Follow the construction of Dragon’s Fury, the park’s beastly spinning coaster ahead of its 2004 opening.
A model of Land of the Dragons was created for project visualisation purposes, and demonstrated how Tussauds Studios managed to create a whole new area between the south entrance and ToyTown. The first stage of construction was to re-route and shorten the Toadie’s Crazy Cars layout, in order to clear the area that would be used for Dragon’s Fury’s station building. A new loading platform was built to the right hand side of the former one, with the queue line amended to suit.
By the end of October, good progress on Dragon’s Fury’s foundations had been made, with work remaining at the far end of the site where the helix would be located before the second lift hill. The first sections of ride hardware arrived – the final brake run and station track. Unlike the rest of the layout, these sections of track and supports arrived attached together, complete with drive tyres, air tanks and brakes pre-installed.
By January, only the first drop was left to be installed. The impressive Immelmann turn was completed, dwarfing the equivalent on Spinball Whizzer at Alton Towers and taking the title of the largest version of the element to date. Dragon’s Playhouse continued to progress, with the sides of the building attached. The first dragon character had arrived on site, along with a large amount of framework and mesh that was used to construct the rockwork and other theming in the area.
The last piece of track, the base of the first drop, was put into place on 14th January, completing the circuit. The maintenance track was also installed to the rear of the station. Two shipping containers were delivered which contain the ride’s electrical control cabinets. Further work took place to the indoor play area, with the rockwork theming coming together on the sides, as well as the fit out inside.
Commissioning of Dragon’s Fury commenced once the evacuation stairs were installed on the block brakes. This involved connecting all of the ride systems such as the electrics and brake air lines ready for initial testing. The first set of brightly coloured red and yellow trains were delivered, pending installation on the transfer track. The first treehouse began to rise, which would form part of an outdoor adventure course for children.
Land of the Dragons really started to come together, with one tree house complete, and the second due for completion shortly after. Dragon’s Fury made its first successful test run on 17th February, using a test car from Maurer Söhne that was also used to commission Spinball Whizzer at Alton Towers. This car had the spinning mechanism disabled.
Construction now focused on the detailed theming in the area, with the two smaller rides, Sea Dragons and Griffin’s Galleon, installed a few days after this update. Dragon’s Fury was undergoing its thorough commissioning process before staff could ride for the first time. Pictured is a closer look at the test car that was used before the actual ride vehicles were dispatched around the circuit. The concrete track circuit for Tiny Truckers, which was partially removed for the installation of Dragon’s Fury’s second lift hill, was poured again along with the guide rail reinstated.
With only three days left before the beginning of the 2004 season, the frantic rush was on to get everything ready for guests on opening day. Final preparations were underway, including installation of signage, fencing, Fastrack machines, the remaining rope bridges for Canopy Capers, and planting around the area.