Universal has announced that Dragon Challenge at Islands of Adventure will take its last flight on Monday, September 4, 2017, before making way for a new highly-themed roller coaster that takes guests into further into the Wizarding World.
Dragon Challenge originally debuted as Dueling Dragons in the Lost Continent section of the park when Universal Orlando opened in 1999. It had two separate tracks, Fire and Ice, that intertwined and dueled against one another, hence the name. It was also the world’s first inverted dueling roller coaster.
The ride was a fan favorite for many years until 2010 when it underwent a refurbishment to better fit into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. A year later, after a small string of accidents, Universal permanently stopped the dueling, transforming it into a “chasing” coaster.
After 19 years of use, Dragon Challenge’s track needs to be replaced. Universal has decided to create a brand new Potter experience. Its replacement will be a roller coaster of some sort, though it will not be outdoor like Dragon Challenge, and will have some dark ride elements, similar to Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The coaster will use all new technology to heighten the immersion level and bring guests closer to the Wizarding World than ever before.
Rumors are swirling that the new ride will be based on the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Theme film series. Universal’s official announcement said the attraction “will take [guests] deeper into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, where you will encounter some of your favorite characters and creatures.” Interestingly enough, Universal referee to the attraction as both a thrill and family-friendly ride. The new coaster is expected to open in 2019.