AceShowbiz - This is what happens when someone plays with fire. An animatronic dragon, which represents "Sleeping Beauty" villain Maleficent, at Disney World caught fire during the daily Festival of Fantasy parade on Friday afternoon, May 11.
The mechanical dragon was part of Disney's themed floats and going through its usual route at the Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom park when it appeared to malfunction near the park's Liberty Square section with roughly 15 minutes remaining in the presentation. The mechanical giant was supposed to be bursting flames from its mouth, but instead its head was engulfed in flames while still bobbing up and down.
Several pictures and videos taken by visitors show some employees trying to control the flame with fire extinguishers while some others secured the area around the animatronic dragon, which had stopped rolling. Later, parts of its head piece appeared to flake off and fall to the street. The dragon, which has a steampunk-looking design, was then brought backstage with smokes still blowing out of its head.
"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," one visitor wrote on Twitter.
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— Martin MJ (@MartinMJ22) May 11, 2018
Reedy Creek fire department responded to the incident, but the blaze was already extinguished by the time responders arrived. An employee is usually stationed inside the mechanical dragon, sitting near the base of the neck, but no one was injured in the incident.
A Disney World spokeswoman said the company was still in the process of figuring out what went wrong.
The Maleficent-themed float has been in operation since 2014 and it usually parades with some cast members in costume, including one portraying Prince Phillip battling the beast, walking around it. The dragon is part of the Festival of Fantasy parade which debuted four years ago and includes other themed floats based on Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and the "Frozen (2013)" sisters.