How Theme Parks Benefit From Drones

I don’t know about you, but I love the thrill of a roller coaster.

Wooden or steel, on a track or suspended in the air, they all deliver an unbelievable rush. The exciting combination of speed, loops, turns, and death-defying drops is a form of entertainment thrill seekers like myself can’t get enough of.  

When we purchase our tickets to ride these engineering marvels, few of us give any thought as to whether or not they are safe. We all assume amusement park rides are engineered to keep us out of harm’s way, and that they are properly maintained. 

Over half a billion people attend theme parks every year. And, while accidents and sadly, deaths, do occur, they’re incredibly rare.

In fact, the chances of dying on a roller coaster remain only one in 16 million. For comparison purposes, you’re far more likely to be struck by lightning, at one in 700,000! 

The reality is that a great deal of effort goes into keeping these rides safe and in working condition. These days, most regions have laws ensuring proper maintenance and inspection of all attractions.

Of course, it’s a daunting task to comply with all those regulations and manufacturer guidelines. 

The traditional method of checking rides involves maintenance teams conducting daily inspections and preventive maintenance. Normally, parks are closed when this happens, since rides need to be locked down for everyone’s safety.

Even so, workers are often placed in dangerous situations, such as operating at heights.

There must be a better way to do this, right?

There is.

Drones help make the inspection process safer and more efficient, not to mention numerous other roles they play.

Let’s discuss a few of the best use cases for drones in amusement parks, and how they can make your life easier.

Theme Park Ride Inspections

Manual inspections take time and place people in dangerous environments.

Take, for example, routine track inspections. Before an amusement park opens each day, ride inspectors must visually examine tracks for debris, along with signs of wear and tear.

The process can be slow, tedious, and too often, dangerous.  

While I enjoy speeding around a loop over a hundred feet off the ground, your inspector must suspend from this height to make sure the loop is safe. That’s a long way to fall should an accident occur, and certainly a deadly one.

And, that’s even before regulatory safety bodies like OSHA look into your program.

Drones can visually inspect tracks for obstructions and wear without ever placing a person at risk.

Every inch of a track can meticulously be reviewed in a fraction of the time it would take a person to complete the same level of review.

And, when armed with a thermal camera, drones can also determine stress points, as well as conduct a wide range of other NDT types of analysis.

UAV technology in this use case is just too good for theme park operations to ignore. 

incorporating drones into your business - the word drones written out in the sky
Related: Here's what you'll need to consider to incorporate drones into your organization (click image for full article)

Drones Boost Amusement Park Security

It’s no secret that crowds at amusement parks can be immense, especially during peak seasons.

For instance, it’s estimated that Disneyland has a max capacity of 85,000. To put that in perspective, that’s more people than the entire population of Edmonton in northern London, which tallies approx. 82,000.

Keeping that many people safe and moving in an orderly fashion is a complex problem. So, what’s the best solution to keep track of things?  

You guessed it – that aerial view that drones are perfectly suited to provide.

Drones can significantly help with monitoring crowds and keeping them safe.

For instance, the overwatch provided by drones can be used to count numbers of people, or identify areas of concern.

Drones can monitor overall traffic patterns, or even track individuals of interest, as well as much more.

Making them even more useful, some drones can even carry loudspeakers and spotlights.

If something were to go wrong, these specialized payloads can help people in distress, and even have the potential to save lives.

Sign that reads Warning Drone Surveillance
Related: Could Drones Provide the Security Solution You're Missing? (click image to learn more)

Drone Shows Are Replacing Theme Park Fireworks

As the popularity of drone light shows grows around the world, theme parks are starting taking notice.

Though many theme parks hold fireworks shows, a few have started embracing this new technology, incorporating drones into their entertainment packages.

One example, in the United States, is Dollywood. The amusement park, located in Pigeon Forge, TN, featured an amazing 3D Drone light show during the summer season of 2022. 

In addition to the stunning images and 3D effects these shows create, they’e much better for the environment, too. Fireworks are full of toxic chemicals and heavy metals, many of which are known carcinogens.

For amusement and theme parks that set them off on a regular basis, the effects of falling debris & chemical residue can really add up – an issue avoided by more eco-friendly drones.

Additionally, loud explosions can also scare animals, such as nesting birds, and can significantly affect people traumatized by explosions.

Simply put, drones provide the entertainment of a dazzling aerial show, but without the adverse side effects of fireworks.

City at night with a drone light show above a large building
Why are drone light shows replacing fireworks? (click image for article)

The Key Takeaways

Amusement and theme parks across the world would all benefit from the advantages offered by drone technology.

UAVs can serve in several roles, from inspecting rides to providing a safe form of evening entertainment.

And, whether used for tracking large groups of foot traffic, or a single individual, the information they can provide is invaluable.

If you are in the theme park industry, now is the time to see how drones can improve your efficiencies, lower costs, and increase worker safety.

So, which drone is right for you? And, how do you get started? Do you hire out or bring your drone program in-house?

At Consortiq, we help you find a better way with drones.

Whether you’re looking for consultation and program development help, or looking to actually doing the work for you.

Ready to learn more? Just complete the form below to schedule a risk-free consultation!

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly, is an award-winning photographer/writer and licensed (FAA) Commercial sUAS pilot. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, David is a former Marine Corps officer with a BS in Oceanography and has earned his MBA from the University of Redlands. David has worked for Fortune 100 companies and has a background in aerospace, construction, military/defense, real estate, and technology.

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