Story about Disney’s two fire-breathing dragons – DePaoli discusses DeParks

disneyland fantasmic dragon

Most theme park enthusiasts are likely aware of the recent unfortunate incident during Disneyland’s Fantasmic! show. The magnificent 45-foot tall Maleficent dragon accidentally caught fire instead of breathing flames into the Rivers of America. Surprisingly, a similar mishap occurred not long ago at Disney’s Magic Kingdom with another Maleficent dragon. Here’s the story of these two Disney dragons and their ironically tragic encounters with fire.

The Magic Kingdom’s Festival of Fantasy Parade made its debut on March 9, 2014, bringing a fresh experience to Walt Disney World. A highlight of the parade is the steampunk-inspired Maleficent dragon float, known for its real fire-breathing feature, a crowd-pleaser for sure.

Regrettably, on May 11, 2018, the Maleficent dragon’s head caught fire instead of spewing flames as intended, posing a concern as it traveled through the park close to guests. Many wondered if the damaged dragon would ever return to the parade and breathe fire again. Impressively, it did return on January 25, 2019, just over seven months after the incident.

festival of fantasy dragon

As for Disneyland’s Fantasmic! dragon, it’s had a troubled history, earning the nickname “Murphy” among fans due to Murphy’s Law, which states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. When Fantasmic! first opened at Disneyland in 1992, the dragon was similar to the one used at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But in 2009, there was excitement about a new animatronic dragon, which ended up being delayed until September 1, 2009.

For years, guests admired this impressive creation until April 22, 2023, when Disneyland’s dragon head caught fire, covering her entire body and damaging parts of the stage. The question now is whether this version of the Maleficent dragon will ever return to Disneyland, which would likely require a complete rebuild. With cost-cutting measures in place, it seems unlikely in the near future. There’s also the concern that this incident might lead to the end of Fantasmic! at Disneyland due to its high production costs.

disney fire breathing dragons

Currently, Fantasmic! performances are suspended at Disneyland, and the fire effect on the Magic Kingdom dragon has been deactivated as they investigate the issue.

Both incidents were handled well, preventing major disasters and injuries. So, that’s the unfortunate story of Disney’s impressive yet problematic fire-breathing dragons. If you’re still craving dragon excitement, you can catch the Maleficent dragon at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during Fantasmic! or visit Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida to witness the fire-breathing dragon above Gringotts Bank.

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