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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 624: Super Nintendo World unveiled!

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So epic. Glad it's lived up to the extreme hype and the silly painful overanalyzing of videos from a distance has proven to be well, silly lol 

While I will never be caught in FL again during the summer XD early December sounds like a nice time to go for sure! 

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The boyfriend and I got to ride today during passholder preview, too, and I echo what Robb, Elissa, and others have said about the ride. I kept myself intentionally in the dark on social media over the weekend during team member previews because it's nice to come to a coaster from a fresh perspective sometimes.

I've since read some reviews online and some of them pan the first half of the ride a bit, but we honestly really liked it and it balances the ride out a lot. I'm personally a big fan of quick directional changes and one of my favorite things has always been to ride B&M inverts in the back row because of the fact that you can't see where you're going. The high seat backs on Velocicoaster reminded me a lot of this, we rode in the back and that first half is a ton of quick little changes of direction and it has some cool moments with high turns, not taken at a lot of speed, but with little pops of air then a quick whip of the train to the left or right.

The boost launch is quick as hell and there's a quick positive-G moment transitioning into the top hat...which, in the back row, I'm pretty sure we can count as one of the best "first drops" on any coaster. It was airtime all the way down, kind of like what you get on El Toro's or Skyrush's first drop. The double-helix back section seemed a little slow-ish to us, but this is based on just *one* ride. The barrel roll over the water scared the living crap out of me. The attendant pushed my restraint down pretty well and for a moment I literally thought I was about to go for a swim in the lagoon. Literally...I don't think I've had such an "oh sh*t" moment on any coaster in a long time. In short, this ride is amazing and is the kind of thrilling coaster Universal has been missing since the end of the day on September 4th, 2017 (I promise I'm not that crazy, September 4th is my birthday lol).

The staff running the coaster seemed really hyped and made it an even better time, they were asking everyone how they liked the ride and really getting everyone excited. The energy around the ride seemed a lot like pre-Potter Universal in the best way. Please, Universal, more of this and less Jimmy Fallon/Fast&Furious/Harry Potter. We live about a mile from Universal and we've only gone once every 3-4 months the past couple of years. This will change that. Once the hype and line both calm down a bit, of course.

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18 hours ago, coasterbill said:

My advice for everyone who balks at the price of a one day ticket (considering you basically have to park-hop) seems counter-intuitive but it's to get an annual pass (I know how stupid that sounds but hear me out).

The Seasonal Pass has no benefits except for park admission but it's 349.99. A one-day ticket on most weekends is $187 or sometimes more so the pass pays for itself in less than 2 visits (aside from consecutive-day combo tickets or mid-week visits during the slowest time of the year). They also frequently run promotions where you can get additional months added on to your pass for free. We got ours last October and it's good until some time in January of 2022.

Sure, this pass has blackout dates but only a few select Mardi Gras concert days that you can work around. The other blackout days are days where no intelligent person would want to be caught dead in Orlando anyway if they didn't live there (Christmas Week / Spring Break / July... the hottest month of the entire summer)

That said, when we renew one of us will get the preferred pass for the free parking and in-park discounts and one will keep the seasonal pass. That's the move if you're going to travel with friends or a significant other.

I know that people always talk about Universal vs Disney but I always feel like Universal knows they're basically the Disney add-on for once in a lifetime visitors with their pricing for tickets and passes. Have a high priced day ticket for the families that take a day or two from Disney knowing they'll splurge on express passes, 2 park tickets for the Hogwarts Express etc, and milk them for everything knowing they'll be trying to cram it all in but  put the passes at a tempting enough price that state-side people who will be in the area now and again will pop in to justify their spending, grab a couple rides and then get money from them drinking butter beer or going to City Walk to eat.

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It was a fun ride. The first half felt very Maverick-y with the quick transitions between elements. All the theming REALLY adds to the overall feel of being chased by raptors.
The 2nd half.....WOW!  LOVE the launch and all of the air time especially on the top hat. Really comfortable trains. The queue is great and the two-sided lockers are BRILLIANT! Really hope they implement this system everywhere!

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The two-sided locker system seems fantastic. What a great compromise to allow guests their phones in line without risking carrying it on the ride. I suppose the only thing you need to carry with you on the ride is your season pass/ticket, correct? To open your locker afterwards?

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It's been pretty interesting to watch how Universal has approached the opening of Velocicoaster compared to some other attractions in the past, at both Universal and Disney. I mean cast member and media/pass holder previews have only been going on for what 2 weeks now (?) and I feel like there are so many more reviews/posts etc. about this thing out there compared to anything previously. Seems like just about everyone who is local has already been on this thing by now, and there's another month until the opening. And as far as all of the reviews/pics/videos being out there I guess it's just a giant roller coaster where you can see every inch of track from existing guest areas so there weren't really any "surprises" to keep secret like on Hagrid or Galaxy's Edge, but still it's kind of interesting how Universal seemingly has embraced the opening and let all of that information flow this early. I know theme park social media is kind of a weird space these days, but feels like Universal has taken a really good approach to the opening of this attraction so far.

 

I don't know when I'll get down there to ride this thing but it looks awesome, has everything I love in an attraction so I can't wait. Maybe my youngest will be 51" by the end of the summer and I'll finally have an excuse to make the trip!

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On 5/4/2021 at 11:51 AM, thrillseeker4552 said:

The two-sided locker system seems fantastic. What a great compromise to allow guests their phones in line without risking carrying it on the ride. I suppose the only thing you need to carry with you on the ride is your season pass/ticket, correct? To open your locker afterwards?

Yes. Just your season pass.  If you have the photo pass, you don't need that until AFTER the lockers.  I carried both with me on the ride. But now I know!

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21 hours ago, caleb.stone said:

Any word on if they're planning on retrofitting any rides with the locker system from Velocicoaster? 

It's such a great locker system because at least people can still keep their belongings with them in the queue, and only have to put them away at the last minute.

They are a pain in the posterior to retrofit to existing rides though because it relies on having the ride exit basically next to the queue because the lockers are double-sided. Obviously unlike the lockers on Forbidden Journey for example they can't have incoming/outgoing riders mixing otherwise people can skip the entire queue.

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Velocicoaster opened for 'technical rehearsal' today which means anyone who's at the park and wants to wait in line can go ride!  Keep in mind, this does NOT mean it will be open every day now until June 10, but you do have a chance!

 

 

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And I'm reading some reports they have the single rider line open.

I think it'll be interesting if it switches to a virtual queue at any point during the soft oepning, especially this weekend if people suspect it'll open again.

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So for all the hate that Intamin gets when it is okay to talk about the fact that they soft opened a 70 MPH multi-launcher for the first time Friday afternoon and since then it's operated every day with zero breakdowns. Zero...

I also understand that any downtime it does have may not be due to a breakdown since it's just in soft openings and it could be weather related also but it's not having any downtime whatsoever. None. In that time it's actually been the most reliable adult coaster on property.

Three days is a very small sample size, but the fact that it's a BRAND NEW Intamin multi-launch makes this pretty surprising. Maybe it's time to stop giving Intamin so much shit?

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Is the intamin hate valid or just enthusiasts being enthusiasts? Like same community that managed to hype up a break run shed to the point they were disappointed XD or I thought the world was coming to an end based off my medias bc of the train bump thing SVs opening day lmao 

But yeah glad they are indeed soft opening. The temptation is strong to still add that extra 4 hours and swing by Orlando for a day.....but nah just too much extra time, mostly $, and yeah no guarantee it'll be open (though I kinda expect it will be but oof would I be destroyed if it wasnt). I'll indeed wait for crowds and (some) heat to die down and go later this year. I've hearing nothing but great stuff and that the 1st half is not slow. Whoa its like a phone taken video from a distance is not the best judge XD Seems like Universal really did hit a grand slam with this one 

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20 minutes ago, JJLehto said:

Is the intamin hate valid or just enthusiasts being enthusiasts?

I feel like it's a combination of both. I can't think of an Intamin with a lift hill and 2-3 trains that's overly unreliable. People love to compare them to manufacturers that primarily build those types of rides (like B&M) and they're comparing apples to oranges.

Hagrid's wasn't ready to open when it did and I'm not acting like they totally nailed that one, but when people are like "Intamin sucks, this coaster with 12 trains (I know they don't run them all but they run a ton), 2 drop tracks, 3 switch tracks, a crazy station block system and 7 launches isn't nearly as reliable as the Incredible Hulk" I feel like that's kind of a stupid statement. Rides like Dragster and Kingda Ka are obviously dumpster fires, but to Intamin's credit I don't see any other manufacturer building rides that reliably launch people 400 feet into the air at over 100mph. Maybe they could do it better if given the opportunity to try, but we don't really know.

Velocicoaster seems like a pretty simple ride by Intamin's standards. One station. Two launches. Four trains. I'm not that shocked to see that when they design something that's not insane it's (so far) just as reliable as a similar ride from a competing manufacturer would be.

And again.. I know it's early.

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So FYI - Kristen and her friends went Saturday at 3pm over to Universal.  They somehow had a great time! Crowds were not bad for a weekend and it was our last decent weather day here in Orlando till October.  At one point they went by Velocicoaster and it was a 75min posted wait.  Since they are 14, and wanted bragging rights, they went for it!  75min later after a less than 10min breakdown they were on it.  They all loved it!  Kristen even had a single rider next to her as yes, they opened the single rider line.  She was telling us such great things about Universal that we went down around 7pm with a 9pm closing just to get some steps in.  Well, with single rider lines open on Hulk and Velocicoaster, we rode both!!!  It was great.

Back to the Intamin debate. I've always said I prefer most awesome Intamin rides even if they only operate 70% of the time to almost all B&M's that operate 98% of the time!  Intamin really does push a lot of limits and I think a lot of their issues are fair.  This coaster has been running since November so they had a lot of test and adjust time and it's great seeing them get to open a done and tested ride (unlike Hagrid's!)

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Oh I remember those days. Was one of the first to get on Kingda Ka aka a few of us took a day off school to go haha bragged so hard how we waited 3 hours for it. Now 45 mins (depending on the ride, some are lower) and I want to die XD  But glad to hear all the positive reviews! Absolutely stoked to visit, (still need to try Hargrids as well!) 

 

Yeah to Bill and Elissa and I agree, I almost always prefer an Intamin even when it does have reliability issues which I'll concur seem a bit overhyped, but still they just are better rides than most B&Ms so yeah, gimme an Intamin any day! 

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I think one of the big differences with Velocicoaster is that it was a ride type Intamin has built several times (LSM multilaunch).  Most of their unreliable rides are either prototypes or things no one else would build like Ka or Dragster.

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I think the 'Intamin rides are unreliable' trope is generally pretty outdated now, just like when people say 'Vekoma rides are rough'. People judge Intamin's reliability on rides like TTD, just like people judge Vekoma's smoothness on their SLCs.

Hagrids was a mess, but the opening of that was really rushed and honestly with seven launches, three (?) switch tracks, two drop tracks (and a partridge in a pear tree) it is maybe the most technologically advanced coaster in the world, especially when you factor in the number of trains, conveyor loading etc too.

Air at Alton Towers was hilariously unreliable in the first year and that's B&M (which, like many Intamin rides was a world first full of technology).

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On 5/11/2021 at 3:59 AM, coasterbill said:

I feel like it's a combination of both. I can't think of an Intamin with a lift hill and 2-3 trains that's overly unreliable. People love to compare them to manufacturers that primarily build those types of rides (like B&M) and they're comparing apples to oranges.

Lotte World owns pretty half the Intamin catalogue, most of which I don't think Intamin even lists anymore, including an extremely unique one of a kind coaster, and they run 365 days a year without ever having extended downtime. Likewise for the other big park in Korea, T Express runs constantly 11 out of 12 months a year reliably (One month in -20c weather it'll have its annual rehab). and these aren't quiet parks either, both parks have to run their rides full capacity, non-stop for 10-12 hours a day.

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