Dinosaur lovers, roller coaster enthusiasts, fans of the beloved Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films, and Universal Orlando Resort guests alike all have reason to celebrate. We finally have a VelociCoaster opening date! Universal announced in early April that the Velociraptor paddock will finally open its doors to Jurassic World Universal Islands of Adventure park guests on June 10, 2021, and we are psyched!
We decided to break down everything we know so far about the VelociCoaster, Universal Studios’ newest Jurassic Park ride, for everyone who is as excited as we are including what you can expect from it, who can go on it, and, most importantly, how to ride it. So, grab your Islands of Adventure map and let’s get started!
Everything We Know About the Jurassic World VelociCoaster
Anyone who has been to a Universal theme park recently already knows that they have been crushing it in the theme park game. Given the immersive storytelling and intricate theming of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the impressive rides built there and elsewhere throughout the Universal Orlando Resort lately, there is a lot of hype surrounding Universal Studios Orlando’s first Jurassic World ride.
Luckily, not only do we have a VelociCoaster opening date slated for the books, but we actually already know quite a bit about the Jurassic Park rollercoaster as well. Here’s what you can look forward to when the VelociCoaster opens June 10.
VelociCoaster Universal Orlando: The Basics
Designed by the masterminds of Universal Creative, we expect the VelociCoaster to surpass the very high expectations set by Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Harry Potter World next door. Similar to that ride, the VelociCoaster is an immersive storytelling rollercoaster that will transport guests from the Universal Orlando Resort to the dinosaur-filled Jurassic World theme park in a thrilling ride that’s like two coasters in one (gotta love a bonus coaster). All of this is obviously before everything that happened in the first installment of the film series, of course – because we all know that park won’t be welcoming new guests anytime soon after those events.
For those of you who rather be surprised by the storyline of the VelociCoaster, consider this your spoiler alert. We’ll keep the section after free from spoilery bits, so feel free to skip ahead to the nuts and bolts of the ride if that’s what you’re interested in.
What is the story behind the VelociCoaster?
Jurassic World needs fresh, edgy (re: kinda scary) attractions to help draw more visitors to the park and bolster investors. The VelociCoaster is a new thrill ride concept dreamed up by the park operations manager Claire Dearing (played in the films by the actress Bryce Dallas Howard) that will allow park visitors to join a pack of raptors as they race around their enclosure. Of course, guest safety is Jurassic World’s first priority (because whatever could go wrong frolicking with a bunch of scary-smart super predators?), so think of the experience like cage diving with sharks. Only this cage moves really fast, and the Velociraptors are much scarier than sharks.
As you enter the queue, Claire stops by to say hello and explain what will happen during the ride. Close on her heels is Jurassic World’s resident animal behavioral specialist and Velociraptor whisperer, Owen Grady (played by Chris Pratt), to remind you to keep your wits about you. You also meet Dr. Henry Wu (played by BD Wong), the prehistoric park’s chief genetic engineer, as he touts the next-level science that’s gone into the experience.
Throughout the queue, you’ll even have a chance to get up close and personal with the dinosaurs you’ll be racing against as they’re muzzled in their stalls, as well as watch them rocket past along with the ride’s riders. There aren’t really any details out yet about exactly how all of this will happen, but it certainly sounds like this will be a queue that will be worth the wait in line, especially the up-close encounter with the patiently waiting raptors.
From there, you’ll hop on the ride vehicle for a ride that – similar to the nearby Jurassic Park River Adventure and basically any Jurassic Park-related film, starts out well enough before descending into utter, dinosaurs-on-the-loose fueled chaos. Although your romp through the raptor paddock gets off to a smooth start, eventually you’ll find yourself “running” for your life as the escaped team of Velociraptors gives chase. In other words, in the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson’s character John “Ray” Arnold during the original Jurassic Park, hold onto your butts.
What will the VelociCoaster be like?
After a thrilling, three-second launch at 50 miles per hour, the coaster keeps riders close to the ground, initially anyways, as they zig, zag, and hop largely close to the ground. Imagine, something like how the raptor pack (Blue, Charlie, Delta, and Echo) darts around in formation, with the added bonus of getting some time to appreciate all the incredibly detailed thematic elements. From there, things start to get bumpier until you are suddenly launched again from 40 to 70 miles per hour in just 2.4 seconds up a massive 155-foot-tall hill called a “top hat.”
After coming back down to earth down an 80° descent – for a little while, at least – you and your fellow riders are subjected to a all-out assault of adrenaline-pumping thrills including numerous zero-gravity stalls totaling 12 full seconds of airtime, four inversions, and a 360° “Mosasaurus roll” barrel roll at 53 miles per hour over Islands of Adventure lagoon.
Now, if all that doesn’t sound impressive enough, consider the fact that this ride is set to break a couple records. That 80° descent is steeper than Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit’s 90° drop. And the ride’s second launch to 70 miles per hour pushes the coaster past The Incredible Hulk Coaster’s 67 miles-per-hour max, making it not only the speediest coaster at Universal Orlando Resort, but also the fastest launch-style coaster in the state of Florida.
On top of all that, you can also factor in the design of the ride vehicles themselves. The dark gray and blue color scheme of the ride and blue LED accents are both sleek and stealthy, and a silent nod to the colors of Jurassic World. Not only do they look like they could easily get lost in the dark of the night, like a Velociraptor on the loose, but their lack of over-the-shoulder restraints (there’s a lap bar instead) and too-tall-for-most-people size only amplify the feeling of vulnerability as you try to not fall prey to the marauding Velociraptors.
All of this is to say that this Frankenstein’s-monster of a coaster will basically be a thrill ride lover’s thrill ride, and our adventure-loving hearts couldn’t be happier about it.
How tall do you have to be to ride the VelociCoaster?
As you can probably imagine, this will not be a ride for little ones. Guests must be at least 51”, or 129.5cm in order to ride. However, we’re sure that you should still be able to do a rider swap here if you’re traveling with a child who doesn’t quite make the cutoff.
What is VelociCoaster replacing?
The VelociCoaster takes the place of the Triceratops Discovery Trail, or Triceratops Encounter. This attraction allowed guests to visit three different “living, breathing” (or in other words, animatronic) triceratops with distinctive personalities. While we love anything that helps bring the world of Jurassic Park to life, we are definitely glad to see a thrill ride like this take its place.
Aside from this, there are a couple other Jurassic Park rides – Jurassic Park River Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers – that you can also explore while visiting. Aside from that, we also recommend you take some time to visit the Raptor Encounter for some facetime with a full-grown Velociraptor, then stop by the Jurassic Park Discovery Center to watch a baby raptor hatch in the nursery.
How to Ride the VelociCoaster Universal Orlando
Well, now that you know what this amazing roller coaster will look like, let’s talk about your game plan for riding it. The VelociCoaster and all other rides and attractions related to the Jurassic world can be found at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. There are
What’s the fastest way to get to Jurassic Park and the VelociCoaster?
The Jurassic Park part of Islands of Adventure is located straight back from the park’s entrance. Although the land is basically equidistant from the main entrance, we usually find it’s faster to get there by walking through Marvel Super Hero Island and Toon Lagoon. Perhaps that’s because it’s so easy to get distracted by all the magical goodies of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts?
What will opening day be like?
It’s hard to say the opening day of the VelociCoaster will look like – we are in the midst of a pandemic, after all. In general, things feel a little closer to normal at Universal versus at Disney World, once you get past the face masks, temperature checks, and social distancing, of course. However, there are no park reservations required.
Even though the ride opens on a Thursday, there’s no reason to believe that the park won’t be packed. In fact, Universal Orlando has reached capacity quite a bit throughout COVID-19. All that being said, for the shortest lines possible, we suggest you plan your arrival for at least an hour before the park opens. This will ensure you’re at the front of the pack for rope drop so you can make a beeline for Jurassic Park.
As of right now, there’s no word on whether the Jurassic World VelociCoaster will be included in the Universal Express Pass. If it is, however, we think it would be a good investment (or try to get a reservation at an applicable Universal resort), as we imagine the lines here will be massive for quite some time.
Now, it is possible that Universal will use a virtual line to help keep actual lines short like they do with Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. If that’s the case, you’ll need to save your space in line using the Universal Orlando Resort mobile app. Of course, snagging a spot can be difficult this way and a lot of people wind up empty-handed, but Universal does release some availability throughout the day at 11am, 2pm, and 4pm to give as many guests as possible a chance to ride.
Should I try to make plans around the opening?
Well, June is fast approaching, so that doesn’t leave you with very much time to make things happen. However, if you’re a die-hard Jurassic Park/World or rollercoaster fan who feels like you won’t be happy if you don’t ride the VelociCoaster on opening day, you’re in luck! As it stands, there are still plenty of rooms available at Universal Orlando resorts for opening day and that weekend. Plus, unlike Disney, theme park reservations aren’t required here. So, as long as you can stand the crowds and infamous, Florida summer heat, we say go for it.
What time should I get to the park to ride?
Although our answer is first thing in the morning, we actually have some mixed feelings about this. Showing up right away in the morning (we’re talking at least an hour before the park opens) helps you avoid all the crowds and is definitely the quickest way to ride this ride. Although, if this is part of the Universal Express Pass, you can really ride whenever.
That being said, the Jurassic World VelociCoaster will be a great night time ride. From the blue LED lights on the ride vehicles to the dramatic lighting used throughout Jurassic Park and, we anticipate, the ride, after dark will be a fun time to run for your life from velociraptors in hot pursuit. We can only imagine how the dark will contribute to the whole experience.
Islands of Adventure Hours & Tickets
Islands of Adventure hours vary depending on when you visit. Hours aren’t currently available for opening day, but our best guess is that the park will open at 9am. Right now, Islands of Adventure is open until 7pm Monday through Thursday, 8pm on Fridays and Sundays, and 9pm on Saturdays. While this could remain the same, the parks could also stay open later over the summer months. All in all, it’s all the more reason to plan your ride on the VelociCoaster for right away in the morning.
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That wraps up everything we know about the Jurassic World VelociCoaster. We don’t know about you, but we couldn’t be more excited for this ride to grace us with its dinosaur-filled, scream-inducing presence. What are you most looking forward to about the newest Jurassic Park ride? When do you think you’ll ride it for the first time? Let us know in the comments!
Amber is a proud former Walt Disney World Cast Member, an unabashed travel addict, and a hospitality and tourism specialist with over 10 years in the industry. She likes getting her wanderlust fix by sharing her favorite park tips and tricks with other Disney fans. When she isn’t working, you can usually catch her in a hot power yoga class or spending way too much money at Disney Springs.