Come this time of year, our minds start to wander and we find ourselves dreaming of summer evenings, parades, and fireworks… That certainly brings to mind the Fourth of July—but if you’re a Disney fan, you can’t help but also start to think about Disneyland, too. Walt Disney’s first park makes for a fabulous place to celebrate July 4th, from an early morning stop to see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, to a special 4th of July Patriotic Flag Retreat (featuring the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band) at 4 p.m. PT, to—of course—a viewing of the Disneyland Forever fireworks show in the evening. And while you’re waiting to be dazzled by the show of light, here are a few fun facts about Disneyland fireworks you can share to dazzle your friends.

1. Disneyland has lit up the night with fireworks every summer since 1956, when Fantasy in the Sky made its debut. In the early days of theme park pyrotechnics, fireworks fuses were lit by hand.

 

2. By the 1960s, fireworks shells were launched electronically; and soon after this innovation came the ability to synchronize these fireworks displays to music.

3. In 2004, Disney began using a patented air launch pyrotechnics system that reduced noise and pollution from fireworks, making the nighttime experiences “greener”—as well as red, white, and blue!

 

4. Do you remember all of the flying characters who have flown across the sky in Disneyland’s fireworks displays over the years? Tinker Bell first took flight in 1961, but she’s had good company in subsequent spectaculars. Mary Poppins, Dumbo, and even “Baby New Year” have all soared through the air at Disneyland, and 2015 marked the first time a character has had the chance to “swim” in mid-air with Nemo’s debut in Disneyland Forever.

 

5. Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman told D23 (in the Summer 2015 issue of Disney twenty-three), “…Walt Disney was the one who came up with the idea of giving fireworks at the end. He wanted to give the folks that were leaving after a day at the park an extra special little gift from him, and that was what he called a little ‘kiss goodnight.’” It’s this fond memory that inspired Sherman to pen the song “A Kiss Goodnight,” which plays at the conclusion of the Disneyland Forever fireworks show, launched in honor of Disneyland’s 60th anniversary in 2015.

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