Dragon Challenge Closing at Islands of Adventure
The iconic dueling inverted coaster’s removal will make room for a “new generation of thrill ride” that will open in 2019.
The blog post reads:
“This all-new thrill ride will take you deeper into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, where you will encounter some of your favorite characters and creatures. It’ll be unlike anything we’ve ever done before and it will be fun for the entire family.”
The new attraction will be one of the most highly-themed coaster experiences we’ve created. It will combine a new level of storytelling with an action-packed adventure…and a few surprises along the way.
“Our award-winning Universal Creative team is once again collaborating with Warner Bros. and the production design team from the Harry Potter films to bring this new coaster experience to life. This ride is going to redefine the category and transport you to thrilling places, drawing you into even more exciting adventures within the wizarding world.”
Dragon Challenge’s last day of operation will be September 4, 2017.
The Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) dueling inverted coasters opened with Islands of Adventure on May 28, 1999 as “Dueling Dragons.” It was renamed “Dragon Challenge” in 2010, coinciding with the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Both inverted coasters stand 125 feet tall and feature 3,200 feet of track. The red “Chinese Fireball” track reaches a top speed of 60 mph while the blue “Hungarian Hortail” reaches 55 mph. Both feature five inversions.
For many years, the two coasters actually dueled and featured many “near-miss” moments. But the dueling ceased after flying loose objects from one train injured two riders in another train (in separate accidents).
If the coaster is not reopened, it will become the first B&M coaster to be removed. Seven B&M coasters have been relocated, and Islands of Adventure’s Incredible Hulk had all of its track replaced in 2016.
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