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Next Gen Fireworks

I keep thinking about what all Next Gen could be, if I were involved in the project. Here’s an idea that just kind of popped out of my head.

I was reading about the plans for WDW this summer and the fireworks and MSEP returning made me think of something else they could do. One of the things I do on the side is program and run lights for my church as a volunteer. We have a new church with a mix of traditional stage lighting and LEDs. I love playing with the LEDs, they’re so flexible in the color combinations and their low power consumption makes them even more enjoyable.

Disney has started using LEDs too in the last couple of years in many areas around the parks. Cinderella’s Castle Christmas lights are made up of LEDs and I believe many if not all the Osborne lights at DHS have been converted to use LEDs as well. So, I was thinking that with the LED technology and Fiber optics, Disney could really revolutionize their parks and their night-time shows and create the next generation of what I will call “Lightworks”. I can imagine multiple ways in which they could use these technologies.

  • Replace or modify the castle walls and spires with LEDs or Fiber optics embedded. The change would eliminate the need twice a year to wall off the area and bring in a crane to hang or take down the net lights. Plus, they could create new lighting effects that could be used throughout the year in a variety of shows.
  • Embed LEDs and fiber optics in buildings, light posts, trash cans and walk-ways. Epcot already has a few areas around Innoventions that has embedded fiber optics and it’s always a neat experience to walk past on the way out of the park for the night.
  • New effects could be added to the nightly fireworks shows, possibly reducing some of the fireworks that Disney uses. These new effects would bring the show down to the guest level making for a more immersive experience eliminating some of the loud noises that tend to frighten smaller chiller and making it a more enjoyable experience for them.
  • Fiber optic strands could be added in and around plants at all the parks, making for neat night-time displays. This could make for a unique experience at Animal Kingdom where they are unable to have a night-time fireworks show due to the animals.

Of course doing this wouldn’t be cheap or easy. But, due to the long lifespan and low energy consumption of these technologies, it could actually be a cost-effective enhancement. The other issue would be painting. If walls, posts, etc have embedded lights, they become much more difficult to paint.

Just another thought on Next Gen.

UPDATE: For an idea of Next Gen lighting , watch the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Olympics or the  halftime show for the 2010 Superbowl. The projection and lighting technologies used for these two events are just an example of some of what’s possible. It should be noted, that Disney is using some of this kind of technology to project light and images on to Cinderella castle after an upgrade in 2008. However, I would like to see this vastly expanded into a lot more other areas of the parks.

Here’s another idea of what Next Gen fireworks might look like. It’s a new project called Flyfire by some smart people at MIT. Basically, they use a lot of small, remote controlled flying objects, like those toy R/C helicopters you can find in the toy section at your favorite retailer, add mult-colored LEDs, flying together in synchronicity using swarm intelligence to produce images and displays in the air. Check out the video for a demonstration.

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  1. December 31, 2010 at 2:30 am

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