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Disneyland 60th anniversary celebration gets end date -- but it may get a new use

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In celebration of Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, the theme park launched its “Disneyland Forever” fireworks show in May. The celebration ends Sept. 5, 2016. 

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration -- including its overhauled nighttime parade, fiery fireworks show and fire-and-water extravaganza -- now has an end date.

But Disney experts predict the park’s latest attractions may be repurposed to promote the park’s next big addition: Star Wars Land.

The anniversary celebration, which was launched May 22, will end next year Sept. 5, the theme park announced Tuesday.

That gives Disney fans just under 12 months to experience the Diamond Celebration that relies heavily on laser mapping, high-definition projectors, LED lights and infrared technology to wow park visitors.

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Development of the new attractions started about 18 months before the celebration began. Disney workers added new laser mapping to project images of classic animations on buildings around the park during its nighttime fireworks show. The “Paint the Night” parade was upgraded with 1.5 million LED lights attached to floats and dancers. The “World of Color” fire-and-water show was re-created this year to tell the history of Walt Disney. 

But the end of the celebration probably won’t mean the end of those features. Disney officials who created the new attractions said most of the technology that runs the parade and light shows can be reprogrammed with new software to create new attractions.

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It would also make sense for Disneyland to repurpose the 60th-anniversary technology to add Marvel superheroes or “Star Wars” characters to the nighttime parade, the fireworks show or the fire-and-water extravaganza, said David Koenig, author of several books about Disney.

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“Everything they have they can repurpose or tie it to something having to do with ‘Star Wars’ or Marvel,” he said.

Disneyland announced recently that it will break ground next year on a 14-acre “Star Wars” expansion in the theme park. Disney acquired Lucasfilm from George Lucas in a 2012 deal worth more than $4 billion.

In 2009, Disney also purchased Marvel Entertainment, along with intellectual property rights to characters like Captain America, Spiderman, Thor and Iron Man.

Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the attraction will likely be modified after the 60th anniversary celebration ends. But she declined to say whether the fireworks show, parade and fire-and-water display will incorporate Star Wars or Marvel characters in the future. 

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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