Thousands of travelers and locals alike experienced the dramatic illumination of 36 palm trees at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort during the 2012 holiday season. Swan and Dolphin Holiday Lighting occurred nightly between 6pm and 2am from November 23, 2012 to January 5, 2013. The purpose of Swan and Dolphin Holiday Lighting was to enhance guest experiences and increase the resort’s overall entertainment value by employing a generic holiday themed attraction. Using the natural landscape, three shows were created featuring proprietary RGBW-1 LED lighting fixtures making palm trees visual representations of featured holiday melodies. Additionally, the automated show was equipped with a mobile device allowing special performers (Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus) to initiate a special show sequence for their arrival.
When designing the concept for Swan and Dolphin Holiday Lighting, several known issues needed to be overcome. The client requested a softer color range than is typically available by industry standard LED fixtures. Standard LED lights have very bright blues, reds, and greens; light blues, lush pinks, translucent teals, and deep purples were required. The palm trees towered 40 feet above the breezeway, creating the challenge of reaching robust palm fronds atop the trees. Additionally, Orlando’s unpredictable and drastic weather fluctuations challenged conventional outdoor lighting methods. The solution: develop and manufacture an entirely new lighting fixture for the sole purpose of actualizing the Swan and Dolphin Holiday Lighting experience. RGBW-1 LED lighting fixtures were designed using hand-selected white LED components in addition to rich red, green, and blue LED components that created desired color saturation. RGBW-1 LEDs were designed to generate brighter light than their competition while completely eliminating weather concerns as fully outdoor-rated fixtures. Once installed, carefully blended into the existing natural landscaping, the RGBW-1 LEDs were programmed to sync with three festive holiday themes.
The initial goal for Swan and Dolphin Holiday Lighting was to create a fully automated lighting event orchestrated nightly at set times. On specific evenings, at varying times, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus appeared to further enhance the guest experience. Their arrival mandated a way to manually pause the automated show while triggering a special lighting theme – without having a technician onsite. A software interface was fashioned to use with a mobile device that allowed Santa to pause the automated show, initiate the special lighting, and resume the automated show all from inside the pocket of his red coat.
Swan and Dolphin Holiday Lighting proved to be an ovation-worthy success receiving acclaim from managers and guests. As a result, Swan and Dolphin Holiday Lighting extended an additional three months using re-imagined lighting sequences. RGBW-1 LED lighting fixtures created the perfect color tones and brightness to reflect the client’s vision. The software interface coupled with a mobile device added an element of surprise, making the experience truly magical. These innovative event technologies have been added to rental inventory and are currently being proposed for use in similar show installations throughout the Southeast at various resort and tourist destinations.