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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

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I never got to ride Dragon's Challenge when it dueled, but without that aspect I found both rides to be mid to low tier inverted coasters. Don't get me wrong, a mid to low tier inverted coaster is still a great ride, but I'd be open to something new.

 

I enjoy the coasters at Universal but none of them really blow me away (not counting Mummy and Gringots which are mind blowing but only because of their theming). I don't go to Universal for coasters... I enjoy them, I think Rip Ride Rockit and Hulk are both solid coasters that make a nice visual statement but I wouldn't miss Dragons if they were gone and replaced with an awesome Potter attraction or even a new, highly themed and immersive coaster that's more fitting of the Universal style. When I'm in Florida and I want coasters I go to Busch Gardens, Sea World and to an extent even Fun Spot. That's not why anyone goes to Universal.

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I'd be very sad to see Dragons go... I absolutely love the ride and if I can nail down one ride that put me into this hobby it would have to be it. It wasn't my first looping coaster (Invertigo) but it was the first one that blew me away. Hulk definitely helped cement me as a would be enthusiast or whatever, but this ride is very special to me. However, it hasn't been the same since it stop dueling.

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Maybe Animal Kingdom can get them really cheap! As the former resident fanboy of this ride, I am not really surprised if they end up getting rid of Dueling Dragons (I still think Universal secretly calls them Dumpster Dragons after what they did with the original entrance way). While I would be sad to see them go as they still run really great as individual coasters, I think that I am more sad to watch how the park operates them today. After I experienced the entire metal detector requirement on the ride, (and on a few of the other coasters) I have not set foot back in the parks.

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I treated my trip to IOA earlier this month as my goodbye to the Dragons just in case this came to fruition. Dueling or not, I will sorely miss them if they are removed. Fire in particular has long been my second favorite invert and together they are two of my favorite B&Ms overall. The presence of high quality coasters is one of the few characteristics differentiating IOA from Studios, and since the likelihood of Universal replacing Dragons with a new coaster rather than another dark ride is probably very low, it would leave a serious void in the park. That said, I completely understand the business behind the removal for something better tied into WWoHP. I just don't have to like it!

 

What would completely mitigate their potential loss for me would be the addition of a clone or near-clone of Universal Japan's The Flying Dinosaur. But I presume anything like that is unlikely for a myriad of reasons.

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If the ride goes through the Hulk treatment, hopefully it would return dueling again ( ) and in the proper colors of the dragons it's supposed to represent (Chinese Fireball and Hungarian Horntail). It confused me as to why it wasn't repainted in the first place. But the removal of the attraction altogether would allow more room for the rumored Ministry of Magic/Fantastic Beasts expansion sector if they also ditched the rest of Lost Continent. Or was MoM rumored for USO?

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From a business perspective, I could see why they would want Dragons removed, especially since it is already nearing the end of its lifespan. From a business perspective, I would remove the two coasters, but follow that up with building a bigger inverted coaster elsewhere in the park (something with a layout more like Banshee. Maybe it could be Jurassic park themed?) Then, they could remove Dragons and replace it with a dark ride. This still allows Universal to claim a similar number of thrill rides, and they could get what they want in improving Hogsmeade. And, having an even bigger inverted coaster would satisfy most general thrill seekers who would miss Dragons.

 

As an enthusiast, I hope nothing happens in terms of removal. Red Dragon is my favorite coaster in Orlando, and my second favorite coaster in Florida after Kumba. I would still rather have that than a new, less forceful invert.

 

And yet, I think it is more likely Dragons gets removed and replaced with a dark ride. This may piss off many enthusiasts, but Universal has shown that they like to look at things from a purely financial standpoint. The metal detectors at entrances of rides show that they care far more about profit than guest convience. (The metal detectors are literally the reason why I no longer consider USO to be my favorite set of parks).

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From a business perspective, I could see why they would want Dragons removed, especially since it is already nearing the end of its lifespan.
I don't really buy that Dragons is nearing the end of its lifespan. B&Ms from this era are doing just fine without a huge refurbishment. As far as I know, none of the batman clones (beginning in 1992) have ever received a major refurbishment like Hulk.
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As much as I enjoy Dragons, I am also OK with a new coaster occupying that spot given that Universal will never again duel the rides.

And I haven't ridden it since the metal detectors went in, and I won't again until those are removed.

 

This is the biggest thing for me as well. Didn't even bother on my last trip because of how much of a hassle the metal detectors are. I was already frustrated after my cargo pockets weren't good enough for Hulk and I was sent back to the lockers. That is on top of them not dueling anymore...

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I don't think they're really going to put another big coaster in that plot of land. It's too valuable for random other Potter crap. I mean, a potter themed hotel with private entrance directly into potter hell would basically just be printing money.

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^This, closing Dragons at the end of peak summer 2017 then announce and construct a major Jurassic Park/Jurassic World coaster for 2019. For 2020 open a Potter hotel (and maybe a small potter attraction in any leftover space), then start working on transforming Marvel Island or Comic Land. At UOF there's Fallon Opening in 2017 and Furious opening early 2018. Nintendo could go there for 2020-era or at any new park in 2020.

 

The Dragons are sad. They don't even feel fully themed and Universal has essentially ruined them for a variety of reasons so just end it. Sending them anywhere else to operate together would be a blessing.

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I just thought of something else:

 

Remember when Universal tried to halt construction of Skyplex so that they would have their title of best thrill rides in Orlando? If that is the case, then it is extremely hypocritical of them to remove two out of their five major coasters, and what many consider to be the best coaster in the park!

 

For thrill rides, I would much rather go to Seaworld just across I-Drive. Or, I would also rather drive a good deal out of the way to go to Busch Gardens. I will still feel obligated to see USO when I return to Orlando, as they have been continuiously adding some great new rides, but if they cannot trust me that I know how to secure my wallet, then I might rather be at Six Flags America.

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From a business perspective, I could see why they would want Dragons removed, especially since it is already nearing the end of its lifespan.
I don't really buy that Dragons is nearing the end of its lifespan. B&Ms from this era are doing just fine without a huge refurbishment. As far as I know, none of the batman clones (beginning in 1992) have ever received a major refurbishment like Hulk.

 

 

That and also while as Hulk has only had 1 off day in 15+ years, Dragon Challenge has been closed more. Sounds like it just needs new trains. Also wouldn't surprise me if they replace it like Hulk with an exact clone from Dubailand project with new Hulk lockers.

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The metal detectors are there for your safety, although it might be an inconvenience to wait another 5 mins I would rather ride knowing some idiot has not brought coins, cameras, phones on the ride to intentionally/unintentional injury someone. You know they are there, so go store all your stuff in a locker before joining the queue - it speeds things up.

Lastly all you metal detector haters/and now non riders - Are you still going to airports and taking vacations? Do they not have metal detectors

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^When it comes to the metal detectors, it is not about waiting an extra five minutes. If they were truly necessary for saftey, then the USO parks would not be literally two out of the three parks in the entire Western World who have them. The only other park known to have them is Morey's, and even they have them in just one coaster. I am against them strongly for two reasons:

1. I dislike the idea of being separated from my phone and trusting a locker. (I can deal with being away from my phone from an hour, but it's separation makes me worry)

2. It shows how they view their guests. Or more specifically, they distrust their guests.

3. They have a terrible system, and show no interest in fixing it. I would be fine with this if they redid the stations to have lockers in them. They have not done this, and there is no excuse for not doing this with Universal's budget. Also, they could install nets on coasters.

 

I know that a specific incident happened here, but Dragons does not even duel anyway. When Magic Mountain can trust its clientele with a (theoretical) dueling coaster, and Six Flags America can trust its guests with a VR headset, while Universal will not even trust its guests with a penny in a zipped pocket (not exaggerating), you have serious problems.

 

Also, this is not always a "five minute inconviennce." I have heard stories of people waiting up to 90 minutes for a locker.

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It would be a much better, customer friendly and surely cost effective option to set up baggage holds in the station or even the 'cloak room' style system that have been becoming more common place in recent years. I don't know if these are used elsewhere, but at the Merlin parks in the UK, most new coasters since 2009ish, have featured a staffed counter next to the station, so you handover any bags or loose items and get a numbered wristband, and once you get off the ride you hand the wristband back and get your stuff back.

 

It's a simple system, which allows you to keep hold of your things until it is time to actually get on the ride, instead of making you leave everything in a locker and then join a queue which is potentially hours long, and is more secure than baggage holds in the station.

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^When it comes to the metal detectors, it is not about waiting an extra five minutes. If they were truly necessary for saftey, then the USO parks would not be literally two out of the three parks in the entire Western World who have them. The only other park known to have them is Morey's, and even they have them in just one coaster.

So, I see both sides of this.

 

First thing, Universal Orlando has to move people. Allowing for bag drops on the platforms would slow operations down, and make for longer queues. Also, many of Universal Orlando's attractions have separate load and unload areas, including Dragon Challenge. A counter system could theoretically work but it would require reconfiguration of nearly every queue in both parks! Walt Disney World has an advantage here - you have very few rides that actually use bag drops there because ride motions are tame enough for you to take your stuff with you and not lose anything.

 

In terms of "trusting" their guests, they shouldn't, in my opinion. Most guests certainly aren't malicious, but people leave their brains at home when they go on vacation. Eliminating the problem before it occurs is a smart decision, even though the implementation isn't particularly spectacular.

 

That being said, I don't like the whole system. It's a pretty big inconvenience especially considering that I occasionally carry a backpack around. While the units are always clustered -near- an attraction, you always have to hunt to find them. Queues are boring. There isn't always a clear set of instructions - sometimes people try to enter the attraction, are turned away, and then enter again. Metal detectors are imperfect. The list goes on.

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Lastly all you metal detector haters/and now non riders - Are you still going to airports and taking vacations? Do they not have metal detectors

 

I'm not going to argue with someone who doesn't see the difference between metal detectors on a roller coaster and metal detectors at the airport.

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It's been a couple years since I have been to Universal, will be returning summer of 2017. I enjoyed the ride when it was Dueling Dragons, that being said, last time we went we skipped right over Dragon Challenge. Being a huge Harry Potter fan, I was much more interested in everything around the coaster, then a coaster that they simply stuck a "Harry Potter" name to and tried to make it fit in.

 

Also, last time I went I didn't notice any metal detectors, are these specially for this ride? Do any other coasters in the park have metal detectors? If memory serves me right, they don't have them at the entrance or even check bags when entering the park.

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It's been a couple years since I have been to Universal, will be returning summer of 2017. I enjoyed the ride when it was Dueling Dragons, that being said, last time we went we skipped right over Dragon Challenge. Being a huge Harry Potter fan, I was much more interested in everything around the coaster, then a coaster that they simply stuck a "Harry Potter" name to and tried to make it fit in.

 

Also, last time I went I didn't notice any metal detectors, are these specially for this ride? Do any other coasters in the park have metal detectors? If memory serves me right, they don't have them at the entrance or even check bags when entering the park.

 

There are now metal detectors prior to entering the CityWalk area of the resort, and then also at Hulk, Dragons, and RockIt. You are not allowed to have anything metal with you while waiting for the rides even if you have a zipper or secure pocket.

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Lastly all you metal detector haters/and now non riders - Are you still going to airports and taking vacations? Do they not have metal detectors

 

I'm not going to argue with someone who doesn't see the difference between metal detectors on a roller coaster and metal detectors at the airport.

 

 

Dont argue with me thats not the point but please explain the difference- A metal detector is added security if it isnt whats the point of having it? - I admit it slows your queuing experiences down,but thats the consequences we now all have to take for mindless idiots abusing trust, Theme Park/Airport.

My point is you dont exclude or comment on travel when you have to use the same system but your okay to bash a park.

Everybody has a right to their opinion and a choice to visit, ride and follow the system like it or not - They do the same on Hulk, RRR, is a small inconvenience for a great experience - anybody that cannot be away from there phone for an hour may need help.

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Everybody has a right to their opinion and a choice to visit, ride and follow the system like it or not - They do the same on Hulk, RRR, is a small inconvenience for a great experience - anybody that cannot be away from there phone for an hour may need help.

Four or five years ago I definitely would have agreed with you. The problem is that smart devices and the desire to be social in that sense are now so ingrained into first-world society and culture that NOT having access to one is seen as unusual.

 

The difference between a metal detector at the entrance to an attraction vs one at an airport security checkpoint or the entrance to a park is that you get your stuff back immediately at the airport. At Universal Orlando, there's the expectation that your stuff has to be put away BEFORE going through the detector and you're stuck without it for however long you're stuck in the queue.

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  • coasterbill changed the title to Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

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