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IOA | Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure | Intamin LSM Launch (Dragon Challenge replacement)

Ketchup

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Granted I'm no expert on Harry Potter but isn't Forbidden Journey basically a Best of Harry Potter ride (like most theme park rides based on a specific franchise) where they basically try and cram in all the most notable parts of a series into a single 5 minute attraction? Universal probably weren't expecting the area to be that successful so probably had only planned for one area at the time!

I don't see why they couldn't have a separate area based on something that has already appeared for about 30 seconds tops? Based on that surely quidditch or the Forest are distinct possibilities?

It's a shame to hear about Dragons leaving though as it was my first ever big coaster. Granted it kinda sucks now but it will still be a shame to see such an iconic attraction (back in the Duelling Dragons days) leaving the park.
 

djreplay26

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They should replace it with a flyer themed to quidditch, slap some vr on it as universal love that sort of stuff. The position is just like riding a broomstick so it could work well.
 

Ian

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Universal are lucky they are in a position where they can easily spite one (or two in this case) of their biggest, most renowned coasters known the world over, yet people aren't major upset. I guess it's because we're confident that they will replace it with something better and appropriate for the park. Imagine the uproar if PortAventura spited Dragon Khan or Merlin got rid of Oblivion. Tbh, I don't think there is any other theme park company in the world (perhaps Disney, too) who could do such a thing without causing a mass uproar.
 

Joey

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Yeah, I just wouldn't be that sad if they were removed. It's clear they aren't that popular, and they aren't particularly good critically, either. But I still agree with Ian, it's amazing really.

I wonder if they'd have resale value.
 

gavin

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^ I'd imagine they would. They're not location specific, so could "easily" be relocated somewhere with space. They'd have taken a bit of a hammering, but I'd have thought they've been well looked after seeing as it's Universal.

Would any park buy them as a pair though? I'd say it's more likely they'd get separated.

Having said all that, would Universal even bother trying to move them on? Financially, they're in an easy position to just rip them out and save themselves the hassle. They've more than got their money's worth out of them over the years.
 

Mysterious Sue

Well-Known Member
Does seem to be a bit odd to be debating the demise of two substantial B&Ms but, agreed, the theme has been outdated and the rides unloved for a long time. Stopping them from dueling, slapping a Harry Potter name to it and placing a Ford Anglia in the queue wasn't good enough compared to the rest of the area. Could they (potentially) serve the park better by staying put and being reworked into the Harry Potter area with a stronger theme? Maybe the Forbidden Forest everyone's suggesting?

But...Dueling Dragons was installed the same year as Hulk no? If Hulk had reached the end if it's life and needed replacing, perhaps this does too. Only, the ride probably isn't iconic enough to replace with an exact copy in this instance
 

Hyde

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To that end however, these apparent "life cycles" Universal is touting for their roller coasters is ****.
 

Mysterious Sue

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Think it must of been in the Hulk refurb. thread that USF was suggested to have some of the 'most ridden' coasters in the world (considering yearly opening, high visitor numbers ect). No idea, probably wrong. Just making debate.
 

CoasterCrazy

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gavin said:
^ I'd imagine they would. They're not location specific, so could "easily" be relocated somewhere with space. They'd have taken a bit of a hammering, but I'd have thought they've been well looked after seeing as it's Universal.

Would any park buy them as a pair though? I'd say it's more likely they'd get separated.

Having said all that, would Universal even bother trying to move them on? Financially, they're in an easy position to just rip them out and save themselves the hassle. They've more than got their money's worth out of them over the years.
Not sure separation would be financially viable I'm afraid. Remember the two lift hills share the same support structure, so it would be involve either taking them together, or a new lift hill support structure for the two individually. They'd probably need new PLCs as well. If it's flogged off at a very cheap price then maybe! As you say it's all about what universal decides to do with them.



As Ian said, to any other park this would be a bizarre move - but it's totally understandable and actually, if it involved sacrificing the dragons for something like Flying Dinosaur, I'd take that any day.
Don't get me wrong...I enjoyed them, but compared to other B&M inverts and considering their massive scale, they just felt a bit...meh. A little bit rough round the edges due to their age and if we were to judge them individually, then they might well be the worst. I'm really not sure whether I prefer them to a Batman clone. There's no real story to them either and they could replace it with something Quidditch themed? Maybe a dueling sky dragster ;)

If they decide to go down to one cred, there's plenty of room for some other solid attractions as well!
 

Joey

Well-Known Member
Everyone's saying new Hulk rides near exactly how old Hulk did... That you still get the same head bangs and jolts in the same places as before. Which means the roughness wasn't age related, but layout related.

What was the real reason behind the hulk refurbishment, I wonder? Do we actually know? I can't help think it must have been some royal pain in the arse for them to have done what they did. Some operational issue that's since been fixed. Like... Why go through all that to not even get something actually new you can market as being new? It implies they believe Hulk - as an experience - was worth saving.

Getting rid of Dragons actually makes more sense than the Hulk refurb did.

It's mad.
 

tomahawk

Well-Known Member
Everyone's saying new Hulk rides near exactly how old Hulk did... That you still get the same head bangs and jolts in the same places as before. Which means the roughness wasn't age related, but layout related.

What was the real reason behind the hulk refurbishment, I wonder? Do we actually know? I can't help think it must have been some royal pain in the arse for them to have done what they did. Some operational issue that's since been fixed. Like... Why go through all that to not even get something actually new you can market as being new? It implies they believe Hulk - as an experience - was worth saving.

Getting rid of Dragons actually makes more sense than the Hulk refurb did.

It's mad.
The word is there were too many stress fractures in the track from age and repairing other portions of track. Still strange they didn't fix certain things.

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Hyde

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^ Which begs the question - how do those stress fractures form? IOA is certainly not the only year round park operating a modern steel roller coaster.

All of this is quite bizarre.
 

Joey

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I always thought Nemesis would be the first B&M to suffer, with its odd supports base.

Weird. Lots of money to spend on something seemingly pointless.

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Pokemaniac

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It could be related to thermal expansion. I can imagine the temperature difference between a clear, early morning and a hot summer afternoon to be close to fifty degrees Kelvin, for metal directly exposed to the sun in Florida. The thermal expansion coefficient of steel is roughly 10^-5 K^-1, which translates to a 0.05 % linear expansion over a temperature difference of 50 degrees. Or half a meter per kilometer of track, if you will. The ride track is expanding and contracting several decimeters every day, all year, while subject to the usual wear and tear from multi-ton coaster trains running along the relatively narrow steel tubes that constitute the rails. It's understandable that some fractures appear after decades of operation.

Another big question, I guess, is how long Kumba and Montu have left. Those are, respectively, six and three years older than Hulk and Dragon Challenge (which are of the same age). BGT's Python lasted for 30 years in the Florida sun, a milestone Kumba will hit in 2023. As far as I can tell, Kumba (1993) and Montu (1996) are the two oldest steel coasters in Florida taller than 30 metres (100 feet). They are followed by Dragon Challenge (1999), Kraken (2000) and Sheikra (2005). Given that they're all B&Ms of roughly the same size, and therefore should be subject to roughly the same operating conditions, I'd say that any worries Universal Studios might have had about Hulk should be valid for the other top 5 coasters as well, already or in the near future.
 

Mysterious Sue

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Sorry to just get back on this (been busy travelling of late) but I think it's an interesting line of discussion.

Surely it's not just about age, it's about the total time the ride has been in operation during its lifespan. Do you know any figures for visitor numbers for BGT compared to USF? Or opening hours per day/opening days a year to compare?

Also, just a wild guess here (engineering peeps feel free to blast my ignorance out of the water) but I'm assuming a dive machine doesn't suffer the same stress as either an inverted coaster or a traditional coaster with inversions. So it's hard to bring Sheikra into the mix

Or Hulk could have just had some random issue that is nothing to do with age or use. Poke suggests heat expansion but...surely B&Ms operate in countries with far greater temperature fluctuations (look at anywhere in the Middle East). Or do they only operate in the day so the actual operational temperature fluctuation in Florida is greater?
 

Pokemaniac

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^Are there many B&Ms in the Middle East to compare, though? The only one I can find is Lightning, a Batman clone in Kuwait which has operated since 1994.

There could be many other factors, though. Maintenance schedules (including repainting), humidity, operating hours, soil conditions (for footers), frequency of trains, weather conditions... I bet even something as trivial as the running trough for the lift hill cable has an effect on the ride's lifespan, due to induced vibrations and all that stuff.
 

spicy

Active Member
I'm pretty sure that they could have just continued to patch the coaster up like all other parks do and just repair the coasters track when and where it is needed rather than a complete rebuild of the coaster. Obviously they don't have an off season to carry out any substantial repairs and perhaps the repairs got too much so they have decided a complete rebuild is a more viable option and they have the finances to do it.

I always thought Nemesis would be the first B&M to suffer, with its odd supports base.
In 2009 they completely replaced the large support on the exit of the loop:


Here it is laying out in the car park:

They have also re tracked some of the first helix I remember seeing a few pics of it a few years ago although I can't find them.
 

Ben

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To be fair the Middle East is hot but the weather doesn't fluctuate like it does in Florida - it's just hot and dry at all times.

I imagine it wasn't strictly necessary and could have easily been patched up but Universal just went **** it. I'd treat it as an anaomaly not as setting a precedent.
 
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