Roller coaster enthusiasts have been raving about the new VelociCoaster at Universal Island of Adventures in Orlando, Florida. The latest attraction based on the Jurassic Park franchice, Jurassic World’s VelociCoaster, opened this June, and was quickly deemed one of the best coaster experiences in the world. What makes this roller-coaster so special? Here is our ultimate guide with everything that you need to know.
Promotional T-rex from film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in LA 2018.
Fun fact: VelociCoaster was conceived by the award-winning Universal Creative team in collaboration with the visionary filmmakers of the Jurassic World films, including Steven Spielberg.
155 feet in the air
Inspired by the blockbuster Jurassic World, there is probably only one thing that can be more intense than riding VelociCoaster, and that is being chased by actual dinosaurs. But what makes the ride so intense? VelociCoaster is Florida’s fastest and tallest coaster, reaching 70 mph as it propels guests into the dinosaur habitat where you can experience an intense adventure with 360-degree inversions, 80-degree drop and steep inclines, and well, you also get a quick trip all the way up to 155 feet into the air.
Trust me, with all that happening, you will want to leave your lose items somewhere safe. What to do with your phone, glasses, and other accessories during the ride? VelociCoaster has these awesome double-sided lockers right by the start of the ride. Unlike with other rides lockers, you can hold on to your things and take plenty of pictures while you wait in the queue, and then you can retrieve your items right after disembarking, on the other side.
The adventure begins as you walk up to the entrance, where you get a full visual of the life-size dinosaurs, and the biggest drop, which starts pumping your adrenaline at first sight, especially as you see the coaster trains go by. Like with most rides, as you walk into the entrance, there are lines, but no complaints here. At VelociCoaster, this is a shaded area that gives you a nice little break from Florida’s heat.
Raptor pack sculpture
You don’t have to go far before you are led to the first section where you will see a sculpture of the raptor pack, including the all-time favorite – Blue. You will also see a safety message from Mr. DNA. That is followed by translucent screens that double as windows, where you can see riders speeding through. You also get to see raptors and have the pleasure of being welcomed by Dr. Wu via video (yes, the one and only – from the movie). Overall, every single detail really gets your heartbeat going during the wait, which makes the experience even better.
Then there is the popular space where you will come face-to-face with two animatronic raptors that breathe (seriously, you can feel it), and move around as they try to get out of their harnesses, which was the coolest. It felt like being in front of one of the dinosaurs from the movie.
This is your last chance to take pictures before putting your things in the locker.
Up next, guests go upstairs where there is a large screen with a video featuring more movie casts, including the movie’s main characters Owen and Claire. Owen warns you about the dangers of the area you are about to enter, but like Claire, we don’t listen to Owen.
You better be ready to strap in and hold on tight to you lap bar. You read that right. With only a lap bar restraint, the thrill of the ride goes up a few notches. After a dive loop where you rotate upside down, an inverted stall where you feel weightlessness and barrel rolls at 50 mph the ride ends after 2 minutes. All worth it.
Fun facts: VelociCoaster has no brakes until it’s over!
In the first inversion after the launch, if you look up, you’ll see a disrupted Pteranodon nest, complete with eggs.
The Best Times
The best time to ride and try to avoid long lines? If you are staying at a Universal Resort, you get early admissions, so you may want to head straight there before the park opens to the general public. The crowd also tends to get smaller in the early evening as people head out for dinner or leave the park after a long day. Plus, the coaster looks super cool at night. Just don’t wait too late in the evening. If the line is too long, they may cap it for the day, and you don’t want to miss this one! Better yet… why not go once in the morning and once at night! Keep in mind that right now Express Pass access is currently unavailable so plan accordingly.
The Universal Love
Universal is LGBTQ+ friendly all year round with their slogan – Love is Universal! Universal Orlando is also featured in the Orlando pride parade each year with characters from their parks along with proud out and ally team members.
Barry Hoy is a Canadian transplanted in New York City, and a travel, food and lifestyle writer who showcases great destinations, local experiences, and all of the must see (#bucketlist) places around the world. He is always on the road or up in the air – if he’s not travelling, he’s most likely already planning his next trip. Follow along his adventures via Instagram @asianmapleleaf or on his travel blog at asianmapleleaf.com