Disney refers to these drones or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) as “Flixels.” Disney will use these Flixels in their nighttime shows to add LED lighting in specific patterns, or to carry marionette style characters. According to the paperwork that was filed in October 2015, Disney would use a maximum of 50 Flixels for a time frame of 5 minutes. They would be used in a controlled airspace that would be a minimum of 100 feet away from Guests in the park area. In the documents, Disney went into great detail of how they would ensure the safety of both the operators and Guests.
It is Disney’s hope that “Flixels” can be incorporated into story elements of their productions and that they will be able to add to and “engage and inspire children and families.” The Flixels will be controlled from a restricted area of each resort or park, and will have designated launching and landing areas.
Disney says in their application: “It will be a safe and innovative addition to the Disney guest experience, one that Disney hopes will “inspire the public’s imagination about what’s next in aviation.”
Disney Imagineers have a long history of discovering new and innovative technologies and finding ways of incorporating them into their attractions and shows. An example of this was in the re-opening of Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort in 2012. Imagineers created a fire-breathing dragon from a glider to add to the excitement of the opening night’s festivities. The dragon not only flew over Fantasyland, but also left Guests awestruck as it breathed fire into the night sky. If Imagineers can make a fire breathing dragon from a glider, I cannot wait to see what wonderful things and effects they can create from these Flixels. Let’s “wish upon a star” that the FAA also believes in the magic of Disney, and grants the necessary permission to further explore this exciting new technology!