Okay Dragon Hunters, it’s time for another list: 10 Amazing Animatronic Dragons! Part puppet, part robot, these Dragons are so lifelike you would swear they were real. (And you can meet many of them ‘in the flesh’ as it were, making you a dragon hunter indeed)!
FYI, this isn’t a ranking – I think all these Dragons are fabulous! Which are your favourites? How would you rank them?
1) Stinger from ‘How To Train Your Dragon’
Dreamworks ‘How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular’ has many amazing animatronic Dragons that it uses in its stage show. ‘Stinger’ may be one of the smallest (10 feet by 17 feet) but it’s special because it has been going out doing a public service. This Dragon has been visiting kids in schools with Hiccup to teach anti-bullying workshops. And you thought your teacher were Dragons! This one actually is one! But it’s actually charming.
Here are some bigger Animatronic Dragons from the ‘How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular’.
2) Baby Drogon?
Belfast Zoo took care what looks like a young Drogon from Game of Thrones in 2015. In the setting of the Zoo he was convincingly realistic! He had a 10 foot wingspan and it was claimed that when he was fully grow his skull alone would measure 23 feet, But the Zoo-keeper reassured visitors that they had been fully trained to handle the fire-breather.
The animatronic Dragon at Belfast Zoo was actually a publicity stunt by HBO to promote Game of Thrones. He had two controllers to make him respond realistically.
3) Der Further Drache
Der Further Drache aka The Furthur Dragon is a Legend. Made in 2010 this German Dragon is the largest four-legged walking robot in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. it is 15.50 meters long, 3.80 meters wide, 4.5 meters high, has a wing span of 12 meters and a weight of 11 tons! It was funded by the EU and made by a collaboration between Hollywood’s Magicon, AUDI and the German Center for Air and space technology.
The Dragon has facial expression and can breathe fire. He is the main feature of Drachenstich. During the performance Knight Udo fights the dragon with sword and spear. This is the most realistic dragon fight you will ever see!
4) Disney’s Steampunk Maleficent
Disney’s animatronic Dragon is a float in the ‘Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. They have floats themed around Mickey Mouse, Alice in Wonderland, the Little Mermaid, etc. Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty a float all to herself.
Unusually the design of the dragon is quite steampunk! It looks deliberately mechanical and you can see exposed cogs. Maleficent does not walk independently but on wheels, the legs move to give the illusion she is walking. But she does breath fire!
Disneyland has other animatronic Dragons including one that flies!
5) Epico the Dragon
This Dragon is Epic! 5 metre Epico is a colourful Dragon who performs at street performances and private events with the performance company ‘Creature Encounter‘ (who have a few more strange beasts too)! The show usually involues Sir Aurelius Jones on a quest to tame the dragon, but the knight is unfortunately rather arrogant and needs to be taught how to be nicer by the children from the audience before he and the dragon can make friends.
Created by masters of puppetry Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop the Ultragorgon is a huge dragon-like animatronic. It appeared in the Monster Maker Episode of The Henson Hour (1989). It was made in just 5 weeks inside an abandoned church until the creators ‘ran out of time.’ But the deliberately unfinished look fits with the plot of the film. A boy dreams of working for his mentor, a ‘Monster Maker’, but gets more than he bargained for when the creatures come to life!
7) Animatronic Dragons Versus Dinos
Brookefield Zoo in Chicago has a new interactive exhibit they call ‘Dinos & Dragons‘ opening summer 2017. The exhibit includes lizards large and small including a Komodo Dragon that the visitors can get up close with. They also have 17 animatronics of Dinosaurs and Dragons including the T-Rex, Stegosaurus and Chinese Dragon. The automated animatronics move about and put on a show. The full experience includes an excavation site and ‘Dino dissection’ lab.
8) Joris en de Draak
Joris en de Draak aka George and the Dragon is a wooden racer rollercoaster ride at Efteling Theme Park Resort. It has two tracks: the path of fire and the path of water. Not only do you get a different experience depending on the track you tack but they race against each other for the honour of slaying the Dragon at the end (and presumably a nice ‘death’ scene from the Dragon animatronic).
9) Bodock the Dragon
Bodock was created for ComicCon 2014 by WIRED and Conde Nast Entertainment in its web series ‘How to Build a Giant Creature.’ And giant he is! Build over 6 weeks and seven thousand hours he stands at 14 feet tall. Partly made with 3D printing his creation is a collaboration between Stan Winston School, Legacy Effects, Stratasys and WIRED.
Bodock is a little big more monster than dragon, but his head is very Dragon-like. He can talk, walks really quite fast and interacts extremely well.
10) Long Ma
The longma was a fabled winged horse with dragon scales in Chinese mythology. It likes to fight with a giant animatronic spider.. It weighs 46 tons, breathes fire and was made by French Artist Francois Delaroziere and his art group La Machine.
You can watch videos of all the animatronic dragons in the list and see how they move!