The Best Dueling Roller Coasters
Dueling roller coasters were the next obvious evolution after the racing coasters of years past. Like racing coasters, duelers have two tracks. The major difference is that on dueling coasters the tracks interact with one another. Exciting near misses and fly-bys are common on these roller coasters.
3 – Gwazi at Busch Gardens Africa (Tampa, FL)
Located at Busch Gardens Africa, Gwazi was named after a mythological creature with the head of a tiger and the body of a lion. It features dueling tracks with 6 near misses. Unfortunately, Gwazi rarely duels anymore. When I visited the park in 2005, only the lion track was operating. Luckily, I was able to ride it back in 1999 when it opened and the dueling really added a lot to the experience. Gwazi Tiger has an element that gives riders a slalom sensation, while Gwazi Lion offers a number of spirals. Here’s a full POV video from Gwazi Tiger. Looks like Lion was M.I.A. on this day.
2 – Dueling Dragons at Island of Adventure (Orlando, FL)
Dueling Dragons takes the dueling idea to another level with inversions involved in the near misses. The Fire and Ice Dragons live in the back of Islands of Adventure. It features some of the best pre-ride theming I’ve ever seen. The castle that acts as the ride queue and station is amazing. I felt like I went back to the Middle Ages.
There are five duels on Dueling Dragons. At times the trains pass within only 18 inches of each other. (That must be why there’s a maximum height requirement.) Each track has its own unique layout, each with five inversions. You can see a drawing of the Dueling Dragons layout here. It’s not my favorite dueler. Because of the nature of the inverted trains, you don’t always realize when you do those near misses. Check out this heavily produced video and you’ll see what I mean.
1- Lightning Racer at Hersheypark (Hershey, PA)
Lightning Racer at Hersheypark is one of the best wooden coasters around. It’s ranked 5th on my top wooden roller coasters list and 10th on my overall top roller coasters list. It’s fast, fun, and most importantly smooth. Riders choose between the lightning (red) and thunder (green) trains. Not only are there several fly-bys and near-misses, but as Lightning Racer’s name suggests, the trains race to a finish line. When it opened in 2000, it was the first racing and dueling roller coaster in the world. In my opinion, it’s reason enough to take a trip to Hersheypark. Here’s a shaky onride video from the lightning train.
Photo 4 courtesy of CoasterImage.com
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