During today’s performance of Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, the Maleficent Dragon float caught fire and sustained serious damage. (Above is how it looks on a normal day.)
Photos and video can be seen embedded below, which were taken by guests who were at the park today watching the parade. It appears as if the external shell of the dragon caught fire as the float passed through Liberty Square. Whether this was a malfunction is unclear.
Per guests there, character performers who were near the Maleficent Dragon dispersed and headed backstage, while crowd control Cast Members quickly acted to ensure that no guests were in any danger–thankfully, no one was injured. The fire was extinguished quickly, but not before components of the dragon’s head burned.
It’s all kicking off at the Magic Kingdom! The parade went past us and the mechanical Dragon was all good until it burst into flames! Parade closed and the fire was promptly put out. The dragon was not looking the best after as you can see. pic.twitter.com/6DsWL1NK5M
While this is the first known safety incident with the Maleficent Dragon in the 4 years since Festival of Fantasy Parade has been running in Magic Kingdom, we would not be surprised if it’s also the last safety incident. Walt Disney World tends to treat these kind of things very seriously, and with a risk-averse approach.
Note that Disney Stars on Parade at Disneyland Paris uses an identical Maleficent Dragon float, and it’ll be interesting to see whether that version’s fire-breathing functionality continues to be utilized in France. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’s turned off at Disneyland Paris for the foreseeable future until a safety assessment can be performed to ensure that this doesn’t occur again.
Either way, it’s unlikely we’ll know the future of the Dragon’s fire-breathing effect in Festival of Fantasy at Walt Disney World, as it’s likely the Maleficent Dragon float will need some down time in order to be refurbished. Obviously, since this just occurred today, we don’t have word yet on how long repairs or will (we’d guess at least a week–if not longer) or whether Festival of Fantasy will be performed without the Maleficent Dragon float (we’d guess so), but we’ll keep you posted and update this as we hear more info.
Were you watching Festival of Fantasy Parade today when this happened? Any insight into what went wrong with the Maleficent Dragon float? Any other thoughts about the impact of this on the future of Festival of Fantasy? Any questions we can help you answer? Please share your thoughts below in the comments!