Did you know? The Castle in Disneyland Paris holds one of the most overlooked and probably most impressive animatronics Disney has ever made. Since the Castle is Sleeping Beauty’s in Disneyland Paris the Imagineers decided to make one of its more darker and definitely hidden attractions to tie into the film. They decided to build a small cave directly underneath the castle that holds a very dark and terrifying secret. Known as La tanière du dragon the cave itself is beautifully crafted down to the finest details and water caverns surrounding the fearsome beast in order to keep her at bay. The dragon itself is huge to say the least and remains sleeping under the castle with shackles around her neck. The design is based off the dragon in the film and as an animatronic it truly is a sight to behold. Every so often the dragon begins to wake up and scans the room and the guests looking for her next meal and waiting for the right moment to make her escape to find the Sleeping Beauty once again. Link to the dragon in action (x)
Except this isn’t Maleficent. Before installing the animatronic dragon, Imagineers wanted to have Maleficent in the dungeon, but, since Prince Phillip kills Maleficent in the movie, it would be poor continuity - and really would make absolutely no sense - to have a live Maleficent shackled to the confines of a dungeon. Instead, a skeleton of Maleficent was to be placed in the dungeon. However, this idea was scrapped in favor of a live dragon. This is actually Merlin’s dragon. Its design was based off of the “real” dragons of European folklore instead of any animated feature. And it’s not the first, or only, dragon in any Disney park! Tokyo Disneyland actually boasts the first dragon, which is located in the dungeon below Cinderella Castle.