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Magic Kingdom New Year Fireworks

BREAKING NEWS: Disney Applies to Use Drones in Disney World and Disneyland Parks (and you won’t believe why)

Something really special is coming to Disney World. Disney has applied for permission from the FAA to fly drones within and above it’s Disney World and Disneyland parks. Commercial crone use must be approved by the FAA. Also, the airspace over the parks are registered no fly zones so special permission will need to be granted. As you would expect, these aren’t the same drones that many folks found under the Christmas tree this year. The drones are incredibly complex pieces of technology that have taken years to develop. But it’s not the technology that will blow your mind. It’s what Disney intends to do with it.


In the (hopefully) not to distant future, Disney plans to use the drones to bring blimp sized marionette style puppets of Disney characters, such as Buzz Lightyear or Tinkerbell, to life in the sky. While Disney has experimented in the past with flying characters in the parks the results have never been as lifelike as they would have liked. Using strings and up to 50 drones to control them, they will be able to closely mimic realistic character movements. Disney may also use the drones in other ways during it’s fireworks shows. Flights would be very short (5-10 minutes) and would mostly be automatically controlled

The public filing indicates numerous protocols are in place to ensure the safety of both guests and cast members. While the flights would be automated, technicians overseeing the shows could take control or shut the drones down if a situation arose. The drones would operate approximately 150 feet off the ground and would never come within 100 feet of guests. Additionally, the drones would only be operated when winds were under 10 miles per hour.

The fact that the airspace above the parks is designated by the FAA as no fly zones actually works in the company’s favor as there is little chance of the drones interfering with other aircraft. Although the application gives no timeframe in which the drone controlled puppets would be put into use, the application is likely to be approved and guests can expect to be wowed shortly after. Innovation has been the cornerstone of the Disney company from the very beginning and this would be one more way Disney surprises and wows us.


Fantasmic – 10 Things You Need to Know

by Jenn S

Fantasmic! is the nighttime spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Unlike other nighttime shows, it takes place inside an open air theater. While the theater is quite large, it often fills to capacity during peak season. Mickey Mouse shows the power of imagination as he battles classic Disney Villains who wish to turn his dreams into a nightmare!  The 26-minute show features live performers, dancing water effects and pyrotechnics. You don’t want to miss this experience! Here are 10 things you need to know to make sure you enjoy Fantasmic!

10 – Check the Times Guide

You will want to check the Times Guide as show times can vary throughout the year. During busy seasons, Fantasmic! is typically offered every night and has two show times each evening. During slower times of year, there will be only one show time each night. Additionally, during very slow times of the year Fantasmic! is only offered on specific days. Guests wishing to see the show will want to plan ahead and visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios on days when Fantasmic! will be presented.

9 – Obtain a Fastpass

Fantasmic! is available as a Fastpass+ selection. Having a Fastpass will eliminate the need for you to get in line 45 minutes to 1 hour before show time to ensure you get a seat. However, this Fastpass+ option is available in the first tier at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, meaning you need to choose between this show and other popular attractions such as The Rockin’ Rollercoaster, The Great Movie Ride and Toy Story Midway Mania. If any of those attractions are important to you, you may want to make your three original selections for earlier in the day and then after you have used your three Fastpass+ selections you can book Fantasmic! at an in park kiosk. Remember that additional Fastpass+ selections are based on availability and specific attractions or shows could be unavailable.

Questions about FastPass+? Check this out.

8 – Book a Fantasmic! Dining Package

If you do not want to book a Fastpass or risk the chance of it not being available later on in the day, there is another option to get reserved seating for the show. There are several Fantasmic! lunch or dinner packages available. Restaurants include Hollywood and Vine, The Brown Derby and Mamma Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano.  These packages include reserved seating for the show and can be booked online or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

7 – Check the weather

While other nighttime shows will still operate during rain, because Fantasmic! features live performers the show may be delayed or cancelled due to inclement weather. If Fantasmic! is cancelled there will not be any refunds for guests who had purchased the dining package.  If Fantasmic! is a must do for you, check the weather forecast and plan your Disney’s Hollywood Studios visit accordingly.

6 – Arrive early

If you did not obtain a Fastpass+ or book the dining package and you still want to experience the show you still can by waiting in the stand by line!  If there is only one show time or you wish to see the first show be sure to arrive early. Guests will begin lining up 45 minutes to 1 hour prior to show time on Sunset Boulevard. Don’t worry though, there is some pre show entertainment, concession stands and restrooms inside the theater area.

5 – Attend the second show time

If you are at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on a day where there are two Fantasmic! show times it is recommended that you attend the second show. This show will be less crowded and you are more likely to get a seat. Plan to arrive about 30 prior to show time for the second show.

4 – Food and Drink is permitted in the theater

While the theater offers concession stands, if you are looking for something more than popcorn and soft pretzels you may want to grab food from Rosie’s All American Café or Fairfax Fare across from the entrance of the theater before entering.  This may provide an option for a late dinner while you are waiting to catch the show.

3 – Bring your stroller with you in line

If you have a stroller, there is no need to park it outside the theater entrance on Sunset Boulevard. Once you begin heading into the theater there will be designated stroller parking before you enter the seating area.

2 – You may get wet!

Seating is on a first come first serve basis, but know that if you sit in the first few rows you may get wet from the water features.

1 – Don’t leave before the finale!

The finale of Fantasmic! is one of the best parts of the show, however many guests begin to leave the theater before the show has finished. They think the show is wrapping up and they want to get out before the crowd but they miss some of the best 3-4 minutes of the whole show! Stay until the end and you won’t be disappointed!

Fantasmic! is a unique nighttime spectacular offering so much more than just fireworks. Be sure to follow these tips to make the most of your experience and enjoy the show.

Fantasmic Dragon

About Chad Nykamp

Husband, father and lover of all things Disney. Like every kid, I loved Disney and the couple trips I took to Disney World in my early years are good memories. But my obsession began in 2004 when we made our first family visit. It's hard to believe that we almost cancelled the trip because it seemed like a lot of work with 3 very little kids. We were hooked by the end of the first day. By day 3 we were planning our next trip back. By day 5 we were doing the math on DVC. And by the end of the vacation everyone was crying the blues that we had to leave. Since then, Disney World has become our favorite vacation destination, a hobby and now a home. We love the detail of the story telling and the memories of time spent with friends and family.