Rumor StatusBlue Sky
A new show is rumored to replace the Electrical Water Pageant for Disney World's 50th anniversary in 2021. The new show would likely feature similar components (floating barges) as the original Electrical Water Pageant as well as employ new drone technology that would allow Disney to control large puppets in the air.
The drones would operate machines Disney refers to as "Flixels" that could include large puppets or projection screens.
November 14, 2016: Orlando Attractions Magazine posted a preview video of the new show.
November 7, 2016: The Disney Parks Blog shared a teaser video of a new show coming to Disney Springs. The holiday show appears to feature the drone technology that Disney is rumored to also be considering for Epcot and Seven Seas Lagoon.
November 4, 2016: Disney filed a petition with the FAA on October 30, 2015 to operate small unmanned drones in a specific area (Walt Disney World). The petition has gained approval by the United States Department of Transportation as outlined in the following paragraph:
The FAA’s Flight Standards Service has reviewed your application to ensure compliance with the requirements of 14 CFR 107.200. The Administrator finds that the proposed sUAS operation can be conducted safely under the provisions of this Certificate of Waiver (Waiver) as listed below, because you have established adequate mitigations for risks involved with operating your sUAS in the manner you described. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc.’s application details the specifics of the company’s risk mitigations based on their prior flight testing, technology, operational history, and flight experience with these unique sUA and specific operations. This data ensures that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc.’s remote pilots in command and visual observers will always be able to see and scan the airspace encompassing the sUA operational area and assure safety of those not directly participating in the operation. Adherence to the provisions of this Waiver establishes the required level of safety within the national airspace system.
WDWMagic.com user marni1971 is reporting that this technology is expected to be used in the upcoming incarnation of Illuminations.
The assumption is that Disney will use these vehicles in conjunction with a patent filed on August 2, 2016 for "Projection assemblies for use with unmanned aerial vehicles".
January 15, 2016: On Episode 95 of the Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish Podcast with Jim Hill, Jim mentions that the drone technology has been tested for Epcot, but also potentially for the Seven Seas Lagoon.
January 8, 2016: Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel has reported that Disney has asked the FAA for permission to use drone technology they refer to as "Flixels".
January 1, 2016: On Episode 94 of The Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish with Jim Hill, Jim discusses a new show coming to Seven Seas Lagoon as part of Disney World's 50th anniversary.
- New Water Pageant: Disney filed patents on a drone based show that was initially rumored to be part of the redesign of Illuminations. This show is now rumored to be part of a new show on Seven Seas Lagoon. The show is expected to feature components on the water that will be supplemented by the new drone based technology. This would be part of the 50th anniversary celebration in 2021. Jim mentions that Disney has sought FAA permission for this technology.