Could You Handle Jurassic World VelociCoaster?

The Universal Orlando ride is a doozy

Jurassic World VelociCoaster Universal Orlando

Arthur Levine for TripSavvy

More teeth! That‘s the rallying cry for the "Jurassic World" movies. It could also be the rallying cry for Universal Orlando. Sure, its parks offer E-ticket attractions that incorporate impressive effects and grand-scale storytelling. But most of them also deliver thrills with plenty of bite.

Jurassic World VelociCoaster, which opened in 2021 at Islands of Adventure, is the theme park resort’s most toothsome coaster yet, on par with the world's top thrill machines. Let’s get this out of the way up front: If you don't like thrill rides, no amount of gritting could help you withstand the onslaught of VelociCoaster. But if you've wondered what it might be like to ride the rails of a true coaster beast, VelociCoaster could be your opportunity to find out.

To help you (or somebody who will be joining you at the parks) decide whether you would want to take on Universal’s ride, let’s break down the coaster and run through its features.

Velociraptors in Jurassic World VelociCoaster ride

Universal Studios

The VelociCoaster Theme is Dino-mite

In addition to its physical thrills, VelociCoaster amps up the tension and layers on the psychological mind games with its pre-ride storytelling.

Entering Jurassic World’s labyrinth industrial complex, guests pass a life-size statue depicting the raptor pack quartet of Delta, Charlie, Echo, and Blue. Goofy Mr. DNA reprises his role from the "Jurassic Park" movies to inform visitors that they’ll be encountering real, live raptors. But the animated genetic strand assures them that they have “nothing to fear.” (Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me with two sequels and a revamped trilogy, shame on...wait, did you say real, live raptors? Do go on!)

Foreshadowing the calamitous action that awaits them, viewing windows provide a glimpse of the trains blasting past followed by raptors in pursuit. Cue the adrenal glands.

Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong) greets guests in the Raptor Training Room and spews nonsense about “paleo-veterinary science” in advance of face-to-snout encounters with strikingly lifelike raptors. Confined in harnesses and obviously itching to break free, the animatronic creatures certainly look and sound menacing. And the snorts of dino breath they emit only ratchet up the anxiety.

Before entering the loading station, guests eavesdrop on a deeply skeptical Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) disrupting Operations Manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) as she prattles on in perky park-speak about how you’ll be kept safe during your coaster-enhanced meetup with the raptor gang. What could possibly go wrong?

It should be noted that Universal does not attempt to incorporate much in the way of scenes once passengers are aboard the coaster. This is in contrast to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Coaster and Revenge of the Mummy, which are as much themed dark rides as they are coasters. For VelociCoaster, it is just as well; the ride is all about speed and thrills, and any attempt at elaborate storytelling would be hard to follow anyway.

Launch on Jurassic World VelociCoaster

Universal Studios

Forget About the Raptors. Get Me Off of this Thing!

The consternation might begin soon after you sit down in the train and realize that the only restraint is a single, ratcheting lap bar. There are no safety belts, over-the-shoulder harnesses, or ankle restraints. That’s uncommon, although not unheard of for a coaster that includes inversions. The unobtrusive lap bar allows riders to more fully (and safely, we might add) experience the coaster and its (considerable) G-forces, but the lack of additional restraints may make some passengers feel uneasy.

Rounding a corner, the train eases into the fog-filled raptor paddock and comes to a stop as dinos on either side of the train are released and get a head start. Then, kablam! A magnetic launch rockets the train out of the station, reaching 50 mph in two seconds from a standing start.

It’s breathtaking, but a number of other launched coasters, including Universal’s Hagrid ride and Disney’s Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, hit (or slightly exceed) that speed and are still accessible to large swaths of visitors with varying degrees of thrill tolerances.

The two inversions that follow, known as an Immelman and a dive loop by coaster enthusiasts, are dicey but still within family attraction territory. The train snakes in and around the raptor paddock with the train shedding some of its stored energy and losing a bit of oomph along the way. Up to this point, wary riders would likely be ragged but hanging in there.

Jurassic World VelociCoaster top hat tower

Universal Studios

You’ll Be Riding with Rapt Attention in the Last Half of the Course

But, VelociCoaster saves its most fearsome surprises for its second act. Diving down into the paddock, a second launch revs the train up from 40 mph to 70 mph in no time flat (2.4 seconds if you must know). With that, the ride is firmly in the throes of coaster craziness.

Passengers catapult up a 155-foot-tall top hat tower (so named because, with its steep rise and fall sandwiching a short apex, it resembles the chapeau) and experience a mighty dose of negative-G airtime at its crest. Seats at or towards the rear of the train deliver an especially potent pop of air, as well as more aggressive sensations of VelociCoaster's other elements. In fact, if you want to mitigate some of the ride's madness, opt for the middle rows. (The less obstructed sight lines at the front of the train could add to your angst.)

According to Newtonian physics, what goes up must come down. In this case, the train plummets at a near-vertical 80 degrees alongside the entrance to the attraction. It then rises up and inverts for what is known as a zero-G stall that spans 100 feet over the walkway leading to the ride. That leaves passengers literally hanging upside down for a few seemingly interminable seconds. Remember: The only thing tethering them to their seats is a lap bar.

The train is still racing at a formidable clip as it heads out to the Islands of Adventure lagoon. For its finale, VelociCoaster executes a fairly simple barrel roll, dubbed a "mosasaurus roll" in honor of the Jurassic World dinosaur, that twists the train 360 degrees. But its placement, just a few inches above the water, heightens the drama and makes the weightlessness passengers experience all the more freaky.

Mosasaurus Roll on VelociCoaster at Universal Orlando

Arthur Levine for TripSavvy

Who Can (and Should) Go on Jurassic World VelociCoaster?

In order to board the ride, guests must be at least 51 inches. That would preclude most younger children from even considering braving it. Interestingly, the other high-thrill ride at Islands of Adventure, The Incredible Hulk Coaster, has a more restrictive 54-inch height requirement—although it could be argued that VelociCoaster is a bit more harrowing.

Regardless, meeting the height requirement does not necessarily mean that kids (or grownups for that matter) are ready to give VelociCoaster a whirl. As we’ve been saying, this is an intense ride, and somebody’s personal decision to ride it should be carefully considered and certainly not coerced.

If you, your child, or somebody in your park posse is thinking about trying the ride, but is unsure, it would make sense to check out Universal’s other coasters first (we've ranked them according to thrill level). You could start with something fairly low-impact, such as Flight of the Hippogriff, then work your way up to Hagrid’s Motorbike and the parks’ other more adventuresome coasters. If those pose no problems, then by all means, go for it.

Zero-G stall Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal Orlando

Arthur Levine for TripSavvy

How Thrilling Is VelociCoaster?

On a thrill scale of 0 to 10 (with 0 being "stimulation free" and 10 being "egads!"), we think VelociCoaster rates 8.5. That’s plenty thrilling. It's partly the height—155 feet is nothing to scoff at—as well as the 80-degree drop and its 70 mph speed.

But the coaster’s high index is also based on its elements and pacing. The ride never lets up, and offers no mid-course brake run as a respite. Instead, the second 70 mph launch, which kicks in at about the halfway mark, dials up the thrills at the point where most coasters start petering out. With four inversions, passengers spend lots of time upside down, especially the 100-foot-long zero-G stall. Surprisingly, the final barrel roll, which in and of itself would be thrilling on any coaster, is especially potent because of its placement just above the water. It really seems as if this beast wants to toss riders in the drink as a parting shot.

There are some more intense coasters out there. Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion in Virginia, for example, merits a 9 on the thrill scale. Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Ohio, which blasts riders 120 mph up a 420-foot top hat tower, tops the thrill-o-meter at a maxed-out 10. But VelociCoaster is the apex predator of thrill machines at any of the major, destination theme parks operated by Universal or Disney.

Would you be able to handle the Jurassic World ride? That’s for you to determine. We hope that we’ve provided you with enough info to help you make that decision. Should you try it? Again, you are the one to make the call. But if you need some encouragement, we believe that VelociCoaster is a masterful coaster achievement and worthy of your consideration.

Besides, what could possibly go wrong?