By now, you likely know that most things in the Magic Kingdom are make believe, but a recent incident was all too real. A Maleficent-themed float at a Disney World parade caught fire on May 11, ABC News reported, and thankfully, everyone is OK. ABC News reported that representatives from Disney World confirmed that the float caught fire during the Festival of Fantasy parade in Magic Kingdom park, and the dragon's head burst into flames. No injuries were reported, and videos shot by people nearby show the fire being extinguished quickly. However, that dragon looks scary AF.
If you don't do Disney, Maleficent is the evil villain in the 1959 Disney movie Sleeping Beauty, who starts out as an evil fairy and (spoiler alert) transforms into a dragon during the film's climax. She was portrayed by Angeline Jolie in the 2014 live-action film Maleficent.
The Festival of Fantasy parade is a daily event taking place in the Magic Kingdom. "The Festival of Fantasy parade at the Magic Kingdom has a crowd pleasing moment when the steampunk themed Maleficent dragon parade float opens its mighty jaw and breathes fire during the parade," John Frost detailed on the Disney Blog. "The first time I saw it I was impressed at the pyrotechnic effect. Sadly, the Maleficent float caught fire today in the location where the flames are usually generated causing significant damage. Teen Vogue noted that some people took to social media to say that some areas around the incident had been evacuated following the fire, specifically the Christmas Shop and the Hall of Presidents.
This Disney-float mishap brings up a question about fire-breathing dragons. Why, and how, would they breathe fire if, you know, they existed and everything? The answer is actually more scientific than you might think.
"If we assume that dragons follow the same digestive process as birds, then dragons will have leftover food and acid remaining in its two stomachs after the digestive processes have been completed. Bacteria in the intestines feed on these undigested food particles and release intestinal gases composed of hydrogen and methane through the process of fermentation," Why-Sci noted on its website referring to information from the Mayo Clinic. "In humans, these intestinal gases would be excreted through burping, bloating, and flatulence, but it can be speculated that dragons could actually store the hydrogen and methane in its body in storage sacs and call upon it for later use during fire production. I think a fire-breathing dragon is much more terrifying than a farting lizard."
OK, mind blown. However, there's more. Something is needed to ignite these gases. "Now for the flint — when a dragon grinds up large rocks, metal-rich rocks would leave residue on its teeth. Then, as the dragon releases its hydrogen-and methane-rich gas, the gas would mix with the oxygen in the air and be ignited against the metallic residue. As a result, this combination of rock-grinding and intestinal gas storage creates the perfect conditions for fire-breathing."
This was definitely news to me, and now I want to go down a rabbit hole to learn the story behind every seemingly make believe superpower. Because, no matter how bananas it seems, all fantasy is based in reality, even fire-breathing dragons. While this is true, it's highly unlikely that the Festival of Fantasy parade intended for these added pyrotechnics Friday. And, all Disney lovers are hoping that the Maleficent float can be repaired and breathe fire once again. Even if it can't, the good news is that everyone is OK, save for the dragon. If this were a fairytale, defeating the dragon would be a classic happy ending.