Witness a spectacular fireworks display at a Disney theme park, and you might misjudge how much gunpowder is involved – and how much air compressors play a part in the festivities.

A report in the Orange County Register looks at some of the technology used by Disney in their theme parks, in order to create live versions of the types of whimsy and make-believe normally found in their films.

New examples of this include patents filed that would allow unmanned aircraft to fly overhead, carrying screens on which images could be displayed or projected.

But there is already one form of overhead entertainment for which Disney theme parks are famed – the fireworks displays that light up the sky on a nightly basis.

OC Register staff writer Art Marroquin says that these are fuelled by another Disney technology, this time based on air compressors.

“Disney holds patents for some technology used at its theme parks,” the article explains. “One system uses compressed air rather than gunpowder to shoot off nightly fireworks.”

It’s an example of how Disney’s Imagineers put everyday technologies to work creating visual spectacles for fans from the world over – not only at ground level, but high in the night sky as well.