Description And Comments

Dragon Challenge, formerly Dueling Dragons and part of The Lost Continent, was renamed and incorporated into The Wizarding World in 2010. The storyline is that you're preparing to compete in the Triwizard Tournament from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As you wind through the long, long queue, you pass through tournament tents and dark passages that are supposed to be under the stadium. You'll see the Goblet of Fire itself and dragon eggs on display, and hear the distant roar of the crowd in the supposed stadium above you.

Riders board one of two coasters -- Chinese Fireball (red) or Hungarian Horntail (blue) -- that are launched separately on tracks that are closely intertwined. The tracks are configured so that you get a different experience on each, and both include close encounters with the surroundings, including the Hogwarts Express train station.. Originally, the coasters were designed to dispatch simultaneously and duel, with three “near miss” interactions during the ride. Ever since a few injuries were caused by flying objects, the dragon-shaped trains have dispatched sequentially instead of simultaneously, so it looks as if one train is chasing another, robbing the attraction of its most memorable gimmick.

Because this is an inverted coaster, your view of the action is limited unless you're sitting in the front row. Regardless of where you sit, there's plenty to keep you busy. Dragon Challenge is the highest coaster in the park and also claims the longest drop at 115 feet, plus five inversions. As on the Hulk, it's a smooth ride all the way.

Coaster fans argue about which seat on which train provides the wildest ride. We prefer the front row of Horntail, for the visuals of the close call with the castle; and the last row of Fireball, for added G-forces during the more intense inversions.

Touring Tips

Use the restrooms before getting in line. The queuing area for Dragon Challenge is the longest, most convoluted affair we've ever seen, winding endlessly through a maze of faux subterranean passages. After what feels like a comprehensive tour of Mammoth Cave, you finally emerge at the loading area, where you must choose between Chinese Fireball or Hungarian Horntail. Of course, at this critical juncture, you're as blind as a mole rat from being in the dark for so long. Our advice is to follow the person in front of you until your eyes adjust to the light.

Waits for Dragon Challenge, one of the best coasters in the country, rarely exceed 30 minutes before 11 a.m. Ride after experiencing Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Warn anyone waiting for you that you might be a while. Even if there's no line to speak of, it takes 10-12 minutes just to navigate the passages and not much less time to exit after riding.

If lines are short, park employees mayopen special doors marked "Reentry to Chinese Fireball" or "Reentry to Hungarian Horntail" (depending on what coaster you just rode) that allow you to get right back to the head of the queue and ride again. Finally, if you don't have time to ride both coasters, the Unofficial crew unanimously prefers Chinese Fireball.

Dragon Challenge Wait Times

This chart shows you roughly how long you'll wait for Dragon Challenge when you visit on a day with a given Universal's Islands of Adventure Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average "peak" wait time (that is, how long the line will at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it's the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see Dragon Challenge Wait Times.

Attraction Photos

Special Comments

Must be 54" tall to ride.

Special Needs

Other Attractions in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade

Touring Plans with Dragon Challenge

What is a Touring Plan?