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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 623: Universal's Mardi Gras 2023 details announced!

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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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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...


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.


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


Hello beastie!


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.


Outward banked airtime!




Such a great dive!


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


The plaza is full of kinetic energy.


No nets!


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


Dive! Dive! Dive!


So great!


Looks so great!


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


This queue space is absolutely filled with dynamic lighting.


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


Very cool.


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.


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


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

024.thumb.jpeg.71ba948db85ebf14e6bb05c15c02cc8c.jpegClever girl!


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


A look at the double-sided lockers.


inGen gets a nod in the exit of the attraction.


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


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.


Merch, merch, merch.


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


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...


Going up...


Going down...


Heading into the second launch...


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




Prepare to be launched!


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.



This spring, Universal Orlando Resort will debut an all-new, interactive character experience – DreamWorks Destination – 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’s 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’s hit film franchises, Trolls, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and more – all in one festive location. Catchy tunes from various DreamWorks movies will fill the air as guests enter a bright, colorful party atmosphere – all set against a nighttime sky inspired by the animation studio’s 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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