Disney Suspending Fire Effects Worldwide After Fire at Fantasmic!

ANAHEIM (CNS) - Disney is temporarily suspending fire effects similar to those used at Disneyland's Fantasmic! at select shows worldwide following last night's prop fire at the Anaheim theme park, the company said Sunday.

"During the final showing of Fantasmic at Disneyland park on Saturday evening, the dragon prop 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," Disneyland officials said Sunday in a statement provided to City News Service.

"We 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 following the Fantasmic prop fire at Disneyland park. The continued safety of our cast and guests is of the utmost importance."

No injuries were reported after the show's Maleficent dragon burst into flames on Saturday.

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. Parkgoers said most of the other Disneyland attractions remained open.

Disney fan site micechat.com 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 site said.

"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 about 45 feet tall.

The popular attraction got a makeover in 2017.

Ryan Laux, a 28-year-old video producer and annual season pass holder, 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."

"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.

Murphy, the dragon who caught fire at Disneyland this weekend, seen in an earlier appearance during the Fantasmic show in May 2022.Photo: Nick Pagliochini

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