After being removed because of an accidental detonation prior to show time many months ago, the air-launch fireworks system has returned to Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot.
The “ALF” system as it is know uses compressed air to launch a fireworks shell into the air and then a computer chip to detonate the shell. This works to create very precise and controlled explosions, moreso then the typical powder charge that would propell the shell from a launch tube. Below you can check out our video of the newly redesigned ALF system at work at Epcot, launching the opening comet from the American Adventure and meeting with a large explosion fired from the lagoon.
Previously, the system launched from the UK pavilion and required walkways to be shut down during its use for safety reasons. After the accident, the opening fireworks functioned on regular launch charges creating less accuracy in placement and the typical “thud” heard as they launched.
By popular demand, we’ve added a new two-day Happy Family touring plan for the Magic Kingdom (on this page). This plan requires less backtracking than the one-day plan, and includes more attractions. For parents with small children, this two-day plan includes specific advice on how to avoid lines while meeting the most popular princesses and characters.
As with the one-day plan, we try to keep the family together throughout most of the day. When parents are on rides that don’t interest teens, however, we suggest good nearby thrill rides for the teens to experience, then suggest attractions where everyone can meet up to begin touring again together.
Both days of the plan include long mid-day breaks outside the park, lasting at least three hours. Finally, note that the first day of this plan works very well with Morning Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom.
Alert readers will notice an anomaly with the Magic Kingdom park and Extra Magic Hours for August and September, including conflicts with the Pirates and Princess parties.
For example, Disney’s website lists the park’s hours for August 24 as 9 am to 9 pm, with evening EMHs from 9 pm to midnight. But there’s also a Pirates and Princess party scheduled for the same night. Unless that’s going to begin at midnight and run until 5 am, we don’t see how all of those things can happen at the same time.
A call to Disney confirmed that no additional information is currently available. We expect, however, Disney to close the MK at 6 or 7 pm on those nights when Pirates and Princess Party are running, and we expect the MK’s evening EMHs to move from the currently-listed dates.
We’ll update the crowd calendar as soon as we hear more. For now, however, if you’re planning a visit to the parks, assume evening EMHs will move and the park will close early.
We ain’t guaranteeing anything. If we were the wagering type, however, we’d bet that free dining will be returning for travel dates 8/26 through 9/22, if booked 4/12 through 6/24. As always, those dates are subject to change.