FAQ Orlando

Harry Potter’s ‘Dragon Challenge’ less challenging

Dragon Challenge Islands of Adventure Universal Orlando near miss

In bygone days, a red coaster on the right side would mirror the blue coaster on the left

The story behind Dragon Challenge in Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter has changed. Well, it hasn’t changed so much as disappeared from Islands of Adventure. The ride focuses on the Triwizard Tournament from the fourth book in the Harry Potter series, and the two coasters are, theoretically, the “dragons.” They load at the same time, take off at the same time, and race to the finish. Along they way, they come perilously close to each other.

Well, they did until recently.

Now the two coasters take off separately, don’t compete, and don’t seem to almost collide. In other words, it’s now just two coasters with a similar theme.

The change follows two separate accidents; in one, a guest sustained a major eye injury. Universal says nothing is wrong with the ride, but the loss of the “challenge” part following two accidents seems to imply that a rider on one coaster lost something – jewelry, perhaps – and it hit a rider in the other coaster. That’s an opinion since nothing official was announced. Still, it’s only a bit less logical than 2 + 2 = 4.

Important to note, though: Dragon Challenge is not new. The coasters debuted with Islands of Adventure in 1999 under the name Dueling Dragons – Fire versus Ice – and the competitive race aspect has been around for at least 12 years. Universal claims more than 50 million people have enjoyed it. Still, a little bit of the magic has gone.

Perhaps Voldemort rigged yet another Triwizard event.

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