Western Animation / Dragon Tales
was an animated Sesame Workshop and Columbia TriStar/Sony Pictures
show on PBS Kids
. Its original run lasted from 1999 to 2005. Repeats were also seen on PBSKids Sprout
, but are no longer being broadcast, though a number of DVD releases remain available. As of January 2013, it was made available on Netflix instant stream, however, it was pulled as of March 1, 2017.
Max and Emmy find a magical dragon scale upon moving into their new home. By reciting the rhyme
, "I wish, I wish, with all my heart, to fly with dragons, in a land apart," the magic sends them to Dragon Land
. Once there, they meet and play with their new magical dragon friends: Ord, Cassie, Zak and Wheezie (the latter two are a two-headed dragon
). They are also often accompanied by the Cool Old Guy
dragon Quetzal, and in later seasons, they are joined by their friend Enrique.
The show has a considerable Periphery Demographic
, as it resembles an 1980s
cartoon that was trapped in a time warp. Well, it's colorful, fantasy themed, and is enjoyably trippy at times. Sound familiar
? (Note that Sugar Apocalypses
are not part of the package on this show - although, amusingly, this show shares some talent with the latest incarnation of that show
Not to be confused with Dragon Tails
Provides Examples Of:
- Absentee Actor: Cassie is missing without any explanation in 7 episodes including "Wheezie's Last Laugh". Ord is missing without any explanation in 2 episodes "Zak and the Beanstalk" and "Out With the Garbage". And Zak and Weezie were missing without any explanation in 9 episodes.
- Agony of the Feet: Zak in "Calling Dr. Zak" after stepping on the spinypine thorn, though it's Wheezie's foot that hops up and down while his foot, with the thorn in it, stays off the ground.
- A Head at Each End: Meow the CopyCat.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The dragons come in all colors of the rainbow.
- Animation Bump: Some episodes such as "The Fury is Out on this One" and "Bully for You" have much more expressive and less stiff animation than most of the others, which makes it even more glaring when the Stock Footage mentioned below is used.
- Annoying Laugh: Mr. Pop's laugh in "Wheezie's Last Laugh", hoo hoo huff, hoo hoo huff, hoo hoo huff!
- Anti-Sneeze Finger: The group stops Ord from sneezing as they fly through the Dandelion Forest by plugging his nose. In a rare subversion they are successful.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: The Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge" and the Fury in "The Fury is Out on this One".
- Anything but That!: One of the very few things Wheezie h-a-a-tes; "No no no! Anything but the...Alone Cone!. For context, the Alone Cone is a special cone that a two-headed dragon uses when one head (Zak) doesn't want to listen to the other (Wheezie).
- Are We There Yet?: In "Making It Fun," Zak gripes "Are we there yet?" after the gang spends a really long time painting a path for a race and starts to get bored. Cassie gets the group back on track by having them all take a "fun break" playing on bouncy mushrooms.
- Argument of Contradictions
- In "Tails You Lose," Zak is conducting a game of freeze dance with the song "The Wings on the Dragon," a variation of "The Wheels on the Bus." He conducts and sings the song very slowly, leading Wheezie complain that fast music is better for the game. Zak responds "Is not," she says "Is too!" and they're off, until Wheezie snatches the baton and conducts the game to a fast version of the song.
- In "Remember the Pillow Fort," Max and Ord have one over whether red or purple is a better color, descending into "Is not!" Is too!" territory. Zak and Wheezie make into a song.
- Attack OF The Fifty Foot Whatever: In "One Big Wish," Max is tired of being smaller than Emmy and his dragon friends and unable to do certain things. He makes a wish on a wishing well to grow bigger, but doesn't specify a limit. This is what eventually results. He ends up even taller than the parents of the dragon friends, which is quite something, as those characters are so tall they're normally shown on-screen from about the middle of the belly down because they just wouldn't fit in a normal frame.
- Awakening the Sleeping Giant: "The Giant of Nod" centers around this. Then it turns out the giant is hardly giant to the main cast. "Staying Within The Lines" also has a sleeping giant, that the group accidentally wakes when trying to re-color Dragon Land.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Princess Kadoodle.
- Bad Mood as an Excuse: In "Itching for a Cure," Zak, Wheezie and Enrique are searching for honey as part of a cure for Mungus the giant's itchy rash. They encounter a bee who doesn't want to share his honey. When they try to get him to change his mind, he tells them he's in a bad mood. They finally get the honey by putting him in a good mood by telling a joke that gets him to laugh.
- Be Yourself
- Big Eater: Ord.
- Big Storm Episode: The episode "Stormy Weather" deals with the group helping Ord get over his fear of thunder.
- Bilingual Bonus: Because everything is better bilingual.
- Blanket Fort: The pillow fort variant is actually key to the plot in "Remember the Pillow Fort." Max and Ord agree to build one together, but then get into an argument over what color the pillows should be.
- Blind Without 'Em: While the point-of-view shots show fuzzy nearsightedness, Eunice the unicorn (a flying unicorn, or alicorn, actually) is apparently so blind without her glasses that when Max and Emmy arrive, she addresses dragonberry bushes before turning to them. Then, when she actually sees Max, she thinks at first that he's a dragon and not a human.
- Borrowed Catch Phrase: Max and Emmy borrow Wheezie's "LOoOoOoOve it!" at the end of the first episode when asked for their opinion on the new house.
- Breath Weapon: Subverted. Fire breath is rarely used as a weapon and more like a tool in the series.
- Broken Aesop: One episode features Cassie showing off her new anthropomorphic crayon that is capable of bringing anything you draw with it to life. She has to learn to share it with everyone else, even if it means she gets no time with it. The problem is that it never once occurs to her to draw more crayons. That's not what makes it this trope though; what does is that the episode very clearly demonstrates this as being a possible solution when the crayon draws clones of himself to help clean a mess.
- The Bully: Spike is one in "Bully for You," until the problem is solved. Also, "Teasing is Not Pleasing" is about a dragon-basketball team that teases Emmy.
- Butt Monkey: Zak. It's very subtle, but watch the series carefully and you'll catch all sorts of little abuses happening to him.
- Catch Phrase: "Definitely!" for Emmy, "LOoOoOoOve it!" for Wheezie, among others. The latter is often the tipping point for older viewers. Alternatively for Wheezie: "Ooh, I just love X. It's so... X-y!"
- Character Development
- Circling Birdies: Zak gets spinning stars around his head around the beginning of "Calling Dr. Zak" after he and Wheezie shoot out of their knuckerhole really fast and land right on their bottom.
- The Clan: Cassie. She's got a bigger family than me and you. Her brothers and sisters total seventy-two.
- Clueless Aesop: Occasionally. See Inspirationally Disadvantaged immediately below. There was also a very odd episode where Wheezie must learn patience and to wait her turn for a roller coaster. Thing is, one of the reasons humans enjoy and built roller coasters is because they are lacking in the wings department.
- Compressed Vice: Usually, the show can get away with averting this (generally the morals are assigned to characters it would fit the best on, and when it won't, they typically introduce a side character to take care of it), but when it happens, it shows. Probably the worst example is "Tails You Lose" — Emmy, clean out of nowhere, gains a Sore Loser trait with no buildup or explanation at the beginning of the episode. She had never shown any signs of this in any previous episode, even when she did lose a game.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: One episode sees Zak empty everything out of Wheezy's messy half of the room, including her personal treasures that he just sees as more of her usual junk. She takes it about as well as you'd expect, and everybody must go to the Dragon Dump to retrieve her belongings, which Zak takes about as well as you'd expect.
- The gang agrees to help Quetzal by taking his twin brother Fernando's jumping beans back home to him. The very alive, very energetic jumping beans get loose and the gang must resort to all manner of trickery to get them back. In the end we find out what their favorite thing is: Dragonberry cupcakes, something Fernando neglected to mention earlier on.
- Cuddle Bug: Ord often tends to give Max and Emmy a big hug when they arrive in Dragon Land, much to their chagrin, as he's much bigger than them and tends to squish them a bit.
- Dog Walks You: Zak and Wheezie go through this with their pet "boinger," Slurpy, in "Wheezie's Hairball." The thing is basically a big puppy bundle of energy that they haven't quite learned how to control yet.
- Dragon Rider:
- Emmy and Max get to ride on the dragons at least Once an Episode.
- Zak and Wheezie usually don't have anybody to ride them, at least until Enrique comes around. Played for laughs when he is introduced — he thinks that he's about to ride Zak and Wheezie like a horse, not realizing they're about to get airborne.
- Edutainment Show: Generally of the pro-social values or personal growth type, i.e. learning to be a good sport, overcoming a fear of the dark, etc. However, the show also taught a lot about things like colors, counting, music and shapes.
- Efficient Displacement: Ord likes to do this a lot in the show.
- In "Forest of Darkness" he leaves a nice clean outline in the ground when a gigantic gum bubble pops.
- Ord does this through several clouds in "Stormy Weather".
- "On Thin Ice" sends Ord sliding into a wall of snow when he slips.
- Max and Eunice the Unicorn do this with a tree in "A Tall Tale".
- Max does this a second time with Enrique when they crash their sled in "Super Snow Day".
- Mondo Mouse sees it fit to send the entire gang doing this through rainbow in "Max's Comic Adventure".
- Establishing Shot: Almost every episode begins with a street view of Max and Emmy's house. It appears to be in the southern United States, with a Mexican architectural design and palm trees. This outside view and the interior of the kids' playroom is all we ever see of the human world, save for a few small peeks of the hallway when somebody opens the door to the playroom.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The "lost forever hole." If something falls into this hole, it really is lost forever. Gone, finito, kaput, no hope of recovery, as Ord learns to great sadness when he accidentally drops his favorite blanket into it.
- Exact Words: In "Head Over Heels," Trumpy the tollbooth troll only said that you have to do a cartwheel to across his bridge. Emmy's only just learning to do cartwheels, but he never said the others couldn't help her, which is just what they do.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:"Small Time" Emmy and Max are shrunken by Shrinking Violets (as in, literal violets that shrink anything when in bloom) just before the dragons arrive. The dragons are confused about only finding the kids' backpacks right by the flowerbeds. They realize what happened when Wheezie finds Emmy's kickball that also shrunk.
Cassie: It's kinda funny Emmy and Max aren't here yet. They always come when we call for them.
Ord: That's weird. You wouldn't think they'd only send her backpack. (holds up Emmy's backpack)
Zak: Huh? How come Emmy's backpack is here?
Wheezie: And Emmy isn't?
Cassie: Where'd you find that, Ord?
Ord: Right beside these flowers.
Cassie: Careful, Ord, those are shrinking violets. When they bloom, they shrink anything they touch!
Ord : (pulling his finger away) Oh!
Wheezie: Hey, what's this? (picks up the shrunken kickball) I found a marble that looks like a dragon ball.
Cassie: Say, that looks just like Emmy's kickball. It must've shrunk. [gasps] What if Max and Emmy touched the Shrinking Violets?
Zak: Well, then they'd shrink down to teeny, tiny... OH, NO! They shrunk!
- The Faceless: The dragon parents, such as those of Ord and Cassie, make appearances in some episodes; however, their faces are never shown and they are only viewed from the neck down.
- Face Palm: Zak does this in "Knot a Problem" when Wheezie asks who she can be with when they go to search for the missing pony, Winnie, and Zak indicates himself, then Wheezie acts like she got a brainwave and says she can be with him.
- Dragons Don't Believe in Humans Either: Before meeting Emmy and Max, Ord and Cassie had only seen kids in fairy tales. Later, Spike didn't know what Emmy and Max were until Cassie told him they're children.
- Fantastic Flora: All of the characters loved the dragonberries, though Ord was definitely the biggest fan. Also, Dragon Land is loaded with unusual plants in general— the third season story "A Small Victory" features all of the main characters (and guest Lorca) searching for unusual flowers.
- Fear of Thunder: Poor Ord...
- Feud Episode: Max and Ord begin fighting with each other about which color to use for the castles they were making whilst pretending to be kings. Eventually, they lament about how they're going to stop fighting. In the end, they solve the problem by combining their preferred colors to make one big castle.
- Also, in "Tails You Lose," Emmy actually wishes herself back home for a while after getting into an argument.
- Floating in a Bubble: Ord in one episode, after he overshoots his use of bubble soap. In order to get him out, the others have to freeze the bubble by heading the coldest part of Dragon Land.
Ord: (shivering) It's freezing!
Everyone else: Good!
- Forgotten Birthday: "Ord's Unhappy Birthday". Jaw Drop when his friends surprise him.
- Four-Fingered Hands on the dragons, five fingers for the humans.
- Freakiness Shame: In one episode, where the gang meets Priscilla, a dragon who is embarrassed by her abnormally large wings.
- Free-Range Children: Subverted, averted, and played straight, with even frequency.
- Game Show Tropes: "Do Not Pass Gnome" featured several of these, as the premise was a game of Simon Says hosted by Simon the gnome, who stylized himself as a game show host. This being a kids show, a lot of this was Lighter and Softer stuff compared to traditional game shows (which is ironic- Sony, a company with two current notable game shows -Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune- and rights to many other notable series- Tic-Tac-Dough, The Joker's Wild, Pyramid, The Gong Show, The Newlywed Game- co-produced the show).
- All or Nothing: Several times, the group is booted back to start for doing something when "Simon Says" wasn't used.
- Big Win Sirens / Losing Horns: Less dramatic versions of both are used whenever the group either follows a "Simon Says" instruction properly, or messing up by doing something when Simon didn't say "Simon Says."
- Bonus Round: The game starts off slow, but Simon eventually starts mixing in stuff like an elevated level in which the more the group does right, the further they get to slide at the end, the end of the bonus round happening when one of them messes up.
- Game Show Host: Simon has down both the voice and the patter. He also has a snappy suit, bowtie and Nice Hat.
- Carried by the Host: At its core, it's really just a game of Simon Says, but boy does Simon sell it.
- Gender Bender: Zak and Wheezie. If they have two heads, and only one body...how can they possibly be of two separate genders?
- Gentle Giant: Mungus, fortunately for the True Companions.
- There's also that unnamed troll like Giant who is also quite gentle.
- The Giant of Nod also counts, as he is only trying to protect his little people.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Priscilla, the manager at the lost-and-found, who during her first appearance, was feeling embarrassed because her wings (often called "feathers") were bigger than other dragons'. She eventually realized that boy dragons like girl dragons with big wings and raises her self-esteem.
- A subtle example: Cassie has a massive number of siblings—72 siblings, actually! Exactly how often were Cassie's parents, um, madly in love with each other that they had that many babies?
- Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: Most of the dragons sizes range from small to medium, to quite large. Ord's mother and father are huge. If that's any indication of how big Ord will become when he grows up.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Quetzal and Enrique. And sometimes, the original kids too.
- At one point they decided to sing "Are You Sleeping?" in Spanish, despite it being a French song.
- Great Big Book of Everything: Dragon Land is loaded with strange magical creatures and other latent magic such as a cat that makes you copy someone to a weather-vane that when spun makes everyone and everything go backwards. Fortunately, Max, Emmy and the dragons can always consult Quetzal and his "big storybook," which is a full reference to these sort of phenomena, along with the recommended ways of dealing with them.
- Green-Eyed Monster: In "Cassie the Green-Eyed Dragon," Cassie takes her cute little baby brother Finn to school and gets jealous when everyone pays him attention and doesn't notice her achievements. As this is one of those shows that teaches kids how to handle their emotions, Quetzal helps her by explaining how we all feel jealous sometimes and gives her some help to feel better.
- Growling Gut: Happens to some characters like Zak, Wheezie or Cassie, but mostly Ord as he is gifted with a stomach bigger than himself!
- Grumpy Bear: Zak, to a certain extent.
- Hammer Space: The dragons have marsupial like pouches that they can store just about anything in.
- Harmless Villain: Cyrus the Slinky Serpent, included to function as a "bad guy". The worst things he does are done almost exclusively to find food. For example, he takes Emmy's detective kit to find Dragongull eggs to eat, which is seen by the cast as more of an immoral act than the actual theft itself.
- Not only that, he gives up very easily, mostly stalking off in a huff.
- Height Angst: In "One Big Wish," Max is upset because he can't do certain things because he's always smaller than Emmy and the dragon friends. As for what happens next, see Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever above.
- Hey, That's My Line!: The Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge" when Wheezie says that she and Zak are pals forever.
- Holding Hands: Max and Emmy do this to go home together.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: "More fun than a barrel full of dragonmonkeys." Probably plenty of other instances as well.
- I Have This Friend...: Used in one episode by Emmy when she breaks Wheezie's trumpet.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: As Quetzal explains, long ago there was a lonely dragon, and she badly wanted to walk with humans. She very gifted in the magical arts, and so sent out dragon scales to bring children from our world to her world. Her story ends happily as she made three human friends.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Lorca. We get what they were trying to do with him, but it's still a little jarring to see a dragon in a wheelchair.
- To be fair Lorca doesn't have seem to have wings, which makes him having a wheelchair make much more sense.
- Inevitable Waterfall: Subverted, Ord is upset when the group's boat has to be refitted for him. He gets a chance to shine when the waterfall comes, blocking the water long enough for the others to fly away.
- Leitmotif: The Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge" has one that plays each time he speaks to Zak, wheedling him to hang on to him, along with his feelings of anger and resentment towards Wheezie.
- Licensed Games: Two for the Game Boy Color, one for the Game Boy Advance, one for the Playstation...
- Limited Wardrobe: Like Arthur, this show makes a direct connection between wardrobe and setting. The kids each have helmets, pajamas, winter clothes, and swimsuits.
- Magic Carpet: "Max and the Magic Carpet", natch.
- Magical Incantation: How Emmy and Max activate the Dragon Scale and transfer worlds.
- Make a Wish: Wyatt, a wishing well in the shape of a walrus who grants wishes when coins are thrown in.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Cassie's family.
- Men Don't Cry: In "Feliz Cumpleaños, Enrique," when Quetzal suggests that Enrique cry to let out his sad feelings, he explains that he's been told some version of this. Quetzal essentially calls it out as bull and Enrique feels better after crying.
- Moby Schtick: One episode has the group helping an air pirate capture a whale.
- Multiple Head Case: But they're two entirely different individuals.
- Mundane Utility: Fire breath is often used as a substitute oven or microwave.
- Narnia Time: Can get confusing at times. It may be sunny outside when they leave for Dragon Land, and then when they get back, it'll be pouring rain. Also, it seems possible that the reason their parents don't notice they're missing is that the magic of Dragon Land / the dragon scale has a sort of Invisible to Normals effect, so that any time anyone starts to wonder where they are, they find themselves thinking about something else instead.
- Never Say "Die": Averted. In "Goodbye, Little Caterpoozle," Cassie states quite clearly "She's dead!" regarding her pet, Poozie. Then, Emmy tells Quetzal that Cassie's Pooozie died. Though Poozie wasn't dead. Caterpoozle is equivalent to caterpillar— Poozie just made a cocoon and was growing into a butterfairy.
- The Nicknamer: The Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge." "Zackarooni, Zackmeister," pretty much a different one each time it addresses Zak.
- "No" Means "Yes": The Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge" to Zak, the first time he tries to tell him to leave. "Your lips say 'Yes, yes,' but there's a 'No, no' in your eyes."
- A rare justified variation of this trope, however: the Grudge is a magical creature and will not leave unless Zak actually loses his grudge against Wheezie. The first time Zak tells the Grudge to leave, he's only doing it because he's told to, and the Grudge senses Zak's insincerity since Zak is still mad at Wheezie.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You
- Only Zak can choose to get rid of the Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge." If anyone else tries to remove it by force, it just clings on all the tighter.
- In "The Fury is Out On This One" from the first season, only Max can defeat the Fury. It feeds off his anger and grows larger, but if Max calms down, it shrinks until it's small enough that he can stuff it back in the shell he accidentally released it from.
- Another one involving Zak and Wheezie: Emmy tries to teach them to jumprope, but they accidentally toss the rope upwards, sending it through the open window of the school, where it hits a cabinet, causing Quetzel's special mixture to pour onto it—bringing the rope to life! Quetzal states that the only way to change the jumprope back to normal is that the ones who caused the rope to come alive (Zak and Wheezie) must jump over the alive rope three times in row. Lucky for Zak and Wheezie, Quetzal has another rope that they can use for practice, while Max, Emmy, Cassie and Ord try to chase and get the live jumprope back.
- On the Next: "Coming up next on Dragon Tales...!" This was dropped in later airings as PBS Kids kept adding in more of their own interstitial programming.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
Ord: Can we eat later? *friends gasp* What. What?
- Other World of Adventure: Dragon Land itself, of course.
- Our Dragons Are Different: One with the stomach of a bottomless pit, a little shy one from a extremely reproductive family, a two headed one, one in a wheelchair, a few Hispanic ones, one that is essentially an organic roller coaster... enough variety for you?
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: There are quite a couple. There's Simon, Norm the Number Gnome, and a few others.
- Pajama-Clad Hero: One episode starts at dawn, and another starts at sunset.
- Personal Raincloud: Ord gets one in "Big Funky Cloud" when he's really sad about having lost his favorite blanket down the "lost forever hole." It rains on him whenever he cries and won't go away unless he feels better. It's also said that this always happens to a dragon who's really sad about something, though it's never seen with a sad dragon in any other story on the show.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Cassie and Ord, respectively. Zak and Wheezie sort of count too as a green boy/purple girl.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Giant of Nod, who is only giant to the nodlings but miniature to the dragons and humans. Despite this, he's capable all of the three main dragons and the siblings up at the same time and chucking them into a tree off in the distance.
- Primal Fear: Ord and his fear of darkness.
- Pungeon Master: Sid Sycamore. His schtick is very specific — all of his puns use terms related to trees — i.e. "leaf / leave," "bark," etc.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Wheezy and Zak, respectively.
- Remembered I Could Fly: In "A Liking to Biking," Ord bicycles off the edge of a cliff and is left dangling from a tire swing, scared out of his mind that he's going to fall, until Cassie reminds him, "Ord! You're a dragon! Use your wings!"
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent:
- Mostly averted in the show itself, for obvious reasons. But Cyrus, arguably the most reptilian character in the series, is portrayed as a thief and a liar.
- There's a child psychologist who warns parents against letting young children watch Dragon Tales because "they may get the idea that reptiles are okay to play with." Never mind that the series is set in a Magical Land and the dragons don't even look particularly reptilian.
- Riddle Me This: One of the trolls.
- Rock-Paper-Scissors: "Prince for a Day" opens with Max and Emmy arguing over which of them has to clean the playroom, Max trying to wheedle out of his regularly scheduled duty because he helped their mother wash the dishes the night before. Enrique shows up and asks how they're going to settle it. They play rock, paper, scissors, but after they stalemate twice, Enrique laments that they're not going to solve anything that way. They go to Dragon Land and after they get back, they tie again, so Enrique decides that they should 'all'' clean up together.
- Rummage Fail: This happened with Ord when reaching for items in his tummy pouch.
- Sometimes he will even scarf he things he accidentally pulls out of his pocket.
- Running Gag:
- Max and Emmy return home, and Max promptly falls asleep.
- Max and Emmy come home full, and immediately are told to come into the kitchen and eat.
- Scout Out: Cassie invites Emmy to her Dragon Scouts meeting as a guest.
- Screen Tap: At the end of "Staying Within the Lines," Max ends the show by scribbling black across the screen.
- Shameful Shrinking: Cassie had a tendency to shrink when she felt upset or ashamed about something.
- Shaped Like Itself: Wheezie's standard "I just love X. It's so... X-ing!"
- Shorter Means Smarter: Cassie is the Smart Girl, and she becomes even smaller when frightened.
- Shout-Out: In "Very Berry," when Ord gets stuck in a hole, Max speaks of his daddy reading him a story about a bear who got stuck in a hole because he ate too much honey.
- Sibling Seniority Squabble:
Wheezie: I'm older! My head hatched out of the egg first!
Zak: Only by three little seconds!
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Despite being added on equal status with Max and Emmy, Enrique wasn't put in the show intro.
- Slumber Party: Max and Emmy need to get home, and Cassie is nervous about her first one. They agree to leave together at bedtime.
- Sore Loser: The theme of "Tails You Lose," which centers around Emmy's inability to tolerate losing.
- The Speechless: The doodle fairies can only communicate by drawing.
- Start My Own: Boy, oh boy. Fun house, puppet show, treehouse...
- Stock Audio Clip: Max and Emmy reciting the rhymes to go to and leave Dragon Land almost never changes, in fact the only times it really does are when it needs to be subverted, such as when they interrupt it.
- Stock Footage: The dragons flying off the wall and circling around Max and Emmy has the same animation in almost every episode, especially the early ones. Some later episodes did change it up a bit though.
- Sugar Bowl: Dragon Land fits this trope perfectly.
- The number one rule in Dragon Land is: "You can never hit anyone." This makes it possible for Dragon Land to be a place with no violence. (We first learn about the rule in "No Hitter" when Max hits Ord out of frustration: Dragon Land is enough of a sugar bowl that this is treated in-universe as something heinous.)
- Swiper, No Swiping!: The titular wizard of "The Mefirst Wizard" is a selfish wizard who doesn't know how to take turns and therefore takes over whatever you're trying to play on and won't let anyone else have a turn. He can be banished, however, with the rhyme "Mefirst, Mefirst, go away. That's not the way friends play." Though it has to be said two words at time between those that are there, taking turns.
- Teleportation: Max and Emmy use the dragon scale to perform this.
- That Cloud Looks Like...: In "Roller Coaster Dragon," Wheezie tries this as a way to distract herself from her impatience to get on the roller coaster dragon, but all she can manage to see in the clouds is the roller coaster dragon.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: Personified by characters such as the Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge." Used frequently in other instances as well.
- Three Little Pigs: The characters perform this in "Four Little Pigs," though as the title indicates, with their own special twist.
- Three Shorts: Dragon Tunes is the B in an ABA format.
- Title Drop: Emmy with the title of the episode in "The Grudge Won't Budge."
- At the end of the last episode: A Storybook Ending. Emmy, Max and Enrique decide to sit down to write a book of their adventures in Dragon Land. Emmy suggests that they call it Dragon Tales.
- Title Theme Tune: "Dragon Tales, Dragon Tales! / It's almost time for Dragon Tales...!"
- Theme Tune Roll Call: For the first two seasons. Max and Emmy are mentioned first, then each of the main dragon Characters (Ord, Cassie, Zak and Wheezie). Not that the theme changes for the third season, it's just it's no longer a proper roll call because Enrique isn't mentioned.
- Toilet Humor: Not even this show was immune; in "Snow Dragons", there was the Burping Rock.
- Token Human: Emmy and Max are the only human characters to visit Dragon Land, until Enrique's introduction. Unless you count Captain Scallywag, who's an adult that still comes to visit from time to time, having also found a magic dragon scale in his youth.
- Token Minority: Lorca, the dragon in the wheelchair.
- T-Word Euphemism: In "Roller Coaster Dragon," after Wheezie finally finds a method that works for her to be patient, she comments that while she was doing it, she wasn't thinking about the roller coaster. Zak, shocked, comments that she "said the R word," but Wheezie brushes it off, saying that she just thought of another way to distract herself.
- Uncanceled: Sort of. There was a four year gap between the second and third seasons. Many people thought the show was gone for good, until Sesame Workshop announced the third season as a sort of Re Tool, featuring Enrique and an emphasis on Hispanic culture and folk songs.
- The Voice: Max and Emmy's parents always call to them from elsewhere in the house (downstairs?) but we never see them, or the rest of the house besides the playroom. (This includes their bedrooms.) Their mom is heard more often.
- Walk Into Camera Obstruction:
- "Not Separated At Birth" with Zak and Wheezie as they're flying around after being back together again then fades to Max and Emmy's room.
- "The Talent Pool" with Ord as he runs over to Max and Emmy to hug them.
- Water Is Dry: Whenever Max or Emmy fall in water.
- Widely Spaced Jail Bars: In "Max's Comic Adventure," the gaps between the bars of Mondo Mouse's cage are clearly big enough for him to just walk through, but nevertheless, Max, Emmy and the dragons have to rescue him by figuring out a code to raise up the bars, making it a serious example.
- Wild Card Excuse: Several occur in "Ord's Unhappy Birthday", such as this one:
Max: We can't, we have to go meet Cassie to set up for the par-
Emmy: Picnic! (Beat) Uhh...Max and I are having a picnic with Cassie, so uhh... Happy Birthday Ord...bye!
- Winged Unicorn: Eunice in A Tall Tale. She even has a golden horn. And, was voiced by G3 Pinkie Pie. There's also a bunch of young unicorns in "Making it Fun" and they're all winged too, so maybe all unicorns in Dragon Land have wings.
- Worthless Treasure Twist: Captain Scaliwag's treasure in "Sky Pirates" turns out to be pictures he drew as a little boy.
- Would Hit a Girl: Max punches Emmy in "No Hitter", though he does learn he shouldn't do so.
- Written-In Absence: Emmy, Cassie, Zak and Wheezie are each absent for at least one episode.