Following yesterday’s Maleficent dragon catching on fire during “Fantasmic!” at Disneyland, Walt Disney World is temporarily suspending the fire effects of the Maleficent dragon float in the Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom.
Disney said in a statement that they are “temporarily suspending fire effects similar to those used at Disneyland park’s Fantasmic at select shows and entertainment experiences globally out of an abundance of caution.” There will be no changes to “Fantasmic!” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which has a different type of dragon from its Disneyland counterpart.
Festival of Fantasy Maleficent Dragon
The Maleficent dragon float usually blows fire periodically during the parade. The Maleficent dragon float made headlines back in 2018 when its head caught on fire. The fire was put out quickly and no injuries were reported. The float returned to the parade about nine months later with its fire effects intact and there have been no further incidents (save a broken horn in June 2022).
The Festival of Fantasy Parade was gone from Magic Kingdom for two years before returning just in time for its eighth anniversary last March. It saw some changes that made it shorter, like the cut of the “Brave” float and fewer dancers. It’s currently even shorter with multiple parade floats missing.
Maleficent Dragon Catches Fire
Parts of Adventureland at Disneyland Park were evacuated Saturday night as Maleficent, in dragon form, caught fire during a performance of “Fantasmic!”
Our onsite reporter caught footage of the dragon, still burning, as the show came to a premature end for safety. The fire fell from the dragon’s mouth onto Tom Sawyer Island below. The cause was reportedly a leak of flammable fluid, seen dripping down from the mouth moments before the fireball effect went off.
Guests in the western end of the park were rapidly evacuated, and all offerings west of the Jungle Cruise were quickly shut down.
Future performances of “Fantasmic!” have been removed from the Disneyland schedule, with performances not scheduled until May 26 at the earliest. The Anaheim Fire Department confirmed that no injuries were reported as a result of the incident.
“Fantasmic!,” is a nighttime spectacular which first debuted in Disneyland on May 13, 1992. The show stars Mickey Mouse as he explores the possibilities of his imagination, but the Disney Villains team up in an attempt to create an unstoppable nightmare for him. Featuring characters and music from Disney films including “Fantasia,” “The Jungle Book,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the show incorporates projections on screens of water, pyrotechnics, and both the Sailing Ship Columbia and Mark Twain Riverboat as they sail past guests on the Rivers of America.
“Fantasmic!” went into an extended hiatus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and finally resumed performances in late May of 2022. Since then, the nighttime spectacular has performed with minimal incident in Disneyland, though it was unexpectedly shut down for just over two weeks this past January. MagicBand+ interacts with “Fantasmic!,” as the center puck changes colors and flashes in sync with the show.
Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World, the show, which premiered at the park in 1998, underwent a longer break, returning last November with new scenes inspired by “Mulan,” “Frozen II,” and “Moana”. This past March, a TikTok user captured video of an incident where a performer portraying Aladdin missed the ledge they were supposed to swing onto and crashed into the mountainside portion of the set. Guests attending the performance noted that the performer reappeared later in the show, appearing to be unharmed. This week, the Florida production will operate once a day on a reduced schedule ahead of a brief closure for refurbishment currently set for May 1 and 2.