Though this coaster isn’t boasting the title of “story coaster” that Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure employed, VelociCoaster is not lacking for theming. Appropriately themed around the quick agility of velociraptors, this ride will feature sleek trains with onboard audio, intricate rock work contributing to some near-miss elements, and dino animatronics that may provide a jump scare or two on the first ride.
Being Universal’s first official Jurassic World-themed attraction, this may be an indicator of further change to come, which can be a good thing of a bad thing depending on who you ask. Though Universal Studios Hollywood’s Jurassic World adaptation was broadly seen as a necessary update, there is an iconoclast nature to Florida’s Jurassic Park section, in the grand arches and the River Rapids, that would undoubtedly strip a good chunk of charm from the park.
Coaster enthusiasts will be glad to hear that the VelociCoaster trains offer lap bars in lieu of an over-the-shoulder restraint, offering a more free and open ride experience.
The worthiest comparison to this ride can be found at Busch Gardens—no, not Florida’s Busch Gardens, but at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, in the yet-to-open Pantheon, another Intamin multi-launch coaster. Pantheon is a little bit faster, a little bit taller, and a little bit longer than its sister coaster, but where VelociCoaster lacks in stats it makes up for in theming, providing a more complete experience, which is par for the course for the intellectual property-driven Universal chain.
Filling the Gaps
One must consider the fact that, with the addition of VelociCoaster, all three of Universal’s Islands of Adventure’s major coasters—Incredible Hulk Coaster, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, and now VelociCoaster—are launch coasters. In deciding upon yet another launch coaster, did Universal create an even larger gap in their lineup?
This argument, though fair on paper, is ultimately baseless. Because even though the park’s triad of coasters consists of all launch coasters, each is serving a completely different purpose. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is a story-driven coaster geared at most, if not all, ages. Its launches, though forceful as you’d expect from an Intamin, still keep the training wheels on, giving younger family members an entryway to eventually tackling larger coasters. The focus here is on the story—the animatronics, the rising action, the wonder of the Wizarding World. Incredible Hulk Coaster is similar to VelociCoaster in terms of intensity, but where VelociCoaster focuses on negative G-forces, flaunting 12 hair-raising seconds of airtime across the duration of the ride, Incredible Hulk Coaster, with its cobra roll and hauling speed, is a beast of positive G-force.
Though Universal does not have an Invert to take the place of Dragon Challenge, it has a lineup of truly one-of-a-kind, masterfully-executed coasters to call their own.
VelociCoaster opens in Summer 2021.