Universal Orlando's VelociCoaster Connects Jurassic World And Jurassic Park
Universal Orlando's VelociCoaster is open now, bridging the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World franchises. Oh, and it makes Velociraptors chase you.
When construction began in early 2019 at the Jurassic World area within Universal Studios Orlando's Islands of Adventure theme park, nobody was quite sure what was going on. After all, Universal Studios Hollywood had completely re-themed its Jurassic Park area to match the new series of films. That wasn't to be the case for Islands of Adventure, though. Instead, the new VelociCoaster attraction preserves the iconic land, while connecting it to the modern franchise.
"It's amazing that here at Islands of Adventure you can experience both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, especially knowing where the future of the Jurassic World franchise is going," Universal Orlando Resort show producer Shelby Honea told GameSpot. "The filmmakers really see it as one big timeline. That was something that [Jurassic World director] Colin [Trevorrow] and [producer] Frank [Marshall] really emphasized to us. They don't see it as Jurassic Park or Jurassic World, they see it as Jurassic."
With that in mind, Universal's creative team built a roller coaster that feels like it was pulled right out of the Jurassic World films and found a way to integrate it into the existing Jurassic Park area without overpowering it or taking away from the iconic sights fans of the area care about most--namely the Discovery Center that's based on the one from the first Jurassic Park film and can be seen from around Islands of Adventure.
"We studied really extensively this park, the sightlines," Honea explained. "We wanted to make sure that we were preserving a really iconic element, which was the view [of the Discovery Center] across the lagoon."
Now, when guests arrive, they'll still be greeted by the unique building, but find the wrapped around it, rocketing guests through a pretty intense experience. After all, as Universal Orlando Resort art director Gregory Hall put it to GameSpot in simple terms, "You have to have dinosaurs on your dinosaur ride."
Granted, the VelociCoaster is packed with plenty of terrifying roller coaster thrills--including a 140-foot top hat drop, a barrel roll close to the lagoon they call the Mosasaurus roll after the aquatic dinosaur in Jurassic World, and plenty of other chances to get flipped upside down and feel weightless as you blaze through at up to 70 miles per hour. What sets it apart, though, is the story baked into it and the sheer amount of dinosaur-centric thrills that the creative team refers to as the "teeth" of the experience.
The attraction features an original story set just prior to the first Jurassic World movie. "We found this really fun spot and the filmmakers were so awesome in letting us play around with this and have fun with it," Honea said. "We know there's the gyrosphere ride, there's all these great attractions at Jurassic World. But we also know that Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is under a lot of pressure to add more teeth. So we know the Indominus Rex is having some challenges. It ate its sister, it needs a bigger wall. As a kind of interim step to get more teeth in the park, she greenlit a coaster to go into the Velociraptor paddock. She's very proud, she thinks this will look great to the shareholders, and Owen (Chris Pratt)--who you see in the attraction--is not into it one bit."
Who can blame him? Not only does sending a roller coaster through a Velociraptor paddock seem incredibly dangerous, it's also a public relations nightmare waiting to happen. All it takes is one lost arm. However, for Hall, it gave the team the opportunity to do something that's not been seen in the movies.
"We came to the realization that the Raptors have never been on public display in the films," he said. "In the films, they've escaped. But what does that look like when you know guests are in the park and they see the Raptors in there in the Raptor paddock?"
And as guests in this park, you will get that chance to not only come face-to-face with them in the line queue with the use of animatronics--which you can see above--but be chased by them throughout the ride. "The intensity gets more and more intimidating as you go through the queue," Hall teased. "In the queue you see the coaster flying through the building at 70 miles per hour with Raptors chasing it. Who else could do that?"
So while the Jurassic Park experience may be preserved at Islands of Adventure--including the fact that it's one of the last two places you can still experience the original Jurassic Park: The Ride--the area has evolved to embrace the present and future of the franchise.
The Jurassic World VelociCoaster is open now at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure.