Universal Orlando's VelociCoaster is rip-roaring fun and immerses guests in the Jurassic realm

CHRIS PRATT was not around to help ward off stray dinosaurs – but that was the least of my worries as I was pressed into a 70mph rocket.

Pratt, in his guise as Owen Grady from the Jurassic World film franchise, would have been handy, though, as my rocket immediately plunged into a dark tunnel with a quartet of veloci-raptors straining to break in.

OK, so the raptors were only screen simulations, and the sleek vehicle underneath me was firmly fixed to the metal rails that disappeared into the depths of the tunnel.

But aboard the most dramatic-looking roller-coaster in Universal Orlando’s pantheon of scream machines, it certainly FELT real.

And with a whoomph that I felt right down to my bootstraps, I was off on an exhilarating two-minute whirl on the US theme park’s all-new VelociCoaster, the apex predator of coasters and a true Jurassic lark.

It is the new crown jewel of Universal Orlando and has been three years in the making, including a 12-month pandemic-induced hiatus that put the raptors on hold just when they were ready to be released for the first time.

The extra time to prepare their prehistoric stage was worth the wait, though, as it gave Universal’s creative team the opportunity to refine the experience.

Universal Creative show producer Shelby Honea says: “This is an up-close encounter with those velociraptors, Charlie, Delta, Echo and Blue, and a coaster unlike anything else.”

But to think of this as just a rollercoaster is to sell the Veloci-Coaster seriously short.

With Disney World just down the road, Universal knew it needed something wildly dramatic to grab the attention of theme park fans worldwide.


The two Jurassic World movies have been box-office dino-mite to date, raking in more than £2billion so they seemed like the perfect theme for boosting Universal’s Islands of Adventure park.

Universal has even brought in Pratt, and Jurassic Park co-stars Bryce Dallas Howard and BD Wong to reprise their roles, if only on the giant video screens playing to the long queue that snakes into the depths of this make-believe Isla Nubar.

The VelociCoaster then immerses its guests in the magical Jurassic realm as imagined from writer Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel — delivering a 3-D experience that fully lives up to the hype.

You will be constantly looking over your shoulder for those stray dinos, and the convincing nature of the raptor paddock makes for a seamless transition from the new Velociraptor Encounter next door — as you experience some serious face time with the menacing Blue.

If you are only here for the fear, you will not be disappointed.

The ride’s initial launch takes you to “just” 50mph in three seconds, but it’s enough to leave your stomach way behind as you hurtle through a series of twists, turns and inversions.

The ride then culminates in a second, fast-launch sequence that reaches 70mph in 2.4 seconds and goes roaring into a 150ft-high top-hat feature and what they call a 100ft-long zero-gravity stall — as you feels like your backside has lost contact with the seat you are desper-ately trying to grip on to with both cheeks.

In truth, it is a magnificent adrenalin rush that puts it in the front rank of coasters worldwide and ensures a thorough examination of your intestinal fortitude, raptors or no raptors.

Me? I’m definitely ready to give it another whirl — when I can finally find my stomach again.


GETTING/STAYING THERE: Seven nights’ room-only at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort Dockside Inn & Suites is from £965pp including Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow on December 12.

Includes Universal Orlando Three-Park Explorer Ticket.

To book see virginholidays.co.uk or call 0344 557 3859.

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