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Saturday, November 13, 2010

How Did They Do It - Disney Fireworks

Most people take fireworks for granted.  Most people realize that Disney fireworks are much better than your everyday fireworks.  One thing a lot of people don't realize are the small details that Disney pays attention to.

Disney is known for paying attention to the smallest details on their rides.  You just need to look at the pirates with hairy legs, hidden mickeys, and inside jokes to realize this.  Most agree that Disney does this because they want the experiences they deliver to be as close to perfect as they can be. 

Think about the perfect fireworks what would make them up.  Now think about Wishes and Illuminations.  There is something about them you don't find at home.  In most fireworks shows there is a guy with a death wish who runs around with a torch and sets off fuses.  In high tech shows computers are used to trigger fireworks.  In Disney shows the fuses don't exist.

How does Disney do that?

First Disney doesn't use rockets which are common in standard fireworks.  Most people use a type of rocket because they have build in propulsion which gets the firework off the ground.  They also have a fuse which is put in sync with the propulsion so it blows up at the right time.  The burning propusion leaves a smoke trail and you can often see the burning fuse too.

Disney uses shells with no built in propulsion and no fuses.  That leaves two problems.  One: how do you get the shell off the ground - and - Two: how do you ignite the shell.

First Disney uses air cannons to launch the shells.  If you put that in redneck terms they use giant,  high tech, potato cannons to laugh their fireworks.  There are a few cool things about that.  Using this method eliminates smoke trails and any evidence of the shell flying through the air.  Using this method allows explosions to appear in the sky like magic. Another cool thing about this method is the fact that it reduces debris and general polution.

So how do you get the shell to blow up?  Magic!  Well almost.  Disney puts small chips into each shell.  This chip controls when and how the shell blows up.  This allows for amazing control and consistent results.  That's why Wishes and Illuminations are the same each time you see them.

Next time you see some Disney fireworks keep this in mind.  It makes the display even more impressive.

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