Disney Kills Iconic Dragon After Fire, Show Delayed Until 2024

Disneyland Park’s popular Fantasmic! special effects show is delayed until 2024 following an April incident where its Maleficent dragon animatronic caught on fire. The Snow White animatronic will not return when the show resumes next spring, though Fantasmic! will continue to prominently feature a battle between Mickey Mouse and the dragon, Theme Park Insider reports.

After the April 22 fire, which appears to have been caused by errant fuel leaking from the dragon animatronic and reportedly resulted in no injuries, Fantasmic! was initially only meant to be closed through Labor Day. Disney officials have not elaborated on why its Disneyland closure was extended, but a version of the show is currently still running at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios park; Kotaku reached out for comment.

What is the Fantasmic! show?

An “incredible nighttime show,” as Disneyland puts it on its website, Fantasmic! opened in 1992 in a burst of light, fireworks, and adults singing musical theater on a riverboat. In it, Mickey has an elaborate and incredible dream featuring “memorable scenes from Disney classics,” Disneyland says, until Maleficent pulls him into a nightmare with “enhanced special effects, state-of-the-art projections, and superb pyrotechnics.”

Of course, these superb pyrotechnics are precisely what turned decades of delighted screams into astonished silence in April as Maleficent became a 45-foot tall flaming effigy of U.S. gluttony. Enhanced special effects, state-of-the-art projections, and pyrotechnics? Come on, pick one.

Despite the fire’s appearing to melt off all of the dragon’s plasticine skin, shutting down a wide swathe of Disneyland park, and allegedly collapsing an entire stage area, some Disney fans are angry that the 27-minute show won’t be returning as soon as they thought it would.

“Well, this certainly is going to put a damper on my winter SoCal trip,” said one disgruntled Theme Park Insider commenter. “Do I even bother with Disney for a third day?”

“What we had: Maleficent robot balloon. What I’m hoping for: Maleficent made of drones,” said another commenter.

Disneyland has so far only made vague statements about wanting to deliver “the best possible show for our guests,” and, aside from its 2024 return date, the future of Fantasmic! is uncertain. If I may offer an idea, I’m imagining it offers fewer opportunities for mass evacuation.


Disney World Partially Closed After Wild Bear Sneaks Inside

When you go to Disney World in Florida, you expect many things. Exciting rides, overpriced food, lots of fun characters to meet, long lines, and maybe some memory-making with friends and loved ones. What you likely don’t expect to see is a big ol’ bear—a real, wild one, not a Country Bear Jamboree animatronic—walking around the park. But that’s what happened Monday in the happiest place on Earth.

On the morning of September 18, as reported by Entertainment Weekly, a bear was spotted in a tree inside Disney World. After discovering the unwanted animal invader, Disney temporarily closed down at least 10 rides and attractions in the areas of Frontierland, Adventureland, and Liberty Square. NBC further reported that rides in Fantasyland and Main Street were also closed later in the day.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told EW that biologists with FWC’s Bear Management Program and FWC law enforcement officers were working together to capture and relocate the bear. The same officials explained to the outlet that the wild bear was likely moving through the famous theme park and resort in search of food.

According to the My Disney Experience app, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad were some of the rides closed on September 18 as a result of the rogue bear.

What happened to the bear?

NBC reported that at around 1 p.m. EST, Disney World re-opened areas of Frontierland and Adventureland. Around 15 minutes later FWC officers and officials were seen removing the bear from the park.

According to the FWC, the adult female black bear was captured alive and is being transported to an area near Ocala National Forest.

As pointed out by EW, back in July, a smaller and less dangerous animal was spotted in Disney World. On July 12, a wild squirrel ran onto the stage of the Carousel of Progress ride located in Epcot with multiple guests recording the rodent as he explored the classic attraction. As for the bear, no update on whether Disney World is going to charge the bear for her free day in the park.


Disney Dreamlight Valley Won’t Be F2P After All

Disney Dreamlight Valley, the cozy life sim set in a magical world filled with iconic Disney characters, has been in Early Access since August 2022. It’s set to finally leave Early Access this December, but a recent blog post has divided fans: Disney Dreamlight Valley will not be free-to-play upon launch, despite developer Gameloft promising just that for more than a year.

During the Early Access period, those who wanted to immerse themselves in one of Dreamlight Valley’s six Realms had to purchase one of three Founder’s packs, which gave them access to the game along with a collection of Moonstones (in-game currency) and in-game cosmetics. The Founder’s pack tiers were Standard ($30), Deluxe ($50), and Ultimate ($70), with the more expensive tiers offering more Moonstones and more cosmetics. Xbox Game Pass subscribers could enjoy Disney Dreamlight Valley for free, however.

Check Out Disney Dreamlight Valley (Standard) GameStop
Check Out Disney Dreamlight Valley (Deluxe) Amazon
Check Out Disney Dreamlight Valley (Deluxe / Ultimate): Xbox

Read more: 35 Things I Wish I Knew Before Playing Disney Dreamlight Valley

Throughout the entirety of the Early Access period, Gameloft promised that, upon the December 5 launch, Disney Dreamlight Valley would shift to a free-to-play model with purchasable expansion options. An FAQ response that is still on the Gameloft site reads: “After Early Access, we have plans to add paid expansions that will add significant content to the game. These optional expansions will add new content (including characters) to the base game. However, we are currently focusing on delivering a great, complete experience first.”

But now, Gameloft says that won’t be the case. Instead, there are three launch editions: the $40 base game, a $50 physical Cozy Edition, and a $70 Gold Edition that includes the upcoming A Rift in Time expansion.

Disney Dreamlight Valley launch editions

A chart detailing the four Disney Dreamlight Valley editions.

Image: Disney / Gameloft

“As we look ahead to the official launch, with the learnings we’ve gained from Early Access, we’ve made the decision to remain a paid game for the foreseeable future. This means we will not make the transition to be a free-to-play game when we leave Early Access on December 5,” the Early Access update on the official Disney Dreamlight Valley site reads. “This choice ensures that Disney Dreamlight Valley will be able to continue delivering on a premium game experience for all players. It’s important to us that we maintain our promise to keep delivering free content updates that add new characters, realms, clothing, furniture, and more surprises to your Valley. Purchases requiring moonstones will remain optional, fair, and match the level of quality players have come to expect. Players will still be able to collect free Moonstones via Dream Snaps and Chests, or optionally choose to purchase them.”

Read More: 11 Hours In, Dreamlight Valley Is Way More Than A Disney Animal Crossing Knock-Off

Reactions from players have been mixed, with some praising the decision to avoid the messiness that is often standard with F2P microtransactions, and others lambasting the decision to renege on a year-long promise. “I didn’t buy it since I was waiting for free to play, guess I’m not buying it ever,” one X user wrote in a reply to my post asking for responses. Others, replying to the official post announcing the update, were confused as to how their Founder’s Edition purchases would carry over to the official game launch.

Though the update makes clear that Founder’s Edition owners will retain access to the game, get all unique cosmetic items from the Gold Edition free of charge, and receive 2,500 Moonstones, it seems that they will have to shell out the $30 for the expansion pack, even if they spent $70 on the Ultimate Edition Founder’s option. “Seems super scummy that founders/legacy players will have had to pay more, overall,” wrote a commenter on X.

Kotaku reached out to Gameloft for clarification and was directed back to the aforementioned blog post, which also stated that a November 1 live stream will provide more details on the expansion pass and future updates. Disney Dreamlight Valley launches on December 5 for PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Nintendo Switch. You can buy Founder’s Editions up through December 4.

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