Drones are one of this year’s top ten Christmas gifts, but they’re also proving to be a big draw for theme park visitors. Universal may be following Disney’s lead by introducing drones into their newest attractions.
Universal City Studios LLC, a division of Universal Parks & Resorts, published a patent last month called “Special Effects Techniques” that will use unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to deliver special effects during shows and rides, according to an Orlando Business Journal story.
Tom Schroder, Universal’s spokesman, said he could not share any information on the drone patent or how it would be used at the theme park.
The specials effects could include water effects, scent cannons, compressed air or steam blasts, theatrical smoke or fog, snow, bubbles, confetti, flame effects or audio effects, according to the patent.
The drones could also be used to communicate with wearable technology. Universal announced last month that guests visiting their new Volcano Bay water park would use TapuTapu bands to avoid long lines and immerse themselves in the attraction experience by pushing a button to trigger a water spray during the water coaster ride.
Disney launched their nightly drone show last month called Starbright Holidays at Disney Village. The show was created through a partnership with Disney Imagineers and Intel engineers. Disney has hinted that this is just the first generation of drone technology and they are working on more advanced shows for the future.