When Walt Disney World Resort previewed its newest Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom® attraction, Expedition Everest, in New York’s Times Square, it was determined to create a billboard spectacular that could stop even the toughest New Yorkers in their tracks.

The 57-story exteriors of two Times Square buildings were transformed into a snow-covered Mount Everest. A rumbling avalanche was added, as were flying acrobatic climbers and a hair-raising roar. Most importantly, the piercing glare of the Yeti, fierce guardian of the Himalayan Mountains, was brought to life, thanks to the glowing red eyes from OSRAM SYLVANIA and OSRAM Opto Semiconductors.

To create the scary effect, Walt Disney Entertainment’s technical director, Larry Sonn applied LED system solutions and technology provided by the two leaders in solid-state lighting. SYLVANIA offered its new, versatile OSRAM DRAGONchain® LED modules while OSRAM Opto Semiconductors provided the interior Golden DRAGONTM LEDs.

Each of the Yeti’s two 30" diameter eyes were backlit by six OSRAM DRAGONchain® LED modules containing OSRAM Opto Semiconductors Golden DRAGONTM LEDs. Specially designed for flexible illumination applications, the 9' modules were installed in concentric spirals in the base of each Yeti eye socket and covered by a red plastic lens.

“The combination of SYLVANIA’s DRAGONchain LEDs and OSRAM’s Golden DRAGON LEDs are incredibly bright and very easy to mount in our back lit eye light-boxes,” says Sonn. “The superior intensity of the Golden DRAGON LEDs is derived from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors’ proprietary thin-film technology, an industry first in providing increased optical output at the surface of the chip and increasing the usable light emitted,” says Ellen Sizemore, director, LED and IR Products Group, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors. “The thin-film technology also allows for better optical coupling, lower forward voltages and improved thermal performance compared with conventional semiconductor chip construction.”

The design goal also called for eyes that could dim, flash, and be clearly visible from 300 yards away. And, Disney Entertainment had limited room to mount a light source for the monster’s eyes, which needed to stand out against the menacing backdrop and ferocious roar of the Yeti.

Each DRAGONchain module featured 36 high brightness white LEDs, making the Yeti’s glare clearly visible from over 300 yards away. Conformally coated to protect against moisture and condensation, each of the Yetis’ dimmable eyes was controlled by six 24V power supplies and six OSRAM OPTOTRONIC® OT Dim modules per eye.

“The combination of small size components, and the versatility of extremely durable system shapes, has opened up illumination applications that make it possible to bring the Yeti to life. This would have been impossible in the past,” says Michael Neary, senior applications engineer for LED systems at OSRAM SYLVANIA.