The attraction features an audio-animatronicdragon, which at 27 metres (89 ft) from head to tail was the largest Animatronic figure ever built when the park opened in April 1992. The walkthrough consists of a dimly lit cavern with a large dragon sleeping silently, occasionally it will 'wake up' puffing smoke and growling.
Although often thought to be Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty in her dragon form, the dragon barely resembles her at all and is referred to as a male on official park material. The dragon's official backstory suggests that it was found in an egg by Merlin and kept under his magic shop for safekeeping.
When the park first opened, the dragon would breathe fire when it woke up. This feature was shut off because if the animatronics failed and the dragon did not raise its head upon waking up, its 'breath' would be aimed directly toward guests.
The dragon's design is a blend of Maleficent's dragon form and the dragon Taro from the Ray Harryhausen film, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
The walkthrough was designed almost entirely by Imagineer Terri Hardin. Before and during the design process, some more ideas had been suggested, but were not proceeded with:
The dragon was initially going to be a static figure, but Hardin persuaded her supervisor that it could be an Audio-Animatronic that would be in continuous motion.
The dragon was going to be fenced in by the skeleton of another dragon with a sword in its chest and, later, a chain with the links looking like helmets and shields, but neither idea was used.
The attraction was featured in the discontinued game Virtual Magic Kingdom, with a dragon that looked closer to Maleficent's dragon form that gave players in-game currency daily.
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