Digging Into Islands of Adventure’s New Roller Coaster Headed to Jurassic Park in 2020

This week the interwebs have been a buzzing with pretty solid rumors of a new coaster opening in the Jurassic Park section of Islands of Adventure. While we certainly have acknowledged that a coaster is coming to Jurassic Park here at Theme Park University, we haven’t gone into detail as to what’s coming… until now! As always, no information we give is official unless Universal says it is. Let’s dive in!

As we all know, Universal is committed to rolling out one major new attraction in each one of their parks starting in 2019.  It has been publicly advertised that Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure is getting a new roller coaster that will open in 2019. We have covered the new Hagrid coaster extensively here at Theme Park University, but for now, let’s keep in mind that timeline and manufacturer which is important to the new Jurassic Park coaster opening in 2020.

Let’s first start with the lack of acknowledgment from Universal on this new coaster as even a new coming attraction. Keep in mind that any speculation on this particular attraction isn’t going to get any kind of press until sometime in 2019, most likely either slightly before or just after the Hagrid coaster opens in Hogsmeade. As we have stated before, the piece of concept art for the Hagrid coaster (seen above) was now without question released ahead of schedule. Universal still (as of the writing of this article) hasn’t acknowledged the concept art on any of their social media channels.

However, they did release a statement to the press saying there will be more information released on this new coaster in 2019. Meanwhile, construction continues on the coaster at a feverish pace and nearly every major track piece and show scene can be seen from within the park or from the air (thanks @bioreconstruct!). In short, if they are barely acknowledging any details from the Harry Potter coaster a year before it opens, they are absolutely not making a peep about this Jurassic Park coaster anytime soon.

As many have pointed out, the manufacturer of the Hagrid roller coaster is indeed Intamin. It’s painfully clear from all the track that is visible from around the construction site that it matches their style of roller coaster track. (In case you’re not a roller coaster junkie, generally speaking, you can tell who a manufacturer of a coaster is just by looking at their track design).

Other websites are all jumping on the bandwagon that the new coaster in Islands of Adventure will be similar in style to Taron in Phantasialand over in Germany. Indeed, they are right. But don’t get too caught up in the layout of Taron and think it will be similar in Islands of Adventure

Taron is the world’s fastest and longest multi-launch coaster in the world. Most importantly, Taron has 58 intersecting track points, making 116 intersections across the entire layout. Will the new Jurassic Park coaster beat those records? Nope.
What it will do is have extremely fast trains that will be able to take turns quickly and smoothly. Now, what dinosaurs from the Jurassic films make you think fast and agile? Yup: raptors.
Indeed, this ride will be raptor themed. A ride this fast, you’ve pretty much got to, right? Now there has been a lot of talk about will this be Jurassic Park themed or Jurassic World themed. Fine question!
As it is my understanding, the ride has actually flip-flopped a bit since it’s inception. The original idea was to stick to Jurassic Park theming as Islands of Adventure is actually themed around “books” (comic, novel and children’s). And since JP was inspired by a book, and Jurassic World themed ride in a book park. Or can you?
A couple of things to keep in mind as we follow the progression of how this Jurassic Park coaster transitioned to Jurassic World. First, let’s take a look at Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Is it directly related to a book?  Kind of. While all the other lands at Islands of Adventure were inspired by books that came before films, Kong was admittedly the other way around.  The original King Kong film debuted in 1933, even though there were later book adaptations.  Not to mention, Skull Island: Reign of Kong specifically gets its inspiration from the 2017 Warner Brothers film, Kong: Skull Island.
Fast forward to the summer of 2018. As a very small cross-promotion with the Jurassic World franchise, Universal decided to update the Raptor Encounter meet and greet with an actual character from the films: Blue.  Now, if you’re an Islands of Adventure theming purist (do those exist?), then you’re probably still pretty upset that a character from a spin-off franchise exists in the original Jurassic Park. Do they exist in the same Universe? Sure. Do they fit the timeline? Absolutely not. Keep in mind, Blue is in the new version of the theme park called Jurassic World and the Jurassic Park Discovery Center (that he’s taking photos adjacent to) doesn’t really exist in Jurassic World. I mean, it’s presumably in ruins covered in rubble and who wants to order a cheeseburger from a place like that?
Is this being nit-picky? Sure, but it’s conversations that no doubt that was happening behind-the-scenes from the powers that be at Universal Pictures, Comcast and Universal Parks. Finally, opening weekend rolls around for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and it brings in just shy of $150 million that weekend alone. The writing was on the wall: turn the raptor coaster from Jurassic Park branding to Jurassic World. Kong already broke the mold, Blue was already in the park and people were responding to the new franchise with their dollars at the box office. It just makes sense.
Now, what does that mean for the new park down the road that Universal has yet to announce? Does that mean Jurassic World won’t be represented? Both sides of that coin are valid. Indeed, Universal has totally unique versions of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. Both of those lands have plenty of stories to tell and dozens of environments to explore. On the other hand, there is something to be said about keeping various brands restricted to one park (ask anyone who sells tickets to Universal or Guest Services), guests get confused about what Harry Potter “stuff” is at each park on a daily basis.
Has it been decided if Jurassic World is in Universal’s new park? Yes. Are we telling you today? Nope. For now, we will focus on the ride itself. While it will mostly focus on speed and zipping in, around and above Jurassic Park, it will have some unique show elements. We will cover that in a future article, plus there is a huge element to this ride that we haven’t seen posted anywhere else. Let the guessing games begin! Who’s ready? On your mark… get set…. go!
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