On the heels of a successful Disneyland Paris drone light show in 2022, there’s a bigger and better show coming to the French theme park this winter. And this one is set to be pretty super, as it’s a Marvel drone show.
Between Jan. 28, 2023 and May 8, 2023, the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris will be the site of a brand-new Marvel drone show. It’s all to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Disneyland Paris, which opened on April 12, 1992 (Disney has a history of extending celebrations a little – or a lot — longer than the standard birthday celebration time).
Perhaps the most standout feature is how many drones perform in this show. 500 drones will form a series of lighting sequences themed to the powers of heroic Super Heroes such as Captain America, Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch and, for the first time at Disneyland Paris, Shang-Chi.
And it’s not just a drone style. In classic Disney style, the show goes all out. It’s not just drones, but rather a combination of music, lights and pyrotechnic effects. There’s also video projections onto the Tower of Terror, one of the most iconic attractions (and certainly the tallest edifice) in the theme park. And it’s set to a soundtrack of main themes from Marvel movies, orchestrated specifically for the show and performed by a symphony orchestra of 70 musicians recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.
A video is worth a thousand words, so just check out the trailer here. It’s absolutely epic:
The Marvel show features projections of popular characters like Doctor Strange, Hulk and Captain America projected on the Tower of Terror. The drones complement the projections, making shapes like the portals seen in Doctor Strange and Captain America’s shield.
But even though the show’s performers are drones, it’s still put together by a team of more than 30 people. And plenty of rehearsals were still done — in relative secrecy.
“We had to do this at nighttime when everyone was sleeping,” said producer Ben Spalding.
Not only is this the first drone show of its kind and scale for Disney, but it’s the first-ever Disney park show dedicated entirely to Marvel Studios. Disney bought the then-nascent Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2009 for $4 billion. Since then, it has grown into one of the most popular arms of the Disney company, which has since created Marvel movies around superheroes including Ant-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Shang-Chi, as well as TV shows on Disney Plus, the company’s streaming arm that launched in 2019.
Within the theme parks, Marvel has had an increased footprint included a land at Disney California Adventure Park called Avengers Campus that opened in 2021 at the Anaheim, California theme park.
Could the Marvel drone show save Disneyland Paris?
Disneyland Paris has historically been among the weakest-performing of all the Disney resorts around the world. Even in its first decade of opening, the park had financial difficulties and attendance problems. Though, up until 2017, the Walt Disney Company held only a minority stake in the theme park. That year, The Walt Disney Company offered an informal takeover of Euro Disney S.C.A., buying 9% of the company from Kingdom Holding, which brought The Walt Disney Company’s total ownership to 85.7%. The Walt Disney company also promised to invest an additional 1.5 billion euros to strengthen the company plus a full buyout. And ever since then, the park has turned around.
Disney announced an expansion of three new areas themed around Star Wars, Frozen and of course, Marvel.
There have been new rides and restaurants, but among the biggest investments has been entertainment.
And given the grandness of the drone show, the company is investing in unique entertainment about that.
Disney has a tendency to recycle attractions and shows across its parks, which is a money-saving measure for them (and also a money-saving measure of sorts for tourists, who might not feel compelled to fly across the country or world to experience an attraction that is largely similar to one in a Disney resort closer to them). But what’s standout about this is that the Marvel drone show is exclusive to Walt Disney Studios Park. To experience the grandeur, you’ll have to make a specific trip.
The evolution of Disneyland Paris drones
The Marvel drone show is also not the first time that Disneyland Paris has played with drones. Beginning in March 2022, Disneyland Paris ran a separate drone show also to celebrate its 30th anniversary, titled Disney D-light. That show was held across the way from the Walt Disney Studios Park at the Disneyland Paris park, where it illuminates the skies over the theme park’s iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The roughly 7-minute show uses drones to make shapes like a Mickey Mouse silhouette, as well as provide some sparkle to the backdrop of a lit-up castle, alongside other features like glowing fountains. It’s all set to some hyped up pop music and it’s made to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Disneyland Paris theme park. Watch it here:
Disney also offered a unique, behind-the-scenes look at that specific show (featuring a close-up of the drones themselves) on its TikTok account:
And Disneyland Paris did offer a one-off Avengers show in July 2022 when it put drones in the shapes of Avengers-inspired images including the iconic A logo and a Captain America shield to inaugurate the opening of the Avengers Campus in Disneyland Paris, which is a themed land much like the version in California. Watch a clip of that show here:
And Disney has long been exploring drones, as seen with UAV-related patents that wee filed as far back as 2014, plus another later patent for an entire “Aerial Show System Using Drones” in 2020. Disney also briefly used drones at its Walt Disney World Resort in Florida during the 2016 holiday season to put on a nighttime spectacular.