Drones At Disneyland?

Aug. 27--On top of Mickey Mouse, Cinderella and Aladdin, visitors to Disney theme parks may one day get a glimpse of drones.

Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. appears to have a wish to use unmanned aircraft to produce entertainment shows, according to three recently published patent applications first reported by the blog Stitch Kingdom.

At the moment, aerial shows can be cumbersome and difficult to modify, Disney says in the applications published last week.

The shows may rely on "very complex fountain systems," fireworks or even blimps dragging large display screens, an application reads. Light shows can also be projected onto buildings, another filing says.

But buildings can't be moved, fireworks can be dangerous and water can shoot only so high, limiting the size and scope of the shows, the applications say.

Disney's apparent fix? Drones. What else?

Numerous drones would jet through the sky, carrying "display payloads" to create a "dynamic display," according to one application.

"Each of these [drones] with its display payload may be thought of as a floating pixel or 'flixel' that when combined provides a very large display screen or aerial display that may be three dimensional," the patent application says.

Another application has a hint of Pinocchio. Drones, the document reads, would pull the strings on marionettes, moving their limbs.

Another patent application says drones would carry flexible, floating projection screens to present "an aerial display over an audience of spectators."

A representative from Disney could not immediately be reached for comment.

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