Dragon Challenge Will Be Replaced With 'All-New Thrill Ride' In 'Wizarding World Of Harry Potter' Orlando

A new ride is coming to Hogwarts.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando will be introducing a new  "thrill ride" in 2019, replacing the Dragon Challenge. Details are vague on what the new ride will entail, but it's exciting news for a theme park that has been rapidly expanding since it first opened, in which only a few motion-based rides were available. Now, the theme park world of Harry Potter is only getting richer and more magical.

Located in Universal's Island of Adventure park, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter offers an entryway into Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, the first the magical village near Hogwarts, the latter a bustling wizarding market. I was first in line to Harry Potter world when it first opened in 2011, and while it was exhilarating to experience Butterbeer and a life-size replica of the magical settings for the first time, the only major new ride there, a motion-based ride called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journeyleft me wanting.

Now, there are three additional rides available at the Wizarding World, and one more will be added to the potion mix. The Universal Orlando blog announced an "all-new thrill ride" built in a collaboration of the Universal Creative team, Warner Bros., and the production design team from the Harry Potter films.

The blog praised as "the perfect addition to Hogsmeade" that will "transport you to thrilling places, drawing you into even more exciting adventures within the wizarding world." They continued:

"This all-new thrill ride will take you deeper into J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World, where you will encounter some of your favorite characters and creatures. It'll be unlike anything we've ever done before and it will be fun for the entire family... The new attraction will be one of the most highly-themed coaster experiences we've created. It will combine a new level of storytelling with an action-packed adventure...and a few surprises along the way."

There's no name or other details yet for this mysterious ride, but due to the words "deeper into J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World," it sounds like it's tied to not the Harry Potter series, but possibly Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them prequel. I wouldn't be surprised if it featured a global hunt for creatures, or was some other interactive experience.

The sad side of this story is the closure of Dragon Challenge. Formerly known as Dueling Dragons, the massive coaster opened with Islands of Adventure in 1999 and quickly became one of the most popular rides in the park. As the land around it was re-themed to Harry Potter, the coaster stuck around, with its medieval theme replaced by the world of the famous boy wizard. Unfortunately, the coaster never achieved the same level of popularity after the transition and its giant track became an eyesore in the otherwise immaculately themed area. It's a great ride, but it's clear why Universal decided that needs to go.

The Universal Orlando blog states that the Dragon Challenge will be closing on September 5, 2017 to make way for the new ride. Its last day of operation will be September 4.