Though it had been rumored for several years, yesterday it was confirmed that Dragon Challenge, the ride formerly known as Dueling Dragons, will indeed be closing forever this fall, with its last day of operation now taking place on September 4th.
The two-sided, intertwined, inverted coaster was an opening day attraction for Islands of Adventure back in 1999, and was a fan favorite for many years. It was then re-themed in 2010 to Dragon Challenge to help it fit in with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. However, the ride experience remained virtually unchanged for another year until in 2011, when a number of accidents caused Universal to discontinue the simultaneous launches of the two sides of this attraction.
While the ride’s popularity suffered in the years since the simultaneous launches discontinued, this attraction still attracted a fair number of guests on busy park days, and was an important part of Universal Orlando Resort’s roller coaster lineup.
While we don’t have all the details on what Universal is doing with the space soon to be formerly occupied by this attraction, it looks like whatever Universal has planned is pretty ambitious....
A new generation of thrill ride is coming to the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Universal has confirmed that the new attraction replacing Dragon Challenge will be a roller coaster thrill ride of some sort, though it will not be outdoor like its predecessor, and will have some dark ride elements, similar to Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. However, this won’t be just roller coaster attraction with screens as Universal has said that they are using all new technology to heighten the immersion level of this new attraction and bring guests closer to the Wizarding World than ever before. Which brings us to another potential development....
Will this new attraction be based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?
Universal’s official announcement about this new ride said that this attraction “will take [guests] deeper into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, where you will encounter some of your favorite characters and creatures”. And while that sounds pretty generic, we can’t help but notice that it doesn’t specifically mention Harry Potter.
Rumors about a ride based on the Fantastic Beasts film series were swirling even before the first film came out in 2016, and considering filming for a sequel just got underway, the timing of this announcement seems to hint that this could indeed be the plan. And even though the Fantastic Beasts films are set half a century before the Harry Potter films, we’re sure that there could be some magical time travelling explanation that could keep the immersion of the larger Wizarding World of Harry Potter in tact.