I recently had the chance to go on a quick getaway to Orlando. As any good theme park nerd would do, I wanted to check out the attractions that opened since the last time I visited; among the new offerings available to me was Jurassic World VelociCoaster. I am a huge fan of the Jurassic franchise, but not such a big fan of intense roller coasters. I’ve heard that VelociCoaster is amazing, but even among roller coaster aficionados it’s seen as an intense coaster. It’s pretty much a deal-breaker for me if you go upside down with no shoulder restraints. I know some people live for that feeling of danger. Me? not so much, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t interested in at least checking out the queue of the attraction and seeing the grins (and sometimes fear) on other folks’ faces as they rode.
As I approached the attraction, I was a bit surprised by its placement. What used to be a quiet little corner of the park in front of the Jurassic Park Visitors Center is now hopping with excitement with the VelociCoaster nearby. When I got to the line, I simply asked one of the team members if there was a way for me to walk through the queue in order to see it without waiting in line. Considering the amount of detail in queues these days, I figured this wouldn’t be an unexpected request. What I didn’t expect though is that Team Member Marie-Anne not only said yes but offered to give me a tour of the queue.
As we entered the entrance lobby of VelociCoaster with the raptor and coaster statue, Marie-Anne explained the story behind the attraction. In the case of VelociCoaster, it is what it appears to be. The roller coaster isn’t pretending to be any other sort of storytelling vehicle. It is indeed a roller coaster that exists in Jurassic World.
While you’re waiting in line to board, you’ll walk through a room where you can see the coaster launching with other guests on board. Running alongside the coaster tracks are the dangerous Velociraptors seen on a “window” screen. Hopefully the coaster can outrun them.
Perhaps the highlight of the queue are the Velociraptor stables, where you can see some physical raptor heads behind held in confinement similar to how we’ve seen in the movie “Jurassic World.” Prior to this point, we’d seen raptors in statue form and onscreen, but this is the first look of them “living and breathing” in a practical manner. Luckily for guests, these impressive animatronic figures can be found on both sides of the queue. Although they’re out of guests’ reach (we don’t want to lose any hands, now), you’re still standing quite close to them. This experience reminded me a bit of the Triceratops Encounter, which opened with Universal’s Islands of Adventure, allowing you to have an up-close experience with a dinosaur.
I personally wish the coaster itself offered some sort of animatronics or show scenes as they are quite impressive. If that did exist, I’d probably brave it and ride once just to see show elements in person. I recognize that, in the case of VelociCoaster, you’re riding by too quickly to see anything clearly, but Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure does a masterful job presenting a thrilling coaster along with some fantastic show elements. For the record, Hagrid’s is my favorite coaster of all-time, out of the ones I’ve ridden.
Overall, if you’re like me and you’re not brave enough to ride Jurassic World VelociCoaster, I still suggest checking out the queue. I’m not quite sure whether or not tours of the queue by team members are a normal thing, but it’s still worth walking through, regardless. I’m grateful for this unexpected team member moment at Universal Orlando and I’m thrilled I could experience the queue without having to go on the actual ride.
Have you walked through the Jurassic World VelociCoaster queue? What is your favorite part of the queue or attraction? Leave a comment and let me know.
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Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com. DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.