Just when you thought you’ve seen everything at a Disney theme park, something else comes on the scene. The holiday season at Wald Disney World Resort in Florida has started off with a bang with a brand new sky show featuring 300 Shooting Star drones from Intel. Considered as an “aerial ballet, the drones are programmed with a choreography to move and change colors upon command making “Starbright Holidays – An Intel Collaboration” a Christmas light show that you’ve never seen before.
Disney Springs Starbright Holidays pic.twitter.com/On2YFLkAKA
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The show was inspired by the 2010 animated film Tangled, which featured birthday lanterns were released in honor of the king’s daughter, Rapunzel, who went missing many years before.
“When Walt Disney Imagineers saw that moment, it sparked that magical, ‘what it‘ momentum,” says Victoria Lim, Managing Editor of Disney Parks Blog. “I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Germany with the team as they developed “Starbright Holidays.” Disney is no stranger to innovation, especially using technology to immerse guests in the fantastical.”
In early October, Intel shipped a “fleet” of 500 synchronized Shooting Star drones to Germany to create the show. That trip alone earned Intel a Guinness World Record for “Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Airborne Simultaneously.”
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“Intel Shooting Star drones are made out of foam and flexible plastic,” said Natalie Cheung, drone light show business director for Intel’s UAV Group. “They weigh only 280 grams (less than 10 ounces). There are no screws. Each propeller rotates inside a protective cage. They’re designed to be safe, reliable and easy to fly.” To get a better idea of how the Imagineers came up with the show, watch the video below.
“Starbright Holidays” made its debut on November 20 and is currently playing in the sky above Disney Springs, the local Disney-themed shopping district in the resort. The show is not only a first for Disney, but also for the United States. The show is the first time that 300 drones have been used to create a synchronized light show with 4 billion color combinations and played out with a beautiful orchestral arrangement of classic Christmas tunes.
“Disney is built on creativity and innovative storytelling techniques,” said Loyal Pyczynski, executive R&D Imagineer at Walt Disney Imagineering. “We immerse our guests into their favorite stories in a way that makes the fantastic feel authentic. ‘Starbright Holidays’ will inspire lifelong memories for our guests and their families.”
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“Starbright Holidays” is actually the resort’s second new nighttime holiday show. The first, “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” is a new show currently playing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park and is a replacement for the now defunct “Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights” which was a nine-year tradition at the park but was eliminated this year due to the park’s construction of the new Star Wars and Toy Story sections of the park.
“Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM” uses lights, lasers, and you name it, but the big draw is that the show projects images from different Christmas-themed Disney properties, including Wayne and Lanny from the TV special, Prep & Landing, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, Pluto’s Christmas Tree, and Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
“Starbright Holidays” is currently being shown at 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. in the sky over Disney Springs. The shows will continue through January 8, 2017.
[Featured Image by Mark Ashman/Getty Images]