“Monster is a relative term. To a canary, a cat is a monster. We’re just used to being the cat.” The words of Dr. Henry Wu have been brought to life at Universal’s Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort with the opening of the brand new VelociCoaster for Annual Passholder previews this week.
I was lucky enough to experience the new attraction as part of that preview and it is easily one of the most exciting attractions in the park, or any park for that matter.
Before we get into the coaster itself, the queue is one of the most impressive Universal has ever put together. Guests make their way past dueling velociraptor statues at the front gate and make their way into the Raptor Paddock, where two more raptors wait for them on top of the entrance.
Inside, guests will be greeted by Mr. DNA and a stunning stature of raptors and the attraction’s signature top hat. Intense music and flashing lights add to the ambience and the overall feeling of something very exciting to come.
On top of that though, the queue is very comfortable. A very large room and some very effective fans will keep guests distanced and cool as they wait for this new coaster.
There are plenty of other exciting features throughout the queue as well, including a view of the coaster launching with raptors chasing behind, lots of little Jurassic Park and Jurassic World Easter eggs and even a fave-to-face encounter with a velociraptor. Elements like these make your wait a breeze and make the queue to this new attraction a sort of attraction all its own.
One more operational detail before we get into the really exciting stuff. VelociCoaster uses double-sided lockers. This means guests will put their loose items in one side of the locker and retrieve them from the other side. This very effectively relieves congestion as guests getting on the attraction are in a completely different room from those getting off of the attraction.
It’s also worth noting that guests will be directed through medal detectors and will be required to take all loose items, except for their park ticket, and place them in lockers. That being said, another nice thing about these lockers is their location. They will be found near the end of the queue as opposed to the very beginning. This means guests will still be able to take their photos and videos of the incredible experiences throughout the queue.
Ok, now let’s get to the fun stuff. From the moment you enter Islands of Adventure, VelociCoaster looms menacingly over the lagoon in the distance. Right away, it looks like one of the most intense attraction you’ll ever experience. And while it is quite a thrill ride, it’s not quite as intense as I originally expected. Where attractions like The Incredible Hulk Coaster may require some recover time, VelociCoaster is much more likely to see riders jump right back on to experience it all over again.
The coaster itself is so incredibly smooth (of course, a trademark of a brand new coaster) and every twist and turn is executed in a way that doesn’t seem to rattle the passengers. The absence of shoulder restraints also allow for a little more flexibility and movement as you make your way through this raptor chase, which seemed to ease the experience a bit.
That being said, the thrill is there right from the beginning as guests are lunched into a high-speed chase with velociraptors flanking on both sides. Every twist, turn and inversion is done at a speed that seems as though it shouldn’t be physically possible. Add to that the ominous presence of velociraptors at every turn and the thrill is equally as psychological as it is physical.
Two elements of this new coaster really steal the show. The first is that aforementioned top hat, during which time seems to stop as you float high above the entire park before plunging back down into your pulse-pounding chase. The second element is the heartline roll over the lagoon, an element that, again, doesn’t seem as though it should be possible without shoulder restraints. Somehow though, it is possible and makes for an incredible thrill.
VelociCoaster certainly will not be for everyone as it is still a high-speed roller coaster and easily one of the most thrilling attractions in either of the two Universal Orlando Resort parks. However, if you are someone who seeks out a thrill and/or consider yourself to be a fan of the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films, VelociCoaster is a must-see attraction without a doubt. This is a great addition to a park which already has some world-class attractions.