New Harry Potter "highly themed coaster experience" to replace Dragon Challenge

Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:07 AM | Contributed by Raven-Phile

From the blog post:

This all-new thrill ride will take you deeper into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, where you will encounter some of your favorite characters and creatures. It’ll be unlike anything we’ve ever done before and it will be fun for the entire family.

The new attraction will be one of the most highly-themed coaster experiences we’ve created. It will combine a new level of storytelling with an action-packed adventure…and a few surprises along the way.

We’re permanently closing Dragon Challenge on September 5 to make way for this all-new ride. The last day of operation will be Monday, September 4.

Read more from Universal Orlando Blog.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017 11:21 AM

Maybe Six Flags America will buy one. They get a lot of hand me downs. Well maybe not, it's NOT Six Flags Great America after all.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017 11:45 AM

A Facebook friend believes they will all be scrapped because of the added cost and time to dismantle, above-average days of operation per year, and the precedent of Hulk's rebuild. But I'm rooting for Lake Winnie. ;-)

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017 11:57 AM

One to Dorney, one to MiA

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017 3:01 PM

I liked those coasters, but then again last time I rode them they where still in running them with those brilliant nearmisses etc.

I have read somewhere that the new coaster will most likely be the same system as Arthur in Europapark. With that system you have lots of possibilities of "flow" in the rides, combine that met suburb theming and/or effects and you have something that families can enjoy from childern to the elderly.. where the Dragons are not so suited for anyone.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017 3:57 PM

That was the best coaster theming/design of any B&M ride (except maybe Nemesis, which I've never ridden) IMO. It's sad to see they're just tearing them down. I'll be the first to admit that without the dueling aspect the ride lost it's luster, but still it seems a little like overkill to just scrap them altogether. With the metal detector system in place, it seems unlikely that anyone would ever get hurt on them again. Hopefully someone will buy them, but again they're such a custom design that one without the other makes no sense. From a marketing standpoint, I can see why another HP ride makes sense (especially if it's more family friendly), but as an enthusiast this is a sad day (and a big hit to the Orlando coaster collection in general, as it's the only invert in Orlando). Does anyone know why these rides got so rough while Montu, which also runs 365, stays so smooth? RIP to a classic - glad I got to ride it when I did.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 6:01 AM

Ryan_FL said:
Does anyone know why these rides got so rough while Montu, which also runs 365, stays so smooth? .

It seems to me that BGT makes a point to give each of their coasters a couple weeks off per year for a refurbishment. Shorter park hours during the majority of the year likely helps. Montu actually has four trains (even though it can only run 3 at a time) and often times only runs one or two so the trains can be refurbished even wth the ride still open. I have often seen one in "taken apart" mode in the storage shed while riding.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 8:37 AM

This was one of my favorite coasters .When they added the HP theme to it it seemed very cheesy the way it was done.

Not a Universal Creative kind of upgrade so I think the plan always was to replace and/or rebuild this at some point.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 10:06 AM

Ryan_FL said:
Does anyone know why these rides got so rough while Montu, which also runs 365, stays so smooth? .

Kumba was awfully rough last time I rode it like ten years ago... Not sure if that was due to the B&M design philosophies of the era or because of age though.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 10:50 AM

The second half of Kumba definitely has gotten rough, and combined with me not being a teenager anymore and as much as I used to love it, Kumba is always a 'one and done' for me simply because of its intensity combined with the headbanging.

Another thing to note, with Busch's well known lackluster operations, figure that a train is being dispatched on these coasters every 2.5-4 minutes whereas trains on Hulk and Dragons are often cranked out in half that time. As the years go by, the upside to the Busch operations would inevitably be less wear and tear on the ride.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 11:43 AM

Ken P said:

One to Dorney, one to MiA

If that happens, then Timber Rider will have nothing to complain about. ;)

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 12:02 PM

BrettV said:

The second half of Kumba definitely has gotten rough, and combined with me not being a teenager anymore and as much as I used to love it, Kumba is always a 'one and done' for me simply because of its intensity combined with the headbanging.

Another thing to note, with Busch's well known lackluster operations, figure that a train is being dispatched on these coasters every 2.5-4 minutes whereas trains on Hulk and Dragons are often cranked out in half that time. As the years go by, the upside to the Busch operations would inevitably be less wear and tear on the ride.

Its odd how poorly the Florida park operates compared to the VA park.....

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 12:03 PM

extremecoasterdad said:

If that happens, then Timber Rider will find something else to complain about. ;)

Fixed.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 1:10 PM

super7* said:

Its odd how poorly the Florida park operates compared to the VA park.....

They've gotten better in recent years too. They seem to have gotten control over their loose items policy and as a result they are spending less time managing people's crap and more time making sure people are seated and safe.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 3:00 PM

The worst I remember were the early years of Gwazi when we timed dispatches regularly taking 7-8 minutes. They would wait until the train was empty, open the gates, check all the seatbelts front to back, walk back to the front of the train, then lock the lap bars and check the lap bars front to back. Nothing has ever been quite that bad, but even on my most recent visit in May 2016, I was waiting longer in the holding brakes on Cheetah Hunt, Montu, Kumba, and Sheikra than I was out on the course of the ride.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 3:37 PM

Gwazi load/unload was *at least* as bad as you remember. Seemed like every single release of gates, lapbars, and train dispatch took an Act of Congress...sometimes an entire play!

Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, July 26, 2017 3:37 PM
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 3:39 PM

I've always disliked Kumba and thought it was rough. Last December I was at the park and they'd just completed a major refurbishment of one of the trains. I couldn't believe it was the same roller coaster. It was super smooth. The condition of the trains is a big factor. I rode Dragon Challenge last December and I didn't think either side was rough.

If Universal entertains selling the ride it will likely never operate in a North America park. I'm basing that off the terms they were proposing for the sale of equipment from Wet 'n Wild.

I believe Dragon Challenge will end up being scrapped since this is a unique Universal attraction with a reputation that would carry with it. Disney and Universal aren't the type of operators to put their former signature attractions up for sale.

Besides this attraction is costly to operate being two separate coasters with separate load and unload, was designed for capacity for a well attended theme park, and worse has a history of accidents that ended the best aspect of the ride, the dueling. In theory you could separate the two coasters for a price.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017 12:44 PM

Well, in theory you could do anything for a price, but I assume that, because the lifts would need to be separated which would require design and manufacture, on top of the fact that the ride seems to be nearing the end of its life cycle, that that cost would be prohibitive.

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