Dragon Challenge will never duel again at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011 8:07 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Universal Orlando said this week it has decided to permanently end the practice of launching the two Dragon Challenge coasters simultaneously. That decision follows an internal investigation into two summer accidents in which riders were apparently struck by loose objects while aboard the attraction. One was gruesome: A 52-year-old Puerto Rico man suffered a lacerated right eye and ultimately had to have the eyeball removed, according to his lawyer.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011 10:54 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
Others have said it was only noticeable from the front seat, but I kind of disagree.

I don't just kind of disagree, I totally disagree. The duel was noticable from everywhere.

The whole "you can't see on an invert" thing is overexaggerated.

Then again I act like I'm surprised that something gets perpetuated throughout the enthusiast community. Things like this are the reason I hate enthusiasts. ;)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, October 20, 2011 11:13 PM
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Thursday, October 20, 2011 11:20 PM
delan's avatar

Well this blows!!!! This ride has been neutered oe'r and oe'r. First they tucked it away in Hogsmeade (and took away the awesome dragon statues), stripped the theming in the queue, and now this. Boo!!!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011 11:26 PM

There are 4 (5 if you want to include the transfer table track) blocks on each side, so it is possible to run 3, but I am 99.9999999999% sure there are only 2 trains each. If there are indeed 3, then I have never once seen 3 train operation in all of my visits. When they were dueling and the crew was actually hustling (haven't seen that much at that attraction), a third train wouldn't have helped them any, and it definitely would not help now or at the pace operations usually go.

Also, I'm with Gonch. As long as the trains were timed well, the dueling spots that you saw from the front were just as effective in any other row. Never had a ride with good timing that I missed a dueling spot from any row.


Original BlueStreak64

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Friday, October 21, 2011 1:06 AM
rollergator's avatar

I'm going to "play the middle". ;)

Seriously, I would NOT say that the visuals were "just as effetive" elsewhere. I also wouldn't say you can't see anything from rows behind the first one...although it certainly is more true in the middle two rows, one of the things I really really like about Volcano and the better Vekoma inverts like, hmmm...Kumali. (The SLCs we have here, I'm really not fond of, LOL).

By no means did you miss the dueling aspect on either Dragon during the interactive elements in any seat/row (the loops being effective all over the train, as well as the hop over Ice after the first drop), but the wall kick on Ice, the interlocked corkscrews, those were WAY more effective in the front. At best, the difference between the front row and other rows is still pretty noticeable...on the outside rows, you can still see what's going on. The inner rows, really aren't much better than some of these delinquents, er, ummm, "regulars" are describing as far as obstructed views. ;)

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Friday, October 21, 2011 3:47 AM

The Queue was at one time something to remember.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mensley/1267056117/

Last edited by aerodynamic, Friday, October 21, 2011 3:47 AM
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Friday, October 21, 2011 4:12 AM

This is really stupid. Definitely wish I'd decided to wait it out for the front seat when I was there in February.


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

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Friday, October 21, 2011 7:35 AM

When the ride opened, it ran six trains. It is the only ride built since 1978 that could actually beat Gemini* for hourly capacity.

The problems begin with the 1.2 mile walk from the entrance to the station. At 2,400 PPH, a coaster can take people away as fast as they walk up to a single turnstile. At 3,600 PPH, you'd better have two entrances, which Dueling Dragons had not. The next problem is that the ride was built in Central Florida, where the expectations of the riders are a little different than they are in, say, Sandusky, Ohio. It simply takes longer to load and check a train at Universal than it did at Cedar Point, and most of that has to do not with the operational procedures, but with the passengers.

So six-train operation did not last long. Universal also has a nasty habit of falling into the "short line now = reduce capacity" trap, so quite often the ride runs only one pair of trains, making for unreasonably long waits. Pretty bad for the highest capacity coaster in the world, don't you think?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

* as designed and operated with 6-train operation
--DCAjr

Last edited by RideMan, Friday, October 21, 2011 7:35 AM

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/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Friday, October 21, 2011 8:10 AM

RideMan said:
When the ride opened, it ran six trains. It is the only ride built since 1978 that could actually beat Gemini* for hourly capacity.

The problems begin with the 1.2 mile walk from the entrance to the station. At 2,400 PPH, a coaster can take people away as fast as they walk up to a single turnstile. At 3,600 PPH, you'd better have two entrances, which Dueling Dragons had not. The next problem is that the ride was built in Central Florida, where the expectations of the riders are a little different than they are in, say, Sandusky, Ohio. It simply takes longer to load and check a train at Universal than it did at Cedar Point, and most of that has to do not with the operational procedures, but with the passengers.

So six-train operation did not last long. Universal also has a nasty habit of falling into the "short line now = reduce capacity" trap, so quite often the ride runs only one pair of trains, making for unreasonably long waits. Pretty bad for the highest capacity coaster in the world, don't you think?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

* as designed and operated with 6-train operation
--DCAjr

So I'm assuming the other two trains just sit in the storage shed until they get rotated in? The explanation sounds spot-on, although I will not give the crew as easy of a pass, personally. The line is massive, and it takes a whole lot of people to just get it beyond the station. Under normal line conditions I've only waited outside the station once. Now, when they had the queue moved during Potter's construction...the line was regularly a half hour or more. That's when I really noticed the difference between Hulk and Dragons, although Hulk doesn't have to worry about the shoe issue.

Last edited by maXairMike, Friday, October 21, 2011 8:12 AM

Original BlueStreak64

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Friday, October 21, 2011 8:41 AM
Jeff's avatar

I've watched them drop down to a train each before because of short lines, an ordeal that would take nearly a half-hour, annoying people in line. Then they did it once while I was drunk, and the ride shut down because of an apparently frequent alignment problem on the transfer track. I got into a heated verbal argument about it with a supervisor, who probably didn't care (especially since I was being a bit of a dick). It's like they were doing their best to make for long waits on a non-busy day. This was 2006, and things seemed to be much better earlier this year.

I count at least six blocks, by the way... two stations, lift, course, safeties and standby brakes. The nice thing about having six trains is that they can generally rehab a pair while keeping the rest of the ride in service. Now if they'd just take off a Hulk train now and then and fix the damn springs.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Friday, October 21, 2011 9:28 AM

Then again I act like I'm surprised that something gets perpetuated throughout the enthusiast community. Things like this are the reason I hate enthusiasts.

My wife and kids went last February, without me. It was their first visit. So, no "enthusiast" representation or expectations. They came back with "The front row is awesome. The other rows? Okay."

So, maybe there's something to it even though we can be whiny b*st*rds about it.


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Friday, October 21, 2011 9:31 AM
Jeff's avatar

You can spell out bastard. It's OK. :)


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Friday, October 21, 2011 10:06 AM
Vater's avatar

I think the last time I rode an invert in any seat but the front was during ERT at the 2005 CoasterBuzz event at Dorney, only because Talon's station was empty except for the front row. I can't even remember the last time before that.

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Friday, October 21, 2011 10:24 AM

I prefer the 2nd row. For some reason that is the only row that I feel the loop in my stomach. The rest of the rows don't give me any feeling. Have never understood why but it works for me because the 2nd row is usually open with minimal waiting.

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Friday, October 21, 2011 10:44 AM

Vater said:
I think the last time I rode an invert in any seat but the front was during ERT at the 2005 CoasterBuzz event at Dorney, only because Talon's station was empty except for the front row. I can't even remember the last time before that.

Talon's one of the few coasters where I like the front and back seat equally.


The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

http://support.gktw.org/site/TR/CoastingForKids/General?px=1248054&...fr_id=1372

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Friday, October 21, 2011 11:36 AM

I will miss the dueling aspect, but I rode it a few months ago when it was not dueling and still enjoyed the ride just the same. Still both great rides by themselves. Sad to see them after what, ten years, have to change what it was designed to do.

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Friday, October 21, 2011 12:54 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

aerodynamic said:
The Queue was at one time something to remember.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mensley/1267056117/

Yes, it was. :)

Brian Noble said:
My wife and kids went last February, without me. It was their first visit. So, no "enthusiast" representation or expectations. They came back with "The front row is awesome. The other rows? Okay."

So now I have to hate your kids too?

Why does everyone keep insisting on making me be the bad guy? ;)


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Friday, October 21, 2011 1:21 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

The queue is still rad.

You could see the impact points from all over the train, sometimes it was better in the middle. My wife never noticed them because she never bothered to look.

Capacity this year was great. No waiting for the other train to load, they dispatch when they are ready to dispatch. If two trains end up on the lift at the same time they slow the lift of one or the other.

I missed the dueling.


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Friday, October 21, 2011 1:34 PM
a_hoffman50's avatar

sealedseven said:
Then they can blame the real culprits behind these accidents... the RIDE OPERATORS that don't check for loose articles.

Spoken like someone who has never been a ride operator. Can you imagine the implications if the ride operators were blamed for any incident that happens on a coaster?

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Friday, October 21, 2011 1:52 PM

Not to mention the fact that I suspect that at least some of the loose articles that cause problems are not loose when the train is loading and still in the station. How can ride operators keep people from taking things out of their pockets after the ride starts?

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Friday, October 21, 2011 2:53 PM
James Whitmore's avatar

Ride nude?


jameswhitmore.net

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