Dragons Challenge - Formerly Dueling Dragons - Islands of Adventure - Universal Orlando

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inherited an awesome roller coaster in the re-themed, Dragon Challenge. Formerly, Dueling Dragons, the ride has to be one of the most awe-inspiring inverted coasters to watch. With three near-misses, on-lookers are frozen in their tracks as the trains pass within feet of each other. Unfortunately, from a rider’s perspective the near misses are pretty tough to see.

Read my reviews of the Chinese Fireball (Fire Dragon) and the Hungarian Horntail (Ice Dragon).

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of Dragons Challenge? What do you think of this photo? Leave a comment below.

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About The Author

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

8 Responses

  1. Gearhart

    The biggest problem with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was the retheming and LAME name change to this otherwise still stellar pair of coasters. Fire's hybrid immelmann/helix inversion is especially epic.

  2. Unionjack95

    Ah, Dueling Dragons. Ice was my first ever looping coaster. I went on it for my tenth birthday. I didn't really enjoy it, as I was FREAKED OUT.

  3. Mike M.

    Ice's Zero-G roll into the cobra roll is probably my favorite part of both rides. The Cobra roll is especially forceful! Plus it has the added bonus effect of making you feel like the Ice dragon is climbing up the castle wall. And yes, these will ALWAYS be Fire & Ice to me!

  4. Prof.BAM

    I wish I had more time down there. I heard that eventually, they will be repainted to match the new theme.

    • Mike M.

      Hadn't heard anything about being repainted. That would absolutely SUCK! Nobody knows the real colors of the dragons besides avid HP book readers, and those people clearly won't outnumber your average park goer. The color of the dragons aren't even significant in the slightest in the books. Even in the movie, the Hungarian Horntail looks more GREEN than anything. It's not like there's some current uproar about the dragons not matching the books and movie. Keeping the traditional Red and Blue wouldn't be a problem at all as far as theming and looks go. Besides, I think red & blue is much more appealing than scarlet and "greenish-black"…

  5. Mike M.

    Just took an impromptu trip to Universal/IoA with my fiancé for Memorial Day so I can give my detailed thoughts with the ride experience fresh on my mind. Although Ice doesn't have as big a drop as Fire nor does it have as high a top speed, it FEELS faster to most people because the speed is near constant throughout the ride. I've also heard people (incorrectly) call it more "loopy" than Fire, but that's due to all the inversions being thrown at you in succession. I still maintain that the best part of both coaster is Ice's sequence of drop, upward banked wrap-around turn, zero-g roll, cobra roll. I noticed that the Coaster Critic said that a lot of Ice's layout felt like filler for setting up the near-misses. Have to disagree with that one. The only part I think really feels like filler is the last segment after the corkscrew leading to the end brakes after all the near-misses are done with.

    As for Fire, I definitely think the best part of that ride is the airtime hill over Ice's zero-g roll into the wrap-around Immelman. You get the most airtime of both rides into the most forceful part of both rides. The pacing of this ride is also a lot better, including that last corkscrew right before the block brakes whereas Ice's inversions are spent by that point. Here's a bird's eyeview of the layout: http://images-mediawiki-sites.thefullwiki.org/03/….

    I'd say that both coasters are a solid 9 for me. Both are great in their own ways, but neither is better than my beloved Montu!

  6. DC

    I went to IOA during its inaugural summer for the soft opening. We got in so many rides on both The Hulk and Dueling Dragons that I actually lost count. (And 10 rides on Spiderman!) All three were mind-blowing, especially Ice with that castle wall that threatens to turn you into a big stain before it pulls up into the cobra roll. (Yeah, I'd read a serious spoiler beforehand, but it still caught me by surprise.) I love that though they duel, they are two distinctly different rides.

    The park was almost empty, so we burned up the re-ride shortcut, riding on every row of each. It wasn't until the second day that we noticed the incredible theming in that huge queue line winding through the castle. I hope whatever changes they made are equally as impressive.

    No disrespect to the Hulk, either. What an amazing launch out of the "cannon" with a mind-blowing layout.

    And, yeah Mike, Montu and Alpengeist are tied for #1 with me, Dragons an interchangeable 2 & 3 and Great Bear a solid #4.

  7. Zackiel

    Came back from Universal a couple weeks ago and went on both these 4 times. I really couldn't decide which one was until my last ride on the Hungarian Horntail. I got floater airtime for a while and was out of my seat for a while. The Chinese Fireball is faster but for me airtime is more important.


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