Dragon Tales is based on the characters created in 1965 by Laguna Beach, California artist and retired educator Ron Rodecker. In 1997, Jim Coane, then a producer at Columbia TriStar Television, found the artwork and developed it into a television series with several writers. Coane then brought the project to Sesame Workshop, where Marjorie Kalins helped him and Columbia TriStar Television obtain a grant from the Department of Education and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The grant proposal was written by Wesley Eure. Coane was the executive producer for the first two seasons.
The series focuses on the exploits of two siblings, Max and Emmy, in possession of an enchanted dragon scale capable of transporting them to a whimsical fantasy land inhabited by colorful anthropomorphic dragons upon their recitation of a rhyme. Befriended by four friendly talking dragons with distinctive personalities, Cassie, Ord, Zak, and Wheezie, they frequently travel to Dragon Land and assist their friends in fulfilling particular quests, assisting them in their daily problems, and learning important morals through their experiences with the educational whimsy of Dragon Land.
Designed to educate preschoolers mildly in Hispanic culture (because of the Spanish origins of a portion of the central characters), during the program's final seasons a new character named Enrique debuted, providing the series with a third protagonist. Surrounded by a variety of unique characters and faced with numerous differing situations, Emmy and Max commonly embark on adventures with their anthropomorphic friends, conquering fears or achieving goals in spite of any obstacles preventing them from doing so.
Mallory - voiced by Andrea Libman, she is 16 years old. She commonly appears as the leader of the group until she gave her position to Enrique while helping him get used to Dragon Land. She is Nick's Girlfriend. Her best friend is Cassie, and she is perhaps known for saying, "Come on, Everybody!" whenever a good idea when she has a lot of collection at her house like VHS Tapes, DVD, Blue-Ray, CD, Books, Video Games, and the Rest Tour in her room.
Nick - voiced by Danny McKinnon, he is 15 years old. He is Mallory's boyfriend. For the most part, he and Mallory get along fine, but occasionally have arguments. His best friend is Ord.
Sue - voiced by Sally Field, she is 20 years old and Mallory and Nick's sister who moved from Beavercreek Ohio. She first appears in the beginning of Season 3 and travels to Dragon Land with the children. Her recent experiences in South Park provide more opportunities for the characters to demonstrate the meanings of new Chinese words, much like Ni Hao, Kai-Lan.
She rides with Zak and Wheezie, the 2-headed dragon who rarely flew with any human friends prior to Sue's debut.
Emma - She is Mallory and Nick's cat that purrs.
Ord - voiced by Tom Hanks, he is the blue male dragon who can turn invisible when he's scared. He is best friends with Nick, who rides on his back. A running gag in the show features Ord making "Dragon Cookies" by throwing chocolate chip cookies in the air and frying them with his fire breath.
Cassie - Cassie is a shy, demure, and sweet female dragon and Mallory's best friend. She possesses a magical tendency to shrink when unhappy, and may occasionally come across as slightly insecure and uncertain, and is prone to worrying. However, Cassie is distinguished by her maternal sweetness as a result of her responsibilities as an older sister and brother to a humongous myriad of older siblings, and has been shown to be gifted with great singing and dancing abilities, as revealed in one episode. Cassie also is characterized by her color combination consisting of pink and yellow, albeit her body is spotted with blue speckles in some areas. She is voiced by Salma Hayek.
Zak and Wheezie - voiced by Jason Michas and Kathleen Barr, are a two-headed dragon and are siblings; Zak (green) is a male, and Wheezie (purple) is a female. Zak prefers to pursue things in a logical manner. Wheezie is very messy, loud, and ignorant much to her brother's annoyance, and is perhaps known for saying, "It was Fantastic!", when she loves something.
Zak and Wheezie always fly with Sue, although prior to his debut, Zak and Wheezie rarely flew with any of their human friends.
Quetzal - voiced by Sean Connery, is a dragon who is a teacher at The School in the Sky where young dragons attend. He has an identical twin brother named Fernando who works in the garden. Quetzal typically speaks with a Mexican accent, and is likely named for the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl.
Randy - voiced by Chris Phillips, he is Nick, Mallory, Zak, Wheezie, Ord, and Cassie's friend. He is on a wheelchair and is incapable of flight.
Sid Sycamore - voiced by Scott McNeil, is a talking tree who loves telling jokes that relate to the concept of trees; the dragons' tree house is attached to him.
Rodney - voiced by Ellen Kennedy, is Cassie's older brother. He is yellow.
Angelina - voiced by Molly Shannon, she is Cassie's older sister. Angelina is red.
Mallory and Nick's parents - they are not seen in the series, but their voiced are often heard off-screen in most episodes. They called out to Mallory and Nick from downstairs at the beginning or end of an episode. Their mom is voiced by Kathleen Barr, their grandma is voiced by Glenn Close.
Places in Dragon Land
- Bowling: Poelking Lanes
- The School in the Sky
- Dr. Manning's Office
- Dragon Swamp
- The Forest of Darkness
- Rainbow Canyon
- Regal Cinemas
- The Water Factory
- Tick Tock Clock
- Boonshoft Museum of Discovery