It has all the makings of a terrible nightmare–the visage of a Disney castle being overtaken by the flames of a raging fire. But that’s exactly what guests recently witnessed while visiting one of the Happiest Places on Earth.
Cinderella Castle and Sleeping Beauty Castle are among the most beloved icons within the Disney empire, and across Disney’s theme parks, the castles, as well as other structures like Spaceship Earth at EPCOT, The Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, serve as monuments to childhood memories, the wonder of imagination, the thrill of entertainment, and the wonder of life.
At Cinderella Castle at Disney World, guests can walk through a tunnel from the front of the structure to the back of the structure, which opens out into Fantasyland. At Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort in California, guests are invited to walk “through” the castle and relive the exciting story of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (1959). But at Disneyland Paris, the experience is on a whole other magical level.
That’s because the castle at Disneyland Paris near Chessy, France, approximately 20 miles from Paris, welcomes guests to get up close and personal with a terrible green dragon located deep within the castle as part of an attraction called La Tanière du Dragon.
Brave guests can take the path along the walk-through attraction and come nearly face-to-face with the dragon lurking in the dungeonous prison below. The monstrous guest in the castle often looks to be snoozing, but guests never know when a sound, a noise, or even hunger might wake the sleeping giant.
On Tuesday evening, as guests were fixated on Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris, they suddenly witnessed a blaze that likely startled some and ultimately delighted many. What was first the terrifying visage of the beautiful castle engulfed in flames was later found to be some very impressive pyrotechnics at the park.
Per DLP Report, Sleeping Beauty Castle was once again ablaze, and surprisingly, it was a very welcome sight.
🔥 Fire effects have finally returned to Disney Dreams! (only on one side due to ongoing refurbishments) pic.twitter.com/zMpbgyYeHV
— DLP Report (@DLPReport) September 26, 2023
False Alarm or Three-Alarm Fire?
While there have been actual fires involving Disney Parks castles and other structures over the years, photos of the beloved icons at Disney World, Disneyland Resort, and Disney’s international parks seemingly depicting blazing fires devouring the structures have found their way across social media platforms, even if unintentionally so.
The images of star-bright fire effects and other pyrotechnic elements can make for some very believable (and slightly horrifying) vacation photos that seem to depict Cinderella Castle or Sleeping Beauty Castle gripped by inescapable flames.
Most of the time, that’s not the case.
There have, however, been times over the years during which fires have threatened park structures like Cinderella Castle. In December 2021, a fire broke out near Cinderella Castle, and even guests who witnessed the blaze thought the castle itself was burning. Reedy Creek firefighters responded, and after driving their emergency vehicles down Main Street at Magic Kingdom and inspecting the blaze from a safe distance, they determined that a tree growing next to the castle–not the castle–was in flames.
— Cameron (@CameronYeager) December 15, 2021
The blaze was quickly extinguished, and no injuries were reported, save for one Disney security guard who was treated by EMTs.
Fires at Disney World can and have happened at various locations around the resort property and almost always lead to an evacuation of guests and cast members, but thankfully, no major fires have yet destroyed any of the symbolic icons found at Disney parks around the globe.