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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 602: Universal Holidays & Velocicoaster photo report posted!

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I like how they build a roller coaster in the same time it took them to built new lockers for Harry Potter.   

On Sunday I ventured out to the Universal Orlando Resort for a chance to see the new holiday offerings at the two parks. This year is a little different thanks to COVID-19, but Universal has still man

^Agreed. I think the newer Intamin lapbars are actually the best steel coaster restraint currently being produced. When comparing overhead lapbars on Taron and Blue Fire, I found the Intamin ones to b

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This was an interesting bit of information posted to our Facebook page by one of Dragons' ex-tech service supervisors. Especially this part:

 

"Could it have lasted another 20 years? Absolutely. Was it becoming unsafe? Not a chance."

 

It's nice to hear that really nothing out of the ordinary was wrong with the ride but also also disappointing that it was just marketing and executive management that wants more Potter, and even a high-caliber ride like Dragon's isn't safe when it comes to that IP.

 

Oh, well...

1243816068_ScreenShot2017-09-04at20_05_03.png.7f156e656510913b9619735baf6d9137.png

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I got a last ride on Tuesday thinking it would be my second to last ride as I planned to be there the final day right before closing.Just came back from the park after being shut out of that last ride due to weather.Got in line at 6:15 with a 7pm park closing time,in the final hallway before the "Choose thy Fate" room they stopped the ride due to lightning,I sat in that room for 40 minutes when an announcement said that its not very likely to open again but you can hang out there just in case they reopen but its unlikely.I left totally bummed out,it was lightly sprinkling when I exited and I did hear thunder and saw some lightning so I doubt it ever opened again,walked to my car in that gloomy weather never to get that last ride on the Dragons again

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I got a last ride on Tuesday thinking it would be my second to last ride as I planned to be there the final day right before closing.Just came back from the park after being shut out of that last ride due to weather.Got in line at 6:15 with a 7pm park closing time,in the final hallway before the "Choose thy Fate" room they stopped the ride due to lightning,I sat in that room for 40 minutes when an announcement said that its not very likely to open again but you can hang out there just in case they reopen but its unlikely.I left totally bummed out,it was lightly sprinkling when I exited and I did hear thunder and saw some lightning so I doubt it ever opened again,walked to my car in that gloomy weather never to get that last ride on the Dragons again

Your story falls in line with what I heard from other people as well...

 

Basically there was a small storm that passed by here (I live about a mile and a half from the park) that lasted about 30 minutes. About 15 minutes before park closing, they decided to just close Dragons. Oddly enough though, all the other rides that were also down due to weather they waited until the storm passed and then they cleared out the line even after park closing to let guests ride.

 

This what the app looked like at 6:45 tonight...

511866049_duelingdragonsclosing.thumb.jpg.5df0d1ce2ccee6ede378f15eb88d9d9d.jpg

 

EDIT: Someone just wrote to me and let me know that they DID re-open the ride about 10 minutes to 8. It would appear that most people bailed and left thinking the ride wouldn't re-open which is what was reported on social media. Was anyone else there to get in a last ride around 8pm?

Edited by robbalvey
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My experience was a bit different last month. A pop-up storm closed the outdoor rides roughly two hours before the park was scheduled to close (as I was about to board the next train, might I add). The storm ballooned to form a giant blob over the area. We were given the option to wait in the station, but the thought of being without my phone for that duration and having to interact with people face to face sent chills down my millennial spine. So we waited in the pavilion across from the ride entrance. Fast forward to 10 minutes before park close, and the ride reopened. My friend and I had an entire train to ourselves. The darkness of the night and the light rain made for a very somber last ride.

 

So in my case, I have to give kudos to whoever made the call to reopen the ride with 10 minutes left in the day. That day marked my first and last ride on the Dragons, and I'm thankful I got to experience them in the daytime and nighttime.

 

I wrote some more words about the day here: http://www.coaster101.com/2017/08/14/last-ride-dueling-dragons-dragon-challenge/

dueling-dragons-2.thumb.jpg.9f75b145f31e8c54de0ca73c23f2f608.jpg

Since the coasters weren't dueling, I made them duel after the fact. Thanks, Photoshop!

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I got my final rides on them today. They both were butter smooth.. Even took someone who had never been to the park, and they mentioned how smooth it was.

 

We managed to get the last public ride on Fireball in row 7.

 

From age 16 to 23 (when I moved away), I put in a lot of rides on those coasters. I have lots of great memories.

 

The last ride was emotional for many reason, but what a great ride it was.

 

I'm not going to make a special trip down for the new HP ride, but returning to Islands will never be the same.

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Ok so I am getting conflicting reports of the ride closing right before the park closed due to a rain delay and then it re-opening again. Did it re-open tonight just before 8pm to let the final riders on or not? Anyone have photos or video or has anyone seen anything on line to back up that claim?

 

EDIT: I just had someone else confirm the story. So Universal DID re-open the ride after the rain delay about 8pm and there were 3 or 4 train dispatches that were the "final riders" on Dragons.

Edited by robbalvey
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I haven't been able to keep up with news as I like to do, so I missed that the ride was going to go untill last week. But I didn't know it was going to go this fast. A real shame I never got to try it, Duelling Dragons was allways the reason I wished to go there someday and I was already bumbed I couldn't try the duelling part anymore. I really hope what ever they replace it with makes me still wish to visit this park one day.

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My wife and I were in line at about 6:30-6:45 and it went down due to weather. They did make an announcement saying they didn’t know how long it would be, but most around me took it as they would let us ride unless it would be something ridiculous like 9pm. Anyway, knowing FL and how most storms don’t last long, we waited. Finally, around 7:50 the ride opened again and they let everyone in line get one final ride. Definitely a bittersweet moment, but glad Universal didn’t just run us out of the queue.

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This is by far the stupidest thing I've seen a park do. I only ever road it when it was Dueling Dragons, and was lucky to get many rides in on both trains (2003). I consistently put both sides in my favorites list. The theming was amazing (I know it's gone now, that was also a dumb move), and it was a rare ride that was just as fun to watch all day as it was to ride.

 

What a dumb fucking move closing this down is. They took out the queue (dumb), they stopped the duel (dumb), and now they're closing it. I've been mad at coaster closing before, but this is bogus.

 

Also, am I wrong, or is this the first ever B&M to close permanently? I know a few have migrated, but this is the first one to up and get the ax, right? NEVER thought a world class AAA coaster like Dragons would be the first to go.

 

Is someone way smarter than Universal buying these coasters and making them duel again? I haven't really heard anything to that extent...

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OK so I could have held out an hour more and gotten that last ride in,I'm glad Universal did reopen it and I'm at peace not getting that last ride in,I was with a friend who doesn't ride bigger coasters waiting for me outside and I didn't want to leave them out there waiting that long,that and the 40+ minutes I spent in queue was in that cramped hallway were I was starting to get a bit claustrophobic after 30 minutes or so,another hour plus and who knows how I would have felt.I'm sad to see them go as I remember being all in in following IOAs construction in 98-99 and Dueling Dragons was always the ride that intrigued me the most being a B&M invert fan so when I first rode it it surpassed all my expectations.I know I've had a lot more rides than many others here but since I moved closer to the parks over a year ago I've kinda taken the ride for granted and have not ridden it nearly as much as I thought I would living here,when I heard the closure announcement it was beyond shocking but I get it,I hope the new ride is amazing,no it better be,its replacing the dragons

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To think of it, it does seem dumb to close this ride. Especially since there are plenty of parks in the world that operate on far smaller budgets that are able to maintain decades old rides that probably bring in far fewer people now than Dragons ever did. For instance, Magic Mountain restored Revolution. Not many people were coming to ride that, but they still gave it some love.Also, CGA is doing some updates to Demon.

 

It is sad when Six Flags and Cedar Fair can operate coasters that are decades old and draw fewer crowds, but Universal supposedly cannot keep open an iconic B&M invert. I seriously wonder how this will pan out financially.

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The comments Robb posted about the ride's lifespan are interesting. I hate to see this ride closing. I still remember riding along the road next to IOA the year before it opened. Hulk's bright green cobra roll and the DDs' twisted red and blue steel were the craziest things I'd seen at an amusement park. When I got a chance to ride a few years later I loved the ride, particularly the red track. I have not been since they quit dueling the trains, but I imagine that took something away from the experience.

 

I'll never forget the day I went to IOA solo on a family trip in high school. It poured rain that day but they kept running the rides. The Dragons were running one train on each side, no wait and unlimited re-rides. One of my favorite coaster experiences ever is getting hit with a wall of water during the blue side's zero-g roll as the red train roared overhead. I'm talking splash-boat soaked. Afterward I was sitting in a restaurant and one of the park's suits asked me how my day was doing. I told him how much I appreciated them keeping the park open. He told me days like that day were his favorite as a casual coaster fan. I agreed.

 

Admittedly, I've not been to IOA since Potter came about - and I've heard it's fantastic - but I'm sad this ride is going away and I'm damn near certain we won't see a big coaster experience like this again. Virtual attractions and rides like Spider-man are amazing, but I think these coasters have a place at Universal.

 

RIP old friend. You've probably given more rides combined than just about any coaster in the world.

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I will join in and lament the closing of these great rides. I first rode them in 2000 when they dueled and it was an incredible experience. The flybys were so cool and there were times when you felt like you would collide with the other train. We were there on Christmas Day and the park was pretty empty, so we got tons of rides on both sides. I'll agree that the ride experience suffered a bit when they stopped dueling, but they are still in my Top 5 for B&M inverts (especially Fire). When I think of IOA, I think of Hulk and the Dragons--they are the iconic rides of the park. We did an Orlando trip last month and my two oldest kids got to ride them, so I'm grateful that they got to experience them before they closed.

 

I'm sure that the new ride will be amazing (I love both of the HP rides), it's just a shame that they couldn't keep the Dragons and put the new ride in place of Sinbad or Poseidon's Fury. Those are both subpar attractions IMO and I'm certain they don't get the ridership that the Dragons do. RIP DD.

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To think of it, it does seem dumb to close this ride. Especially since there are plenty of parks in the world that operate on far smaller budgets that are able to maintain decades old rides that probably bring in far fewer people now than Dragons ever did. For instance, Magic Mountain restored Revolution. Not many people were coming to ride that, but they still gave it some love.Also, CGA is doing some updates to Demon.

 

It is sad when Six Flags and Cedar Fair can operate coasters that are decades old and draw fewer crowds, but Universal supposedly cannot keep open an iconic B&M invert. I seriously wonder how this will pan out financially.

 

I would say Revolution is SIGNIFICANTLY more iconic than Dragon Challenge especially now that it won't duel.

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I would say Revolution is SIGNIFICANTLY more iconic than Dragon Challenge especially now that it won't duel.

Outside of the roller coaster world, far fewer people will know what Revolution is versus Dueling Dragons, simply because Dueling Dragons has probably given more rides in its 18 year run than Revolution has in 41 years.

 

Universal is open 356 days a week and will see much larger attendance that Magic Mountain will.

Edited by robbalvey
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I've always loved this ride and seeing the pictures of the old queue reminded me of how awesome looking those dragons were. I'm a very casual Harry Potter fan, I've seen all the movies once and I enjoy the areas in both Universal parks but it's a shame that they couldn't find a way to keep the dragons since there's a few in the series anyway. A repaint of them to match the books/movies is something I'd like to have seen.

 

I agree with the others about Poseidon's Fury and Sinbad being horribly outdated and I'd much rather have seen that space used up for something Potter related.

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This is by far the stupidest thing I've seen a park do.

 

I agree with most of the recent posts but "by far the stupidest thing" you've seen a park do seems a bit over-exaggerated.

 

EDIT: I probably just see it differently because I've never rode it so I don't have personal memories attached to it

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it's just a shame that they couldn't keep the Dragons and put the new ride in place of Sinbad or Poseidon's Fury. Those are both subpar attractions IMO and I'm certain they don't get the ridership that the Dragons do. RIP DD.

My thoughts exactly.

Edited by robbalvey
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This is by far the stupidest thing I've seen a park do.

 

I agree with most of the recent posts but "by far the stupidest thing" you've seen a park do seems a bit over-exaggerated.

What's even dumber is quoting something dumb and continuing to argue it.

 

The guy wrote several other things in the same post that were more noteworthy of discussion. Why did you have to pick out the WORST thing and want to talk about that? Couldn't you have chosen something that would have created a more proactive, interesting discussion?

 

Just trying to make our forums a slightly better place here...

 

EDIT:

EDIT: I probably just see it differently because I've never rode it so I don't have personal memories attached to it

Yes, making opinionated comments about something you've never experienced is probably not the smartest move. Here's an idea! There are 75 other topics on page 1 of the forums. Maybe choose one of those which you can speak intelligently about based on your past experience instead of choosing one you have zero education on? Just a thought....

Edited by robbalvey
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I'll certainly miss this iconic attraction. Back when it was still dueling it was arguably B&Ms greatest achievement. I got to ride in 2008 when HP land didn't exist, and the ride still dueled. The original queue was amazing, both tracks felt very different. The close call on the loop was an incredible coaster moment. When I came back years later as a HP fan, I was dismayed to see the coasters no longer dueling. The ride felt like an after thought in the HP world rather than a star attraction.

 

I'm sure the suits have done their math about this and determined that a new attraction is well worth taking these coasters out. I know many friends that lose it when they hear "NEW HARRY POTTER WORLD EXPANSION." They start planning trips and everything. I'm hoping that the area will be turned into a forbidden forest area with cool mythical animals, and a coaster themed to riding a Thestral. This would also tie in with their "Mythical Beasts" movies I think. I know Universal can do big things with the space, so I'm excited to see what is next despite the loss of these iconic coasters.

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This really hurts for me as much as losing a roller coaster can (not a ton but quite a lot of sentimental value I can't experience again) as it was really the ride that kickstarted my love for roller coasters. This glossy smooth, highly themed, dueling looping coaster was incredible 6 years ago, and it was the first big coaster me and my father rode together.

 

Yes, I didn't get to experience it when it was Dueling Dragons, but I did get the dueling experience when riding Dragon Challenge. When I came back a few years later, I really missed the dueling aspect, and I heard the security made it even worse.

Rest in Pieces, the catalyst to my hobby

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