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Why I Ranked VelociCoaster #3 and Why You Should Too


Matt SR
Staff member
Social Media Team
I had the chance to tag along with the Buzzed Bars Orlando meetup this past weekend, exciting in both getting to be with some quality human beings (including @Snoo, @Hutch, @pkiknex25, @tomahawk, @Antinos, @Sky, and many others!), and picking up both VelociCoaster and lingering Orlando creds that I'd never had the chance to visit.


SeaWorld Orlando - Day 1

After arriving in the afternoon, I boogied over to SeaWorld to meetup with folks for copious amounts of credit run amidst an otherwise quiet day in the park. I realized upon stepping into the park that this was the first SeaWorld I have visited since SeaWorld Ohio, almost 25 years ago!


General Vibes

You know you're in a Busch-owned park when the vegetation is on-point and almost everywhere. SeaWorld is no exception, with beautifully decorated pathways and layout. I will say however, I was perpetually lost in the park as we were making our way through. This makes sense to a certain extent - the park is a wildlife park (technically) first after all, with rides interspersed between.

The Rides
Infinity Falls

Get the wet stuff out of the way first. And what a fun ride it was! The new ride controls system, innovative "chop" and water features, and the vertical lift made it an all-round quite fun water rapids. Emphasis on WET as well (hence my changing into swim trunks in the parking lot before making it into the park :p )

Video of our incursion below - probably NSFW:

Journey to Atlantis
Staying on the water ride train, we wrapped around to Journey to Atlantis. An equally new experience for me, I was quite excited to ride, as JtA always seemed such a wild ride in the late-90s amusement park craze. And overall - it still holds up as a solid ride! Drops were fun, indoor sections thematic, had no warning on the second drop MASSIVE tidal wave that breaks the laws of physics - overall a very fun experience.


Kraken (2x rides)
I'm pretty sure we should mark every B&M coaster built in the 90s a national landmark, because these things slap compared to their modern day brethren. Tight, snappy inversions and sweeping drops just utterly delivered in ways subsequent, more-modern B&Ms I've ridden just cannot compete with. Spoiler alert, as of the writing of this trip report, this is my favorite SeaWorld roller coaster - I just loved it that much. Had to go for a few rounds to really absorb up the nostalgia.


Mako (8x rides)
Recognizing we couldn't avoid the inevitable for eternity, we moseyed to Mako for a number of laps (read as MANY rides) to see what all this Orlando craze has been. At the onset, I was admittedly cautious - there has been a lot of hype around Mako, and for good reason! I just wanted to be sure I wasn't going in with Fury 325 expectations to get Intimidator results.

And the verdict? Tres excellente!


I still have it sitting second overall in the B&M Hyper category (next to SFoG Goliath), but only just. It is refreshing to see B&M pushing out an overall high-quality hyper with some new/novel elements built in, after years of (honestly) stale Cedar Fair content.

The pros:
  • Very aggressive airtime hill profiles, that generate healthy, sustained airtime
  • Awesome, yanking first drop
  • Deep banks on the turns, including the finale wave turns
The cons:
  • Alas, that dang airtime trim
  • MCBR bites quite hard
  • There is a "straight away" piece of track right after the first drop - you will come down with a thunk if not careful on landing
All-in, it's a great ride - backseat especially. And the short line we saw meant many re-rides in spades.

Grover Kiddie Credit
A creds a cred.

Overall, it was a fun day trip - I figure you would have to do shows as well to make it a full, proper day; but easy enough for a few hours jaunt.

The next morning we joined the group bright and early for the coaster we had come for!

FunSpot Orlando - Night 1

Had a fun group meetup with happy hour at FunSpot Orlando for the initial night, complete with Spartan presentation of beers to be drank, beers courtesy of yours truly @tomahawk.

The slew-rundown of rides ridden:

White Lightning (3x rides)
I had a very poor riding experience a year ago on this coaster - but ultimately figured it was because I was running on empty trains that needed to be fully loaded. And I was right - this was running perfectly smooth with great laterals and airtime. Downside - the Titan track has been removed from demo, but that also translates to accidental-TLC and new install of wooden track for the finale. All-in, a fine GCI specimen.

Non-Descript E.F. Miler Kiddie Coaster
I did it all for the nookie.

Freedom Flyer
Friendly reminder - this is what Vekoma family suspendeds should all be like.

Quad Helix Go-Kart with @Hutch
"It isn't about how fast you're going, but how you look while you're going." - Jeremy Clarkson

Islands of Adventure - Day 2

Finally the moment arrived for some VelociCoaster early entry! Very giddy at this point to get into the park.


VelociCoaster (3x laps in morning, 2x laps in the afternoon, 2x laps at night)

We'll circle back around to more thoughts later on, but out of the gate - what a ride. Just as previous Intamin multi-launch coasters, it's a complete package of tight layout, varied layouts, and elements/turns that keep everything varied and fresh. Even after riding it 7 times throughout the day, each and every ride hit just as hard as the next.


Things I thought were superb:
  • Queue line for a start! Even at longest capacity, the queue moved at a good pace, and through great thematics that keep the queueline interesting and engaging. How can we forget the great Raptor statue, alongside a few easter eggs, and very cool double-glass projection of raptors running alongside the train on the second launch.
  • Finale bowl and Mosasaurus Roll - a great combination of elements, overbanked turns, and the over-the-water-barrel-roll-we-have-always-deserved-since-Maverick-took-it's-out.
Things that exceeded my expectation:
  • The inner-woven twists and turns for the first-half moved at a faster clip than I expected. Theming is light, but still gives some fun, cute pops of atmospheres.
  • Second launch at a rolling start really hits well
  • Hangtime on the inversions were quite good too!
A few things that could have been better (and we're splitting hairs)
  • First launch pre-show is, meh.
  • The top hat is quite slow (to the point of even having a booster LSM), which makes for a nice view, but not the same tug of airtime/g-force you get on other Intamin tophats

Before my verdict on ranking, let's move onto other rides!

Incredible Hulk (2x rides)
Again, old school B&Ms (and yes, this is the rebuild) still slap! And Hulk remains such an amazing statement, from the opening launch lift to forceful inversion finishes. It was especially jarring riding this immediately after VC, as the inversions are sooooo much bigger. We made two laps on the coaster to fully enjoy.

Adventures of Spiderman
Next on the adventures was single-rider queue on Spiderman. Similarly, it still dazzles, especially with the touch-up on special effects it has received. Remains (in my opinion) the best 4D-glasses attraction on the books.

Skull Island: Technically "not" Kongfrontation (2x ride)
While riding this still amounts to being in it for the lulz - it's still an honest-to-goodness dark ride that is pretty good. It's a reminder that Universal probably greenlights some IP that really shouldn't see an attraction, but hey - the effects are pretty dang good.


Jurassic Park River Adventure
Again going down nostalgia road, this water ride is such a fun one through the years, despite still needing TLC for the inevitable Jurassic World upfit to give the dinosaurs some fresh skin.


Hagrid's Motorbike Coaster
Just as I attested yesterday, this is arguably the most pure form of coaster joy out there. It doesn't have to be a top-ranked coaster - there is just a massive size and footprint with this coaster that makes it perfectly unique.


Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
While we were in Hogsmeade, we also single queued it quickly for Harry Potter. Some of the effects were unfortunately down, but still loved how wild and unique a ride this is.


VelociCoaster Night Ride
After working around the park's ride, we ended up back at VelociCoaster for two night rides. In general, great experience; not as "wow" inducing as other night rides (I blame the fact there is SO MUCH light from other nearby attractions), but still a super fun experience. And the light package on the train is truly breathtaking. But, a downside to the blue-glow of the trains is lightcast on the cars in front of you. In this way, you don't get a true "dark" ride at night, but rather a lot of different colored lights playing between the train and other uplight features - still a fun experience!


FunSpot Kissimmee - Night 2

I will be honest, by this point I was fully spent, and slightly worried what another full-day of roller coasters would bode. So I skipped a ride on MineBlower (having ridden it last year, and it was excellent), in lieu of a corn dog and fries.

Corn Dog
I must say this is the best corn dog I've had in a while. The challenge with corndogs isn't the fried outter layer, but getting the rest of the breading to properly bake and not be too doughy. An additional touch I appreciated to FunSpot's approach was slightly over-cooking the hot dog to let it be a bit crispy, rather than a limp-boiled wiener. This gives a great crunch sensation, and lets all those pig juices splurt out as one enjoys when eating animal by-product.

Big surprise I will say! I'm more a deeper-fried fries man myself, but these were a light, peanut-oil fry similar to Five Guys. Not very crispy, but still firm. And had a great spiced seasoning on it that made them extra enjoyable.

Overall - a big surprise on the food front that easily merits a trip to FunSpot!

Universal Studios Florida - Day 3

I was very glad to finally make it to Universal Studios; all previous visits always amounted to "having one day at Universal", and IoA always the winner. First things first, creds right?


Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott's
I actually managed to keep much of this ride in the dark through the years. Verdict? It's amazing how much Universal packed into this one, especially some of the highest-quality 3D projection/screen clarity (I still like Spiderman better for the overall wow effects, but the clarity still was awesome!). And while I did enjoy the overall ride, I still feel the reliance on 3D projections holds back the immersion of the ride (a common theme you'll hear me repeat about USF), versus Harry Potter's Forbidden Journey or (dare I suggest) Disney attractions.


It was still a great ride - but I'll take the other, non-3D reliant Harry Potter attractions thank you.

Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit
Before the queue line got too long, we next hustled over to HRRR to experience the mediocrity. Having set the bar severely low, I found the coaster pleasantly fun, further aided by rocking out to Sabotage by the Beastie Boys. Glad I will not need to worry about riding this coaster again.


Revenge of the Mummy

Dear lord the RotM Hollywood version is trash. This is a phenomenal attraction with banging special effects - I was just so excited to finally be riding it!

Borne Stuntacular
To take in at least one obligatory show, we did the Jason Borne stunt show. I won't ruin it for those who haven't experienced it, but I will say it is absolutely, totally cool; and a unique/novel take on how to do an indoor stunt show.

Woody Woodpecker
Yay creds!

I have heard many wild and crazy stories about how hilariously dated yet mesmerizing this ride is... and it's all true. Weird, absolutely outlandish sets; fascinatingly over-designed bikeseat array - it was a weirdly lovely ride.

Oh boy, it is also true that this is just a replicated Adventures of Spiderman with trashier IP. It's definitely the better of the Universal projector/3D rides - but a little annoying at how copy/paste it is.

Sadly, Fast and Furious was not open either of the days we were at the parks, so missed out on that experience.

At this point, we were ready to jump back across to IoA for some additional VelociCoaster love, so next stop;

Hogwarts Express
Such a cool ride! And emphasis on "ride" - while it provides obvious transportation benefit, the capacity on this is definitely not that of a monorail/easy park-hopper. Everything held up as advertised, from the (emphasis on non-3D goggle) effects to window projections. Overall was a great experience with awesome scale-modeling of Kings Cross station to boot.


Islands of Adventure - Nighttime Bonus

Finally, it was back to Islands of Adventure for some night rides on the favorite coasters - Hagrid's and VC.


Hagrid Motorbikes
A ride that definitely benefits from the fall of nighttime; there is very minimal light pollution outside of the headlamp on your motorbike, which makes the bobs and weaves of track ever more fun. Also a fun thematic touch, the motorbike lights go out during a certain break-down section of the ride. Again, this is probably the coaster I would take if I could only ride exactly one forever more - just pure, unfettered joy.


VelociCoaster (What else!?) (3x rides)
Was able to grind out two additional backseat rides with yours truly, @Snoo; I'm pretty sure we got engaged on the Mosasaurus Roll? Phenomenal way to end the trip with such a lovely group of folks.

So where is VelociCoaster ranked!!??!!??
Whenever you ride such a sought-after and new ride like VC - it's always hard to remove your emotion from unbiased objectivity for ranking a coaster (to a certain extent, facing this exact question with Mako too). You want to like the ride, you want to be apart of the "hype", yet most of all - you want to try to find the signal in the midst of the "THIS IS THE BEST INTAMIN EVER" noise.


We've discussed coaster rankings in other threads - I personally try to tackle the question from a simple three-tier perspective question: 1. How enjoyable is this ride? 2. Can it's best experience be easily accessed? (aka "jump on any seat and it's a good ride") 3. Is this coaster easily re-rideable? (aka does it fade after a few rides, or continue to deliver on wow factor)

To go question by question:
  1. How enjoyable is this ride? Answer: VelociCoaster is easily one of the most enjoyable coasters out there. Fun, varied layout that delivers.
  2. Can it's best experience be easily access? Answer: Yes? Or at least, I am suspect that the best ride is actually in the backrow. There is some fun, hanger airtime towards the front of the train that makes the inversions super fun. And (to be frank) I didn't experience any major tugs of airtime in the back - this could very well be a front-favorite ride for experiencing airtime. TL;DR I didn't experience the back to be "insanely" better than other parts of the train, or at least to the same extent as other, comparable rides (e.g. Maverick)
  3. Is this coaster easily re-rideable? Answer: Yes - it was not a pain train nor something you needed to sit-down and take a breather afterwards (coughVoyagecough). Sitting in the brake run after each ride was more a zen-fulfilled type of vibe, rather than a "I AM SO ENERGIZED AND NEED TO RIDE THIS AGAIN!!!" - a good sensation that absolutely leaves one content event after one ride.
So good! VelociCoaster passed the initial sniff test, which bodes it as a top 5 contender. We then have to head into the critical question - how does it compare to other coasters?

If there were two constant questions I heard from the group throughout the weekend with regards to rankings, it was: "Is this better than Steel Vengeance?" and "Is this better than Voyage?" Very fair questions (as you'll find out), as it does pit two extremes of the "Top 5" question - is VC a #1? (a la is it better than Steel Vengeance?) or is VC more towards the #3-#5 (where Voyage can typically end up in rankings).

My take: No, VelociCoaster is not a #1 roller coaster. Steel Vengeance simply has more height, length, airtime, and power in every statistical and experienced sense of those words. But for Voyage (which I have ranked as #2)? That's a very tight call that I am still reflecting on. While Voyage is not easily re-rideable (emphasis on SIT DOWN after a ride), the ride experience and unrelenting pace is still so powerful. And while night rides require a little specifics on when you're riding - the Voyage night ride is still unmatched in the business (save for X2, but I'll save that argument for another day).

I want to rank VelociCoaster at #2 - I honestly do. But there's something about it's "zen" flow that puts it a literal notch behind Voyage's power stance. Maybe boil it down to personal preference between liking roller coasters that have massive variety versus single-purpose design that wants you to call it "Daddy"; as of this initial trip report writing - I'll still take Voyage over VC.


Hyper Poster
I'm not sure what you should be happier about: hitting VelociCoaster, or missing the Fast and the Furious.

F&F is unimaginably bad.

Looking forward to hitting VC soon-ish.


Strata Poster
Good thing the rental car escaped the Red Lobster parking lot!

And don't forget the nightlife at Icon Park! Been a while since I was genuinely scared on a ride.


Matt SR
Staff member
Social Media Team
Good thing the rental car escaped the Red Lobster parking lot!

And don't forget the nightlife at Icon Park! Been a while since I was genuinely scared on a ride.
Oh god, I totally forgot to write about that.

We went to Icon. I rode Starflyer with @Antinos. It was really cold and I still hate Starflyers.