Grand shows utilizing drones to create imagery in the night sky could soon be introduced to more Disney Parks across the globe. Disney Live Entertainment Parades and Spectaculars Executive Steve Davison recently spoke about Walt Disney Imagineering’s already-present and growing interest in the technology, stating “drones are the next thing.”
Disney Executive Teases More Drone Shows Coming to Parks
Davison spoke to media members at a season two preview of “Behind the Attraction,” a Disney+ program that, this season, will explore Disney’s nighttime spectaculars amongst several other topics. The executive spoke about the company’s interest in drone technology and desire to expand upon its current usage at this event, according to The Orange County Register.
[Drones] are very cool. They’re kind of a new thing. We’re doing a lot of work in that. So I’m going to say is, there’s more to come.
Steve Davison, per The Orange County Register
Davison was scarce on specifics, not providing any concrete information on potential show ideas or specific parks at which the technology may soon be introduced.
Disney’s Interest in Drones
Disney’s interest in drones as a visual tool in nighttime shows and spectaculars stretches back several years, with perhaps its most prominent initial usage of the technology coming in 2016 with the “Starbright Holidays” light show at Disney Springs. The show used drones with pre-programmed flight paths and light designs to create various holiday-themed shapes in the sky above Lake Buena Vista.
The company filed a patent in August of 2020 that focused on a drone’s ability to carry or impact other show elements in addition to being decorative, with the patent described as “a new aerial show system . . . adapted for utilizing energy of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to activate and/or animate creative show effect devices or show elements to produce dynamic show effects as the UAV flies through a show’s airspace.”
Drones again became a component of nighttime shows at Disney Parks with the debut of Disney D-Light at Disneyland Paris for the park’s 30th-anniversary celebrations in 2022. The drone and projection show saw multi-colored drones create various shapes behind Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant and was well-received by audiences.
The success of Disney D-Light prompted Imagineering to look into expanding their usage of the technology. A mid-2022 report suggested that Disneyland Resort in California was looking into using drones for its nighttime spectaculars, but nothing has come of that thus far. Tokyo Disney Resort announced a drone show for its 40th anniversary in July of 2023, with the performance debuting later that month.
Disneyland Resort Paris quickly expanded its usage of drones, debuting a drone show for the opening of Avengers Campus at Walt Disney Studios Park in July of 2022. “Avengers: Power of the Night,” a more permanent drone and projection show, ran at the park from January through May of this year before returning in September.
Though other parks have flirted with the technology, Disneyland Resort Paris has been at the forefront of drone implementation into nighttime shows. David Duffy, the former Vice President of Entertainment for Disneyland Paris who worked on the park’s 30th-anniversary celebrations, was announced as the new Live Entertainment Vice President for Walt Disney World Resort in August of this year.
Steve Davison is the lead voice in the creation of entertainment such as parades and nighttime spectaculars at Disney’s global parks. He’s been the creative force behind several live productions throughout his 40-plus years at Disney, including several beloved shows such as “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure and “Disney Dreams!” at Disneyland Paris.
Are you excited about more drone shows potentially coming to Disney Parks? Where would you like to see a new drone show introduced first? Let us know in the comments.