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Disneyland's Animatronic Dragon Burst Into Flames. Fortunately No One Was Hurt

Flames are visible at the top and bottom of a massive animatronic dragon.
Ryan Laux captured this image of the fire Saturday during the "Fantasmic!" show on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland. He also shared videos of what took place that are in the story below.
(Courtesy Ryan Laux)
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The show must go on ... fire?

Disneyland's famous Fantasmic! show came to an abrupt end Saturday night when its 45-foot animatronic dragon — Maleficent — burst into flames.

The details

The fire was extinguished quickly and several cast members were treated at the scene for potential smoke inhalation, said Sgt. Jon McClintock, a spokesperson for the Anaheim Fire Department.

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“The investigation so far has revealed that a large animatronic dragon caught fire during the final Fantasmic! showing, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time,” he said.

“Fire and rescue personnel quickly extinguished the fire and treated several Disneyland cast members for potential smoke inhalation," he said. "Fortunately, they did not require further evaluation and were released at the scene.”

Guests were safely evacuated from attractions nearby due to smoke and wind, Disneyland officials said in an emailed statement, and no injuries were reported.

An eyewitness account

Ryan Laux, 28 of Los Angeles, said he's a frequent Disneyland visitor who was familiar with how the Fantasmic! final scene plays out — "Mickey battles the dragon and defeats it, moving the show onto the finale." So Saturday night, he realized right away that something was wrong.

"During a moment where the dragon typically breathes fire, its head caught fire instead, which stopped the show and quickly spread to the rest of the props’s body," Laux told LAist in a written response. "It took a bit of time to move people away from around the waterfront, but thankfully the walkway was pretty far from the stage where the prop was burning and no one was in any immediate danger."

What's next

The Fantasmic! show — unsurprisingly — will not go on tonight.

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A description of the "Fantasmic!" show includes the note "No performance today" for Sunday, April 23
(Screenshot via Disneyland website)

Disney Parks officials also have temporarily suspended similar fire effects at global parks out of "an abundance of caution following the Fantasmic prop fire," the statement continued.

The show, which lasts just under 30 minutes, has been around since 1992 — although it was shuttered during much of the pandemic, returning last year in May — and featured a fire breathing dragon from the start.

The show is described as: "daring heroes and epic villains do battle on grand scale in an incredible nighttime show–starring Mickey Mouse."

In 2018 at Disney World, another Maleficent dragon — this one on a float — burst into flames during a daytime Festival of Fantasy parade.

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Updated April 23, 2023 at 3:03 PM PDT
This story was updated with comments from eyewitness Ryan Laux.
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