UPDATE – Universal has confirmed the closure of Dragon Challenge at Islands of Adventure. Read more here.
Take this with a huge pinch of salt but I have seen lots of rumours circulating that Universal are currently considering the closure of Dragon Challenge at Islands of Adventure in favour of another Harry Potter attraction, perhaps based on the Fantastic Beasts film franchise.
I don’t usually report on rumours that I don’t personally think will come to light, this one I think is more than possible for several reasons:
Dragon Challenge Is Never Busy
I don’t think I have had to wait in line to ride Dragon Challenge since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened and it changed its name from Duelling Dragons. Part of the reason for this is because guests rush off to ride The Forbidden Journey in favour of Dragon Challenge and the fact that there is so much to see and do in and around Hogsmeade.
The queue to even get to the front of the attraction is crazy and without exaggeration, it is often longer to walk to the ride boarding area than it is to even ride the attraction!
The fact of the matter is, the attraction simply isn’t pulling in the crowds that it once did before the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
It Doesn’t Operate the Way it Used To
Back when the attraction first opened in 1999 under the name of Duelling Dragons the attraction did just that, had dragons racing against each other in an intense duel that saw sides red and blue fly in extremely close to one another several times during the duration of the ride.
This now rarely happens due to complaints of guests belongings flying across to the other ride train over the years. Despite Universal getting stricter at not allowing guests to take any belongings onto the attraction, I haven’t seen the attraction run both red and blue sides they way they were originally intended to run in years.
It Isn’t Really a Harry Potter Themed Attraction
While the theme of the queue is great, I feel a lot more could have been done to make it feel even more like the Triwizard tournament. Currently it feels like Universal have simply dropped a load of movie props into the queue to pass the long walk to the front of the ride. The ride itself also went largely unchanged and simply doesn’t have the appeal to Potter fans in the same way that The Hogwarts Express and The Forbidden Journey does.
It Makes Sense
As much as it pains me to admit it, putting a new attraction in place of Dragon Challenge that is better themed to Harry Potter does make a lot of sense, especially if Universal chooses to focus on the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie. Crowds will flock to a new attraction and it gives Universal the chance to sell a lot more merchandise!
Universal Just Filed a New Patent
Universal just filed a new patent that suggests they are working on a brand new Harry Potter attraction (see the link for my full write-up). As discussed, it makes a lot of sense for them to insert the attraction in the space where Dragon Challenge currently sits.
It would upset me greatly if Universal decided to remove such a great coaster and replace it with yet another 3D attraction. That being said, if they utilise the technology that was detailed in a patent then it could be the next big attraction in Orlando. Still, it would be a shame to see such a fantastic coaster close.
What are your thoughts on Universal closing Dragon Challenge, do you think it is likely? Let us know in the comments below!