WITH THE PUSH of a button, 300 drones ascend from a ground station and float over a nearby lake. You can’t see them at first—it’s well after sundown—but you can hear them falling into formation. The music starts, the drones light up, and the choreography begins. This isn’t just the latest Disney World attraction. It’s a whole new breed of entertainment.
[UPDATE from Disney: We’re excited to share an update that the first shows of “Starbright Holidays – An Intel Collaboration” will begin on November 20. You can see the nightly performances at Disney Springs at 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. from Nov. 20 – Jan 8.]
That’s the hope for both Disney and Intel, anyway, as they prepare to launch previews of their “Starbright Holidays” extravaganza in Orlando. The drones are Intel’s new Shooting Star quadcopters, and while this isn’t Intel’s biggest air show—the company synced up 500 of them earlier this year in Sydney—it will be the first implementation in which Disney’s imagineers helped guide the production.
“Our drones, together with Disney’s expertise in animation as well as storytelling, and the music score, together make what we think is going to be a groundbreaking for of entertainment,” says Josh Walden, general manager of Intel’s New Technology Group.
It’s taken five months of close coordination between Intel and Disney to get this far, all to the end of creating a live experience that’s as engrossing as it is technologically innovative. And what’s fun for the whole family today may end up having more serious applications down the road.