Prohibited drone hovers, then promptly crashes, at Disneyland

Disneyland drone

The Magic Kingdom got a little extra special – and weird ­­­– this weekend when visitors at Disneyland spotted a banned drone hovering overhead, until it navigated to one side and promptly crashed in some bushes. Strangest of all: the aerial invader made its appearance above Frontierland, not Tomorrowland as might have been more logical.

Though UAVs are formally forbidden at Disneyland and the company’s other worldwide parks – except by employees using them in work projects, and operators of choreographed drone shows – the craft was spotted early Sunday afternoon near the dock of the Mark Twain Riverboat attraction. What else could be worth daring prohibited flight for? 

ReadDisneyland Paris adds Marvel-themed drone show to 30th anniversary celebrations

Sharp-eyed visitor Donovan Sanford captured video of what appears to have been a DJI Mavic Air 2 hovering low among some tree branches above a vending cart (which also must have made for some truly riveting video footage). He then tracked the craft – albeit less deftly, and out of frame – across a street and towards the Wild West-themed Golden Horseshoe Restaurant, clearly out to get shots of all the most compelling attractions.

Sanford’s footage then cuts to the drone nestled amid some bushes in a planter as Disneyland guards gaze on at the apparently self-crashed UAV, presumably muttering “Dude…” in mocking dismay in the hopes the inept (and rule-breaking) pilot might be within earshot. 

For his part, Sanford did what anyone who’d escaped potential rotor mutilation from the not-even-remotely-near-miss incident would: He immediately uploaded footage of the illicit drone flight so the entire world could learn about the exceptional aerial goings-on at Disneyland in near-real time.

Disneyland officials also reacted as might be expected to such an incident: They handed off the drone to Anaheim police so the the errant (and evidently inept) pilot might be tracked down. 

Read: Paris park to fete 30th anniversary with first Disneyland drone show

According to authorities quoted in a site covering all things Disneyland, the understandably furtive pilot is not visible in any of the video found on the drone, which they add might well have been operated from outside the park.

Next week: an electric scooter powers through Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – backwards.

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