by Ken Storey
Disney has been in the news for the past few years with a steady stream of new patents for various types of drones.
First, there were the drones with screens attached (flixels) and puppets hanging from the drones. At that time Disney indicated that it was interested in using drones for entertainment within its theme parks.
More recently, the Mouse filed a patent for projectors attached to drones. Disney Parks already use projection technology in many of its nighttime shows, including the new Star Wars show at Hollywood Studios. Those drones would feature a mesh-like rear screen that the images would be projected onto.
Disney requested that it be able to fly drones within its theme parks in late 2015.
Just last month, Disney was at it again with another drone. This one will fire lasers at guests who will be armed with laser deflecting lightsabers. The most likely location for these drones is the new Star Wars lands currently under construction at Hollywood Studios and Disneyland.
Now there’s yet another new patent, this one for a drone that fires fireworks. Yes, now Disney wants to strap explosives to drones and fly them fly over and near its theme parks. The new drones feature six rotors and have a compartment that would house fireworks, confetti or smoke charges.
All of the drones would be required to fly over areas with no guests, so lagoons or other vistas are the most likely locations for the new show elements. Disney does use similar standards with its current firework
shows, with many of the fireworks launching from areas well outside of public access.
With an ever-growing collection of drone patents, it’s not a question of if Disney will be using drones but when. With Magic Kingdom ending
its nighttime parade and Hollywood Studios readying to open Star Wars land by WDW’s 50th Anniversary, it’s looking more and more likely that we’ll be seeing drones in theme parks within the next few years.