Walt Disney World debuts flying dragon over the Magic Kingdom to celebrate grand opening of New Fantasyland

in Disney, Entertainment, Magic Kingdom, Special Events, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

dragon-flies

As a special spectacle soaring over the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World unleashed a fire-breathing flying dragon to commemorate the official opening of New Fantasyland, the theme park’s biggest-ever expansion. This unique sight completes the story Disney has woven online leading up to the unveiling of New Fantasyland, with this dragon acting as the new area’s guardian against evil.

The dragon entered sight tonight around 7:30pm, during a media party celebrating the expansion on the evening before its official ribbon cutting and dedication. The park had already closed to day guests, leaving attending press, travel agents, executives, and their guests with a chance to see the fire-breathing creature impressively flying overhead.

The ultra-realistic flying creature flapped its wings, moved its head and tail, all while making aerial maneuvers high above Beast’s castle, The Little Mermaid ride, and the rest of New Fantasyland. And, occasionally, it even breathed fire.

Take a look at the flying dragon in action over the Magic Kingdom in the video below.


VIDEO: Walt Disney World debuts flying dragon for New Fantasyland


Nearly simultaneously with its appearance in the park, Disney also released their own video online of dragon flying over Beast’s castle, shot earlier this week:

Though meant as a surprise for tonight’s press festivities, fans have been anticipating this dragon’s arrival for months, since it was first spotted taking test flights over a California airfield back in June.

The dragon is a variation of an ultralight vehicle, a manned aircraft powered by an engine and aided in flight by a parachute overhead, as seen in the photos here. But the mechanics behind the carefully crafted dragon were completely hidden from view in person, with a bright spotlight illuminating only the beast’s body, leaving all in attendance in awe. Music and roars piped into the area carefully masked the aircraft’s low engine rumble, which was faintly heard by some at the party standing away from the park’s speakers.

Earlier today, Walt Disney Imagineering representatives told me the dragon was not their creation, but rather an idea hatched by Walt Disney World for tonight’s event.

Will this dragon make another appearance after tonight? When asked this question, Disney spokesman Rick Sylvain tells me, “Indeed your eyes didn’t deceive you. Our dragon made a brief appearance as part of celebrating the grand opening of New Fantasyland. You never know where or when a dragon might appear again!”

But the text at the beginning of Disney’s official video makes it clear this was a “special, one-night appearance,” at least in its current form. This dragon will not be part of the regular New Fantasyland entertainment.

New Fantasyland will have a public grand opening in front of Cinderella Castle tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., after which the area will be open to all who enter the Magic Kingdom. Whether or not that experience includes future appearances by this now infamous flying beast remains to be seen, though is trending toward unlikely. Of course, there’s always Avatar land

44 Comments

  1. andy

    Wow. This is amazing. Thanks for the video. It was way cooler than the press released one. It truly shows how lifelike the creature is.

  2. Ashley

    Hey, remember that time everyone was told that the Beast would ABSOLUTE 100% no way no how be meeting guests at Be Our Guest for dinner?

    I do.

    Looking forward to seeing the dragon in the future.

  3. Elizabeth

    Thanks for your video, its great, and so much better then theirs. In theirs it looks more humanoid whereas in yours it looks more like the dragon it was supposed to look like.

  4. Nick

    So Disneyworld can make a flying dragon but can’t make a Murphy 2.0 for fantasmic? I see how it is Disney……

  5. Kate

    That’s really cool, but also incredibly unfair to Disney’s Real fans!! Why was it only shown to the elite wealthy execs and media, after the real Paying Disney fans were kicked out?

  6. I agree they should have the dragon around. Why would they spend so much time on something for one night? I also remember they said you won’t be able to eat at Be Our Guest restaurant during previews , but we did. So I hope to see the dragon! It would be great!

  7. Alex J.

    Absolutely AMAZING! I thought it looked cool just flying around and then, IT SHOT FIRE! my jaw hit the floor. Disney really did a great job making this realistic. I hope that it becomes a nightly regular, and not disappear into the vaults of the living character initiative workshop like all of the other cool things they have created, Muppet labs, the dinosaur, etc…

  8. Rick

    Very cool. As an annual passholder, I would *love* to see this become a regular flight. This is the kind of fun, imagination, and creativity that has always been a hallmark of Disney. There should be more ideas like this allowed to flourish.

  9. Jorden

    I don’t know why anyone is complaining about the unscheduled sightings. I think it’s really cool and adds to the “realism” of the dragon. It makes it more exciting and magical!!

  10. andy

    I really think it was a proof of concept. so they could show the world that they have it. If universal had beaten them to the punch then it wouldn’t have been as cool. This way everyone will say it was Disney who had it. They might be saving it for avatar and that is ok, I think it would fit better in the beastly kingdom type stuff anyway.

  11. Wild Ol' Dan

    Howdy Pards,

    Now that was truly a wondrous thing to behold! We are fast getting to the point where it is going to be very difficult not to believe in Fantasy!

    Hats off to Disney, but my gosh wouldn’t it be great to see such a sight circling around Hogwarts a few miles away?

    I too add my voice to those calling for regular appearances of this wondrous creature in Fantasyland. Some sights just kinda take your breath away…and this was one of those sights.

    Who knows what wondrous things we might actually see in the future…like Santa Claus and eight tiny reindeer circlin’ the skies at Christmastime…or Dumbo flying high over Dumbo’s Circus…

    Magic is a wonderful thing…an enchanting thing…an amazing thing.
    All we gotta do is believe.

    Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

    Wild Ol’ Dan

    1. jsonson

      Wild Ol’ Dan is kinda awesome, haha

  12. JasonMac

    This really reminds me of the project that Bob Gurr did for the 1984 Olympics closing Ceremonies show… with the blacked out Helicopter dangling the UFO! Does anybody remember seeing that? I was in awe when I saw it live on TV way back then…

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