The vanquishing of a dragon is often a harbinger of good times in various folklore. For Disneyland fans, however, the fiery loss of a fire-spewing creature is ushering in an era of darkness.
Disneyland is extending its pause of the twice-nightly “Fantasmic!” fireworks, light and music show until at least Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 4, the resort announced recently.
“Our goal is to always deliver the best possible show for our guests,” according to a Disney statement. “With that in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to put ‘Fantasmic!’ on hiatus.”
The last performance took place on the evening of April 22, when the 45-foot-tall animatronic dragon, nicknamed “Murphy” by fans, burst into flames toward the show’s climactic final fight with Mickey Mouse. The Disneyland show was initially suspended until May 28. Now it will be dark throughout the busy summer tourist season.
Tourists and fans were evacuated, though no injuries were reported that evening.
Immediately after the mishap, Disney suspended similar fire shows, including a dragon float at Walt Disney World in Florida.
The misadventure came a week after Disneyland and California Adventure Park turnstiles were temporarily disabled because of a computer glitch, causing hundreds to wait outside the park.
The “Fantasmic!” closure has left some fans disappointed.
“It’s very sad to lose the show as part of our routine,” said Disneyland Instagram influencer Cassie Estifan, 34, who drives to Anaheim from Escondido with her husband and two children four to five times a month. “My kids love the show because of all the characters and my husband and I love it because we grew up on it.”
Estifan said she’s cherished “Fantasmic!” from childhood and visited the park every weekend, trekking then from her family home in Santa Clarita.
“It was a big deal for my family then, as a child, and now,” Estifan said. “To watch the show with my kids is special and will definitely be missed.”
Encino resident Sara Guggenheim adored the show when she first witnessed a performance on her fifth birthday.
“What I loved about the show is that it had all the characters — from every princess to Maleficent to classic characters,” Guggenheim said. “I just remember at the end that Mickey defeated evil and as a 5-year-old, it was amazing.”
Despite visiting Disneyland about four to six times a year, Guggenheim said she hadn’t watched “Fantasmic!” in its entirety for years.
“I had wanted to see the show this summer and it’s something that I look forward to and was planning for,” Guggenheim said. “To know I won’t be able to see it this summer and maybe even this year is disappointing.”
In its statement, Disney said its “teams are actively exploring alternative entertainment offerings for guests this summer” and said more updates would follow.
Employees who worked on the show will probably be redeployed throughout the park or offered cross-training opportunities, according to Disney.
“I would hope that Disney could put on some sort of show with the characters, the boat and the music in the meanwhile,” Estifan said. “That allows show workers to continue to be employed and fans to enjoy other parts of the show.”
Disney did not respond to requests for comment on the cause of the animatronic fire.