New Harry Potter Ride Replacing Dragon Challenge Coaster At Universal Orlando
Universal Studios Orlando has finally let the cat.. or Dragon.. out of the bag! As speculated for the last few years, Dragon Challenge, formally Dueling Dragons (1999-2010), will be closing forever on September 4th. The ride will reopen in 2019 as an all new highly-themed Harry Potter coaster.
While Universal isn’t sharing many details just yet, Kristen Clark, Universal’s PR Manager, did confirm that “a new generation of thrill ride is coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in 2019.” It’s safe to say that the new coaster will live up to the magic Harry Potter fans have come to expect.
Here’s what we already know about the ride so far:
- The ride will take you deeper into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, where you will encounter some of your “favorite characters and creatures.”
- The ride will be “unlike anything we’ve ever done before” and will accessible to “the entire family,” which implies a lower height restriction than the ride it replaces
- The new attraction will be “one of the most highly-themed coaster experiences” Universal has created, and will “combine a new level of storytelling with an action-packed adventure…and a few surprises along the way.” Earlier this year, Universal opened Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon with an incredibly themed queue. Could we see something along the same lines for this ride?
- The award-winning Universal Creative team is once again collaborating with Warner Bros. and the production design team from the Harry Potter films on the new coaster attraction.
- This ride is “the perfect addition to Hogsmeade.”
The current ride, Dragon Challenge opened with the park as Dueling Dragons on May 28th, 1999. The coaster featured 2 tracks (Ice and Fire) that dispatched at the same time, merging at the bottom on the flight and rise to the sky in sync before parting ways at the first drop. Each side had it’s own unique layout giving riders a unique experience on each side. Through-out the 2 minute and 25 second ride, the trains came together for 3 infamous near-misses as shown in the track layout below.
When The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened on June 18th, 2010, Dueling Dragons was converted to Dragon Challenge. The queue was changed quite a bit to match the new theme and each side was renamed. Fire became Chinese Fireball and Ice became Hungarian Horntail. The ride layout, however, remained the same.
After the conversion, both sides continued to duel until summer 2011 when two accidents resulted in riders being injured by lose objects. In response, Universal immediately removed the dueling aspect and that October they even changed the ride program to prevent simultaneous dispatches. In addition, metal detectors were installed at the ride entrance to prevent riders from bringing any loose articles with them on the ride. Even phones are required to be stowed away in a locker.