Sunday, April 29, 2012

La taniere du Dragon (Dragon's Lair)

La taniere du Dragon, or Dragon's Lair, is an amazing Imagineering feat. Under the beautiful Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant,  or Sleeping Beauty Castle, at Disneyland Paris rests a defeated dragon. Continue after the page break for a closer look...

Here is a great write up on La Taniere du Dragon from

"One can easily forget what happens in the dungeons of a castle, especially when the castle is as beautiful as the one from the Sleeping Beauty standing proudly as the parks centerpiece. But like most castles, this one is no different, and has a terrifying secret hidden inside. It hosts a defeated monstrous evil dragon waiting to break free. It appears to sleep, it looks defeated, a prisoner in unbreakable chains. But like any beast it will grave the taste of freedom and will try to fight itself back out of its prison once it got her full strength back.
Guests can visits the dragon's cave to view this beautiful but dangerous dragon. Those who are brave enough to do so should be aware of the danger and keep save distance. You might not want to be the one helping the beast get her strength back...

The dragon living inside the dungeons of the castle is an Imagineering masterpiece. This is a big Audio-Animatronic created to entertain the guests that want to explore more then just the rides alone. Often forgotten by the thrill ride fans or those forgetting that Disney is more than just your average theme park, it should not be missed as the dragon is an absolute marvel. The big Audio-Animatronic dragon appears to sleep but it doesn't take long before one can gaze at the monstrosity moving. It will lift its head, high up, trying to touch the sealing above looking for a way out. It will move its tail while looking at the visitors in front of her. A one of a kind stunning piece of art!

The dungeon itself is part of the beautiful atmosphere created by the Disney Imagineers. The dungeon looks as if it was built with the use of rocks cut from the mountain the castle was built on. Dragon themed lamps giving the place some dramatic light and the watery base around the dragon gives it a impressive finishing touch.

Guest have three options to enter the dragon's Lair. The first one can be entered from the front of the castle. At the left hand side, next to the castle's main entrance and bridge, is a small pathway leading you right into the lair. When you are in Fantasyland, overlooking the back of the castle, you can enter the dungeon when you follow the small path on the right hand side of the castle. There you will find a small entrance to the hidden cave. You can also enter the spectacular scene via the castle's Merlin l'Enchanteur boutique. The stairs at the back of the shop are an invitation to the dragon's prison."

Only Disney could produce such an amazing walk through attraction with such detail. There used to be another Dragon in Tokyo Disneyland but you had to do the Castle Mystery Tour, a walk through dark ride in the form of a castle visit. Sadly this closed in 2006 and since then only in Disneyland Paris can you see an almost real Disney Dragon.

Early Concept Sketch

Exceptional details like these is what make Disney, well, Disney! I think most theme park companies wouldn't waste the time and money on such a unpublicised attraction. Hidden gems like these are huge factors as to why I appreciate and cherish Walt Disney's creations. 

Now for a video of  La taniere du Dragon:


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