Fire Damages Maleficent Dragon Feature at Disneyland, No Injuries Reported

Close-Up Of Fire Against Black Background

Photo: Getty Images

ANAHEIM (CNS) - Fire damaged Disneyland's Maleficent dragon, set and props when it burst into flames during a performance of the park's nightly Fantasmic! show on Tom Sawyer Island, according to fan website and multiple media reports.

No injuries were reported.

Video from the scene, posted by @MelissaLeeGiles on several social media sites, shows the performance proceeding when spontaneous screams can be heard mingled with the pre-recorded music and sound effects.

Witnesses said the cast and crew members scurried to safety as the fire grew larger.

Disneyland representatives issued a statement to stating that "during the final showing of Fantasmic! at Disneyland park on Saturday evening, the dragon caught fire. Anaheim Fire & Rescue quickly responded and the fire was extinguished.

"All cast members were safely evacuated from Tom Sawyer Island. Due to smoke and wind, attractions near the island were safely evacuated of any guests, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time."

Parkgoers said most of the other Disneyland attractions remained open.

Disney fan site posted a detailed account of the fire.

"During the 2nd showing of Fantasmic on April 22nd (10:30 PM), the giant Maleficent Dragon caught fire just after Mickey shot sparks at the dragon's head (as usual). However, for some reason, the dragon's head caught fire. Flaming bits of the head then started to drip down the structure, which also caught fire. The entire figure was soon engulfed in flames.

"The dragon was left to burn and partially disintegrate on stage in front of guests. There was no immediate attempt to douse the giant figure with water. Guests are being evacuated from the area. Attractions in New Orleans Square and Critter Country were closed and guests were turned away from the area."

Fantasmic! opened in Frontierland in 1992 and features fireworks, various Disney characters, live actors, water effects, pyrotechnics, lasers, music, audio-animatronics, searchlights, decorated boat floats, and mist screen projections.

The show goes inside Mickey Mouse's imagination as he battles various Disney Villains, including Maleficent in her dragon form, which is said to be about 45 feet tall.

The popular attraction got a makeover in 2017.

Ryan Laux, a 28-year-old video producer and an annual season passholder was watching the show when the fire erupted and told the Los Angeles Times "It was a big giant fireball. Then they began pushing people out."

He estimated there were about 1,000 people crowded around, watching the show.

"It was shocking," Laux continued. "The crowd was in a standstill. People are packed in like sardines."

Melissa Giles, 30, who traveled from Alberta, Canada, to spend four days at Disneyland told the Times "It happened out of nowhere. We thought it was part of the show. Within seconds it went up in flames."

Fantasmic! is part of Tom Sawyer Island, which has been at Disneyland since 1956 and features the main character from the book by Mark Twain.

The extent of the damage was unclear, and there was no word on how long the attraction would be closed.

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