in front of the Discovery Center.
Along the waterfront we can see that many new palm trees and other various plants have been added to help flesh out the area.
The ride entrance is still receiving work, but is getting closer to being completed.
The work walls along the bypass bridge were recently taken down. The bridge is not currently open to guests, but when it does open they will have a much better view of the area.
Also nearby, what appears to be a massive wooden fence is being installed to block the view of backstage areas behind the Mythos restaurant.
With such vigorous testing happening nearly every day, and now even happening during the daytime hours, many are wondering if the Jurassic World VelociCoaster may be opening sooner than originally thought. While Universal has said the ride will be opening this summer, that often means they’re shooting for a Memorial Day opening at the soonest.
If things continue to go well in the coming months, many are curious if we could see this attraction soft open in the spring, maybe as early as March or April. We’ll just have to keep an eye on things, and hope these tests work out better than they did for the Hagrid coaster nearby.
That’s all for now, but be sure to see the video version for additional visuals, including daytime testing footage. And stay tuned right here for continuing coverage of Jurassic World VelociCoaster.