Islands of Adventure
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(5/11/21) VelociCoaster Soft Opening Update (MORE...)
(5/5/21) So How "Fluffy Friendly" Are The VelociCoaster Seats? (MORE...)
(4/30/21) Universal Team Members Wowed By VelociCoaster Preview Rides (MORE...)
(4/23/21) Passholders To Preview VelociCoaster In May (MORE...)
(4/6/21) VelociCoaster Opening Date Confirmed!
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Nothing is known to be planned for refurbishment at this time
Other Temporary Closures Include:
Jurassic Park Discovery Center
Me Ship, The Olive
Storm Force Accelatron
Wizarding World of Harry Potter - DIAGON ALLEY Review!
Screamscape Previews Diagon Alley!! We’ve Got All The Details!
Screamscape Review Part II: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Screamscape Review Part III: The Hogwarts Express!
Other Features & Reviews
Skull Island: Reign of Kong (2016)
Volcano Bay (2017)
Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (2017)
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (2019)
General Park News - (3/3/21) It seems Cancel Culture has claimed another target, but not without a little justification, as Dr. Seuss Enterprises themselves has made the choice to end the publication of six Dr. Seuss books as they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” I’m not going to go into details about what you’ll find if you read these books with modern eyes, but here’s the list of books that are now out of publication: And to Think That I saw It on Mulberry Street, If I ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer.
Since Islands of Adventure is home to Seuss Landing, an entire theme park land themed to the works of Dr. Seuss the local news spoke with Universal about the issue. At the request of the publisher, they took will pull the six books from the store shelves, and they are now going to evaluate if any other changes may need to be made to Seuss Landing. Chances are good nothing much, if anything, will need to be changed in the land itself, as anything potentially offensive likely would have been not included when the park was built in the first place. The land itself does include a small area themed to “If I Ran the Zoo”, which is likely what Universal will choose to evaluate and decide if they want to keep it at all, since it references the same book that is no longer published.
(2/22/21) Good news for Universal fans, as Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges reopened to guests as scheduled over the weekend. Even the small fire that broke out during the rehab could not keep Popeye down. Now it’s time for Ripsaw Falls to close for winter rehab.
(2/13/21) According to news reports a very small fire broke out at Islands of Adventure the other morning, somewhere at the Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges attraction. The ride is currently closed for refurbishment so no guests injured or even near the fire. According to a statement from Universal, “A piece of equipment, at an attraction closed for maintenance, caught fire and was quickly extinguished.”
So all is good it seems but as Popeye’s rehab was only slated to go on through to Feb. 19th, it isn’t clear if it will be ready to open then or if the rehab will be extended because of the fire.
2021 - VelociCoaster - (5/11/21) With the Passholder previews for the Jurassic World VelociCoaster now over, the one thing everything has been hoping for has indeed taken place. The VelociCoaster has been running pretty much daily for all guests as part of a Technical Preview ahead of the grand opening taking place on June 10, 2021.
Even better, unlike the technical snags that caused frequent shut-downs and long waits for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure when it opened in 2019, the VelociCoaster seems to be working like a well oiled machine right now, which certainly bodes well for the more busy summer season to come.
(5/5/21) Passholder Preview rides on the new VelociCoastger have now been taking place and again, the reviews are utterly fantastic in every way. One item many have worried about is the fit of the restraints, or to be more specific, just how ‘fluffy friendly” are these Intamin seats? After all, Intamin hasn’t been known for making the most accommodating restraint systems in the past, though I was pleased with the ones they build on Hagrid for Universal previously.
The good news is that the restraints on VelociCoaster are said to be much more friendly to larger riders. A good look at the test seat, complete with a willing test subject, can be found in the video below that is worth watching if you are worried about fit issues. From the look of things, the main problem area will be for those who carry the bulk of their weight in the gut area. Much like the the Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit coaster, the restraints appear to push down mostly in that area, though unlike the Rockit, the majority of the restraint appears to go lower down the body, allowing for the possibility to make like a muffin-top and get over it. From what I’ve heard thus far, many who have struggled with fit issues on Hagrid, have found success at VelociCoaster.
(4/30/21) Universal Team Members have been getting preview rides of the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster for the past couple days, and I don’t think I’ve heard a single bad thing yet. If anything the overwhelming theme of the reports has been that the ride is very intense and may likely take the top spot as the most thrilling ride in Orlando once it opens to the general public. According to one source we spoke with, the restraints sound like they will be lowerer tightly down around your lap, stapling the riders into their seats. The reason will soon become evident, as the ride experience is one where you quite frequently feel like you are about to be pulled right out of your seat from all the ejector seat airtime and moments where you just hang upside down.
While the rest of us have to wait to ride, Attraction’s Magazine has posted a fun video of the full queue experience, which is also quite amazing. The queue even includes some Raptor animatronic encounters that are likely to become favorite posting locations for social media accounts.
(4/23/21) There are benefits to having a Universal Orlando Annual Pass it seems, and being one of the first to ride the VelociCoaster a little over a month ahead of the grand opening is a great perk. If you follow Screamscape on social media, you caught our post about this there, and it seems passholders were sent a link to sign up for one of the preview days. Unfortunately, these preview sessions became all booked up within the first couple hours. No word on if they are planning to add more dates for Passholder Previews or not following the May 2-5th initial run. Given that there are five weeks between then and the grand opening, I’d also suspect we may see a soft opening take place sometime in that time period, assuming there are no technical problems to prevent it.
(4/6/21) The moment you’ve been waiting for just took place. Universal Orlando has announced the official opening date for the VelociCoaster... JUNE 10th!
(4/3/21) Enjoy another great night time video of Universal’s new VelociCoaster making test runs after dark in the video below from Orlando Experience that shows off a lot of the unique theming and special lighting effects they have in place on the attraction’s train and themed environment. This is not going to be a ride to miss this season!
While it isn’t always possible to visit Islands of Adventure after dark, due to the operations schedule, if you get a chance to do so, I highly recommend it. Islands of Adventure is one of those parks that is simply stunning after dark, with so much thought put into the lighting of the various attractions and themed building structures throughout so much of the park. The colorful color-book inspired cityscape of Marvel Super Hero Island, the dark fire-lit rocky crags of Kong, the stunning monument carvings of of Poseidon Fury and Mythos, the magestic Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmede village, and now the stunning high-tech neon-looking VelociCoaster lighting sits in a cool contrast to the lush tropical lighting of the Jurassic Park attraction area. It’s all fantastic eye-candy that your brain will just love.
(3/21/21) According to Screamscape sources the testing of the VelociCoaster has now reached the point where it is ongoing event, pretty much 24/7, with reports that they’ve gotten it up to the point where it appears that they’ve got at least four trains are being run around the track at once. This is great news, as one of the main problems with the opening of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure coaster in 2019 was that running too many trains at once would cause the ride to go down, and require a very lengthy restart procedure. So it looks like Universal is putting in the extra time to ensure that VelociCoaster is well broken in with multi-train operations before they open to the public.
Speaking of that magical event… currently there has not been an exact date set or announced for the opening of the VelociCoaster, though one source claimed to have heard that management could be shooting to possibly soft-open the coaster by late April. Officially, Universal Orlando’s promotional materials only state that it will be open by Summer 2021, though I wouldn't be surprised if they were anticipating a grand opening sometime in mid to late May.
No word on if they are planning to host any kind of big “press event” style grand opening, but waiting for a May or Summer opening, would allow the theme park resort to take advantage of the growing number of potential vaccinated travelers seeking to get their vacation plans back on track to visit theme parks this year. Not to mention needed time for their local staff to have the opportunity to receive their own vaccines.
On a related note the mayor of Orange County announced that anyone age 40 and older will be able to get the vaccine at the Orange County Convention Center starting on Monday, and I can only imagine the age limit will continue to be lowered as the weeks go on, giving the staff for all the various hospitality employees in Orlando the chance to make an appointment to get the vaccine if they so choose.
(3/10/21) An interesting factoid was noted by Bioreconstrct on Twitter yesterday. They noted that during testing the VelociCoaster trains would sometimes come to a stop when entering the second launch track. Under normal operations we’ve seen, the train is supposed to enter at speed and get launched ever faster through the second launch zone to hit the top speed of the ride, where it climbs up the tallest hill, or Top Hat.
In what is probably a bit of block-system testing, the trains were observed as coming to a stop in the second launch track for a bit, and once cleared to move they would actually launch backwards up a hill to lose momentum and fall forwards again at speed into the launch track for the final push to get up and over the Top Hat and out of the raptor paddock area.
Sounds like fun to me… I wouldn’t mind the random addition to my ride experience if it happened.
(2/28/21) Some beautiful night lighting has been spotted running all around the VelociCoaster paddock building that runs in blue, yellow and red patterns in sync with the coaster’s movement through the area. Check it out below.
Oh, and a new sign has gone up inside the park now promoting the VelociCoaster as opening, as expected, in Summer 2021. Only a few more months to go… are you ready?
(2/27/21) Our friends at Orlando Experience have posted a new video of the VelociCoaster in action now that many of the construction walls have come downaround the Raptor Paddock area (and elsewhere), giving guests a clear look at the fun that is in store for coaster lovers in 2021 at the park!
(1/23/21) TheCoasterKings has a new update from Islands of Adventure featuring a lot of new photos and updates on the VelociCoaster. While you may have see a picture before of of Blue the Raptor found in the first have of the ride, apparently four new raptor figures have also been added to the attraction area, with two standing on the roof over the attraction entrance and two others near where the long wooden bridge over the water (bypassing The Wizarding World) enters the Jurassic Park area. On the second page they’ve also got a series of photos showing off the VelociCoaster testing after done, shot with a long-exposure mode so the train’s blue lighting takes on a very cool look. Check it out!
(1/15/21) Orlando Experience has posted a new video showing off the new VelociCoaster running from different angles as seen throughout the Islands of Adventure theme park.
(1/11/21) ThrillGeek has posted an awesome new video this weekend to YouTube, showing off the VelociCoaster testing after dark at Islands of Adventure, with the roller coaster train’s bright blue on-board lighting package running. The light system really makes the train stand out as it soars across the park’s skyline and over the water’s edge. Check it out below.
(1/2/21) A couple of incredible new aerial shots of Universal’s new VelociCoaster have been posted to Twitter showing off the a look inside the compact and tangled section of track over the themed Raptor Paddock themed landscape that makes up the first half of the ride, and then a second aerial showing off the launch into the highest point of the ride that leads into the second half of the coaster that runs along the water’s edge towards the Wizarding World and back.
(12/10/20) Another fantastic collection of photos showing off the VelociCoaster making test runs has been posted by TheCoasterKings, and be sure to click over to page two where they’ve got video footage of the testing from several angles as well you can watch.
(12/8/20) TheCoasterKings caught the new VelociCoaster making daytime test runs a bit ago and has posted a new update to their site showing off the train running through all the visible sections of the layout.
(12/6/20) Who’s ready for a look at the slick coaster trains loaded and ready to rock on the Jurassic World VelociCoaster? Universal has released a fantastic little video teaser of the trains, complete with some cool lighting on the front car and head-rests that you can see below. Below that the ECC Twitter has posted a small collection of still photos of the trains set up in one of the launch tunnels that will allow you to gaze at them in anticipation.
The detail here is just very slick and cool, and be sure to note the impressive claw gash across the front left of the train’s lead car that has also removed a little bit of the lighted grill. As I said… very nice detail on this thing! Now let us just hope that Universal and Intamin were able to work together to make these trains accommodating for the most number of riders possible. I know the cars Intamin made for Gringotts have terrible restraints that are overly restrictive for those with long legs and those with plus-sized middle sections, but then I also found the restraints on Hagrid’s to be much more comfortable and accommodating to riders of size.
(12/4/20) Orlando Experience has posted a new construction update from Universal showing off the latest progress on the VelociCoaster, as well as a peek at the new Universal Studios Store being built in CityWalk.
(11/11/20) TheCoasterKings has posted a new construction update about the VelociCoaster at Islands of Adventure this week, as well as a look at other projects in the park. Some interesting new features have been noticed on the coaster, including what look like viewing windows for the guests in the queue to get a good look at the coaster train flying through one of the launch tunnels. Scaffolding is coming down, scenery and new greenery is going up everywhere.
I think this coaster is simply going to be quite stunning when it is finished on all levels.
(11/4/20) An impressive new construction update for the VelociCoaster has been posted to CoasterKings this week. They also spot some construction walls now up outside of the Spider-Man attraction and some Jurassic wall theming going in on the backside of the Forbidden Journey locker area. This is a multi-page update, so don’t forget to click on to Page 2 to see some wonderful new detailed aerial photos of the VelociCoaster construction site.
(10/27/20) A new construction report from the VelociCoaster construction site was posted by CoasterKings this week giving us a look at the various pieces of scenery that are going into place around the coaster track. Oh… and as for the track, MIdway Mayhem caught a brief video clip the other night of the VelociCoaster making a test run in the middle of the night, flying over the top hat hill under the cover of darkness. Based on the speed it is traveling, this is a good sign that the coaster is either up to, or nearly up to full speed testing at this point.
(10/21/20) A great new look at the VelociCoaster construction progress has been posted to TheCoasterKings this week. On top of this you can also see the first signs of Christmas Holiday decorations going up at Islands of Adventure as well.
(10/8/20) A reader sent in three amazing new pictures of the Jurassic World Velocicoaster taken this week, giving us a look at some of the theming, including a wrapped up Raptor, as the train is still being pulled through the track.
(9/28/20) The time has come at last, Universal Orlando has announced that the “Jurassic World VelociCoaster” will open in Summer 2021. “Concepted and designed by the award-winning Universal Creative team in partnership with acclaimed filmmakers from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, this new species of roller coaster touts a series of intense maneuvers that will send guests catapulting up to 70 mph and more than 150 feet in the air with the swiftest of prehistoric predators.”
“Opening at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, Jurassic World VelociCoaster will be the world’s first coaster based on the blockbuster franchise, and will feature an original story that expands upon the thrills, dinosaurs and environments fans have seen on the big screen. Guests will join the original cast of the films – Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing and BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu – as Jurassic World unveils the next evolution of its “carnivore expansion”: the VelociCoaster, where riders embark on a high-speed chase and feel the rush of the hunt while racing alongside a nimble Velociraptor pack.”
“Spanning more than 4,700 feet of track and reaching heights of up to 155 feet, the coaster’s signature maneuvers will have guests twisting and soaring above land, barrel rolling just inches above water, speeding through near-misses and launches within the paddock, and more…with just a lap restraint holding them in place. Get ready to:
Accelerate through two pulse-pounding launches, the fastest reaching 70 mph in 2.4 seconds
Encounter a one-of-a-kind, 360-degree barrel roll right above the Islands of Adventure lagoon
Experience a zero-gravity inverted stall that will send riders upside down across 100 feet of track in a jaw-dropping maneuver that is the first of its kind
Go airborne during the towering “Top Hat,” which propels riders 155 feet in the air and then immediately into an 80 degree drop – Universal’s steepest drop yet
Brace for a total of 12 heart-pounding seconds of airtime – the thrilling sensation of weightlessness riders feel when they’re lifted from their seats – throughout the entire adventure”
Check out the concept art below, along with the preview teaser video showing off an animated look at the incredible coaster experience that lies ahead. I know I can’t wait!
(9/27/20) Universal Orlando had a little “oops!” moment the other day when some details for the new Jurassic Park roller coaster were posted online to the park website, only to be removed later in the day. This isn’t the first time Universal Orlando has had this issue, so it does make me wonder just who is running their website these days.
While it wasn’t a full reveal of the new ride, the text listed briefly did say, ”... feel the ride of the hunt as you race through the jungle alongside raptors on the Jurassic World VelociCoaster, a new species of roller coaster coming Summer 2021.”
Keep in mind this was accompanied by a graphic featuring the Jurassic PARK logo, and yet they are calling this the Jurassic WORLD VelociCoaster, so we’ve got a slight conflict of IP. Now this could all be solved this is a hint that the park may be planning on updating their Jurassic Park River Adventure ride into a Jurassic World themed ride, as we saw them do at the Hollywood park.
While I haven’t had any new conversations on that particular topic myself lately, the last time it was brought in conversation (about a year ago) up the overall feeling I got was that many Universal Creative members were pitching the idea about how and when to do it, even planning to try and do it at the same time as the VelociCoaster installation was going on as part of a storied overhaul of the entire land, only to be met with resistance from the upper echelon of Universal Creative and resort management who didn’t feel it was necessary. Of course there was much hand-wringing about the idea of switching over from the Jurassic PARK to WORLD IP from the theme park management side apparently. At some times they would be afraid to do it, because why bust away from a proven IP… while at other times they would want to switch over to Jurassic WORLD because that is the current IP the studio is using for the current film series, and what gets used for all current merchandise lines sold outside of the theme parks.
Where will we end up? I’ve got a feeling we may end up with some kind of oddly mixed IP land that tries to use both JP and JW at the same time, and as much of Universal Creative staff have been laid-off for the time being, it may be a few years until they are ready to move forward with any new Jurassic developments.
As for the coaster… we’ll have to wait and see when Universal opts to make the official announcement again, but I’d expect them to keep the VelociCoaster name, which was first speculated after the trademark for that name was filed back on July 24, 2019.
(8/1/19) Looks like we have a possible name for the new Jurassic themed coaster coming to Islands of Adventure in 2021. A new trademark filing from Universal has been posted for the name, “VELOCICOASTER” as of July 24, 2019. Personally… I’m kind of hoping they reconsider this one… I get what they are going for, but while it sounds interesting to say it out loud, it just looks odd to me when written out. Maybe that’s just me, but it’s almost a little too tongue-in-cheek of a name, that sounds more like something from the newer Jurassic World era park, than a classic Jurassic Park era attraction such as the “Jeep Tours” and “River Adventure”.
Then again… if the long term plan is to upgrade the Jurassic Park River Adventure into the new Jurassic World themed version, like what was just done in Hollywood, then maybe we are on to something here after all.
???? - Tolkien Middle-Earth / Lord of the Rings Land - Rumor - (1/5/20) Theme Park University is back with an interesting update, claiming that Universal Orlando may be quietly working on a Lord of the Rings themed land one again. Screamscape readers will remember that we talked about such an idea a couple of years ago as a possible replacement for Toon Lagoon at Islands of Adventure. At this time the Nintendo project was also announced as being in development, and it was also rumored that Toon Lagoon was also being eyeballed as a possible location of a separate “Zelda” themed land, as a sort of follow-up to come after Super Nintendo World would have opened in Universal Studios Florida as a replacement for the kiddie area.
We know all these plans changed, and Super Nintendo World is now destined to go into Universal’s new Epic Universe theme park instead. This changed a lot of things, as there was a bit of a scramble between many other project ideas in the works, which also included an idea to turn the kids land at the Studios into a Pokemon attraction area instead, before the Zelda and Pokemon concepts were apparently shelved.
At the time, the idea to make a Hobbit or Lord of the Rings attraction area faced some difficulties, as the rights to the IP was involved in a bit of an ongoing legal struggle with the Tolkien family estate. Things have apparently calmed down a bit since then, especially in light of the fact that Amazon was able to buy the rights in 2017 to create an all new Middle-Earth themed prequel series for Amazon Prime. This is just a thought, but given the timelines involved, it may actually benefit Universal more to invest in attractions themed to this new Amazon created Middle-Earth series than to get behind the two previous series that have been over and done with for years now.