Drone was flying at Art of Animation

mikepizzo

PM me your funny Disney shirts
Joined
Nov 8, 2013
Not quite sure where to post this, but when I was at Art of Animation (either 4/8 or 4/9) there was a drone flying around. I know practically nothing about drones, but this thing seemed heavy duty, and it looked like it had a camera on it. We were walking back to our room and heard the whirring noises. My family continued to the room but I stopped to see what was going on. The drone was maybe 20 feet in the air and it was hovering looking right at me. Then it shot up really high into the sky and went over hourglass lake. I couldn't tell where the drone was being operated from until two people on a bike (Disney security maybe?) rode up the path and the operator came into view. Operator appeared to be just a guy (tank top, shorts, flip flops).

I THINK (cannot stress that word enough) I heard one of the people on the bike tell the other one, "Should we take it down?".

Regardless, the operator continued to fly the drone and it seemed like the people on the bike were just watching him do it.

This all happened later in the evening. If I remember correctly it was around dusk.

Are there any rules about flying drones on resort property? It seemed weird that the people on the bikes didn't do anything, but I don't know.
 

umichigan10

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 6, 2011
I’m almost certain that flying a drone is illegal at Disney, but I don’t know the protocols of taking it down at all.

There was an interesting YouTube video though I watched about the FAA no fly zone, and that it technically only covers the magic kingdom and part of Epcot. So maybe they weren’t violating any big time rules flying it at AoA?
 
  • mikepizzo

    PM me your funny Disney shirts
    Joined
    Nov 8, 2013
    i cant imagine disney allows drones anywhere on property.
    That was my thought too, but it didn't seem like there was any urgency with the people on the bike. Would been cool if someone else on the boards happened to be there too.
     
  • OSUZorba

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2014
    Technically, Disney has no say about the airspace above their property. All airspace is owned by the FAA. So assuming they were not in the no fly zone or in class D or higher airspace, the drone is legal to fly. Here is were the big asterisk comes in though. The property owner can prevent aircraft from taking off or landing on their property. Further the drone laws require the operator to have a visual on the drone at all times, which means they have to be near the drone and the property owner can ban operation from their property. So while it is legal to fly a drone over AoA, it may be impossible to actually accomplish without breaking other rules.

    Shooting down a drone will get you in the same legal trouble as if you were trying to shoot down an aircraft, so I highly doubt Disney security was really thinking about taking it down (beyond telling the guy to land it).
     

    mikepizzo

    PM me your funny Disney shirts
    Joined
    Nov 8, 2013
    Technically, Disney has no say about the airspace above their property. All airspace is owned by the FAA. So assuming they were not in the no fly zone or in class D or higher airspace, the drone is legal to fly. Here is were the big asterisk comes in though. The property owner can prevent aircraft from taking off or landing on their property. Further the drone laws require the operator to have a visual on the drone at all times, which means they have to be near the drone and the property owner can ban operation from their property. So while it is legal to fly a drone over AoA, it may be impossible to actually accomplish without breaking other rules.

    Shooting down a drone will get you in the same legal trouble as if you were trying to shoot down an aircraft, so I highly doubt Disney security was really thinking about taking it down (beyond telling the guy to land it).
    Gotcha. And yeah, regarding the bit about me thinking I heard them say 'should we take it down', I didn't mean to insinuate that they were planning on shooting it down. Just, like you said, having the guy land it. I wish I was a bit closer because I couldn't hear the conversation they were having with the guy. It didn't seem like there was much conversation though. They just kind of rode up to him, he walked over to them, and then he continued to fly it.
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    @OSUZorba makes a good point about FAA jurisdiction. Further about the Disney exclusion zone is that it only applies to a certain radius (2 miles I believe) around the MK. So its not correct to say that drones can't be flown over the entire WDW property.
     
  • cmwade77

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2005
    Technically, Disney has no say about the airspace above their property. All airspace is owned by the FAA. So assuming they were not in the no fly zone or in class D or higher airspace, the drone is legal to fly. Here is were the big asterisk comes in though. The property owner can prevent aircraft from taking off or landing on their property. Further the drone laws require the operator to have a visual on the drone at all times, which means they have to be near the drone and the property owner can ban operation from their property. So while it is legal to fly a drone over AoA, it may be impossible to actually accomplish without breaking other rules.

    Shooting down a drone will get you in the same legal trouble as if you were trying to shoot down an aircraft, so I highly doubt Disney security was really thinking about taking it down (beyond telling the guy to land it).
    Actually, that isn't entirely true, it depends on the height above, in the U.S., you own up to a certain altitude above your property (usually 500 feet above the ground, depending on a lot of factors), if the drone is flying lower than that, then it is the same as trespassing on your property. Can you take it down? Well, yes, as long as you do it in a way that doesn't cause permanent damage to the drone, which is possible. It probably would be a little trickier if you were damaging the drone in the process, but you could probably defend it in a court of law successfully.

    Now, in this case it sounds like the operator was firmly on Disney's property, so no matter what height the drone was operating at, they have a legal right to remove the operator since he was breaking their rules.

    If the operator were not on Disney property and was flying at more than 500 feet above ground level, then aside from the no fly zones, there is little Disney could do about it, but it sounds like it was below 500 feet and the operator was on Disney property, both of which makes them well within their rights to stop the drone.
     

    OSUZorba

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2014
    Actually, that isn't entirely true, it depends on the height above, in the U.S., you own up to a certain altitude above your property (usually 500 feet above the ground, depending on a lot of factors), if the drone is flying lower than that, then it is the same as trespassing on your property. Can you take it down? Well, yes, as long as you do it in a way that doesn't cause permanent damage to the drone, which is possible. It probably would be a little trickier if you were damaging the drone in the process, but you could probably defend it in a court of law successfully.

    Now, in this case it sounds like the operator was firmly on Disney's property, so no matter what height the drone was operating at, they have a legal right to remove the operator since he was breaking their rules.

    If the operator were not on Disney property and was flying at more than 500 feet above ground level, then aside from the no fly zones, there is little Disney could do about it, but it sounds like it was below 500 feet and the operator was on Disney property, both of which makes them well within their rights to stop the drone.
    As a pilot, I've never heard of this 500 foot limit before (I believe this is likely coming from the minimum altitude you can fly over a semi-populated land). The FAA owns all navigable airspace. The definition of this is pretty squishy, but basically if an aircraft can safely fly in it, it is navigable. Class G airspace also extends to the ground. I have personally flown in balloons below 500 many many times (as in all the time).

    There are minimum safe altitudes allowed by the FAA, however, landing and takeoff are excluded from this (balloons use this exception a lot). IIRC the minimum safe altitudes don't apply to drones, they just aren't allowed to operate over people.

    At the end of the day, it is all a squishy subject. But directly interfering with the operation of an aircraft is likely never legal, except to ask someone to stop operating off your property or reporting the pilot for unsafe or unlawful operations.
     

    cmwade77

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2005
    As a pilot, I've never heard of this 500 foot limit before (I believe this is likely coming from the minimum altitude you can fly over a semi-populated land). The FAA owns all navigable airspace. The definition of this is pretty squishy, but basically if an aircraft can safely fly in it, it is navigable. Class G airspace also extends to the ground. I have personally flown in balloons below 500 many many times (as in all the time).

    There are minimum safe altitudes allowed by the FAA, however, landing and takeoff are excluded from this (balloons use this exception a lot). IIRC the minimum safe altitudes don't apply to drones, they just aren't allowed to operate over people.

    At the end of the day, it is all a squishy subject. But directly interfering with the operation of an aircraft is likely never legal, except to ask someone to stop operating off your property or reporting the pilot for unsafe or unlawful operations.
    It is a supreme Court ruling dating back to the early days of navigation, they are considering updating it to a lower altitude, but it came about because planes we're flying so low they were litterally scaring chickens and other farmstock to death and farmers insisted they need to protect their livelihood. But the supreme Court ruled that you owned all airspace up to a reasonable height, this was further interpreted as 500 feet at a later date, although there can be times where that height is lower (as low as 80 feet) under certain circumstances. Reading this article shows it isn't always a hard and fast rule and I am definitely summarizing here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/slate.com/news-and-politics/2013/07/photographer-george-steinmetz-arrest-how-much-airspace-do-you-own.amp

    Balloons would most likely not be causing harm and might be allowed, but not over private residences. There is a reason they operate mostly.in dessert settings.

    Most Drones would likely not be considered air craft since they do not have to be registered (yes, over a certain size does and you could make an argument that those are aircraft, but I think you would be hard pressed for that). Also there are rules on drones that they cannot fly low enough that they could take pictures that someone walking by on the street would be unable to take without peeking over a fence (at least California has such rules) in other words to protect people's privacy you can't use a drone to take pictures inside their house or of them sunbathing in their backyard.

    Additionally Disney is granted some rights that others aren't, even outside the no fly zones.

    And again, if the operator is on private property, the property owner can ask them to leave and even force them off, which would indeed take the drone down.
     

    OSUZorba

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2014
    It is a supreme Court ruling dating back to the early days of navigation, they are considering updating it to a lower altitude, but it came about because planes we're flying so low they were litterally scaring chickens and other farmstock to death and farmers insisted they need to protect their livelihood. But the supreme Court ruled that you owned all airspace up to a reasonable height, this was further interpreted as 500 feet at a later date, although there can be times where that height is lower (as low as 80 feet) under certain circumstances. Reading this article shows it isn't always a hard and fast rule and I am definitely summarizing here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/slate.com/news-and-politics/2013/07/photographer-george-steinmetz-arrest-how-much-airspace-do-you-own.amp

    Balloons would most likely not be causing harm and might be allowed, but not over private residences. There is a reason they operate mostly.in dessert settings.

    Most Drones would likely not be considered air craft since they do not have to be registered (yes, over a certain size does and you could make an argument that those are aircraft, but I think you would be hard pressed for that). Also there are rules on drones that they cannot fly low enough that they could take pictures that someone walking by on the street would be unable to take without peeking over a fence (at least California has such rules) in other words to protect people's privacy you can't use a drone to take pictures inside their house or of them sunbathing in their backyard.

    Additionally Disney is granted some rights that others aren't, even outside the no fly zones.

    And again, if the operator is on private property, the property owner can ask them to leave and even force them off, which would indeed take the drone down.
    The 500 doesn't appear to be a hard limit just the minimum allowable altitude over a semi-populated area. The story in question was about manned flight over a semi-populated area, so the 500 would apply.

    The FAA in the past has said state laws regulating operations of drones aren't enforceable, but would require a court challenge by someone with standing. State regulation of photography I'm sure is allowed though.

    As for balloons, they fly all over the country. I've literally flown right over downtown Tulsa in one right over a 30 story building. Fly over and land next to homes all the time. Landed in several neighborhoods and a couple apartment complexes, although not preferred.

    To be fair, the over downtown was on a waiver from the FAA for a balloon festival.

    But like I said in my first post, even if it isn't technically illegal to fly a drone at Disney. In practice it is because they can tell you no operating from their property. Just like many cities don't let balloons takeoff or land from their parks, but you can over fly them all day long.

    ETA, I was in this balloon (although, not the pilot), there was a very shocked person having breakfast on her balcony on the ~20th floor:

    Untitled.png
     
    Last edited:

    Disneypro1

    life is great!
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2019
    Technically, Disney has no say about the airspace above their property. All airspace is owned by the FAA. So assuming they were not in the no fly zone or in class D or higher airspace, the drone is legal to fly. Here is were the big asterisk comes in though. The property owner can prevent aircraft from taking off or landing on their property. Further the drone laws require the operator to have a visual on the drone at all times, which means they have to be near the drone and the property owner can ban operation from their property. So while it is legal to fly a drone over AoA, it may be impossible to actually accomplish without breaking other rules.

    Shooting down a drone will get you in the same legal trouble as if you were trying to shoot down an aircraft, so I highly doubt Disney security was really thinking about taking it down (beyond telling the guy to land it).
    This...
    If a drone is "launched" from off property...it 110% legal to fly anywhere over disney property. The supreme court has already ruled on this. There is is only so many no fly zones...military installations..the White house and nuclear installations. Airports also. But, WDW or DLR If the drone is launched from public or private property....whether one likes it or not....is legal
     
    Last edited:

    Mikey15

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 29, 2018
    This...
    If a drone is "launched" from off property...it 110% legal to fly anywhere over disney property. The supreme court has already ruled on this. There is is only so many no fly zones...military installations..the White house and nuclear installations. Airports also. But, WDW or DLR If the drone is launched from public or private property....whether one likes it or not....is legal
    Much of WDW, sure. Airspace over AoA is game. But there is a specific, Congressionally legislated NFZ (up to 3,000ft AGL apparently, from link above) for a 3 naut radius around Magic Kingdom. Yes, it’s up there with the White House and military installations. It was a post 9/11 development.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Daily Updates and News




    Top