Jurassic World VelociCoaster is a high-speed roller coaster opening in Summer 2021 at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure theme park. This covers everything you need to know about the new Jurassic Park ride: the official opening date, photos, concept art, and answers to common questions. (Updated April 22, 2021.)
Let’s start with a bit of background. Jurassic World VelociCoaster has been under construction for just over two years, much of which occurred before the roller coaster was even officially acknowledged or announced by Universal Orlando, which made for something of a running joke among Central Florida theme park fans. Also a running joke were the literal raptors that kept building nests at the track apex; the ospreys returned even after being relocated, leading to jokes about “life finding a way.”
Jurassic World VelociCoaster will be over 4,700 feet long, featuring a barrel roll above the Islands of Adventure lagoon and the signature “Top Hat,” which propels riders 155 feet in the air and then immediately into an 80-degree drop. VelociCoaster will be Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster, with a top speed of 70 mph (reached in 2.4 seconds) and maximum height of 155 feet. The coaster is manufactured by Intamin, and the trains use a lap bar lowered into place rather than shoulder restraints–despite the roller coaster featuring several inversions. Jurassic World VelociCoaster’s minimum height requirement will be 51″ tall.
Being a theme park itself, Jurassic World is a franchise that allows broad latitude with comprehensible storytelling. With VelociCoaster, the premise is that the management team of the theme park (Jurassic World, not Universal) is unveiling a new ride as part of its “carnivore expansion” that will allow guests to safely embark on a high-speed chase and feel the rush of the hunt alongside a pack of prehistoric predators, Blue, Delta, Charlie, and Echo.
This ride being Jurassic Park-inspired, the only thing that’s safe to say is that something will go terribly wrong. In addition to the velociraptors, Once inside the elevated watch tower used to monitor the dinosaurs, guests are greeted by Dr. Wu (BD Wong) as they learn about the cutting-edge new coaster. Along the way, guests will come face-to-face with a few hungry Velociraptors who are awaiting being released from their stables. As guests approach the load platform, they will hear a few reassuring words from Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and a final warning from Owen Grady (Chris Pratt).
The story set-up might sound a bit flimsy, but honestly, that’s about all that’s needed–the roller coaster itself and the setting should do the heavy lifting. We’ve been watching construction on VelociCoaster as the environment has taken shape over the last year, and it’s gorgeous. Don’t confuse this for a simple, exposed roller coaster–there’s a lot going on here.
Jurassic World VelociCoaster will take guests on a high-speed dash through the park’s raptor paddock. Along the way, the roller coaster will speed through the lush jungle and rise high above the terrain, twisting and soaring above the water and jagged rock-work. In addition to close calls with those craggy peaks, the roller coaster will feature several up-close encounters with velociraptor figures.
After teasing a “Summer 2021” opening for months, Universal Orlando has finally announced that Jurassic World VelociCoaster opens on June 10, 2021 at Islands of Adventure! With Walt Disney World not debuting anything new this summer, it should be a blockbuster few months for Universal Orlando.
Universal is already seeing the two parks hit (reduced) capacity on a near-daily basis, and the excellent Mardi Gras event has now been extended twice. Universal has been quicker than Disney to restore entertainment and aspects of the guest experience, and we’re anticipating that the same will hold true with Universal easing health safety rules. To some degree, that has already started to occur, so we expect Universal Orlando to be largely operating as normal by June 10, 2021.
April 22, 2021 Update: We just received emails from Universal Orlando inviting us to experience Jurassic World VelociCoaster before the attraction’s grand opening. The Jurassic World VelociCoaster Passholder Preview is valid at select times on the following dates:
- May 2, 2021
- May 3, 2021
- May 4, 2021
- May 5, 2021
Registration is required. Due to limited capacity, Universal Orlando cannot accommodate non-registered Annual Passholders. There will not be a standby line. The Jurassic World VelociCoaster is in technical rehearsal, which means the ride’s open on a limited basis and some elements may not be available.
In case you did not receive the email, here’s the registration link. Obviously, this will not work if you’re not a UOAP.
Suffice to say, we are really looking forward to Jurassic World VelociCoaster. On our last several visits to Universal Orlando, we’ve seen the roller coaster testing (including with riders) and it looks absolutely awesome. Many Walt Disney World fans are understandably looking forward to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (which opens a few months later in the fall), but VelociCoaster is far and away my most-anticipated addition to Orlando theme parks in 2021.
That’s obviously not an apples to apples comparison, but Jurassic World VelociCoaster v. TRON Lightcycle Run certainly is. Despite starting construction much later, VelociCoaster will probably end up opening a year or more before TRON Lightcycle Run. The latter is a clone of a Shanghai Disneyland roller coaster, whereas the former is vaguely reminiscent of the Flying Dinosaur–to the extent that they’re both roller coasters in Universal’s Jurassic Park areas–that’s about where the similarities begin and end.
Although they’re all different types of roller coasters, they are all the same general type of ride. That makes them “close enough” for the sake of comparison. TRON Lightcycle (Power) Run is a solid attraction with beautiful visuals. It didn’t make my Top 10 Disney Attractions of the Last Decade, but that’s definitely a “me problem.” I can understand why others–including Sarah–love it.
On the other hand, I absolutely adore Flying Dinosaur as a roller coaster, but its thematic elements are incredibly sparse and no effort was made to integrate it seamlessly into Jurassic Park at Universal Studios Japan. There’s netting everywhere overhead and a ton of visual blight. Its addition was a huge step backwards for a park that has otherwise made leaps forward in themed design. The Flying Dinosaur is “worth” all of those intrusions, but it unquestionably could’ve been done better.
Jurassic World VelociCoaster appears to be a Jurassic Park roller coaster “done better.” The track layout looks tremendous, the rock-work is beautiful, and there’s an ample amount of thematic elements and details. It should be suspenseful and fun. Even though they’re different species of coasters, it feels like Universal Creative iterated upon what worked and didn’t with Flying Dinosaur, and Jurassic World VelociCoaster is the evolution of that. Coasters find a way.
The aesthetic of TRON Lightcycle Run is great, but admittedly, I can’t get through the original Tron movie without falling asleep. The lights on the roller coaster are entrancing, but the source material just doesn’t speak to me. By contrast, Jurassic Park was one of the formative films of my childhood and I can still watch it over and over to this day. Some might look at the exterior of VelociCoaster and find it overly industrial and bleak, but I see the fulfillment of a childhood fantasy. To each their own.
Ultimately, that’s why I’m excited for Jurassic World VelociCoaster. It’s also why Walt Disney World fans who were hoping to experience TRON Lightcycle Run this year should not sleep on Universal Orlando in Summer 2021 or beyond. Between VelociCoaster and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, there are two new roller coasters at Islands of Adventure that are on par with or better than TRON Lightcycle Run.
There are also probably several great rides you’ve never experienced if you haven’t visited Universal Orlando recently–or ever. We’ve amped up our coverage of Universal in the last year, and everything they’ve been doing right since reopening is a big reason why. Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure are both absolutely worth your limited Central Florida vacation time, even if that means pulling a couple of days (and hotel nights!) from Walt Disney World.
Need trip planning tips and comprehensive advice for your visit to Central Florida? Make sure to read our Universal Orlando Planning Guide for everything about Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. Also check out our Walt Disney World Vacation Planning Guide for everything about those parks, resorts, restaurants, and so much more. For regular updates, news & rumors, a heads up when discounts are released, and much more, sign up for our FREE email newsletter!
Are you looking forward to Jurassic World VelociCoaster? Will you be taking a couple of days from Walt Disney World to visit Universal Orlando this year or next? Or is Universal still “not for you” and/or is TRON Lightcycle Run more appealing to you? If you’ve visited both Disney and Universal post-reopening, which do you think is doing better? Do you have any questions about the current modified Universal experience? Will you be attempting to visit Central Florida this year, or are you waiting until 2022 or beyond? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!