The main reason I was reluctant to change our spring break destination to Orlando was because I was 99.9999999% sure that Universal would be poppin’ off. I was watching all kinds of WORST TIME TO GO TO UNIVERSAL videos on YouTube and I checked all those different “crowd prediction” websites, whatever the hell they’re called, and sure enough for the week we were planning on going, Universal was in the RED ZONE. Otherwise known as the PREPARED TO STAND IN LINE ALL DAY AND HATE HUMANITY zone.
Add to this overhearing a guy in line behind us at Busch Gardens Williamsburg saying that he waited in line for VelociCoaster for 4 hours.
Granted, he didn’t offer any additional information on this, like was it during the height of summer? Was it on opening day? Who can be sure?! But this was still enough to chill my blood.
I was lowkey dreading this day. It was, in my eyes, the most important day of the trip because we had such a great time at this park in 2016 and I have been chomping at the bit (I learned this phrase in elementary school and use it entirely too much – does anyone else even say this!? Is it time to retire it??) to go back. Plus? VelociCoaster.
And OK< Hagrid’s too.
Assuming not everyone here is a coasterslut like me, VelociCoaster is a new as of 2021 Intamin multi-launch coaster built in the Jurassic World section of Universal Islands of Adventure and it has caused some sopping wet dreams across the coaster community. A lot of popular enthusiasts whose opinions I greatly trust have even gone as far as to say it’s the greatest coaster in the world, currently.
I was prepared to plant myself in a long-ass line and potentially get one lone ride on this thing, if I was lucky.
The park opens to the general public at 8am so we got there around 7:30 because we remembered that it was quite a hike from the parking garage, through security, and then through the City Walk before you even get to the park entrance.
Side note: Universal is actually split up into two separate parks which is so fucking annoying and low-key feels like a scam to be honest. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure both have entrances that are accessed via City Walk, but if you pay the park-to-park pass, you can access both not only on the same day, but also via Hogwart’s Express. Of course the park-to-park pass costs even more money than an individual ticket for each park, because CORPORATIONS, amirite.
Oh and fun fact: if you’re going for the Harry Potter specifically, kindly note (I spend too much time writing work emails OMG) that this land is SPLIT BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES so you need to buy admission to both parks if you want to experience all of the Harry Potter stuff.
Universal is lucky that it’s worth every penny though. I literally can’t even say it’s not.
Anyway, that being said! We lucked out because everything we wanted to accomplish on this trip was on the Islands of Adventure side: VelociCoaster, Hagrid’s, the Hulk coaster which was being refurbed when we were there in 2016, and Kong which was still being built and didn’t open until later in 2016. So woo hoo, the Tight Wads got to save some dough.
OK, so we got there around 7:30 and drove right up to an open parking booth, no giant line of cars to wait in. The guy at the booth said we were his first customer of the day, even!? Paid for parking (cheaper than Busch Gardens Tampa by $15 I think, which we’d learn the next day lol!) and got a spot in the garage with no hassle, and then proceeded to cruise right through security because Henry left his PURSE in the car.
In that picture up there, you can see how far ahead of us Henry was walking, lol. Roller Coaster Dad was on a mission!
I was almost peeing myself!! It still wasn’t quite 8am but they let us in! Like, we never had to break a stride, no additional lines to stand in!
Henry said, “I think today might not too bad—” and I nearly slapped my hand over his mouth. Like, OK Jinx Jacobs Strikes Again!
What? Am I being too niche in my references again? Did you not own this Care Bears VHS (the kind in the puffy case!) and watch it every day for a year?
It was nice not having to run, especially because there was no way I’d ever remember how to get to the Jurassic World area. However, you could see VelociCoaster from various areas en route and we were squealing! (OK, just I was).
OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDD.
When we got to the ride entrance, it said it was only a 30 minute wait! Once we got into the line, though, it did a lot of wending and winding and we thought that there was no way this was only a 30 minute wait. No fucking way.
But when I say that this line never stops moving, I’m not lying. There is no time for kids to fuck around the railing or people to pop a squat against the wall. It is near-constant motion. And the queue is so entertaining!
In this part of the line, you can actually watch the trains go through the second launch. I was obsessed with this area! We made Janna watch videos about it when she was here for Cake Night and she was like wow and we were like NO JANNA YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS THE ACTUAL RIDE SHOOTING THRU THERE and she was like OK I GET IT YES THAT IS COOL OK THANKS.
You know you’re almost there when you reach the LOCKER area. I love that more and more rides are adopting for in-line lockers so you’re not stranded in a crowd without your phone. It was so easy too – you scan your park ticket and a free locker pops open. You just have to remember what dinosaur group your locker is in so that when you get off the ride, you can find it on the other side. It’s a pretty seamless process. I’m sure there are people out there who still find ways to screw it up, but we had no issues. Some of the RMC coasters do this too (Steel Vengeance, Twisted Timbers) and it’s so convenient, but there are always those people who don’t listen and still try to bring in giant backpacks. The lockers are small and meant for phones, cameras, wallets, fanny packs, anything you have stuffed in your pockets.
And then you go through the metal detector and upstairs to the final waiting area before it’s time to board!!
When it was our turn, I told the line attendant that there were just two of us because the only row open was the back row, so Chooch and I were like HAHAHAHA SUCK IT HENRY until we realized that meant he got front row on the next train.
By 8:30am, we were riding on the VelociCoaster, what a goddamn dream.
OK, now it’s time to talk about the actual ride and you know I’m bad at this! I’m not all “Immelmann this” and “Zero G Stall” that…I barely know the names of all of the elements! That’s all Chooch. But what I can tell you is that this ride seemed to defy all logic. Like, how do these engineers know that the average human body can withstand such insanity?!
This is not the tallest or fastest coaster out there, but the launches are perfect and the layout is will you leave you breathlessly asking, “Whaaaaaa just happened?!?” when you come barreling into the brake run.
Um, this is legit. Believe the hype.
Actually, our first ride on it was the weakest. Probably because it was still so early and hadn’t had a chance to fully warm up yet (I used to think this was a myth; ’tis not) because we ended up riding it three* more times throughout the day and that bitch was fucking hauling by the afternoon. And you guys, do not even get me started on the NIGHT RIDES.
Chooch is actually on this one here ^^^! But yeah, later in the evening, Chooch was like, “Fuck this, I’m using the single rider line” even though we never waited more than 35 minutes each time, so he actually got on before us and then got right back in line so we stood there taking pictures of every train as it came over the tophat, figuring we’d eventually get him, lol.
Honestly though. The last two rides Henry and I had were in the front row. They assign seats on this ride in order to keep the line moving but there is a separate line for the front row with a sign that warns you that the wait will be longer if you opt for that. I feel like people didn’t realize it was an option because both times when we requested front row, there were only two couples waiting in that line. And then both times it was like we broke the seal because both times when we returned to the station, the front line was so much longer, lol.
But holy shit – front row at night. I am such a back row bitch, but hold up, Rhonda – front row is where it’s at on this.
It was hands down one of the best coaster experiences I’ve ever had and I am honestly crying a little bit as I try to parse through my memories.
Oh also! After Chooch came back from his second single-rider experience, one of his friends from school was there (it wasn’t a surprise- they knew going into this that they were both going to be at Islands of Adventure on this particular Tuesday) so they went off and rode it together and then spent the rest of the evening running amok in the park and isn’t that the dream? To be at a park THIS GREAT with a friend? Meanwhile, I was stuck with Just Henry, ugh. It was fine. We’ll talk more about that later.
This post was for VelociCoaster Things Only.
To summarize: this coaster is just as amazing as all the cargo-shorted enthusiasts will have you believe. Ops were INCREDIBLE. Theming was just right. FUN WAS OFF THE CHARTS.
Here. This guy explains it so much better than me.