The Bakersfield Californian reports that several eyewitnesses have seen what can only be described as a "Flying Dragon" over Shafter Minter Field Airport.
It's expected that this is likely for the upcoming Avatarland expansion at Animal Kingdom. A patent for the flying entertainment vehicle can be seen here
Flying a mechanical dragon hundreds of feet in the air above Shafter's Minter Field is no way to keep the thing a secret. It seems that was apparently Disney's intention, however, when it swore airport officials to secrecy by having them sign a nondisclosure agreement as part of its rental of a hangar, a golf cart and rights to test the modified ultralight before shipping it off to Florida later this summer.
Eye witnesses said
"It looks real," flight trainer Justin Dyck said. "I thought it was going to be in a movie or something and they throw a little dragon in there."
Restaurant manager Tammy Zaninovich snapped photos and posted them on Facebook. So much for the surprise.
"It breathes fire and the mouth opens and closes," she said. "It's pretty cool."
Despite all of this, mum remains the official word at Disney.
"I can't really tell you much. So sorry," Disney spokeswoman Angela Bliss said Thursday, confirming only that what people around the airport saw (she never used the word "dragon") was a project of Glendale-based Walt Disney Imagineering.
"We're really always looking for new ways to expand the magic at Disney Parks," Bliss said. "But we really don't have any specific comments about what you're asking me about."
Minter Field's general manager, Sandy Worley, would not discuss the dragon, citing the confidentiality agreement. As interesting as the aircraft is, Worley said, she could only confirm that Disney was in town recently testing equipment.
Witnesses say the dragon has orange wings that span about 15 feet. They say Disney people come about once a month to test its flight performance and the distances required to take off and land.
What do you think about this rumor?