Goodbye Dueling Dragons, Hello Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure
Harry Potter World in Orlando is full of incredibly detailed shops, food mentioned in the books, and magical rides reminiscent of the movies. When Hogsmeade opened in Universal’s Islands of Adventure back in 2010, the large area took real estate towards the back right of the park, in between Jurassic Park and The Lost Continent. One long-standing attraction that made the cut for the Wizarding World was Dueling Dragons—a 2-in-1 roller coaster (ice and fire) that “competed” against each other in a kickass Game of Thrones style rivalry. It was later renamed Dragon Challenge, and was meant to represent a battle between a Chinese Fireball and a Hungarian Horntail from Goblet of Fire. This was a ride I went on repeatedly with my dad when I was a kid, and when I heard the news that it was closing, I was heartbroken. My dad died of cancer in 2012, and Dueling Dragons was “our ride.” We would queue up over and over, switching from the red to blue coaster and vice versa until our stomachs couldn’t handle it anymore. Universal Studios has changed A LOT since I’ve lived in Florida, and truth be told, I am disappointed with the amount of 3D-simulated rides. If Universal had torn down my favorite coaster for another motion sickness contraption, I don’t know if I would have forgiven them (I know, I’m being dramatic).
Beyond THRILLED to report that Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is an amazing, classic roller coaster with no screens or goggles—just screams and fun surprises. Even better? It’s the best ride in both parks—and I’ve been going for more than 20 years.
Now, here’s the part where I tell you: IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS, LOOK AWAY. CLOSE YOUR WINDOW. GET OUT. ACCIO BROOM. FLY AWAY.
This is your last chance! Good? Let’s go.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is located in Islands of Adventure between the Hogwarts Express conductor and the Owlery. If you are coming from the train platform, you make a right at the exit and the ride will be on your right.
Not sure how long it will take once it opens, but I’m assuming a LONG time. I would guess half the queue is outside, and half is inside. Outside you’ll see Hagrid’s Hut, part of the coaster, a wooden winged stallion, and some plants. Inside you’ll see dragon eggs, the nursery where Hagrid kept his Blast-Ended-Skrewts, posters, and a pre-show video with Hagrid, Fang, and Arthur Weasley setting a motorbike on fire (by accident, of course). The entire indoor infrastructure seems to be the same as Dueling Dragons, but the coaster itself is completely different. You are meant to feel as though you are at ruins behind Hagrid’s Hut, which is where Care of Magical Creatures classes take place.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is a “story coaster” that takes you to the Forbidden Forest for a Care of Magical Creatures lesson—soaring above and through the grounds on Hagrid’s motorbike and sidecar featured in Deathly Hallows. You’ll encounter familiar creatures from the books and movies while accelerating through the mysterious ruins.
A lot of people asked me on Instagram if the seats are plus-size friendly. This is a hard question to answer as “plus-size” is very broad and everyone has different body types. I myself was fine and had a little bit of extra room, but not much. It’s not as constraining as The Hulk ride, but I do think I was more comfortable in the sidecar than the bike (in terms of size). There is a tester seat, but it was located inside—well into the queue. I was at a media event though, so this might be moved outside before you go on the ride. I am way wider than people think I am in photos, so maybe that will give you some comfort? Honestly though, my friend and I talked about it a lot and we don’t think it’s super plus-size friendly. That is just my personal take!
When I say this is the best roller coaster I have ever been on, I am not just saying that because I’m biased towards Harry Potter. There are legitimate, unexpected surprises that BLEW MY MIND. First things first: you get to choose if you want to ride the bike or in the sidecar. I recommend doing both if you have time to wait in the line again, but I preferred the bike. There are lots of parts where you shoot forward, and the bike + sidecar actually revs up and lifts a little as if you’re riding on the back wheel. Along the way, you’ll see Fluffy, a Blast-Ended-Skrewt (for the first time!!), the blue Ford Anglia car, Cornish Pixies, a centaur, and more. At one point, you shoot straight into the air, but the track is “broken” or “unfinished,” and you go backwards—for longer than you think. We were in the front row during the night at one point and holy shit, we screamed SO LOUD. It was terrifying in the best way. Anyway, after rewinding, you end up stuck in Devil’s Snare. Hagrid tells you to yell “Lumos Solem” and then…YOU LITERALLY FREE-FALL DROP 17 FEET BELOW THE TRACK. Just how Ron fell from Devil’s Snare in Sorcerer’s Stone. You guys, I have NEVER experienced anything like this on a roller coaster and I swear to Dumbledore, we LOST 👏 OUR 👏 SHIT 👏. It’s just so damn good.
I truly believe this is the best ride in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter—and in both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I don’t know how long the wait lines will average at, but I promise it’s so worth it. The ride itself also felt pretty long, which always makes you feel better about spending your time standing for hours. I have officially forgiven Universal for replacing Dueling Dragons. I know my dad would have loved it.