How Disneyland's Fantasmic Disaster Was Handled By Behind The Attraction

 Mickey and the Maleficent dragon in Fantasmic.
Mickey and the Maleficent dragon in Fantasmic.
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When Behind the Attraction Season 2 debuts on Disney Plus on November 1, one of the best episodes is the final one, dedicated to the epic Nighttime Spectaculars at Disney Parks. From fireworks to parades, there are some incredible shows when the sun goes down. But despite the fact that Behind the Attraction is a show dedicated to current, and not former, park attractions there is a key element from the episode you won’t find at Disneyland right now, Maleficent the Dragon from Fantasmic!

Fastasmic! has been a show on extended hiatus following an epic fire during a show earlier this year. Maleficent the dragon, a massive animatronic, was completely destroyed in a fireball. And based on what we’re being told, will not be returning when Fantasmic! eventually comes back. Knowing that, I asked Behind the Attraction producers Brian Volk-Weiss and Dany Garcia if there was any discussion about changing the episode of the show following the fire, to either lessen the focus on the dragon or make reference to the accident. Volk-Weiss told me that while, yes, there was a conversation, there was never any serious consideration given to making changes. He explained…

You know I'd be lying if I said we didn't talk about it. We did talk about it, but we talk. We have a weekly Zoom, two-year weekly Zoom just for season 2, by the way. It came up on one Zoom. We discussed it. Couple of jokes were made, and then we moved on. So that was the extent of it.

Fantasmic! takes up a not-inconsiderate portion of the Nighttime Spectacular episode. This isn’t that big a shock considering the show has been running for three decades, longer than any other nighttime show discussed other than the iconic Main Street Electrical Parade. A newly updated Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios exists as well, though with a different dragon design. It’s a major production and one that lots of people love. While Murphy (the dragon’s unofficial nickname) may be gone, a lot of people have fond memories of Fantasmic! Dany Garcia told me that’s why leaving the episode as it was made sense. She said…

And that's the right decision. You know it's iconic. People are aware of that. I mean, the moment was the moment, right? But the individuals have experienced it for so long, and the importance of it, it is what it is.

At this point, we still don’t know exactly when we’ll see Fantasmic! again. Disneyland has said the show will return in the Spring of 2024, though it will do so without the massive animatronic dragon. However, Fantasmic! has always had a B-mode, that used a projected dragon on a water screen whenever the animatronic wasn’t working, (which was far from uncommon). So the fact that the show hasn’t come back already using that option would hint that something else may be planned.

Whatever the future holds for Fantasmic!, it will always be one of the best attractions at Disneyland, and Behind the Attraction will at least give fans an opportunity to look back on the iconic show. When it returns, in whatever form, it will begin to make new memories for a new generation of fans. Behind the Attraction Season 2 arrives on Disney Plus on November 1.