Very gruesome duck tales at Disneyland

The nightly “Fantasmic!” show on the Rivers of America is a big highlight. “As part of the show, they basically set the river on fire,” says Koenig. “They have this giant, fire-breathing dragon from ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ It roars fire and it’s as if the river catches on fire.”

But when “Fantasmic!” debuted at Disneyland in the early 1990s, it had an unfortunate and decidedly kid-unfriendly effect to which one of Disney’s biggest stars certainly would have objected. “What they quickly discovered when they first had the show was that the ducks that liked to hang out on the river were being cooked.”

Fortunately for the ducks, Disney made a slight change to the show. “Now what they do is, not long before the fire shows up, they have this sort of bubbling water effect that makes the water really turbulent and it scares away all the ducks,” says Koenig. “People think it’s for the atmosphere — like the moment’s getting tense and something interesting is going to happen. But really, it’s to save the lives of the ducks.”

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