After a couple of incidents, the Dragon Challenge “dueling” coaster (formerly known as Dueling Dragons) located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park will no longer duel.
The Orlando Sentinel newspaper has been following the story of a change on the way the Dragon Challenge roller coaster is run. The ride has two separate tracks and coaster cars that run on them simultaneously. At one point in the ride, riders on each train come around a loop at the same time, providing them a thrilling moment when they come within a few feet of each other.
After a couple of incidents in which riders reported being injured by something coming off riders on the other train (one person lost an eye), Universal decided to have the coasters run staggered, eliminating the “near-miss” moment while they investigated the issue. The newspaper reported …
It’s a substantial change for an attraction specifically designed with the near-misses in mind. Dragon Challenge is even programmed to calculate the weight of the two coasters after they are loaded with riders to ensure optimal timing.
Universal Orlando said this week it has decided to permanently end the practice of launching the two coasters simultaneously. The resort now bills the attraction as a “high-speed chase between two coasters.”
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our guests and our team members,” Schroder said. “This attraction has been through extensive safety inspections and continues to live up to our high safety standards.”
Although the ride has operated since 1999 as a dueling coaster, the recent incidents are the first to be widely reported.
What do you think? Is the ride as fun without the near-miss? Should the ride be changed because of a couple of incidents?