Disney’s 300 Drones: How Would You Use Them?

Consider the following task: You must transform 300 drones into an entertainment experience worthy of being considered by a Disney theme park. What would you create? Actually pause for a moment and consider an answer. After all, comparing your idea to that of an actual Disney Imagineer (which you’ll soon get a chance to do) will be much more fun than having no idea at all. More on this later.

Spending time with Disney Legend, and former Vice Chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering, Marty Sklar was always a treat. My wife, Pam, and I attended a fun event in Sacramento, California, during which Marty introduced his newest book: One Little Spark: Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering.

Becky meeting Marty Sklar (cropped).jpg
The late Marty Sklar with a fan during an autograph signing in 2011, Jeff Christiansen

Marty’s book is a must-read, and the presentation was equally riveting. Never one to take credit for the work of others, Marty brought to the event two Imagineers who contributed to his book and had them share the details of some of their newest projects. With the enthusiasm of the best Disneyland tour guides, Dex Tanksley and Alfredo Ayala shared details of their respective journeys to becoming Disney Imagineers. Both are brilliant and masterfully blend the art and science required to create the attractions enjoyed by millions of guests at Disney properties.

Then Alfredo Ayala teased us with the 300 Drone Challenge. “Would we like to know what he and his team created with 300 drones?” The answer was a resounding “yes” and, thankfully, we weren’t sworn to secrecy, so you’ll soon learn what Alfredo shared. But first, what was your answer? What would you do with the drones?

Here’s Alfredo’s answer:

The drones could be a replacement for fireworks! Alfredo shared a photo of those 300 drones, each sporting a blue light, up the night sky. They had been programmed to fly in formation and the photo captured the moment they formed a beautiful dove floating through the air … the night sky forming the perfect background.

So, there you have it, an environmentally friendly, cheaper, reusable, and much quieter replacement for fireworks. Coincidentally, although Marty’s book title is One Little Spark, these newest fireworks are spark free.