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Dragon Challenge Closes at Universal Orlando

Monday, September 4, 2017, was the final day of operation for the integrated pair of Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) inverted coasters that opened as Dueling Dragons in 1999, on the premiere of the new Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure (UIOA) theme park.

Considered a creative and technological marvel, the Dragons were the anchor attraction of "The Lost Continent," one of UIOA's original five "Islands." In 2010, the attraction was reimagined as a component to the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter, renamed "Dragon Challenge" and saw much of its original thematic environment changed or eliminated. In 2011, dueling operation ceased following two incidents of flying objects causing injury to riders. Eventually, Universal and the holders of the Harry Potter licensing agreed that the Dragons weren't a good fit for the intellectual property and plan to announce a new thrill Wizarding World attraction soon.

The two inverted coasters shared a 125-foot-tall lift structure, then took separate, unique courses of 3,200 feet and five inversions each, and were designed to include three points of near-miss "dueling." It is widely assumed that the coasters will not be relocated and the steel will be discarded, even though six B&M coasters have been relocated (one of them twice), two have been converted to an alternate product style (standup to floorless) and one has been dismantled and structurally re-created. Dueling Dragons / Dragon Challenge would be the first B&M roller coaster to fall into the category of completely defunct.

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* Lee Ann Draud
Publications Director
* Rus Ozana
ACE News Now Editor

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