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Mist and fog effects

mnelson3

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
What is used to create the mist/fog effects seen at the parks? For example outside Disney Springs Rainforest Cafe and also part of the Spaceship Earth Rome scene?

Anyone know how someone could create the same effect at home? Aside from a diffuser which really doesn’t give off much mist/fog. I was looked at doing something like this for a indoor fountain.

Thanks
 

muddyrivers

Well-Known Member
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I don't know for sure, but I would think it's an industrial sized fog machine similar to those you see at party stores or Halloween shops? It seems to create the same effect just at greater scales.
 

Rob562

Well-Known Member
Depending on the situation, it could be a glycol fog machine, a water mist sprayer, an ultrasonic water vaporizer...

-Rob
 

FmrWDWFX

New Member
As @Rob562 said, it depends on scenario, scale, and location. I wish to add to his list that compressed CO² has been used as well as a method of using a combination of clear or tinted transparent material with upward facing fans and proper lighting to accomplish these effects. There are others...

Choosing the right fog, or smoke effect method is very important for any installation, so here are a few of the things to keep in mind when selecting and designing indoor fog, haze, or smoke effects:
  1. When using glycol based fog, know that it could leave slippery residue that could cause slip & falls.
  2. When using any fog system, make sure there is appropriate ventilation for the show area and keep the fog density to a minimum, especially in areas where guests have to breathe. CO² and Glycol-based fogs can suffocate a person in rapid order unless you manage airflow adequately.
  3. If using water mist, pay attention to the floor and surroundings to avoid mold, mildew, rot, and even guest slip & falls.
  4. Pay specific attention to electrics and lamps to insure the fog doesn’t cause lamps to blow prematurely, or cause electrical shock hazards to maintenance personnel or guests.
  5. Never use pyrotechnic methods indoors, unless you are licensed and have obtained all permits for intended venue.
An interesting lesson learned in the mid 80s in EPCOT was in regards to the Transportation Pavilion.
There was a cool scene at the end that had a large diorama of a futuristic city with flying cars and huge skyscrapers emerging from a low-lying fog. The guests where moved around it in a half-circle so they could get a really good view of this city of the future. With the lighting and fog it was quite awesome.

During the construction of EPCOT- which continued long after its opening - everything was so behind schedule, that in some places they just threw stuff together by the seat of their pants. This particular scene was thrown together that way. It’s what we call an “as built” design, meaning it was designed on location as it was constructed.

Being in such a hurry, the entire raised floor of this room was built as a wood riser, topped with 3/4” plywood upon which this giant model was then built. A couple of years later, it became apparent that the water mist used to create the continuous fog had caused the plywood base to rot and warp, causing show maintenance to shut off the fog boxes and shore up the base of the diorama to keep it from caving-in on itself.

- Chuck
 

Epcot_Imagineer

Well-Known Member
@FmrWDWFX If you don't mind me asking what were the projects you used to work on at WDW? I would love to pick your brain about anything and everything you know!

That diorama story is great. Any thought to changing the fog effect there to glycol-based or CO2? I figure the ventilation could suffice for those effects at 180 top.
 

FmrWDWFX

New Member
Hello @Epcot_Imagineer,
I worked on many projects and special events at WDW. At various phases, I worked in Entertainment Production Services, Entertainment Creative Services, and Projection Special Effects, and occasionally got to work for WED / Imagineering and as an outside contractor working on certain elements of “Laserphonic Fantasy” and “Illuminations”.

Thank you!

The three primary reasons they could not change to Glycol-based fog systems:
  1. Fluid was too costly for the amount needed for the continuous cycling x8 fog boxes.
  2. Could not hug the floor the same as atomized water without the further expense of cooling.
  3. The fallout from the fluid would cause the same problems the water vapor did, thereby not providing a solution to the root problem - incompatibility of material used for the “floor”.
Although the CO² goes from visible vapor to gas without fallout, it introduces additional costs and complexities:
  1. Additional costs for monitoring, safety controls, handling, filtration, and increased inspection surface.
  2. CO² also has the inverse effect of Glycol-based, in that it’s heavier than air and therefore wants to hug only the floor, so a bit of atmospheric fog would still be needed.
In summary, to accomplish the same effect as atomized water, they would need two systems in place, both of which would drive up the daily operating cost, let alone the cost to pull out the existing unused system plus the cost of installing two new systems and, in the end, it wouldn’t have solved the problem that the use of water vapor was causing.

There are times where ice-chilled Glycol fog would do the trick for less money, but that would be for a temporary installation, or road show where the cost factors and cleanup for performer safety were engineered into the design and budget.

Remember that the largest part of the craft is the business. Without the Roys, us Walts would still be in a garage entertaining ourselves.

- Chuck
 

Epcot_Imagineer

Well-Known Member
@FmrWDWFX You really are quite the analytic person. I'm not sure how anyone would know to think of any one of these things on their own -- kudos to you for retaining all of this information 😂. It's fascinating to me seeing problems like this that occur, but only through years of practical use are discovered. I have a couple more questions if you don't mind!

First of all, do you have any other stories of certain effects that looked incredible when in use but for various reasons (price, guest safety, unintended interference, etc.) had to be pulled?

Additionally, can you share what you worked on for Illuminations? With its closure eminent and it being one of the greatest shows ever put on at WDW I'm curious of what effects you assisted with, or any perspective you can share on the show as a whole.
 
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