For generations, Disney Parks and Resorts have been known for their amazing firework spectaculars, and incredible use of pyrotechnics. Pyrotechnics entertain the crowd, create happiness, and build imagination. When Guests look up into the night sky and see bursts of colorful arrangements, they have a smile on their face. When they watch a stage show and see fireworks and other pyrotechnic effects erupt right before their eyes, they are captivated by the wonder of it all.
At the Walt Disney World Resort, pyrotechnics are not only used in large firework shows, but they are also used in smaller performances throughout the day. As one of the largest consumers of pyrotechnics in the United States, the Walt Disney World Resort puts on over 1,000 nighttime spectaculars a year, all included in the over 10,000 shows performed each year. In order to put on these shows every day, a significant amount of time and energy is needed behind the scenes to ensure everything is completed safely and on schedule while delivering creative excellence.
“When we order the products from the vendors, we like to order for the entire duration of the show,” said Rob DiAddezio, Fireworks Area Manager. “If a show debuts and has no end date listed, we try to order an entire year’s worth of product, depending on how much storage space we have in our facilities. Typically we like to keep a buffer of show products, just in case there are shipping or logistical delays.”
Once the design and purchase order is submitted, the vendors can start creating and delivering the products. Scheduling the delivery of the products depends on where they are ordering from, how long products take to make and how many products will be pieced together for one show. The larger fireworks are typically ordered from international vendors whereas smaller products, often used in stage shows or other performances, are called “close proximity” fireworks, and they come from the United States.
Since the fireworks team orders products from Europe, China, and the United States, travel time must be accounted for when scheduling a delivery date. “If the products are coming from international vendors, it typically takes up to four months from issue order to delivery. These products take about one month to travel by boat and that time is accounted for in the delivery date. When ordering from domestic vendors, it would only take about three months total to receive the finished products since they do not have to be shipped.” Rob went on to state that here at the Walt Disney World Resort, approximately 60% of the pyrotechnics ordered are from the United States and 40% are from overseas.
When the products arrive on property, they have to go through regulations and certification, making sure each product is safe to use and not damaged during travel. Even though the products were tested before travel and certified in China or Europe, these products need to go through the same process in the United States. The Department of Transportation makes sure the pyrotechnics are tested for things such as thermal stability, allowing for them to be stored and transported within a wide range of temperature conditions.
“It is important for everyone to understand that safety is the number one priority when it comes to handling pyrotechnics. Whether someone is shooting off a firework that was bought at a local store or a technician is loading fireworks here at the Walt Disney World Resort, the safety protocols are all the same. These products are manufactured to produce brilliant effects that come with hazards and risks and must be handled with proper care.”
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