FAA grants Disney permission to fly drones over theme parks

By Ashley Carter, Digital Media Producer
Last Updated: Friday, November 04, 2016, 3:28 PM EDT

The federal government has granted Walt Disney Parks and Resorts permission to fly drones over its U.S. theme parks.

  • FAA grants Disney to use drones through November 2020
  • RELATED: FAA Waiver

The Federal Aviation Administration issued the waiver, giving Disney the ability to use drones through Nov. 30, 2020.

Special provisions allow Disney to operate multiple drones at night.  

The request was granted after the FAA determined that Disney’s proposed drone operation “can be conducted safely,” according to the waiver.

Disney filed an application for an exemption in October 2015, detailing how drones would be used for live entertainment purposes at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. In that request, Disney also mentioned “Flixels,” its own proprietary unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Those devices would have the ability to shoot lasers and fireworks.

“First, all operations will occur within no-fly zones,” the document said. “Second, proposed shows have flight areas at least 100 feet from permitted guest-viewing areas at all times. Third, Flixels launch from and land within restricted areas and their flight paths will largely take place over water elements and restricted areas.”

Disney filed a patent for “Flixels” with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in 2014.

Disney has not commented on the waiver.