Universal is making changes to Dragon Challenge

August 17, 2011, 10:53 AM · Universal Orlando is making changes in response to a second guest being injured on the Dragon Challenge coaster within the last two weeks. Both incidents occurred during the part of the ride where both trains are going head on toward one another into the inverted loop.

Dragon Challenge

Local 6 News reports that Jon Wilson, a 19 year old from Ohio, said that something had hit him in the foot, arm, and face. He recollects saying that his sister was sitting next to him and when he told her he got hit she at first thought it might be a bug until she looked over to see his hands covered in blood.

In response, Universal Orlando has now changed the ride by having the trains run staggered so they won't pass near one another at the intersecting dueling points of the coaster. Universal Spokesman Tom Schroder told Local 6, "as we continue to study these incidents, we will operate both coasters as separate experiences without their usual intersect points."

This was the second incident in just over two weeks following another guest, Carlos Montalvo, being struck in the right eye leaving him blind in that eye.

It is not unheard of guests loosing personal belongings on an attraction. In the case of coasters in particular dueling coasters these items can become dangerous projectiles. I would speculate that both of these incidents were caused by lost items. I myself am guilty of having lost my glasses on the wooden coaster Gwazi before. They were in my pocket and got rattled loose during the ride and were lost. Thankfully though I have never been hit by any loose items. Have you ever lost something on a ride or been hit by another guests lost personal belongings during a ride?

Replies (19)

August 17, 2011 at 10:58 AM · This is quite the shame in my opinion. The dueling aspect of Dueling Dragons (I meant Dragon Challenge) was what made this ride for me. Coming so close to another object moving at 50 mph gives you an adrenaline rush like no other. It was like chicken with no chance (I guess there is some chance) of getting hurt. It will be sad to see this go.
August 17, 2011 at 11:07 AM · A guy two seats over from me caught a pigeon halfway through Sheikra at Busch Gardens Tampa a couple of years ago. It didn't injure him because it hit the over the shoulder restraint. He just got to ride the second half of the ride with a dead pigeon in his lap.

That ride has video, which didn't catch the strike, but you can tell by his facial expressions and looking at his lap where in the ride it happened.

August 17, 2011 at 11:14 AM · I hope they bring back the dueling element soon, I am going there in a month!
August 17, 2011 at 12:38 PM · Somehow, I get the feeling that this is a case of people trying to get stuff onto a coaster they shouldn't. Or, possibly, inappropriate footwear.

Last week, I rode Griffon a few times, and kept seeing the same red sandal in one of the nets on one of the Immelmanns. If that net was not there, that shoe would have gone flying off and, possibly, struck someone.

It's a shame that these coasters will not be dueling, and I hope they rectify this issue so that these rides are dueling once more.

August 17, 2011 at 3:01 PM · You never know, there is always someone in the front row trying to shoot POV movies to put on YouTube with a phone or a Flip camera.... the combined speed of the trains is something like 100+ miles an hour at that point. My guess is they will find a device with video footage on it and figure out it was someone being stupid on one or both cases. Just a hunch, but it makes the most sense.
August 17, 2011 at 3:53 PM · Why not put on saftey goggles? Anyways, a little more than an hour until Jimmy Neutron blasts away for good :(
August 17, 2011 at 4:02 PM · That's awful. I hope the kid wasn't seriously hurt. That said this one of the few times where I've heard of someone getting hit by stray objects on a rollercoaster. Anyone remember the story of Fabio getting hit by a bird when he was riding one of the Cedar Fair coasters?

I agree with the previous poster I hope they arrange it so they duel again.

August 17, 2011 at 5:57 PM · This happens at Space Mountain often enough. Because 13 trains run on both tracks, sometimes something loose bounces out of a car and lands on people or the track since the ride has so many cross overs. No one has been seriously hurt, but the worst case since I've worked there would be a man hit by a wig. Items falling on the track makes up a good portion of the down time, triggering sensors.
August 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM · I'm more inclined to believe someone on the other train is tossing something as they head into the loops. Sadly, there are people that pathetic. Are there on-ride photos? I know they're not kept forever, but they could have saved the ones for those particular rides. A high-speed camera at that section of the track would allow them to see anyone doing something wrong.

How many other incidents at this spot on the track are there?

When I was at KI in June, some idiot had his camera out and we got stopped on the second life on the Beast. Unfortunately, they didn't toss is arse out of the park like they should have.

Regarding the pigeon strike, don't forget Fabio at BGW!

August 17, 2011 at 7:41 PM · Back in the '90's, I was foolishly wearing a new Busch Gardens baseball cap on The Big Bad Wolf. The cap flew off during the ride ... and landed squarely on the head of the person in the swinging car right behind mine! After the ride, he gave it back, and we shared a laugh about the sheer implausibility of that actually happening. Oh, for a video of that precision hat maneuver...!
August 17, 2011 at 9:03 PM · to correct the earlier post, it was not a cedar fair coaster that fabio was injured on it was Apollos Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, during the rides opening press day.
August 18, 2011 at 3:25 AM · I can't see why there was a 120 minute line for Dragon Challenge yeasteday if it wasn't even dueling. I think that Univrsal needs to be WAY more strict about loose articles on rides. If a rider is wearing sunglasses or has a hat, they need to be required to put them in a locker. As for flip flops and slip on shoes, they need to have bins for them in the station; who wants to walk through that long queue barefoot? Those three articles are the ones that fall off of rides the most.
August 18, 2011 at 7:27 AM · Two years ago my husband and I were riding Diamondback at King's Island and wallet flew back and hit my husband on the arm. He tried to grab but it fell down and landed on the platform below us. Luckily it stayed there to the ride's end and we were able to locate the owner. We saw it fly right out of his pocket from two rows ahead of us. I am very careful now to make sure I put any items into my cargo shorts that have zippered pockets.
August 18, 2011 at 10:12 AM · I am not surprised; I rode DC last year and foolishly forgot that I had a pack of Marlboro cigarettes rolled up in my left shirt sleeve ala 'Grease" (I always leave my stuff in lockers, but I had forgotten about the sleeve pack since it was light and had been there for a while)... halfway into the ride they flew out and into the riders right behind me. I was humiliated. when the ride was over I got off and immediately approached them to apologize. Was a young, nice German couple... they were unfazed and actually found it quite funny; furthermore, they somehow actually managed to catch the pack and gave it back to me!

That being said... now while at ride lockers, I automatically pat my sleeves down just to double check that I didn't leave a pack in there.

August 18, 2011 at 10:26 AM · Good job of reporting Domenik... So sorry to hear about this. Especially for the individual who lost sight in one of his eyes. This is one my favorite inverted coasters (besides Montu) and the dueling aspect adds to the fun and intensity. I have always made it a point to wear my sunglasses on roller coasters (with a strap of course). In light of this, I may even "upgrade" to my shatter resistant safety sunglasses (these can be purchased at Home Depot for yardwork).

I have to agree with one of the other posters about this possibly being a deliberate act. An unfortunate, but typical aspect of the society we now live in.

August 18, 2011 at 6:12 PM · SO at the Tower of Terror guests like to see there stuff go up and down and people constantly let go of there backpacks and bags and see them go up and down. We constantly have to hit our ride stop and stop the ride to tell them stop and reride the whole elevator.

Also guests like to take a coin and put it on there knee or hand and watch that go up and down but sometimes that backfires. They either move at the wrong moment so that the coin hits them in the face! Or that they move there hand or knee and not catch the coin. The elevators have grates for floors and so the coins fall in-between and into the elevator and sometimes this brings down the ride! On occasion a penny will get stuck in a door which will not close and the Tower will go down!

August 18, 2011 at 10:41 PM · 36 morons "like" this article on Facebook. What is there to "like" about it? I "hate" this article. There is nothing to like about Universal screwing with one of the greatest roller coasters of all time.

Loose articles flying in the air are more of a danger for those standing below a roller coaster than those on the same train. Have you ever caught something (like the Cigarette pack story)? The article when lost has momentum in the direction the train is traveling. I've caught hats, glasses and even a digital camera with ease and in each case it just floated into my hands.

While I can see where there is potential for an object to fly out on Dragons I have my doubts. I also think you need to look at the number of incidents in relation to the number of rides given. Sometime tells me that Universal is overreacting.

August 20, 2011 at 5:54 AM · My son lost his phone on The Tower of Terror. It was in his pocket but it wasn't a pocket that buttons. At one point he saw it floating up in front of his face but he couldn't catch it. It eventually ended up going through an opening between the seat and the wall and hitting the ground - oh, I don't know - about 30 or 40 feet below. To their credit, Disney DID send the pieces back in a box. Thankfully no one was hit by it while it was flying. And REALLY thankfully, it was a few hours before we were leaving to head home, because it put my son in such a foul mood that our vacation was over as soon as he realized the phone was missing.
August 20, 2011 at 2:50 PM · Having enjoyed the ride many times during our visit in February, It is inconceivable that the two carriages pass so close together that contact is possible, other contributors observe, that items may fly from guests on the ride. To all you selfish enough, to carry inappropriate items on to the ride……… Please use the lockers, they are free and safe. The nature of the ride is the CHALLENGE, without that coming close together, 90% of the kudos is lost.

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