Prepare For Arial Combat

The loop-the-loop near miss is the best bit of the ride

Ice

Dueling Dragons Logo

Fire

The Concept

Explore an abandoned, ransacked medieval castle littered with the remains of brave knights who've come before you and perished.  Some have been scorched, others frozen.  Their bones tell the tale of a horrible fate.  Merlin's book reveals the story of two angry dragons on the rampage causing untold horrors in their wake.  Soon you are confronted with a decision; either ride Pyrrock the red fire dragon, or Blizzrock the blue ice dragon.  Chose thy fate and then hold on tight for a dogfight high in the sky as both dragons duel against each other.  Arial combat is the only way to sort out this feud and to rid the kingdom of both creatures forever.  And guess what, you're along for the ride!

The old ride entrance, which is no longer in use

My Memories

The Dueling Dragons are yet another amazing attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure, which is my favourite theme park by a Mickey mile!  The dragons are actually two separate and unique inverted steel roller coasters designed to dual against each other around Merlin Woods and Dragon Lake.  There is one single queue for both coasters, so Joy and I joined the line.  Fortunately for us there was only a 15 minute wait for the ride, so we got to ride on both coasters.  Dueling Dragons usually has a shorter queue than the Hulk because it's located on the island furthest away from the main entrance. 

One of the three near misses

The queue system is really impressive at keeping you entertained while you wait - the best I have ever seen in fact!  You queue through Merlin's castle, which has been totally ransacked.  There are massive scorch marks on some of the timbers and frozen patches on tables and chairs.  Also there are skeletons of knights with their helmets still on.  It all sets the scene well and builds up the atmosphere and psychology for the ride.  You are led to believe that two raging dragons have flown through the castle, causing havoc and completely gutting it in the process, and now you're about to ride one of them!

 Ice Dragon's amazing inverted cobra roll

As we edged closer to the front the queue suddenly split into two and we were left to make a decision; do you head left for fire or turn right for ice?  There was a sign on the wall, which read; 'Choose thy fate; Past this point of no return, your only choice is freeze or burn'.  Joy and I decided to ride the ice dragon first.  A few minutes later and we were boarding the train in the loading station.  The floor lowered and we climbed the lift hill with the fire dragon along side us, albeit slightly in front of the ice dragon as we ascended.  When the trains are loaded, they are weighed by a computer as they are being dispatched in order to make necessary adjustments to properly time and maximise the three near-miss points.  This demonstrates just how technologically advanced the actually ride is!

 The main near miss has only a 12 inch clearance! 

At the top of the hill both coasters went their separate ways and the rest of the ride became a bit of a blur!  In all honesty, everything happens so quickly you don't really notice the three near misses, except for the loop-the-loop where you can see the other train coming hurtling towards you, then just at the very last second the trains pull upwards into a vertical loop-the-loop, which is an amazing experience!  To see all the near misses perfectly then you will need to sit at the front on each train, or for the greatest speed and g-force you should sit at the back.  Unfortunately I have never sat at the front or back on this ride due to the long extra queue time you have to endue for each privilege - so I just sat at the end of one of the rows.  It's still an incredible experience though but your view is severely restricted.  

Fire dragon does a banked turn

At the end of the ride we got off and ran back around the queue again.  But this time we went on the fire dragon, which is a different experience from the ice dragon.  My favourite coaster has to be the ice one as it contains more vertical movement and exciting manoeuvres than the fire dragon, such as the inverted cobra roll, which is totally awesome!  The fire dragon focuses more on lateral motion and maintaining top speed -  I prefer exciting inversions.  It is still a good ride though and is slightly faster than the ice dragon, although you'll hardly notice this while flying round the track.  Overall an amazing double experience for your money!

The track layout - the Hulk coaster can be seen in the distance!

Facts & Figures

Type:

Multi-inversion steel coaster

Make: Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M)
Designer: Ingenieur Buro Stengel Gmbh
Opened: 28th May 1999
Trains: 2 trains - 8 cars per train - 4 across per row for a total of 32 riders per train
Capacity:  3,264 guests per hour

 
Fire Dragon Ice Dragon
Length: 3200 foot 3200 foot
Height: 125 foot 125 foot
Speed: 60 mph 55 mph
Drop: 115 foot 95 foot
Inversions:

5; 2 immelmann turns, loop-the-loop, 2 corkscrews (wing-over)

5; zero-G roll (heartline spin), cobra roll (2), loop-the-loop, corkscrew (wing-over)

Duration: 2:25 2:25

Another near miss shows the dragons displaying to each other

Did You Know

Dueling Dragons are the world's first steel inverted, dueling roller coasters.  Each coaster has a different track layout and ride elements, as shown below:

Track layout

The ride features three near misses between the two coasters with just one foot (12") clearance.  These are:  1) fire's 1st airtime hill & ice's zero-G roll, 2) fire & ice's loop-the-loop, 3) fire's 1st corkscrew and Ice's only corkscrew.

One of the reasons why I prefer the ice dragon; ice does a barrel roll while fire just passes over it.

At the start of every ride each train is weighed to maximise and improve the timing of the collision points.  This achieved by one of the coasters slowing down on the lift-hill to enable the other (heavier) one to get a slight head start.

The restraints on the fire dragon's train is yellow, and the ice dragon's is blue.  However, the front row restraints on both coaster trains are pink as they represent the dragons' tongues.

Fire dragon - note the front row has pink restraints, which is meant to be the dragons tongue Ice dragon

Every train has two larger seats in rows 3 & 6, which are designed to fit guests with larger body dimensions.  Due to the narrow 12" clearance from the 3 near-misses, the ride has a maximum height restriction of 7 foot.

The queue for Dueling Dragons is reportedly the longest and most elaborate waiting line in the world at 3,180 feet.

The best bit of the ride

Dragon Lake is actually shaped like a dragon but few people notice it while soaring over it.

The fire coaster is the only B&M inverted coaster that does not include a zero-G roll.

An incredible experience

Dueling Dragons is featured in the movie 'Bring It On: In It to Win It', where it is called the Double Dragon.

The tracks and supports are filled with sand to reduce noise, due to the close proximity of houses and a high school.  Shortly after the ride and park opened, huge screens and walls were put up behind the ride after local residents complained about the screaming.

Inverted cobra roll

Due to the new Harry Potter theme park in Universal's Islands of Adventure, a new pathway was constructed for Dueling Dragons on 24th September 2008.  The old entrance featuring the dragon statues (shown above) was demolished.

My Review

+

An amazing, unique double experience with a brilliant back story.  This ride is so technologicvally advanced - you'll scream when you see how close you come to the other train!

-

Like most coasters its over too quickly and you'll soon be back at the station wanting more.  Also it would have been nice for it to feature a couple more inversions.  I've only been on it twice and didn't get the chance to go on the front or back! 
Overall 10/10 - A world class inverted dueling coaster bar none!

Cool Videos

See The Dragons In Action

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9Qxj5yPyCM

 

Off Ride Footage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azOHbIJz9eQ

The third near miss; fire dragon zero-g rolls over the ice dragon

Ride Ice Dragon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q7ClBEtBWY

 

Ride Fire Dragon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDYMNtrgC98    

 

More Off Ride Footage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqK1WEol0Pc

Ice dragon

References

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

 

Official Website

http://www.universalorlando.com/amusement-parks/islands-of-adventure.html

This near miss is better experienced on the ice dragon

Unofficial Guide

http://www.islandsofadventure.com/

 

You Tube

www.youtube.com

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