Wands up, wizards. Universal Resort Orlando announced today that Dragon Challenge will soon close to make way for an all-new thrill ride in Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2019.
Few details have been released but Universal boasts that this attraction will be “unlike anything we’ve ever done before,” “fun for the entire family,” and one of the “most highly-themed coaster experiences we’ve created.” Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of corkscrew coasters and never actually rode Dragon Challenge, so the “entire family” line entices me here.
Given its location, it seems likely that this ride will take you into the Forbidden Forest, perhaps aboard the Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia? Universal is once again collaborating with Warner Bros. and the design team from the Harry Potter films on this attraction, so fans can expect the same level of authenticity and detail as in the rest of Wizarding World.
Dragon Challenge was one of Islands of Adventure’s original attractions, when it was called Dueling Dragons, and is a remnant from pre-Wizarding World days. It was re-themed to reflect the Triwizard Tournament from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, with banners supporting Potter and Cedric Diggory. The ride saw more than its share of drama over the years. The coaster was designed with two intertwining tracks, passing within 18 inches of each other at up to 60 miles per hour. In 2011, after several close calls with loose objects and one very sad incident where a man ultimately lost his eye, Universal announced that the coasters would never “duel” again. Both tracks are currently operational but do not run in tandem.
It’s yet to be seen if Dragon Challenge will be fully dismantled (we hope so) or incorporated into this new experience in some way. So hurry, your last chance to ride is Monday, September 4.