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Behind the Scenes: Designing a Disney Fireworks Show

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Designing a fireworks show for a Disney Park involves selecting music, playing with color, and choosing individual fireworks as carefully as if you’re choosing actors for a play – all to create one amazing story in the sky.

A Disney Parks Fireworks Show

Many of those “stories” will play out at Disney Parks this week, with Fourth of July fireworks spectaculars happening at both the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort.

Check out this video, in which Steven Davison, vice president of Parades & Spectaculars, gives us a behind-the-scenes look.


  • Thanks so much to Steven Davison! His hard work makes the end of the day the best part at Disney parks!

  • That’s a neat story. I absolutely love fireworks!!!! I have been photographing them for several years. I used film for so long and didn’t think I would ever like digital but now I am a believer…. I probably have over 1,000 pictures just of the Disney fireworks between FL and CA. And a few from our Disney honeymoon cruise, too 6 years ago…. I love finding just finding just the right place to take the pictures. Sometimes you find a cool place that you weren’t expecting to — like over Beast’s castle instead of Cinderella’s castle. And contrary to popular belief, using a flash actually helps — it can light up the castle assuming you are close enough. Of course it doesn’t light up the fireworks since they are too far away.

    And the music for the Epcot fireworks is fantastic. We used the last song. “We Go On” as the next to last song at our wedding reception. So every time we are at Epcot and IllumiNations is going on, we always stop and sing that song to each other. One night we were in the restaurant in Mexico and the song came on so of course we held hands across the table and started doing our thing. A little bit later, another guest brought a note to our table telling us how sweet that was and how she hoped she could find someone to make her as happy as we looked…

    So as you can see, the fireworks are special to me are several levels!!!!

    BTW, we can see the MK fireworks from our front porch — at least the high ones because the tress have grown since we moved in and we have decided it is probably not a good idea not to cut down the trees in our subdivision ….

  • If I could start my professional life over, this would be among my top choices. The combination of science, art, and emotion is amazing. These shows always happily bring me to tears – every time (especially Wishes)!

    I was so excited to begin having our university honors students participate in Disney Institute annually so they can experience the company and resort-wide excellence! I’ve used music from both Wishes! & Illuminations with our university graduation honors events!

  • Steve Davison has reinvented the fireworks show. He was the first one, that I know of, to use story and character with fireworks. His selection of music is excellent and there always seems to be an emotional moment in each of his shows. Disneyland’s 50th fireworks was a masterpiece and a good example of what I am speaking of. I am a big fan of his work.

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