In an interview with inpark magazine, Walt Disney Imagineering Chief Creative Officer Bruce Vaughn covered a variety of topics including what current and emerging technologies he’s excited about. Vaughn was previously with Imagineering before leaving in 2016. During his time at Imagineering, Vaughn had a long career that dated back to 1993 and included a number of projects such as Spaceship Earth renovations, Pandora – The World of Avatar, and Lucky the Dino.
Now, Vaughn is co-parenting Disney’s creative branch with Barbara Bouza, who retains the title of President of Walt Disney Imagineering. Vaughn essentially functions as the creative lead for Imagineering while Bouza takes the lead on the business and architecture side.
When asked about current and emerging technologies that he’s excited about, Vaughn went straight for drones, but not necessarily how they have been used in theme parks so far. From Disneyland Paris to Universal Orlando, drones are an awesome way to create entertainment in the skies once the sun sets, but Vaughn wants to explore using drones during the day too:
Drones fascinate me a lot, and we’ve begun to use those at our parks in Paris and other places. I think that we’re just scratching the surface with what can be done with them. Our nighttime spectaculars are a huge win, but spectaculars don’t always need to be done at nighttime.
The thing I also love about our business, where we’re putting people into physical environments, immersive worlds, is that there are all these dimensions, including above you. We mostly do it in a way that gathers people in one place, focused on one spot. I think with some of these new technologies, like drones, you can begin to think differently about how you deliver those kinds of shows and how you can spread it out or pepper these kinds of experiences throughout a day.
At this point, Universal Orlando is getting ready to debut a drone show just down the road from Walt Disney World, which surprisingly remains drone-less. Disneyland Paris has demonstrated that Disney can execute a world-class drone show, but there hasn’t been a drone show at Walt Disney World since 2016.
A year ago, it was said that Disneyland in California was exploring bringing a drone show to its theme parks, but nothing has materialized just yet.
There was a brief drone-supported “show” during the debut of Rise of the Resistance at Walt Disney World where large Boeing drones were used to fly X-Wing ships “above” Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but it only lasted for a couple days before ending.
Disney has not announced any new drone shows for its domestic theme parks at this time.
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