A few months ago, Disneyland tested autonomous flying lanterns high above the park to see if they would be a viable element for the new Disneyland Forever fireworks show. The lanterns were patterned after those seen in the animated film Tangled, and for whatever reason never made it into the show. The Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts are now filing for an exception to FAA rules so that similar show elements can be tied into new entertainment offerings.
Autonomous lanterns floating on the water will make their debut in Rivers of Light this Spring at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but it seems flying versions of these show pieces are on the way to a new show at the Vacation Kingdom, most likely at Epcot. The rumored lanterns from Tangled may also finally debut in Disneyland Forever if the exception is made by the FAA.
For guest safety, the drones would never go within 100 feet of active guest areas, with flight paths sticking to water elements and restricted areas. The drones would reach a max height of 150 feet as well, making it more likely we will see such technology in Florida over World Showcase Lagoon rather than around Cinderella Castle or the Chinese Theater.
The drones, which Disney is calling a Flixel, would weigh less than 10 pounds and Its airspace would be no more than 600 feet in diameter, remaining in use for roughly 10 minutes. The Flexels would only fly if wind speeds are less than 10 mph and gusts are less than 15 mph.
Will these drones soon be joining Tinker Bell in the skies above the Disney Parks? Well, we’ll have to wait on an FAA decision to find out.