A show using drones at Disney Springs will debut for the holidays. A brief clip Disney unveiled Monday shows people using remote-controlled devices that create a Christmas tree of green lights in the sky.
“This holiday season, the idea of ‘wishing upon a star’ will take on an even more magical meaning in the skies of Disney Springs,” the Disney Parks Blog said.
Disney had no further details, including when the show would debut. The FAA issued a waiver last week allowing Disney to use drones through November 2020. “You have established adequate mitigations for risks,” the waiver says.
Putting the drones at Disney Springs instead of in a theme park is a sound strategy, said Scott Smith, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism at the University of South Carolina.
“It’s a smart way of getting people out and introducing them to Disney Springs, especially to locals who may end up doing some Christmas shopping out there,” he said. “But I suspect once they reach that goal, they will pick this up and move this somewhere else where they need attendance.”
It could help satisfy a holiday hunger at Disney World, too, as this will be the first year after the exit of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
“Honestly, what they’re really going to do is get this drone technology worked out, and then they’re probably going it in all the parks,” Smith said. “I can see this being a component in ‘IllumiNations,’ then ‘Fantasy in the Sky’ and then at Animal Kingdom.”
Disney asked for permission last year to fly the drones at Disneyland and Disney World for entertainment purposes, including fireworks shows.
Disney at that time laid out safety precautions and planned operations for the drones, including keeping them 100 feet away from guest areas at all times. “Their flight paths will largely take place over water elements and restricted areas,” the company’s application read. The Flixels would max out at 150 feet above ground level, according to the application.