A massive fire broke out at Disneyland causing an evacuation of one of the popular rides at the famed theme park.
The fire occurred during a “Fantasmic!” performance at the Tom Sawyer Island attraction where a 45 foot tall animatronic dragon, some refer to as “Murphy” was engulfed, The New York Post reported.
Multiple videos posted on social media captured the Maleficent Dragon’s head engulfed in flames mid-performance.
A thick black smoke plume was seen rising from the location across the 100-acre theme park.
The show was abruptly stopped as guests and Disneyland cast members were rushed away from the scene as emergency personnel extinguished the fire, which was seen spreading down the body of the giant dragon.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, this performance of “Fantasmic!” cannot continue,” an announcer said. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and hope you enjoy the rest of you evening here at Disneyland.”
In several videos posted to twitter attendees could be heard screaming as the dragon was covered in flames.
“During the final showing of Fantasmic at Disneyland park on Saturday evening, the dragon caught fire. Anaheim Fire & Rescue quickly responded and the fire was extinguished,” Disneyland said to KTLA. “All cast members were evacuated from Tom Sawyer Island. Due to smoke and wind, attractions near the island were safely cleared of any guests.”
Disney has been having a tough time recently and the fire is only the latest for the company.
The Walt Disney Co. continues to struggle financially after a series of decisions involving content and following a high-profile battle with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
According to reports, Disney is planning on laying off as many as 15 percent of its entertainment workforce, following an announcement by CEO Bob Iger two months ago that they were coming.
Iger revealed plans to lay off 7,000 workers in a “strategic realignment” aimed at cost reduction. The layoffs, which take effect on Monday, will impact workers across various divisions, including television, film, theme parks, corporate, and entertainment, Bloomberg News reported.
“For our employees who aren’t impacted, I want to acknowledge that there will no doubt be challenges ahead as we continue building the structures and functions that will enable us to be successful moving forward,” Iger told staff members in March. “In tough moments, we must always do what is required to ensure Disney can continue delivering exceptional entertainment to audiences and guests around the world, now, and long into the future.”
As part of Iger’s shift towards prioritizing franchise properties and well-established brands, the company’s entertainment unit is expected to bear the brunt of the layoffs. To oversee the restructured department, Iger promoted Alan Bergman and Dana Walden, two experienced executives, as co-chairs of Disney Entertainment earlier this year.
In addition to the layoffs, Disney is implementing a restructuring plan for its finance department, which involves closer consolidation of staff managing accounts for Disney Entertainment and ESPN. As per a memo obtained by Business Insider, Bryan Castellani will serve as the finance lead for both business units under Disney CFO Christine McCarthy.
“I am confident that we are building an even more aligned and collaborative team that will enable our businesses and functions and help the company achieve its stated goals. Please join me in supporting the leaders who are taking on new roles and additional responsibilities. Each will be sharing more about their respective teams and structure in the near future,” McCarthy wrote in the memo.
“While our changes are necessary to set the company up for future success, I acknowledge that change can be filled with tough decisions, conversations, and realities. There is more work to be done, and I appreciate your continued efforts, resiliency, and outstanding contributions through this time,” he added.
After a period of lackluster financial performance under his leadership, former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who was handpicked by Iger to succeed him in February 2020, was dismissed by the board of directors. Iger was appointed as his replacement in November 2022.
Over the past year, the company’s stock price has fallen by 17%, while several other major entertainment and technology companies have also had to lay off significant portions of their workforce.
The company’s decline has come amid an increase in so-called “woke” content offerings and a feud under Chapek’s reign with DeSantis regarding a law aimed at protecting young students from inappropriate sexual content.