Saturday, September 22, 2018
Things To Do

Lighted drones dazzle the night sky over Disney in new holiday show (w/video)

ORLANDO — Three hundred drones took to the skies of Walt Disney World's shopping district on Wednesday in what organizers said was the first show-drone performance of this scale in the United States.

The theme park debuted "Starbright Holidays," a choreographed nighttime lit drone performance for members of the news media. Soon — though Disney hasn't set a date yet — the shows will debut to the public and run nightly through the holidays.

Disney World secured permission from the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month to use drones on its properties. The Mouse House wasted no time in showing off its drone skills.

The brightly lit drones flew in formation over a restricted area of the park, in view of Disney Springs, the shopping and entertainment zone formerly known as Downtown Disney.

Technology giant Intel said it was the first public performance in the United States of 300 of the company's Shooting Star drones, used in a choreographed aerial performance set to holiday music.

The drones dance in formation, creating what appears to be a floating, rotating Christmas tree. A lone licensed drone pilot used a computer to control the drones, which Disney called "Flixels" in its FAA application.

Since access to Disney Springs is free, guests won't need a theme park ticket to see the show. The shopping area with free parking and celebrity chef restaurants has doubled in size since its renovation over the past three years.

There is now a faux bubbling spring modeled on the freshwater springs found in Old Florida backwater towns. But this one is next to dozens of new designer stores and restaurants.

Using the sky as the stage for an aerial ballet, the "Starbright Holidays" show ultimately will run nightly through Jan. 8.

The drones have plastic foam bodies and weigh about 10 ounces, about the same as an ultralight running shoe.

There should be no fear over drones falling out of the sky in the busy theme park, said professor Matt Waite, who founded the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

"They are going to be flying them over the water and they will almost certainly have some kind of geo-fence built into the software," Waite said, describing it as similar to an invisible dog fence that won't let the drones operate beyond a certain point.

And even in the unlikely event a 10-ounce drone falls 150 feet from the sky, "It may not feel great," Waite said, "but it's not going to injure you very much."

Now that its multiyear makeover is complete, Disney Springs is unwrapping its first full-on holiday lineup of festivities.

There will be live entertainment nightly in each of the "neighborhoods" that grew up around the fictional springs. The architecture is inspired by the look of towns such as Coral Gables and St. Augustine.

Some of the holiday attractions include:

• Stitch's Holiday Gift scavenger hunt in search of a unique Stitch icon at each participating location.

• The Festival of Toys with a nightly tree-lighting ceremony, holiday dance party and pin trading.

• Christmas Tree Trail, a selfie-ready walk among 15 custom decorated holiday trees, each dedicated to a popular Disney theme. Custom music and a light snowfall completes the Christmas scene.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.

   
Comments

Sports on TV/radio for Saturday, September 22

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Federated Auto Parts 4007:30 p.m.NBCSN; 102.5-FMBaseballGiants at Cardinals1 p.m.FoxRays at Blue Jays4 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMOrioles at Yankees4 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Indians7 p.m.MLBReds at Marlins7 p.m.FSFPadres at Dodgers (i...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Joe and Son's Olive Oils, a legacy Ybor business, finds new roots in Carrollwood

Joe and Son's Olive Oils, a legacy Ybor business, finds new roots in Carrollwood

Andrea Gebbia grew up in Carrollwood, and now she is bringing the family business to the neighborhood of her youth.In late fall, Joe and Son’s Olive Oils is slated to open a second location."I feel so blessed having the ability to grow my...
Published: 09/21/18
Chi Chop + Kung Fu Tea looks to succeed where others failed

Chi Chop + Kung Fu Tea looks to succeed where others failed

RIVEVIEW – Amy Lin knows that her newest Chi Chop + Kung Fu Tea store is in a location where previous businesses have not lasted.The short-lived Tap’s Brewhouse & Deli and even shorter-lived Top Shelf Sports Bar and Grill tried to r...
Published: 09/21/18
SoundBytes: The Midnight Hour, Dead Prez, Derez De’Shon, nothing,nowhere. and more

SoundBytes: The Midnight Hour, Dead Prez, Derez De’Shon, nothing,nowhere. and more

— Rising emo-rap artist nothing,nowhere., who opened for Fall Out Boy last fall at Amalie Arena, will headline the Orpheum on Nov. 24, alongside Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Smrtdeath and St. Panther. Tickets are $18 and up. Click here.— ...
Published: 09/21/18
Watch: A southern white rhinoceros calf just a week after being born at ZooTampa

Watch: A southern white rhinoceros calf just a week after being born at ZooTampa

TAMPA — A southern white rhinoceros gave birth to a calf at ZooTampa on Sept. 12, marking the sixth successful birth of the species in the zoo's history. In a news release, ZooTampa said southern white rhinoceroses are a nearly threatened spec...
Published: 09/21/18
At 50, Clearwater's real-life superhero is hanging up his super suit

At 50, Clearwater's real-life superhero is hanging up his super suit

CLEARWATER — For two decades, Dale Pople patrolled the streets feeding the homeless, helping old people carry groceries, extinguishing a car fire. He wore a red, yellow and blue Spandex outfit with an SH emblem: "Super Hero." Now, Clearwater&...
Published: 09/21/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sunday, Sept. 23

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sunday, Sept. 23

Tampa Bay Lightning Fan Fest: The kicks off the hockey season with this free event including player autograph sessions, team scrimmages, selfie stations with players, food and beverage discounts, merchandise specials, hockey equipment sale and activi...
Published: 09/21/18
All the celebs arrested, married and sued this week from Plies to Bieber-Baldwin rumors

All the celebs arrested, married and sued this week from Plies to Bieber-Baldwin rumors

Here's a guide to some entertainment news you might've missed this week.ARRESTED: Rapper Plies was arrested at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday after authorities say a gun was found in his carry-on bag. The 42-year-old Wesley Chapel resident ...
Published: 09/21/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Saturday, Sept. 22

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Saturday, Sept. 22

Niall Horan: The One Direction singer-songwriter on his own tour brings along country’s Maren Morris. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $29.50-$107. (813) 740-2446.MegaCon Tampa Bay: The multi-genre convention brin...
Published: 09/21/18
Review: Robert Olen Butler’s Paris in the Dark packed with action

Review: Robert Olen Butler’s Paris in the Dark packed with action

On a fall night in 1915, an American reporter sips Chartreuse at a sidewalk table as German Zeppelins patrol the perimeter of Paris. As he plans how to finagle his way to the front lines of World War I, a bomb explodes at another cafe nearby, and he ...
Published: 09/21/18