Dragon Challenge (Universal's Islands of Adventure)

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Dragon Challenge
Dragon Challenge (Universal's Islands of Adventure) 2011 01.jpg
Track
Chinese Fireball
Hungarian Horntail
USA.png
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Location Orlando, Florida, USA
Status Defunct
Operated May 28, 1999 to September 4, 2017
Height restriction 54 inches (137 cm)
Replaced by Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Statistics
Manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard
Designer / calculations Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH
Type Steel - Inverted - Twin
Propulsion Chain lift hill
Height
125 feet
125 feet
Drop
115 feet
95 feet
Top speed
60 mph
55 mph
Length
3200 feet
3200 feet
Duration
2:25
2:25
Inversions
5
5
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Dragon Challenge was a pair of dueling inverted roller coasters located at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, USA. The ride was the only dueling inverting roller coaster in the world.

History[edit | edit source]

Elements

The ride originally opened on May 28, 1999 as Dueling Dragons. It featured a layout with two completely unique courses and three near misses between the two trains, which brought riders' feet within several inches of riders on the other train. The ride was constructed by Bolliger & Mabillard of Switzerland. Both sides were two minutes and twenty-five seconds long. The tracks were named Fire and Ice. The queue line featured rectangular stained glass windows with Merlin telling a story, Merlin's spellbook, a hallway with defeated knights and a dungeon with skeletons.

In May 2007, Universal announced plans to construct The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a new section devoted to the popular Harry Potter book and film series. Dueling Dragons, as well as the adjacent roller coaster Flying Unicorn, were shown to be included in the new section. Universal later announced that Dueling Dragons would be renamed Dragon Challenge upon the re-opening of the attraction and that its two coasters would be renamed Hungarian Horntail and Chinese Fireball.

Construction on re-theming the queue began in the third quarter of 2009. In the first quarter of 2010, the ride closed in order to refurbish the attraction to incorporate the Harry Potter theme. In mid-March 2010, the roller coasters reopened to the public. On June 18, 2010, with the opening of the entire The Wizarding World of Harry Potter section, the ride officially became Dragon Challenge.

In 2011, a 52-year old man was struck by a flying object. His right eyeball was badly damaged, so it had to be removed. For this, Universal permanently turned off the dueling feature and began running separate sides. As a result, the ride's popularity began to fade.[1] Four years later in 2015, the queue line received metal detectors. However, the metal detectors did little to help restore the dueling feature.

On July 24, 2017, Universal Studios announced that Dragon Challenge would close on September 4 and be replaced by a new Wizarding World roller coaster in 2019, which was later confirmed to be named Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, an Intamin LSM launched roller coaster that opened on June 13, 2019.[2] The two roller coasters were subsequently scrapped. While the Incredible Hulk, also at Islands of Adventure, had its track replaced during 2015 and 2016, it is the first B&M roller coaster to be removed completely.

Design[edit | edit source]

Ride experience[edit | edit source]

Chinese Fireball[edit | edit source]

Upon departing from the station, the train makes a slight left turn leading into the transfer track section before beginning to climb the 125 foot tall chain lift hill. Once at the top and after going through a pre-drop, the train makes a sharp 115 foot left-hand drop back to the ground, reaching 60 mph. Then, the train goes through an immelmann followed by a slight air-time downward right turn before entering an airtime hill (this was the first of three near-miss points with the Hungarian Horntail train when the roller coasters dueled). Next, the train drops back down turning left slightly, leading into a second immelmann. After a downward right helix and a short section of straight track, the train goes through the second near-miss point with the other train, a vertical loop. After the loop and another section of straight track, the train makes a right turn leading into the third and final near-miss element, which is a corkscrew. Then, the train makes a left turn followed by a small drop leading into another section of straight track before entering the final element in the coaster layout, another corkscrew. The train then males a left turn into the final brake run. Following a left turn, the train returns to the station where riders unloaded and the next riders loaded.

Hungarian Horntail[edit | edit source]

Upon departing from the station, the train makes a slight right turn leading into the transfer track section before beginning to climb the 125 foot chain lift hill. Once at the top and after going through a pre-drop, the train makes a sharp 95 foot right-hand drop back to the ground, reaching 55 mph. Then, the train goes through a 270-degree right overbanked turn before entering a zero-g roll, which is the first of three near-miss points with the Chinese Fireball train. Then, the train makes a slight right turn heading straight into a wall before entering a cobra roll. After a straight section of track, the train enters the second former near-miss point with the other train, a vertical loop. The train then makes a right turn into the third and final near-miss point, a corkscrew. Next, the train makes a right turn, followed by a left turn leading into the final brake run. Following a right turn, the train returns to the station where the riders unloaded and the next riders loaded.

Trains[edit | edit source]

8 cars per train. Riders are arranged 4 across in a single row for a total of 32 riders per train.

Incident[edit | edit source]

In 2011, Universal decided to make the Dragons stop dueling. While riding, three riders said they got hit by something, injuring them. After examining the coaster, the park stated that it could not be the coaster. But, they think it was that people had shoes, rocks, or something to throw at the other riders in the other train. After this incident, Universal stopped the coasters from running simultaneously. They also added metal detectors to all of their large coasters' entrances.

Photo Gallery[edit | edit source]

Dueling Dragons[edit | edit source]

Layout[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]