Drones are coming to Disney World

Disney is imagining ways to use unmanned aerial vehicles in its entertainment productions

Drones here, drones there, but drones flying around Disney World? Yes, even the self-proclaimed happiest place on Earth is looking to get its hands on unmanned aerial vehicles. Though it seems like something that can only exist in a movie, Walt Disney World is envisioning flying robots that could animate giant puppets, carry projection screens, and act as floating pixels, called “flixels,” in virtual fireworks shows. Earlier this month, the company applied for the three drone-related patents.

One of the patent applications describes a system in which helium-filled, blimp-sized Disney characters could be tethered and controlled by a fleet of synchronized drones. Sounds a bit frightening, doesn’t it? Well, this way Disney doesn’t have to worry about getting puppeteers to do the job — and it gets better: Check out the illustration of a drone-enabled blown up puppet of Jack Skellington from the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas” below.


Image via Disney.

According to Disney’s inventors, the unmanned aerial vehicles that light up with their own display screens could act as single pixels in a digital light show by flashing colors to mimic fireworks, as seen in the image below. Drones could also carry movable projection screens to solve the limitations of current light shows that are usually beamed onto buildings or other set surfaces.


Image via Disney.

The three men who applied for these patents — Clifford Wong, James Alexander Stark, and Robert Scott Trowbridge — are all a part of Disney’s Imagineering team, the design and development branch behind Disney’s attractions. The company did not mention if and when it hopes to introduce this kind of technology to its theme parks.

Would you pay nearly $100 to watch a drone enable a ginormous blow-up version of your favorite Disney character above your head?

Story via Discovery.

Written for Electronic Products.

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