Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dragon Challenge Replacement?

Dragon Challenge entrance. Photo from Wikipedia, creative commons.
Universal was in a bad spot during Hogsmeade's design, they couldn't afford to remove Dueling Dragons due to financial issues under Blackstone. WB and JK Rowling agreed to let the coaster remain as part of a Tri-Wizards tournament attraction tucked behind an archway in a wall. Ever since then the attraction has not hit capacity despite Hogsmeade being a resounding success. After metal detectors were installed the situation became worse as guests waited more in queues for lockers than getting on the ride.

We've been hearing about a Dragons Challenge replacement for quite some time now, for obvious reasons. Friend of the site Richard Bilbao is reporting sources indicating the attraction will indeed disappear sooner than later. In it's place will be a new dark ride concept combining indoor and outdoor segments, but unlike Reign of Kong across the lagoon, it will not feature 'mixed media' or movie screens.

Acreage of Dragon Challenge. From AlexShow.
Dragons Challenge takes place on a parcel of land slightly smaller than Diagon Alley, making it a good option to expand Hogsmead.The Harry Potter Studio Tour just announced a new expansion featuring the Forbidden Forest, which is very likely also to come to Islands of Adventure. Based on Diagon Alley construction timelines it's probable that Dragons Challenge will close later this year or early next year for it's replacement opening in 2019 or 2020.

Universal has not commented on any plans. Listen to our latest podcast episode for more news and speculation.

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