Legoland Windsor’s classic The Dragon roller coaster has provided 24 years of joy
For visitors to Legoland Windsor, The Dragon has become an essential stop on a tour of the resort. A fun ride for kids young and old – as long as you exceed the minimum height of 1.0m – the prominent roller coaster has quickly become a favourite.
Found in the Knights’ Unik section, the journey takes riders through the Lego castle before soaring around the grounds on the back of a large green dragon. While it’s a typical, family-friendly coaster at face value, the sprinkle of Lego-inspired magic makes it truly special.
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The ride begins at a leisurely pace through a tunnel with fantastical models made from Lego depicting a medieval castle scene, complete with a king and queen, a jester, a crossbow-wielding guard, and a drunken priest. It also adds a bit of whimsy with a Merlin lookalike and, as the name suggests, a huge red dragon with smoke coming out of its mouth and nostrils.
Just like you forgot you’re on a rollercoaster, you’re suddenly sent flying around the track with a few drops steep enough to send your stomach into your throat. You’ll almost certainly leave the ride full of smiles — and with messy hair to boot.
Originally scheduled to open in 1997, the official unveiling of this ride was eventually delayed to 1998. The steel family roller coaster was designed with a red track and dark green supports.
There are two trains with seven cars per train. In each car, passengers are arranged two in two rows, for a total of 28 passengers per train.
From a technical point of view, the ride consists of the following components: dark/show section (a heavily themed section viewed slowly or even while stationary), tire-powered elevators (a motorized wheel that changes or maintains speed friction between the surfaces of the wheel and the passenger vehicle), a propeller (a turn of at least 360 degrees) and a tunnel. A duration of just over three minutes can be expected from start to finish.
Its length spans 423 meters and reaches a top speed of 50 km/h (31 mph). It was built by WGH Transportation as a traditional gravity-driven roller coaster and was one of the first additions to Windsor’s flagship theme park after it opened two years prior.
On the the Legoland website, they advertise this attraction as “the most thrilling ride in the entire Kingdom! Climb aboard a magnificent Lego dragon as you fly through the treetops, encountering many animated Lego models along the way. Beware of the red dragon that lives in the castle!”
Joining the red dragon in the castle, various other scenes are seen to depict life in the castle, all recreated in Lego, including a grand banquet with the smell of roast chicken in the air and a magician’s lab filled with bubbling flasks colorful. The ride truly gets the best of both worlds as the serene journey through the dragon’s lair, admiring the Lego creations as you go, is preceded by a more thrilling section – closer to those you’d see at Thorpe Park – although still not too fast for his target audience.
Speeding up the ride gives you the opportunity to take in fantastic views of the entire complex as it erupts outside. The cart then takes you back into a dark tunnel where you unfortunately have to let the next group of guests discover the Dragon on their own.
Given its advanced age, it still delivers a smooth and exhilarating ride, even for those who are considerably older than the target market. It’s not in the realm of a “scary” roller coaster, but its low-to-the-ground layout is still a lot of fun.
The incredible attention to detail means there will likely be elements you didn’t even notice on your first ride, so you’ll get the same level of joy on second and third visits. Have you ever ridden The Dragon? Let us know in the comments!