What started as a routine night of fun at Disneyland on Saturday turned into a frightening scene when a massive animatronic dragon became engulfed in flames forcing the evacuation of legions of startled parkgoers, as the New York Post reports.
The shocking incident took place during the “Fantasmic!” show held at the park's Tom Sawyer Island attraction and sent Disney fans scurrying out of the immediate area.
Tourist footage posted to social media showed the precise moment the head of the 45-foot-tall Maleficent Dragon began to burn in the middle of the performance, a conflagration that sent thick smoke sailing across the famous park property. WATCH:
— mlg (@MelissaLeeGiles) April 23, 2023
An announcement rang out to the assembled crowd as the flames spread from the 45-foot-tall dragon's head to its entire body, which stated, “Due to unforeseen circumstances, this performance of “Fantasmic!” cannot continue. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
According to NBC News, Disney cast members assisted in evacuating the area around the attraction, and it was not long before the flames were successfully extinguished by personnel from the Anaheim Fire and Rescue Service together with the in-house Disneyland Fire Department.
Though none of the park's guests or any of the responding firefighters were reported to have suffered any injuries, a number of cast members did receive treatment for possible smoke inhalation, as the outlet added.
The zone near Frontierland was subsequently cordoned off to prevent access by park guests, while the remainder of the renowned tourist mecca remained open, according to the Post.
A formal statement issued to local television affiliate KTLA in Los Angeles by Disneyland officials summarized the incident, saying, “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,” the statement continued.
As a result of the startling scenario, company officials added, the park will be “temporarily suspending fire effects similar to those used at Disneyland park's Fantasmic! at select shows and entertainment experiences globally” as a strictly precautionary move.
The extent of the damage caused by the fire was not immediately known, according to KTLA, and the cause of the trouble remained under investigation as of Monday.
As the Post noted, the attraction itself first opened in 1992 as part of the aforementioned Tom Sawyer island park feature, which has itself been a Disney staple for decades.
The “Fantasmic!” show is one that takes place at night, features "stunning effects, thrilling stunts, dazzling pyrotechnics, and rousing music," and includes characters from a number of Disney's most popular films, including Moana, Aladdin, Frozen 2, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast, according to the park's website.