Disney Teases Its First Nighttime Show To Utilize Aerial Drones

If you ever want to know the future of theme parks, you've got to look to the patents. Every ride system and every piece of technology that can be incorporated into an attraction or show first exists as a patent, a dry design with an even drier description that feels like it was specifically designed to sound as boring as possible. It's a great way to hide in plain sight – to read about exciting theme park advancements that may be on the horizon is to also be bored out of your mind.

Over the past year or so, Disney has been steadily filing patents for various drone designs and it looks like we'll finally start to seeing the fruits of those plans this holiday season. In addition to fireworks and projection mapping, drones are coming to Disney theme park's nighttime entertainment and the first video teaser for a mysterious new show has arrived.

Previous patent filings have suggested that Disney is preparing all kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles for use in their parks, from drones equipped with their own projection systems to drones that can actually assist in igniting fireworks. It's wild stuff. While we don't know the name of the new nighttime show coming to Disney Springs at Walt Disney World in Florida, but it certainly looks like UAVs, equipped with seasonal lights, will fill the night sky and create imagery that traditional projection and fireworks never could:

There's a lot more to this story than pretty lights in the sky, though. For starters, Disney was only able to start incorporating drones after it lobbied for the FAA to relax the no-fly zone over Walt Disney World, which was instituted shortly after the events of September 11, 2001. This isn't just a story of theme park tech, but a story of how that theme park tech has to bend rules and regulations in order to exist in the first place. And if you want the really cynical read on this, the fact that this show is coming to the Disney Springs shopping and dining district rather than one of Walt Disney World's four theme parks feels like a desperate attempt to pack visitors into a recently renovated (and very expensive) area that hasn't been doing the numbers anyone wanted.

But knowing Disney, the results will probably be spectacular to see.