Disney’s Drone Drops Fireworks, Confetti, Liquids

An important benefit of the evolving botosphere is increased safety for our humankind. Robots are slowly replacing us for tedious and dangerous activities, and drones are a great tool for anything airborne. Take fireworks: pyrotechnics are not an exact art, and can be extremely dangerous if mishandled.

Disney has been busy finding ways to use drones from their Flixels to the flying eyeball to this present patent application for precise firework placement. As the application states, “typical aerial fireworks launching systems have limited accuracy. An example is discharging the pyrotechnic to a specific altitude that may not be reached. As a result, a pyrotechnic feature may possibly be ignited at a lower or higher altitude than desired.”

This invention is all about heightening a pyrotechnic viewer’s experience: “A special effect delivery configuration is needed to deliver special effects in a manner that is safe for audience members of an entertainment experience, but also close enough to provide great sight lines and excitement for audience members.”

In brief, a drone lifts up “pyrotechnic, confetti, smoke charge, and the like” to a predetermined altitude, then discharges whatever it’s carrying. The technicians dial in the altitude of the charge with surgical precision, and “provide an entertainment feature to an audience that is in proximity to the destination.”

The invention does not disclose what kind of drone to use. “A flying vehicle such as a flying robot, drone, airplane, helicopter, balloon etc. is used to deliver the special effect devices, e.g., pyrotechnics, water features, features with other types of liquid, confetti, artificial snow, etc., while in the air. The special effect devices are mounted to the air delivery vehicle and are discharged from a controllable aerial position to the intended position.”

So when you’re at Disneyland and feel a sprinkle of a “type of liquid”, you’ll know that it’s coming from the patented “discharge platform”.

Claim 1 is neat, although there is an odd limitation that the apparatus can only provide an entertainment feature:

A special effect apparatus comprising:

  • a discharge platform;
  • a propulsion mechanism coupled to the discharge platform that propels the discharge platform through the air;
  • a storage apparatus that stores a special effect producing device and is coupled to the discharge platform;
  • and a discharge mechanism that discharges a special effect producing device from the storage apparatus toward a destination after receiving an instruction while the discharge platform is flying such that the special effect producing device is activated within a proximity to the destination to provide an entertainment feature for an audience at the destination.



US Patent Application No: 20160129363

Filed (US): Mar. 21, 2014

Published: May 12, 2016

Applicant: Disney Enterprises, Inc.,  Burbank, CA