“Disneyland Park has offered a fireworks show every summer since 1956. At first, fireworks fuses were lit by hand, but by the 1960s an electronic system launched the shells, the shows carefully synchronized to music. By 2000, the fireworks had become far more elaborate, with Tinker Bell and Dumbo flying overhead. To reduce noise and pollution, Disney patented an air launch pyrotechnics system, which was put to use in 2004. Disney later opened the patent on the system so that others could enjoy the benefits of “greener” pyrotechnics,” according to Disneyland’s website.
“The loud noise torments some of the neighbors, forcing them to put thick windows to block the noise or move away from the city. After many complaints to the city of Anaheim, there seems no way out,” according to the Magical Theme Park blog.
While Disneyland has permits in place to launch their fireworks, that doesn’t mean the chemicals are good for you.
The original blends of black powder used in fireworks can be a bit too unstable and messy for some uses, though, so the potassium nitrate is often replaced by perchlorates, a family of chemicals all featuring a central chlorine atom bonded by four oxygen atoms. Two types in particular — potassium perchlorate and ammonium perchlorate — have become the go-to oxidizers of the pyrotechnics industry, according to the Mother Nature Network.
MNN also reports that “In addition to gunpowder, fireworks are packed with heavy metals and other toxins that produce their sparkling shower of colors. Like perchlorates, the exact effect of fireworks’ heavy-metal fallout is still mainly a mystery, but scientists do know that the metals themselves can wreak havoc in the human body.”
“In 2004, Disney switched to compressed air technology in the California theme park. The switch to the environmentally friendly fireworks decreased the noise by 60% and significantly reduced the smoke from the nightly aerial display,” according to Science Daily.
But Science Daily also reported that “Locals complained that children with asthma had breakouts more frequently because of the smoke generated. William Fitzgerald, a representative of the homeowners group, told participants at South Coast Air Quality Management meetings that high concentrations of chlorate were leaking into the ground and polluting underground water. “Six wells have been shut down and most people rely on bottled water,” Fitzgerald said.”
Should Disneyland keep firing off fireworks or should they be a good neighbor and find a better way to entertain their guests? They have options, as seen in the World of Color attraction at their California Adventure park. That show includes music, lasers and even fire – so are the fireworks even necessary anymore?