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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

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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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^You know its funny, I have several friends down here in Florida with younger kids who recently visited Universal for the first time after making several trips to Disney in previous years and more of them than I was expecting raved about Universal and how it was so much better than Disney to them.

 

I love both properties for different reasons since they really are "different" but it's easy to forget that there are a lot of people out there that aren't fans of the Disney parks and prefer Universal so that's not surprising.

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Well according to TripAdvisor, Universal in the number one park in the world.

 

I imagine there are three reasons for this: Harry Potter, Harry Potter, and Harry Potter.

 

I would imagine you are correct.

 

I prefer Universal over Disney.

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^ Praying that this thread doesn't become Disney v. Universal.

 

Anyway, I loved J.K. Rowling's strict vision for WWoHP because she pressured Uni to work harder than ever. The attention to detail is unbelievable and seems to have (hopefully) set a new standard for all future Uni attractions. However, it would be very sad to see Dragon Challenge go. I doubt it would be moved into Nintendo land because of the cost and also the higher ups at Nintendo have even more ridiculous standards than Rowling and wouldn't settle for a re-themed ride. But it would be a shame to lose one (2) of the few coasters at the park.

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Ah, what a sight to behold! Looks like it's exactly the same colour, supports and all I wonder whether Clermont Steel have gone into the archives, brought up the Hulk files on their computer and just did CTRL+P, or whether some smoothing out of the transitions has happened? I suspect the latter, because snappier transitions mean more stress, wear, tear and roughness in time. Will be interested to see if it's filled with sand too. I'll guess we'll be able to tell soon enough because doesn't filled track have little caps on it?

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