Credit: YouTube/OrlandoExaminer

Once upon a time, a huge DRAGON flew over Guests’ heads at Magic Kingdom. Yes, we’re serious.

Disney is no stranger to dragons. And apparently, dragons are also no strangers to Disney. They can be found in several of Disney’s animated features, such as Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, and Pete’s Dragon.

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We just never expected to see one fly over our heads at Walt Disney World. But that’s exactly what happened as part of the celebration of the opening of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom in December 2012.

Credit: YouTube/OrlandoExaminer

The expansion of the land that some Disney fanatics describe as the most “Disney” part of Magic Kingdom is based on all things fantasy: beautiful princesses, handsome princes, evil villains, extravagant castles, brave heroes, and love’s first kiss. Romanticism, medieval architecture, meticulously crafted stone archways and a new castle on the mountain in the distance were just the beginning.

Ariel’s Grotto is beautiful. Credit: Becky Burkett

The New Fantasyland expansion also included a grotto for Ariel on the beach where the Nautilus once trudged through the murky waters of the Pacific, as well as a tiny cottage where Belle lives with her Papa the inventor.

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Enchanted Tales with Belle puts Guests right into the story. Credit: Becky Burkett

The expansion brought Guests a brand-new dining experience inside Beast Castle, a surprise party for Belle, and even gave us a look inside the tavern where Gaston is praised by his brainwashed minions.

Try the cinnamon roll at Gaston’s Tavern. Credit: Becky Burkett

In celebration of the opening of the beautiful new expansion at Magic Kingdom, the creative minds at Disney World thought it fitting and appropriate to release a huge animatronic dragon above the new area of Fantasyland. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at this video from that day:

Yes, once upon a time, Disney released a giant audio-animatronic dragon into the night sky to celebrate the opening of the newest part of Magic Kingdom. How? Well, Disney magic, of course!

Were you there to see the dragon in 2012? We’d love to hear what you thought about the experience in the comments!


About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!