Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Restrictions and access
54 inches; loose articles must be stowed in lockers adjacent to the attraction’s entrance; has Express Pass access; also has a front row line for each coaster.
Two sentence insider summary
This high-speed, outdoor rollercoaster is an absolute must for thrill-seekers. Step inside the Triwizard Tournament, choose to ride the Hungarian Horntail or the Chinese Fireball, and test your mettle in the tournament’s first contest!
5 out of 5. But it is worth it.
On very busy days you may see a wait time as high as 45 minutes, but it is usually much lower. In fact, most days the wait doesn’t climb any higher than 10 minutes.
What you wish you knew before you experienced it
Many days you will probably spend more time walking from the attraction’s entrance all the way up the outdoor walkway and through the castle to the loading area than you will standing in line. Don’t forget to check out Ron’s car and the various Triwizard artifacts in the queue. In fact, after you ride the coasters, you may want to visit the queue again with your camera.
OI fun fact
Before the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, this ride — which is the longest duel inverted roller coaster in the world — was part of IOA’s Lost Continent and carried the name Dueling Dragons. Many locals still refer to it by that name.
This page presents a summary and guest reviews of Dragon Challenge. To learn insider secrets about this attraction, when you’re done with this page be sure to visit our Dragon Challenge: Secrets of the queue page, part of our Insider’s guide to WWoHP.
About the cessation of the dueling coasters
For more than a decade, the signature thrill of Universal Orlando’s “Dragon Challenge” has been the ride’s three near-collisions, in which the attraction’s two intertwined roller coasters, speeding along their tracks at up to 60 mph, pass within 18 inches of each other.
Riders will never experience that again.
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.”
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.
“We believe this is the best path forward for our guests and for the attraction,” Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said of the decision to permanently alter Dragon Challenge.
Video: ‘Connected car’ of the future drives itself.
Precisely what happened in the two incidents remains a mystery. Universal will not discuss the findings of its review, though the resort’s statements in the aftermath of the two incidents — in which it reminded guests of its long-standing policy to secure all loose items before boarding the coasters — suggest that they may have been caused by items falling out of guests’ hands or pockets as the coasters raced along their tracks.
View the full article on OrlandoSentinel.com
Dragon Challenge – HD video
Please note that this video shows the coasters dueling. As noted above, they no longer duel.
Click the play button to start the video. Note: Our videos do not stream in HD by default to ensure quick streaming. If you would like to view the video in HD, start the clip and then adjust the bitstream using the gear button.
Dragon Challenge – photo gallery
Click any image to view it full-screen. When the full-screen image is open, click to the right to advance through the gallery. If several thumbnails are missing, try reloading this page in your browser.
Dragon Challenge – map
Click any marker to display the attraction or venue name. To scroll or zoom, use the controls on the top-left of the map. You may also switch to different map views by using the buttons on the top-right of the map.
View OI’s map of Universal’s Islands of Adventure in a larger map
Guest reviews of Dragon Challenge
We provide this space for real guests to share their opinions about the topic on this page. Please note that guest comments may contain spoilers.
If you have already experienced this attraction, we invite you to tell the world what you thought! All reviews are moderated. Once you submit your review, it will appear soon.
Great coaster for the intense coaster lover, Not for the faint at heart. I normally don't like coasters that leave your feet hanging but, we rode the blue one. I loved it and was proud of myself for doing it but was not up to the challenge to turn around and ride the red one back to back, it is that good.
a great coaster and fun ride
I really enjoyed the ride. I thought the coaster, while not my favorite at the park, was still really good. It was repurposed well into the Harry Potter world. The line was never too long for this so I rode both coasters multiple times over the course of the day. My favorite was the fireball. Sadly there is no cup holder for my butter beer while riding.
One Heck of a Ride
Full disclosure: no way would I go on this ride -- it scares the heck out of me! But my 14 year old son loves this ride and he went on it 13 times last week! This ride was around before the Harry Potter section of the park was built. It was called Dueling Dragons in those days. The ride was re0themed for Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It is the same ride, although they've made some safety changes (the 2 coasters don't go at the same time next to each other as they used to do).
My son loves it because it flips and loops. He gets really dizzy -- so the ride is doing its job!
The Triwizard Tournament has begun!
I never had the opportunity of experiencing this coaster when it was duelling dragons so I can't compare it to that. However, I think as the Dragon Challenge it is a brilliant coaster.
I love the excellent theming that Universal is famous for. Seeing the Goblet of fire on the way through the queue and the option to choose which dragon to ride. Definitely ride both as they are a bit different.
The ride in general is similar to the Nemesis at Alton Towers but with the advantage of being built a lot higher and with many more twists and turns.
All in all, a fab ride. Can't wait to ride again this September!
A Must-Do at Islands of Adventure
This has got to be one of best coasters ever built. Not because of hight, speed, or even number of inversions, but because its two roller coasters intertwined carefully between each other that each give you a different ride experience. This roller coaster used to be named Dueling Dragons before the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was built. During that time, these coasters "dueled" with each other and at one point, you would come within 18 inches of a rider on the other coaster before swooping into a loop at speeds up to 60 mph! Even though they don't duel anymore, this is still a very entertaining and unique attraction and very well themed within the Wizarding World.
This is one of those rides that people expect the queue length to be huge on, I have been the past three Septembers and the queue has been really short, infact it takes longer to walk the queue line than you are actually waiting in it, a theme park goers dream!
The theming of the line makes it a must do and the fact you get to go on an amazing ride at the end is just the icing on the cake. And what beter way to finish riding a dragon than getting a frozen butterbeer as a bravery reward.
Pay attention to details....
This is one of those rides that probably doesn't need a review. People are going to flock towards it no matter what...and flock they should! We were there in January of 2013. It was slightly raining and the park was pretty packed but the line was fewer than 20 minutes. My family does not care for roller coasters so they wandered arouns while I got in line. I had ridden it before the changeover to the Hary Potter themed ride so I almost didn't ride but they encouraged me to and told me they would wander around Zonko's. I made my way to the ride and was amazed my the penants and flags advertising the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
Since the line was pretty much me at that point I stopped to read each banner and then, like The Holy Grail, I saw The Weasley's Ford Anglia....I rubbed my eyes to make sure the rain had soaked into my brain but there it was. Then I saw The Goblet of Fire. Simply amazing. I made my way to the caverns and eventually ran into a line. There were two young men, twin brothers, in front of me and we started talking. We discussed our mutual love of roller coasters and Harry Potter. They told me they were on vacation from Canada. They drove from Canada to Orlando because they wanted to see more of America. We talked for a while and decided to wait so we could ride in the front.
And we did. It was incredible, After the ride we said our good byes and swapped email addresses. I made a bee line to my family so I could tell them about the Weasley's car. We took pictures in front of it and had a great time. I nearly skipped this ride and if I had skipped it I never would have seen the car, or the goblet, or made some new Canadian friends. That's the secret to theme parks: pay attention to details and talk to people. You'll be glad you did...
Favorite Ride in Park
My favorite ride in both of the Universal parks. Why? Because I love dangling my feet.
At the end of the ride we call the area the graveyard of dropped things, because there are shoes, hats, sunglasses, you name it. This is the reason I wear tennis shoes when I come to the parks, so I don't lose my shoes on these rides.
Even though the rest of the park was packed, this ride was only a 15 minute wait. I have no idea why, because it is such a great ride.
The Amazing Experience
It was really an amazing and awesome experiance. I am really affraid of heights... really it is something physical!!!! I had never thought of roller costers, for me, it was forbidden!!! And then I went to Island and it was really a very nice day!!!! My sons told me that they were going to Dragon, and since it was our first visit to USA (we are from Brazil), and I have not read anything about the attractions, I told them that I would go too. When I arrived there... I found it very insteristing (remember I am not a roller coster fan) and I though this would not be so bad!!!! When we were going up, my husband thought.... that there was something wrong.... becaus cars in parking lot were geetting smaller and I was looking to the sky.... and then we were going down.... the only one thing that I could do was screamming...... Oh my god.... I blamed God for being there..... I closed my eyes... and cursed myself all the time!!!! I promised not to be there again ... I swore by all the Earth not come back !!!!!! I remembered feeling nauseous.... So I decided..... Dragon never more.... roller coster is not my business....
And Can you imagine what happen after that...... I became a Dragon fan.... Seriously.... Everytime I go to Island I can not imagine not going to Dragon... It is really my favorite roller coster.... What happend ... really I do not know..... but I love the freedom sensation the it gives me!!!
Dragon Challenge After Dark
Dragon Challenge after dark is a whole new ride. There is very little light while riding and we found it somewhat disorienting. As local Annual Pass holders, we've ridden this many many times over the past few years, but always in the daytime. Our first (and probably my last) ride at night actually caused motion sickness for my first time on any ride anywhere. I am not prone to it at all and have ridden everything in both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios many times....even front row seats for Rip Ride Rocket, Mummy, and Hulk. Dragon Challenge probably falls fourth on my list as far as roller coasters in those parks. The difference this time was being thrown into almost total darkness on Dragon Challenge. My 24 yr old son and I both found it very disorienting. We both had to sit on a bench for several minutes after exiting the ride before we felt okay enough to find the rest of our group who had not ridden.
When choosing your dragon...
Upon arriving at the huge stone entrance of the Dragon Challenge you may think your dragon choice is just around the corner. This is not the case! The queue line for these magnificent coasters is extremely long in length so you will have a moment to decide. While traversing the curvy trail up the hill you will pass several Hogwarts Tri-wizard flags and a fairly good view of the dragons (track) you will choose from. When nearing the building will have a superb photo opportunity of the "Weasley flying car". Upon entering the building you will see the Tri-wizard cup and, if you are lucky, be taking the Express Pass entrance to the ride. If not prepare for a dark, winding trip down the regular queue. At the end of the queue you will come to where you finally have to choose which dragon you want by turning left or right to the appropriate coaster loading area. Only choose the front row if you do not mind waiting longer or the ride is not busy! While the tracks may seem the same ride perception can be very different. When deciding which dragon to ride it is important to know what YOU like in a coaster. If you prefer plenty of twist and turns I suggest the Horntail however if you want a few less curves but a bit more speed I suggest the Fireball. No matter which one you choose first, if you like it, you are going to try the second coaster soon after! To eliminate part of your trip back around be sure to take the uphill right turn on the outside trail leading back to Hogsmeade village... Its a short cut back to the ride!
Scared to Ride - but glad I did!
I left my husband and daughter waiting in line at Olivander's Wand Shop, and I wanted to ride a few things that my 8-year-old did not want to attempt. Her last words to me at this point of departure were, "I dare you to try the Dragon Challenge coaster!"
I headed over to Flight of the Hippogriff first, and that was very tame, but a little bumpy. I checked back with them as they stood in line, and I told my daughter to smile big and she might get chosen to be up front for the wand selection.
I walked over to Dragon Challenge and nervously approached. I tested out the seat, as I am a little on the hefty side. I fit. I walked up the path and made note of all the neat scenery - like the Weasley's car and Hagrid's hut. SIDE NOTE: Even if you plan to not ride on Dragon Challenge, you MUST go through the queue just to see the sights.
There were two older women who were in line and coached me when I showed I was nervous. They told me to close my eyes if it got too intense. I figured if they could do it, so could I.
I was told that the red one goes faster but has fewer flips and turns, and the blue one is more acrobatic. I chose the RED ONE. I kept my eyes open and enjoyed it immensely -- and SCREAMED. I never realized that riding a coaster that flips is really NOT as intense as I thought it would be. It was amazing and almost like flying.
When I got off, I checked back with hubby and daughter, they were almost into the wand shop, and they said they heard me screaming. *blush* So, I left them again to ride the BLUE ONE!
The BLUE dragon was also quite spectacular and I did not scream as much. I think trying the red one first was key to my enjoyment, as the blue one's flips and turns seemed more amazing and enjoyable after I got used to being upside down and swirled on a coaster. I was so glad I tried them both.
When I told them I went on BOTH, my husband and daughter could hardly believe it. And, my daughter was chosen to be up front for the wand experience. I guess she hammed it up just perfectly. GREAT DAY at Islands of Adventure for all of us.
We cannot wait to come back and see the new expansion.
This family from Indiana is already planning our 2014 vacation to Universal Orlando!
Dragon Challenge - Awesome
Well I've been a regular visitor to Islands of Adventure since 2001 and for the first 5-6 years I was too afraid to even contemplate riding what was the duelling dragons fire and ice. Then I thought, just do it you've nothing to lose apart from your voice and I've been on these two awesome coasters every time we visit and I just love the thrill of riding. Every time is a different experience and none more so than my last ride in April. I suffer from motion sickness and had just been on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and decided to go straight onto Dragon Challenge - BIG MISTAKE on my part, but extremely amusing for other riders.
I came off the ride extremely disorientated and then proceeded to throw up in the nearest bin. Everyone, including my family and ride attendants were in fits of laughter. It didn't stop me riding Dragon Challenge the next day, but I've learned my lesson not to go on it straight after a simulator ride.