‘Disney Dreams That Soar’ drone show takes flight at Disney Springs

Walt Disney World Resort has officially debuted its newest drone show, “Disney Dreams That Soar,” at Disney Springs.

Disney Springs is the resort’s free, outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment district, making it free to watch this drone show. The 10-minute drone show features 800 drones forming beloved Disney characters like Peter Pan, Dumbo, and Buzz Lightyear. Among the most impressive parts of the show? A a 213-foot Death Star from “Star Wars.” Then there’s Big Ben in the “Peter Pan” sequence of the show, which stands at 328 feet tall. That’s actually taller than the real-life Big Ben’s height of 316 feet.

The width of the show spans an impressive 524 feet. In Disney terms, that’s roughly equivalent to the length of two and a half Monorail trains. And it all plays out in sync to a custom soundtrack, recorded in-studio by a full orchestra.

If you can’t see it for yourself, the folks over at WDW News Today put together a video of the opening night. Now, you can watch Disney Dreams That Soar from your own couch:

How to watch the free, Disney Springs drone show

“Disney Dreams That Soar” takes place nightly at Disney Springs (weather-permitting) through Sept. 2, 2024. Shows usually run twice a night at 9 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. Though check the official entertainment schedule on Disney’s website to confirm ahead of your arrival.

You’ll see it most clearly from the West Side of the massive shopping complex along the waterfront between the Cirque du Soleil Theatre and Aerophile – The World Leader in Balloon Flight.

(Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World)

Tips for watching Disney Dreams That Soar

  • Know where to park: Parking at Disney Springs is free, and there are multiple parking structures. That said, arrive at least 60 minutes before the show time. Parking is fairly high-tech, as digital message boards along Buena Vista Drive indicate when garages and surface lots are full. And though the shopping complex is free for the public to enter, Disney does say they may cut off access if it gets too crowded. Given that, arrive early to prevent your access from being blocked. “Due to limited capacity, we may need to occasionally pause parking and pedestrian entry,” according to a statement from Disney.
  • Arrive early: Arrive at your viewing spot at least 30 minutes before showtime to secure a good viewing location, especially on weekends. Since viewing areas are first-come, first-serve — and the show is one of the few free drone shows — expect big crowds. And yes, viewing areas filled up on opening night.
  • Scope out the best viewing spots: For the best vantage points, consider areas near the Marketplace, the bridge between Town Center and The Landing, or in front of AMC Theatres.
  • If you need wheelchair access: There’s a wheelchair entrance over at the Food Truck Park section of Disney Springs.
  • Make it part of a full day: Disney Springs makes for one of the best, free ways to do Walt Disney World. With more than 150 shops and restaurants, it’s easy to fill at least a half-day at the complex. That should make it more reasonable to arrive early to beat the crowds to parking spaces and entrance.
  • Skip the theme park tickets (at least on your drone show day):  Disney World trip costs are high. Bu stay at a Disney-owned hotel, budget at least $300 per person, per day if you intend to buy theme park tickets and stay at a Disney-owned hotel. That said, you don’t need Disney tickets to watch this show. And because theme park tickets can easily run more than $100 per person, per day, consider scheduling this show into your vacation itinerary on a day you don’t have a park ticket.
(Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World)

Leveling up the technology

As multiple theme park drone shows play out around the world this summer, shows are seeking to distinguish themselves with more, creative technology uses besides just drones.

This show itself is a huge upgrade to the last time Disney Springs hosted a drone show. That was seven years ago — way back in 2016. During the 2016 winter holiday season, Disney Springs played ‘Starbright Holidays’, a drone show in partnership with Intel. That show was paltry in size compared to this summer’s show. Starbright Holidays featured 300 drones which — at the time — was huge. But compared to this summer’s 800-drone show, that’s nothing.

How Disney drone shows compare to competitors

Industry experts expect the drone show from Universal Orlando, which is Walt Disney’s World’s biggest competitor, will be even better. That park’s summer drone show, called “CineSational: A Symphonic Spectacular,” launches on Friday, June 14. It incorporates dancing water fountains on the lagoon in the center of the theme park, fireworks, and projection mapping on the buildings around the lagoon.

And aligning drones with fireworks is just the beginning. Drone show leader Sky Elements this month got Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to actually attach fireworks directly to the drones themselves. With that comes a unique waterfall effect in the sky.

Disney Dreams That Soar integration with MagicBand+

As far as Disney’s attempt at incorporating tech? The Disney Dreams That Soar drone show syncs to MagicBand+. When you watch the show, your MagicBand+ “springs to life” by lighting up and vibrating in sync with the show.

MagicBand+ is a wearable used at Walt Disney World designed to put key functions of experiencing the parks in one place. The wrist-worn device acts as your park ticket, room key (if staying at a Disney resort hotel), Lightning Lane entrance facilitator, and PhotoPass photo linker — reducing your need to have a paper ticket or plastic room key, or needing to pull out your phone.

But the device also has some more fun, interactive capabilities. You can interact with certain shows, park features, and even participate in mini-games (like Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters) through the band’s functionalities. And yes, among those shows is now the Disney World drone show.

(Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World)

Want to put on your drone show? There are a variety of drone light show kits that can help you make it happen.

For $10,000, you could launch your own 10-drone light show display in a kit made by Drone Dojo. There’s also a more affordable $7,500 drone light show kit from DroneBlocks, which is geared more toward STEM classrooms.

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