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Dueling Dragons is a pair of dueling roller coasters at Universal Studios' Islands of Adventuremarker. The ride is the only dueling inverted roller coaster in the world. The ride is themed to two dragons, one side being Fire and the other Ice. It features a layout in which the two trains share adjacent lift hills, but then traverse two completely unique courses. The ride features three near misses between the two trains, which bring riders' feet within several inches of riders on the other train. The ride was constructed by Bolliger & Mabillard of Switzerlandmarker. The Fire dragon reaches a top speed of 60 mph and the Ice dragon reaches a top speed of 55 mph. Both dragons have a two minute and twenty-five second ride duration and include five inversions.

As part of the development of the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Dueling Dragons will be incorporated into the new section and re-themed as Dragon Challenge upon the section's planned opening in Spring 2010.


Queue area

After walking through long, elaborately designed queues, riders came to a decision in the path they follow. At this intersection, riders would turn right to ride on the Ice Dragon and left for Fire Dragon. Merlin frequently taunts riders with some of the following lines.
  • "Turn right for Ice and left for Fire! Now, pick the dragon you desire."
  • "The left burns hot, the right turns cold, whichever you choose you best be bold."
  • "Past this point of no return, your only choice is freeze or burn." (commonly misinterpreted as "freezer burn")
  • "Turn left for Fire, turn right for Ice! I know not which is best advice."
  • "Earthworms and rancid beer, why on earth are you still here?"
  • "You do not listen to this old magician, and so you'll need a good mortician."
  • "If you continue along this path, you will face the dragons wrath."


The ride attendants used several quotes when dispatching the trains:

  • "Battle Bravely."
  • "I bid thee farewell."
  • "Onward to thy doom."
  • "May the fates be with you."
  • "May the dragons spare you."
  • "Keep your hands inside the dragon."
  • "Ice/Fire Dragon, you are clear for battle.
  • "Fire is red, Ice is blue, I'd turn back if I were you."
  • "To ride the dragon was your wish. Now you'll be his tasty dish."
  • "Fire is hot, Ice is cold. You should have left when you were told."
  • "Once beyond the castle gate, there is no turning back. It's far far too late."
  • "Swords and Shields will not work, for you are headed where the dragons lurk."

When the trains are loaded, they are weighed as they are being dispatched in order to properly time the near-miss points. During the aerial "combat" between dragons - the suspended coasters - there are three times that guests will come within 18 inches of their opponent.

As the diagrams show, the "Ice" ride contains more vertical movement, loops, and movements of that nature, whereas the "Fire" ride focuses more on lateral motion and maintaining top speed.

Head-to-head on Dueling Dragons
The ride features interlocking corkscrews

Coaster design


The restraints on the Fire Dragon trains are yellow, and the Ice Dragon trains' restraints are blue. However, the front row restraints on both sides are pink, as they represent the dragons' tongues. Every train has two seats (rows 3 & 6) designed to fit guests with "certain larger body dimensions."

Track Layout

Ride layout

Fire Dragon

The Fire Dragon is the only Bolliger & Mabillard inverted coaster that does not include a Zero-g roll.

At the top of the lift hill, Fire Dragon drops to the left, away from Ice Dragon, into an Immelmann loop. Leaving the Immelmann, the ride passes over an airtime hill, crossing over Ice Dragon's Zero-g roll (first near miss). Fire then proceeds into a unique element called a wrap-around Immelmann, which is like an Immelmann loop but has a sharper exit turn. Riders on Fire Dragon then enter a straight section of track, with front seat riders seeing the Ice Dragon train speeding almost right towards Fire Dragon's train. At the last second, the Fire Dragon train pulls up into a vertical loop (second near miss). Leaving the vertical loop, Fire Dragon riders round a left hand turn leading into the first corkscrew, which interlocks with the only corkscrew on Ice Dragon (third near miss). After another turn, the track passes through the second corkscrew, before hitting the final brake run.

Ice Dragon

At the top of the lift hill, Ice Dragon drops to the right, away from Fire Dragon. Unlike other Bolliger and Mabillard inverted roller coasters, Ice Dragon does not feature an inversion right away. Rather, the train then rounds a left hand spiral, which leads into the first near miss. Riders on Ice Dragon pass through a Zero-g roll passing underneath Fire Dragon's first airtime hill. Almost immediately after the zero-g roll, the Ice Dragon trains pass through a Cobra roll, flipping riders upside down twice. Exiting the Cobra roll, the Ice Dragon riders speed along a straight section of track towards the oncoming Fire Dragon train, before pulling up into a vertical loop, as part of the second near miss. After a straight segment following the vertical loop, the Ice Dragon track rounds a right hand turn leading to the ride's only corkscrew, which interlocks with Fire Dragon's first corkscrew. Upon leaving the corkscrew, riders on Ice Dragon make a right hand turn and can see the riders on Fire Dragon about to enter the second corkscrew, before making a left hand turn and hitting the final brake run.

Noise level

The tracks are filled with sand to reduce noise, because of the proximity of the coaster to Dr. Phillips High School. Shortly after the park opened, huge walls behind the ride were put up after local residents complained about the screaming.

Near Misses

There are 3 "near miss" points on the ride.

  1. Fire's 1st airtime hill crosses over Ice's zero-g roll.
  2. Fire and Ice's vertical loop, creating a near impression that the riders of both trains are about to collide, pulling up into the loops at the last moment.
  3. Fire's 1st corkscrew and Ice's only corkscrew interlock with each other. This is one of only two cases of interlocking corkscrews on an inverted roller coaster, although in this case, there are two separate coasters (the only inverted roller coaster with interlocking corkscrews on the same track is Nemesis Infernomarker at Thorpe Parkmarker).


On July 1, 2009, an employee was walking underneath the coaster in a restricted area when he was hit by the coaster during a test run. The victim suffered multiple head injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital.

Dragon Challenge

In May 2007, Universal announced plans to construct "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," a new section devoted to the popular Harry Potter book and film series. Dueling Dragons, as well as the adjacent Flying Unicorn roller coaster, were shown to be included in the new section. In September 2009, Universal confirmed the move, and also announced that the attraction would be renamed Dragon Challenge upon the section's debut in the spring of 2010.

The Dragon Challenge is based on a component of the Triwizard Tournament, an event depicted in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The two sides of the attraction will be renamed as Hungarian Horntail and Chinese Fireball, although it was not stated which existing track (Fire or Ice) would be given which name.

As construction on the Wizarding World progressed, the entrance to Dueling Dragons was relocated to the Jurassic Park section in September 2008. The old entrance to the ride, featuring Fire and Ice dragons in battle was demolished in October 2008.

Dueling Dragons in popular culture

See also


  • The Book : Dueling Dragons, Megan S. Holmes, March 10, 2005
  • RollerCoasterDatabase,, 2006

External links

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