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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 624: Stella Luna and Terra Nova resort details released!

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Last week I had the opportunity to attend an annual passholder preview of the Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure... I'll start the report by simply saying this thing is AWESOME! 

The VelociCoaster is designed with a fun first half that weaves in and out of itself after the first launch before throwing you into a much more intense second half. The drop coming off of the top hat gives some insane airtime and the inverted stall is such a neat maneuver. The final roll over the water is also intense and flips you only a few feet above the lagoon. All of this said, the coaster flies over and around the guest paths and viewing areas without nets, which makes these flyovers even more exciting--this is accomplished by requiring all riders to put their belongs (save for their park tickets/annual passes) in the lockers in the queue so nothing is dropped below. The lockers are double sided, so you load them in the queue and you access the other side and open the locker in the exit flow. 

The queue for the coaster is very cleverly designed, wrapping around the ride in key areas and setting the story of a rollercoaster in the raptor paddock being the newest attraction in Jurassic World, the still-open dinosaur park on Isla Nublar. The coaster sits inside of the Jurassic Park island with some of the land's design elements matching Jurassic World's aesthetic while others still tie into the Jurassic Park's styling. 

Let's take a look around...

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This view greets you as you enter the park... The top hat's wide curve is deceiving--that drop feels way more steep than it looks.

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There are many spots outside of Jurassic Park where the coaster can be seen running.

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Hello beastie!

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According to one of the creative team for the project (on Twitter), these raptors facing off against each other is a not to the former entrance sculpture that was once at Dueling Dragons.

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Outward banked airtime!

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Hangtime!

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Such a great dive!

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I really do love that there are no nets beneath the coaster.

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The plaza is full of kinetic energy.

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No nets!

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In case you were wondering where the entrance is in relation to the Jurassic Park Discovery Center.

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Dive! Dive! Dive!

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So great!

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Looks so great!

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The entrance of the queue is covered but not fully enclosed. Despite this, giant fans help to keep the space well cooled.

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This queue space is absolutely filled with dynamic lighting.

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There's definitely nods to different elements of the franchise's iconography throughout the queue.

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Very cool.

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Hard to photograph, but Robb & Elissa's video shows the effect really well. The raptors chase after the trains as they go through their second launch.

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BD Wong's Dr. Henry Wu makes an appearance for several videos in the queue.

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I can't say I expected animatronics to be featured in the queue...

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I love that they brought Mr. DNA into the queue loops!

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A look at the double-sided lockers.

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inGen gets a nod in the exit of the attraction.

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There is a separate location for single riders to use lockers.

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A pop-up VelociCoaster Store has been set up at the ground floor of the Jurassic Park Discovery Center, which double's as the exit path for the VelociCoaster.

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Merch, merch, merch.

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Walking around Jurassic Park, you can get some more fun views of the coaster in motion.

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My favorite photo spot because you can see the train move through a ton of different portions of the first half of the coaster. Here is the first launch...

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Going up...

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Going down...

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Heading into the second launch...

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In the back row you get a bit of hangtime as you move through this element.

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Hairtime!

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Prepare to be launched!

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VelociCoaster is a great addition to the Universal Orlando Resort and a fantastic addition to Central Florida's world-class collection of coasters! 

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Like Elissa said, I think the fact that Velocicoaster has been consistently testing since November helps its reliability now. That is over 5 months of working out bugs. And the block system is much less complicated than Hagrid's it seems. I do think crapping on Intamin's reliability is outdated. Their newer rides (that are simple and proven concepts, not crazy prototypes) seem equally reliable as new Mack launch coasters, new RMCs, or even new B&Ms.

I am happy to hear it is running consistently. Velocicoaster and Iron Gwazi were both at the top of my list for "awesome new rides that I NEED to ride when I move to FL this summer." At least one of those coasters is open to rave reviews and consistent operation. The other is a beautiful statue that should be located in a museum.

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The Universal Orlando Resort has announced that DreamWorks Destination will open in the KidZone area of Universal Studios Florida this spring. This attraction will feature characters from many of DreamWorks' popular film franchises in an interactive character experience.

https://media.universalorlando.com/press-releases/dreamworks-destination/

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This spring, Universal Orlando Resort will debut an all-new, interactive character experience ‚Äď DreamWorks Destination ‚Äď where guests can meet, greet and dance along with their favorite DreamWorks characters in an incredibly-themed location that brings the high-energy fun of the franchise‚Äôs most popular animated films to life.

Located in the KidZone area of Universal Studios Florida, DreamWorks Destination will be a first-of-its-kind character experience where guests can interact with multiple beloved characters from DreamWorks Animation‚Äôs hit film franchises, Trolls, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and more ‚Äď all in one festive location. Catchy tunes from various DreamWorks movies will fill the air as guests enter a bright, colorful party atmosphere ‚Äď all set against a nighttime sky inspired by the animation studio‚Äôs iconic opening sequence from its films. As bright lights illuminate the scene, guests will connect with their favorite DreamWorks characters, grab some fun photos and even join them for an epic dance party that will get every member of the family to move it, move it.

DreamWorks Destination will open this spring and an exact opening date will be shared soon. For more information and the latest updates on Universal Orlando’s health and safety protocols, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.

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30 minutes ago, SharkTums said:

She did this for attention, it's what she does. 

I'm really surprised they let her on with such an obvious wig.   (or in the park in cosplay. . wouldn't they worry someone would think she's representing the Park)?

Maybe someone was too embarrassed to ask her about it?

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14 hours ago, bert425 said:

hah. . Universal's response:

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Everytime I see a story like this I'm just assuming it's staged for attention on Twitter and Tik Tok or whatever. If you really lost your wig on that ride it would be in the lake or inside the secured ride area or something. I highly doubt they're out there gathering loose articles every hour so she probably just took the thing off and gave it to a team member to film him giving it back to her.

 

I mean it gives the park something to tweet about so good for engagement and all that, just always feels fake to me.

 

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We spent the weekend at Universal/IoA on Sat/Sun/Mon. In that time, we managed 15 rides on Velocicoaster. A handful of front and back seat rides, including a few at night (which is just epic!). 

I can say that this is a ride that can hardly get any better. From the theme, trains, layout, setting, etc... It's just stunning. I can't really say which part is my favorite, to be honest. It just has so many strong points that you're picking at straws. 

The paddock section is just great fun, especially with those raptors which are far more effective than I thought they would be (for being stationary). But the audio effects really amplifies them. Plenty of head/hand shoppers with the rock formations. That second element, the dive loop, is just crazy-go-nuts!  Fun little "Easter Eggs" too, such as the dino chow and the paradactyl eggs on top of the tallest rock formation if you look closely. Airtime is everywhere. The first launch isn't too shabby strength wise, it does it's job. 

The second half is like a completely different coaster... "Turn it to 11!" is what comes to mind.  Top hat is fantastic of course, the view from the top makes it seem much higher than it is. It's beautiful to look around, especially at dusk/night. One of the best views on a coaster that I have been on, for sure. Plenty of ejector air in the back of the train, no question there. It's hella-intense. I absolutely love the following stall element, especially in the back (right side). It's different from the stall on say, Goliath at SFGam of course, but it's just as fun in it's own way. It's just, aggressive. The helix portion following is (another) highlight for me, actually. It's great fun and a perfect mix of forces with it's pops of airtime, the reverse banking (love that so much on this!) and of course the hop/roll finale. The final heartline is as crazy as you read about, being ejected out toward the water at such high speed is quite epic. That last S-bend hop as well is extremely intense and when you hit the brakes, you're kind of just like "wtf". I heard nothing but "this is the best coaster I ever been on!" or "wow, that's insane!" among many other things from everyone riding... Did not hear a single bad thing or criticism from anyone at any point. Everybody loves it!

I enjoyed my final rides as much as my very first rides... If it wasn't for the bruises I developed on my thighs, probably would have snagged a few more rides...  But it literally got to the point that it was becoming painful from all the airtime from riding too many times in a short duration. For example, the first night we managed 4 rides, which was fine with no issue. But the next day? After about 3 rides (7 total that day) the pain kicked in. I had to start bracing myself as best I could but there is no point...  So yeah, it will leave it's mark with enough rides. I still can feel a bit of soreness a few days later!

I find this ride extremely reridable, the thigh bruising aside... Many rides I can't really 'marathon' anymore (nor do I really care to), as I will begin to get queasy usually depending on the ride, but not this one. For as super intense as it is, it doesn't bother me one bit. Compare to say Steel Vengeance by the time you hit the brakes after two rides I'm done for (mainly because those horrible final bunny hops...). So that's a huge thumbs up from me. 

So yes, it did become one of my favorite coasters of all time, no doubt about that. I don't really have a "top 5" or anything, but it's certainly there if I did. It absolutely exceeded my high expectations. 

Big, big thumbs up to the team at Universal that made this ride a reality. 

On a side note, finally got on Hagrids after a few years of avoiding due to long lines or no luck with virtual-queue on the past trip... Waited about 30 minutes and it's a really fun ride, but.... but.... Dragon's was a FAR better ride in every way, sorry. One ride was good enough for me, unless the line is short I don't see myself going out of my way to go ride it again. Oh, and Bourne Stuntacular at Universal is quite insane... Had no expectation given what was there prior, but was really blown away by the technology going on there. Very cool stuff, don't miss out on that like we almost did (yet again!).


 

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Great report! I agree with your review of Velocicoaster other than the part about getting enough rides to have bruises. I wouldn't know and I'm only moderately jealous. lol

I also agree about Bourne. It's hard for me to even express in words how much I didn't care when they announced it. I'd never be bothered to watch the movies and it's just not my kind of thing on paper. The only reason we did it is because @JRice92 wanted to and it blew our minds to the point where we go and see it on every visit now. The tech is just ridiculous.

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I agree Velocicoaster is amazing.  I got several rides on it this past week.  I also didn't mind waiting in that queue line one bit because the outdoor section had fantastic views of the coaster and the indoor section has a lot of cool items and videos to look at.

Plus, the line flies.  Usually I only waited about half the posted time unless the ride broke down (which it only did once for me in all the times I rode it).

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4 hours ago, coasterbill said:

I also agree about Bourne. It's hard for me to even express in words how much I didn't care when they announced it. I'd never be bothered to watch the movies and it's just not my kind of thing on paper.

You only say that because you've not yet been to the wonderland that is Nixa, Missouri.

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16 hours ago, coasterbill said:

Great report! I agree with your review of Velocicoaster other than the part about getting enough rides to have bruises. I wouldn't know and I'm only moderately jealous. lol

I also agree about Bourne. It's hard for me to even express in words how much I didn't care when they announced it. I'd never be bothered to watch the movies and it's just not my kind of thing on paper. The only reason we did it is because @JRice92 wanted to and it blew our minds to the point where we go and see it on every visit now. The tech is just ridiculous.

I had honestly forgot that this attraction even existed. That's not supposed to come across as an attack on the ride itself, it just seems somehow this got overlooked and not talked about enough and I'm not sure why considering now I've looked it up, people who actually do bother have great things to say.

Somehow Universal have marketed enough and enough people have talked that I know a Jimmy Fallon ride exists, yet had no idea T2 had become this. Although now, thanks to you guys, when I eventually get to do the once in a lifetime Florida trip, we won't accidentally skip it for something else.

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On 5/20/2021 at 7:50 AM, Invertalon said:

Oh, and Bourne Stuntacular at Universal is quite insane... Had no expectation given what was there prior, but was really blown away by the technology going on there. Very cool stuff, don't miss out on that like we almost did (yet again!).

Is half the cast still wearing masks?

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I'm already making plans to hit the parks on a Monday next month. I can't say I'm very thrilled seeing reports of¬†the crowds that arrived today, and thinking how that'll look on the one day I can afford to be there.¬†ūüė¨¬†May end up splurging on Express Passes... pray for me y'all, haha.

Edit:

On 5/3/2021 at 2:42 PM, 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.

If I manage to visit maybe a second time this year and again early next year, I'll likely budget for a pass, so at least I can get myself back to the park again instead of waiting 4 years between visits because, y'know, single day ticket + booking everything else is pretty insane for out-of-state visitors.

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On 5/18/2021 at 11:53 PM, bert425 said:

I'm really surprised they let her on with such an obvious wig.   (or in the park in cosplay. . wouldn't they worry someone would think she's representing the Park)?

Maybe someone was too embarrassed to ask her about it?

I don't want to sound mean but she doesn't look like any character in any of the JP/JW movies.  Who is she suppose to be???

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4 minutes ago, jarmor said:

I don't want to sound mean but she doesn't look like any character in any of the JP/JW movies.  Who is she suppose to be???

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2 minutes ago, jarmor said:

I don't want to sound mean but she doesn't look like any character in any of the JP/JW movies.  Who is she suppose to be???

I don't really get the Jurassic Park cosplay that people have been doing at the Universal parks lately. Even the ones that are "good" and actually look like the characters, I mean if those people walked into a grocery store with those outfits on nobody would know they're in "cosplay". The costume is just a a guy or a girl in some work clothes lol.

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On 5/18/2021 at 9:53 PM, bert425 said:

I'm really surprised they let her on with such an obvious wig.   (or in the park in cosplay. . wouldn't they worry someone would think she's representing the Park)?

Maybe someone was too embarrassed to ask her about it?

I suppose as long as she doesn't actually represent herself as an employee you can't call her on wearing non-offensive clothing. The safe way to go about certain things is to not approach anyone about anything. You might be slaughtered with bad press on social media, if anything is taken out of context. Joking... but not joking.

"This is the way." (Bad Mandalorian reference)

  

On 5/19/2021 at 6:24 AM, Hilltopper39 said:

Everytime I see a story like this I'm just assuming it's staged for attention on Twitter and Tik Tok or whatever.

 

However, Hilltopper is probably right. It came to my mind first, too.

 

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