American singer and business woman Dolly Parton has her own theme park — and it’s getting a drone light show this summer.
Dollywood, located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is set to be the backdrop for a new, recurring Intel Drone Light Show this summer. The performances will take place each evening during the park’s Summer Celebration, which runs from June 25-July 31.
The show is being described as “a multi-sensory drone light show that creates a symphony of light in the sky above the Pigeon Forge park,” according to a statement from Dollywood. “Representing a true evolution in traditional theme park entertainment, the sensational show uses nearly 400 drones to animate the spectacular Dollywood-exclusive story. The drone performance is integrated into a musically choreographed fireworks show, creating a visual and audial event of epic proportions.”
The shows are being operated by Intel’s drone light show team, which uses its tiny drones called “Shooting Star” drones to fly into dynamic shapes and animations. Each drone is less than a foot in diameter and weighs less than a pound, serving as a pixel of light that — when combined with tens and sometimes hundreds of other Shooting Star drones — illuminates the night sky.
Dollywood is a 160-acre theme park located near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, that’s part of a larger resort property including a water park, a spa, traditional hotel rooms and cabins. And while the Tennessee evenings are known for fireflies lighting up the skies, this is the first time drones will light up the Pigeon Forge skies.
Intel’s drones have been serving as nighttime entertainment for years now as a sort of replacement-fireworks at events such as Coachella, the Super Bowl an event promoting Wonder Woman and over the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas for CES 2018. In fact, many have suggested drones are better than fireworks for being more environmentally friendly. What’s more, because drones can be arranged in seemingly infinite 3D shapes and colors, they may be able to offer far more creative opportunities.
And Dollywood won’t be their first theme park debut. In the summer of 2019, Universal Studios and Intel partnered to put on a “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” show in the Harry Potter-themed section of the park. The nighttime show featured a variety of special effects to create the illusion of Dementors, Death Eaters. But the finale featured drones, which were designed to replicate a massive Patronus charm in the shape o a stag brightening up the sky.
And it’s not just Dolly Parton as a famous entertainer getting into Intel’s drones. Walt Disney’s legacy has them too.In 2016, Disney held what were the first ever large-scale drone performance in the U.S. with live drone light shows at its Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. For that show, Intel and Disney partnered up to create what was called the ‘Starbright Holidays’ drone light show at the Disney Springs area of the resort.
Learn more: How much does a drone light show cost?
Want to learn more about the Intel drone light shows? Check out a recording of an event I hosted with Intel’s drone light show team featuring Cindy Ng, marketing director of the Intel Drone Group. In it, she reveals little-known details about the Intel drone light shows, including where the drones perform and behind-the-scenes secrets on how each show is planned and executed.
No word if Dolly Parton herself has flown a drone.