Dragon in Maleficent show at Disneyland catches fire

Maleficent Dragon Shoulder Plush

During a live performance at Disneyland in California, crowds were left in astonishment as a colossal animatronic dragon went up in flames on Saturday night. The incident involved Maleficent, a towering 45ft (13m) animatronic dragon that’s known for its impressive fire-breathing feature. Videos circulating on social media captured the dramatic scene as the Maleficent dragon quickly became engulfed in flames, prompting the intervention of firefighters to control the blaze.

The unfortunate event unfolded during “Fantasmic,” a captivating live show that combines gravity-defying water displays, pyrotechnics, and the iconic presence of Mickey Mouse, who usually saves the day in the show’s narrative. Fortunately, no injuries were reported among park visitors or staff members.

At one point, a noticeable burst of fire erupted from the dragon, causing gasps of surprise from the crowd. Disney staff swiftly intervened, urging attendees to “clear the area.” The dense smoke resulting from the fire led to the evacuation of several nearby attractions, a move made in the interest of the visitors’ safety, according to Disney’s official statement.

Maleficent Dragon Shoulder Plush

The exact cause of the fire is currently under investigation. As a precautionary measure, Disney has decided to suspend any similar fire effects across all of its theme parks around the world. The suspension will remain in effect until the investigation is concluded and any necessary improvements or changes are implemented to ensure the safety of both the audience and performers.

This isn’t the first time that Maleficent, a prominent character in Disney’s iconic Sleeping Beauty story, has experienced technical mishaps. In a separate incident back in 2018 at Disney World in Florida, while sitting on a float during a parade, the animatronic Maleficent’s head accidentally caught fire. Maleficent is widely recognized as the main antagonist in Disney’s 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty, and she transforms into a fearsome dragon to engage in a climactic battle against Prince Phillip. This character was later reimagined and portrayed by Angelina Jolie in a live-action film released in 2014.

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