Disney gets FAA approval for drone flights over its US theme parks

Nov 04, 2016 in "EPCOT"

Posted: Friday November 4, 2016 11:42am EDT by WDWMAGIC Staff

The Federal Aviation Authrority has accepted Disney's application for drone flights, clearing the way for their use in nighttime spectaculars at the theme parks.


Disney has been working on drone technology for use in the parks for the last couple of years, and although the technology itself is now ready, a number of FAA restrictions had stood in the way.

An application for the FAA restrictions on drone use to be lifted was filed back in October 2015, and a waiver has now been granted.

Specifically, Disney can operate drones during nighttime, in multiples, and over Special Security Notice Flight Restriction Areas and Class G airspace. The waiver is effective from November 1 2016 to November 30 2020. 

Although Disney has not made any announcements about drone use in the parks, all of the existing nighttime shows could be enhanced with their inclusion. And of course, entirely new shows could be developed with the technology, perhaps bringing night shows to locations that were previously unsuitable.

You can read the full FAA waiver document here, and learn more about Disney's Flixel drone developments.

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jt04Nov 07, 2016

Video in other thread looks amazing! I am guessing Sea World will be next as part of their Electric Ocean promotion. So much amazing creativity in the pipeline for central Florida.

jt04Nov 07, 2016

Worse troll bait ever.

DisneyGentlemanV2.0Nov 07, 2016

Droning alredy exists here, even without a permit.

MisterPenguinNov 06, 2016

And a rumored drone show over the waters at Disney Springs.

Mike SNov 06, 2016

Here's a website by our very own @RSoxNo1 that does just that. All the rumors in one spot. Have fun. http://www.wdwthemeparks.com/rumors

mandstaftNov 06, 2016

I would LOVE this!

Phil12Nov 06, 2016

Yes indeed the pollution problems from fireworks at Disneyland are a serious concern. In addition all of WDW is located in the Everglades watershed. As you can see from this Army Corps of Engineers map, the water from WDW flows from central Florida through most of south Florida. It doesn't make a lot of sense to pollute the air and water with toxic heavy metals in an environmentally sensitive watershed.

Magenta PantherNov 06, 2016

Are these drones going to be like that awesome flying dragon? What a crowd-pleaser that was! Listen to the people freak out on that video!

tl77Nov 06, 2016

I just want the information without having to join any sites, that's some times called "journalism" but that's a pretty strong word for the internet age

cjkeatingNov 06, 2016

Without seeing the show on paper it does make sense that drones could work well in RoL however the show has been in planning for 3 years, maybe going on for 4 years now so the timeframes for considering drones don't match up. All signs point to drones being used in the next version of Illuminations at Epcot.

tl77Nov 06, 2016

I'm having a hard time understanding why the 1 park that can't have fireworks wouldn't use the fancy new drones, but thanks, and it would be great if this site had a "rumor of the week" report like ever other Disney site, so people with better things to do could skip the "hundreds of pages of discussion" which usually amounts to a lot of cynical b.s. with the occasional fact thrown in

cjkeatingNov 06, 2016

Primarily the GPS systems on the floats not working correctly but it seems just about ready to go... there are hundreds of pages of discussion over in the RoL thread.

tl77Nov 06, 2016

Then what's the hold up?

marni1971Nov 06, 2016

Nothing to do with RoL.