When “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” opened nearly 20 years ago, it became an instant classic. It’s original, sweeping score felt different than anything Disney had ever done and became iconic all on its own.
A remnant of an older version of Epcot®, the nighttime fireworks show celebrated cultures around the world. It was about human connection and inclusion, and through methods of incredible visual storytelling showed the importance of unity. That sense of connection was reflected in the uniqueness of its staging, with guests watching around a circular lagoon, everyone getting a near-identical experience from the many different countries of World Showcase.
With its LED-covered globe, flaming barges and lasers, it was an early technical revolution for Disney nighttime shows, capturing its park’s essence with near flawlessness.
Even without iconic Disney music, its original score was powerful enough to bring guests to tears, whether it be their first viewing or hundredth. The show understood what makes Disney parks so special: their atmosphere. It dove headfirst into creating an immersive storyline, not shying away from heavy artistic influences. It so perfectly captured why The Walt Disney Company as a whole is inspiring to so many, as well as what makes Walt Disney World® Resort so special.
With the evolution of the parks and the upcoming reconstruction of Epcot®, it was inevitable that the show would have to be replaced. It’s scheduled to end later this summer, which means fans of the iconic show still have a bit of time to say goodbye.
If the sendoff of WishesNighttime Spectacular is any indication, you’ll be able to see the last showing streamed online if you can’t make it out to the parks.
Featured image ©Disney.