There’s no question that 4,700 feet of steel rollercoaster track can be intimidating, especially when that cold black track climbs 155 feet in the air before dropping 80 degrees and rolling upside down mere inches above the water. Oh, there are two launches as well—the second of which rockets you to speeds of 70 miles per hour. And don’t forget the part where it twists, turns, and weaves through a paddock full of hungry raptors!
There’s plenty to Universal Orlando’s Jurassic World VelociCoaster that may give kids (and adults) pause, but is it as scary as it looks? And is it too scary for kids? I rode the coaster with my oldest son, Avery, on opening day to find out.
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Avery is eight years old and has yet to meet a rollercoaster he doesn’t like. Prior to this trip, his favorite coasters were Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios Florida, both of them among the most thrilling rides at their respective parks. When we found out the minimum height requirement for the Jurassic World VelociCoaster is 51 inches, we immediately pulled out the tape measure and cheered when he cleared the requirement.
When opening day for the VelociCoaster arrived, we were among the first in line to ride. Avery wasn’t feeling scared during our 90-ish minute wait, even as we watched the coaster soar by at 70 miles an hour. His only emotion was excitement . . . and maybe a bit of impatience.
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When we stepped into the VelociCoaster queue, we realized we were actually walking into the raptor paddock. The queue did its best to prepare us for the questionable decision we’d made to ride a rollercoaster inside a raptor paddock, but Avery never faltered. In a pre-show video that played just before we boarded the coaster, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) describes the coaster as Jurassic World’s latest ploy to add “more teeth” to the park, while raptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) warns potential riders to turn around because the coaster is a terrible idea. This was Avery’s favorite part of the queue, so Grady’s warning was totally lost on him.
After watching the video, it was our turn to board. The VelociCoaster has only a lap bar, no over-the-shoulder-restraint, and Avery’s only moment of hesitation came as the ride attendant was helping him pull down his lap bar. He told me he wanted to change his mind at that moment, but it was too late because they had already secured him into his seat. I asked him what he was feeling and he told me he started thinking about how tall the hill was and how close you dangle upside down over the water and he was afraid of feeling like he was going to fall out. He kept quiet, though, and we were off to face the raptors.
Facing the Raptors
The first launch shot us out into the paddock at 50 miles per hour before transitioning into the coaster’s trademark twists, turns, climbs, drops, and inversions. Surprisingly, Avery’s favorite things about the VelociCoaster were the two things he claimed to be most afraid of. He loved going over the top hat because you could see so much of the park and he equally enjoyed the barrel roll that dangles you just above the water near the end of the ride.
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The true test of how much he liked VelociCoaster was finding out where it landed on his list of favorite roller coasters. Drumroll, please . . . he told me it knocked Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit out of their top spots and VelociCoaster now sits alone at number one.
I asked Avery what advice he would give to other kids who were interested in the Jurassic World VelociCoaster but might be feeling a little hesitant. He told me it’s not as scary as it looks and that he thinks other kids would love it if they can get over their initial fear. He said they will have so much fun on their first ride that they won’t be scared to ride it again and again (which we did).
Other Ways to Enjoy the Jurassic World VelociCoaster
If your child isn’t tall enough or isn’t quite ready to ride, there are a couple other ways to enjoy the coaster without actually boarding the ride. There are great viewing spots all around the park where you can watch the coaster and hear riders’ excited screams. My favorite spot is in Toon Lagoon near Me Ship, The Olive, or the patio behind Three Broomsticks.
There is also a “Child Swap” room in the VelociCoaster queue. Your kids can see the raptors in the queue and then stay in the waiting room with you as the adults take turns on the ride. They’ll still get a partial experience, and it may even be enough to give them the bravery boost they need to give VelociCoaster a try.