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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

p. 623 - New Epic Universe details, including Celestial Park!

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Yeah, it would be a true shame if they removed it (if that's what being implied here)...it's a high capacity attraction, and in my opinion a great set of coasters!

 

I've heard that supposedly J.K. Rowling hates it and had wanted it removed back when WWOHP was being built, but Universal told her that they weren't willing to remove it, so they settled on a retheme instead. Not sure how true any of that is though. I've also heard that this was one of the reasons why USJ's Wizarding World doesn't have Dragon Challenge. For USH it's pretty obvious why it's not there- lack of space and the fact that it could interfere with filming on the backlot (noise, sight lines, etc.).

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It would be crazy if they decided to remove Dragon Challenge in the future, but it would make sense especially with Hulk getting this large refurbishment. For Universal, they probably see opportunity for another Potter themed coaster with a lot more in terms of scenery and a storyline. Gringott's had huge lines and was a complete success, and it wasn't even that great to me (from a coaster standpoint because I was expecting more, but it was an amazing dark ride experience).

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To be honest, we already lost more than half of Dragon Challenge when it stopped duelling.

See, I never got to ride them when they dueled, and yet I still think that they're two kick-butt B&M inverted coasters. No sadness here, they're both incredibly fun.

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To be honest, we already lost more than half of Dragon Challenge when it stopped duelling.

 

It's still a damn good invert, but dueling added a whole new dimension to that ride.

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To be honest, we already lost more than half of Dragon Challenge when it stopped duelling.

 

I agree 100%. I have been on the ride when it was dueling, and when it wasn't dueling, and it is by far much better when it is dueling. Half of the fun of the ride was sitting in the front row, and having the extra fun added in by the dueling elements. That being said, even though they don't duel any more they are still two amazing coasters. The dueling aspect was just... better. Now it always feels like it's missing something.

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Yeah, it would be a true shame if they removed it (if that's what being implied here)...it's a high capacity attraction, and in my opinion a great set of coasters!

 

I've heard that supposedly J.K. Rowling hates it and had wanted it removed back when WWOHP was being built, but Universal told her that they weren't willing to remove it, so they settled on a retheme instead. Not sure how true any of that is though.

100%

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I can't confirm this, but one of the stories I have heard over the years is that Dueling Dragons and other parts of IoA were created in part due to WDI layoffs...those creative guys were laid off and ended up taking their ideas to Universal.

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I loved Dragon Challenge pre-Potter, but the coaster is kind of an afterthought for guests now that it is surrounded by Hogsmeade. The ride is high capacity so it churns through large numbers of guests, and thus the wait time is often less than 20 minutes, giving off the incorrect perception that the attraction is unpopular. I think it is only a matter of time until this large plot of land is given over to potter for another large scale attraction. Dragon Challenge is an incredible set of coasters in an environment that undermines the coaster's significance... Guests are far more interested in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and the rest of the Hogsmeade experience than they are in the coasters at this point.

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I loved Dragon Challenge pre-Potter, but the coaster is kind of an afterthought for guests now that it is surrounded by Hogsmeade. The ride is high capacity so it churns through large numbers of guests, and thus the wait time is often less than 20 minutes, giving off the incorrect perception that the attraction is unpopular. I think it is only a matter of time until this large plot of land is given over to potter for another large scale attraction. Dragon Challenge is an incredible set of coasters in an environment that undermines the coaster's significance... Guests are far more interested in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and the rest of the Hogsmeade experience than they are in the coasters at this point.

 

Relocation to future Nintendo Land perhaps?

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I can't confirm this, but one of the stories I have heard over the years is that Dueling Dragons and other parts of IoA were created in part due to WDI layoffs...those creative guys were laid off and ended up taking their ideas to Universal.

 

Yeah, I've heard a similar rumor over the years but I don't think a dueling invert from B&M was ever in the works for a Disney park. It was always my understanding that the "dragon coaster" for Animal Kingdom would be some kind of suspended coaster, not a dueling invert. I've also heard discussions/rumors that B&M won't work with Disney because they won't allow one of their rides to operate with a third party control system. Don't know if there is any truth in that but Disney does typically install their own ride control systems so I could see how a manufacturer would have a problem with that.

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I just have a hard time believing that Universal would get rid of Dragons. I was there a few months ago and both sides were running great. The coasters are huge people eaters and really help alleviate the Harry Potter crowds. Yes, it sucks that they don't duel anymore, but they are still two of the best B&M inverts and it would be a shame if they got scraped. USO has enough 3D motion rides, the park needs Dragons and the other coasters to balance out the ride selection.

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Yeah, I would think they would take over Sinbad and the Lost Continent before they remove Dragon Challenge. Then again no one really knows how bad this whole track replacement issue is with their B&M's, the price tag for Hulk would essentially be doubled for Dragon's so maybe at that point it's not worth it to rebuild the attraction.

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^That would require a significant reworking of the Dragon Challenge queue in addition to the Hogwarts Express queue. Dragon Challenge's queue begins towards the front of Hogsmeade, wrapping around one two sides of the ride to lead to the station. The side of the coaster directly to the right is bordered closely by the Hogwarts Express queue and station which sits extremely close to the ride. It isn't to say it couldn't be done, but it wouldn't likely be done, not only because it can be seen from within Hogsmeade (so it should be themed to Potter in the eyes of JK Rowling, if it has to stay) but also because it would come at a significant cost and impact to rework the queue.

 

If ever there was a time to rework things, it would have been before Hogsmeade opened, where Dueling Dragons could have remained a part of The Lost Continent and then the theming wouldn't have needed to be altered... So much was ripped out in that queue to facilitate the change. There's no turning back now...

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IoA as a whole in it's original form was by far the nicest theme park in the U.S. and definitely top 5 in the world IMO.

 

While WWoHP looks amazing, I'm a sucker for original themed things (read: not IP based), so I really enjoyed the original lost continent as something that offset all the branded things at IoA.

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^Completely agree about IoA being one of the best parks in the world. Still think so with the inclusion of WWoHP.

 

It's still such a shame that the park chose to stop dueling the dragons, there aren't many experiences out there that compare to a front row ride on DD:I. Just a really well engineered ride that I would hate to see removed completely.

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