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.