Monday, July 24, 2017

Islands of Adventure to Retire Dragon Challenge For New Family Coaster in 2019

© Google Maps
Islands of Adventure, a part of the Universal Orlando Resort, has announced that Dragon Challenge will cease operations after September 4th, 2017.  A visually impressive pair of coasters, Dragon Challenge has been a staple attraction at the theme park since it opened in 1999.

The pair of B&M inverted rides were originally known as Dueling Dragons, and the red Fire Dragon and blue Ice Dragon tracks were specifically designed to create several close interactions between trains throughout the course.  These included elements where the fire track jumped over the ice track mid-heartline roll, side-by-side vertical loops, and interlocking corkscrews.

When the theme park added the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010, the attraction was renamed to Dragon Challenge, with the extremely elaborate and awesome queue dramatically changed.  Years later the trains stopped dueling along the course to prevent any loose objects from possibly hitting riders on the opposite train.

While the ride's removal is certain, it remains to be seen if the physical roller coasters will be scrapped or sold.  If scrapped, I believe they will be the first B&M rides to be lost (many have been moved, and Hulk's track replaced, but none scrapped)

© Google Maps
While sad, the removal does make sense.  Dragon Challenge takes up a lot of real estate in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as seen above.

Removing it gives a lot of space for the 2019 new ride, which is being described by the park as one of the "most highly themed coaster experience" they've created.  The "thrill ride" will take passengers "deeper into J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World, where you will encounter some of your favorite characters and creatures."  The park is making it clear that the replacement ride will be "fun for the entire family."

There is no doubt that the new ride will be amazing, and I'm quite excited to experience it.  Until then, remember to get in your final Dragon Challenge rides before the end of September 4th.