This week we have a duel on our hands — Dueling Dragons to be exact, a real Dragon Challenge. That’s right, we’re putting up the Chinese Fireball dragon versus the Hungarian Horntail (formerly known as Fire and Ice.)
Dueling Dragons was the original name of this attraction when Islands of Adventure opened its gates on May 28, 1999, and it was located in the Lost Continent section of the park. When Universal announced the Wizarding world of Harry Potter, we learned the attraction would be re-themed and re-named Dragon Challenge. Fire and Ice would become Chinese Fireball and Hungarian Horntail. The coaster made its soft opening debut under the new Dragon Challenge moniker in March 2010 and officially opened to the public in June.
Dragon Challenge was designed by roller coaster manufacturers Bolliger and Mabillard. It is an inverted coaster, meaning the train hangs below the track versus the classic on top-of-the-track design. Doubling down on that feature, Dragon Challenge remains the world’s only dueling inverted coaster (in the sense that it has two separate tracks that intertwine). Longtime fans know that the two coasters no longer run in “duel” in the truest sense, meaning they no longer launch simultaneously, due to safety reasons. Nevertheless, the attraction offers two completely unique ride layouts, both incredible in their own ways.
Between the two designs, Chinese Fireball (Red) is considered the more intense. This ride features two Immelmann elements, a vertical loop, and two flatspins while traveling at a top speed of 60mph along the 3,200ft course. The Hungarian Horntail (Blue) reaches a top speed of 55mph and features a zero gravity roll, vertical loop, cobra roll and one flatspin. Depending on your preference of ride elements, each person will have their favorite.
Dragon Challenge is unlike any other ride in existence to this day — 14 years on and the attraction is still considered among the best inverted roller coaster experiences in the world!
So what’s your…
Last week’s polls: Which ride is better, Spider-Man or Transformers? With 34 out of 62 votes (55%), Spider-Man wins. Which is the better specialty drink, Disney’s Dole Whip or Universal’s butterbeer? With 83 out of 124 votes (67%), butterbeer wins. View all of our reader polls