RUMOR: Nighttime Replacement for IllumiNations at Epcot is Nearing Completion

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We may be a few short months away from the end of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot.

As part of the ongoing reimagining of the park, a new nighttime show was always expected, but the new show has apparently been fast-tracked (which is not a ride at Epcot, by the way) to debut sooner in the park’s expansion plans than originally envisioned. The score and vocals for the new show are being recorded this week, according to sources.

A still unannounced shakeup in the creative team working on the park’s overhaul seems to be the source of this major timeline shift. This may also be connected to the recent and sudden activity in the Wonders of Life pavilion, which will now not be the Festival center at the upcoming Flower and Garden Festival.

If true, this change would likely mean that the new show will not be connected to the area between Future World and World Showcase (that or Disney is about to put up a lot of construction walls at Epcot), as was seen in the concept art above for the park’s new vision. What the new show located solely on World Showcase Lagoon would entail is still unknown, but it’s coming sooner rather than later.

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth debuted in October 1999 and is the longest continually running fireworks show at the Walt Disney World Resort, and any Disney Park on earth for that matter.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]


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  • We LOVE illuminations. One of the very last shows or activities NOT all about selling or promoting more Disney sales, but about humanity, the world, opportunity. It’s a shame it will go away. No doubt it will be changed into something to generate income and advertisement.

  • Illuminations is one of the very last experiences NOT meant as a money grab or advertisement for further sales. It’s an end of an era. It’s not that newer isn’t better, it’s just that Disney newer means the experience of it does not matter at all for what they used to call ‘guests’ (Now called customers).

    • New doesn’t mean better. Anticipate this show to be much less expensive and primarily an advertisement for movie franchise. Illuminations really pushes the entire ‘theme’ of Epcot, world opportunity. The new show likely will push the new either “theme” of WDW…make more money off guests, they’ll pay to come either way, just ask WedWay…he’ll pay no matter how bad the experience!

  • How about we not speculate about rumors for taking away one of my last nighttime loves. They already stole Wishes from me let’s not take IllumiNations too.

    • Wishes didn’t sell anything, so it’s gone. Chapek said a couple years back all the shows rides were going to be generating income (theme park admission doesn’t count) or promote a Disney franchise. Happily Ever After promotes their movies. Same with Studios shows and Star Wars. I anticipate Epcot will become a “Magic Kingdom 2” with a lot of movies franchise taking front stage in this show.

  • I hope it keeps the amount of fireworks of Illuminations and doensn’t become just another projection show of random Disney characters on the exterior of Spaceship Earth with just a handful of fireworks.

    • From the concept art for the new and improved Epcot it looks like they plan on incorporating more fountains ala World of Color. There was also that drone rumor a few years back; seeing what they did at the Olympics makes me hope that the drones are actually being used for a new show at Epcot.

      • Disney Springs did a christmas drone show a year or two back. Was very neat.

        But.. this project was Disney hiring the Intel team that owns and operates the technology. They also did the olympics, but it was pre-filmed.

        Either Disney would have to contract with Intel for the technology or pay a ridiculous amount of money to develop something like that in house.

        I do see them contracting Intel again for special occasions or holidays, so keep and eye out for that. Looks up disney springs drone show on youtube, you can probably find it.

  • The day “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth” ends will be a sad day, indeed. There is a reason it has lasted as long as it has. I am not encouraged that the new show will be better if it’s being “fast-tracked”.Beyond the new music, I wonder what new tech will be incorporated into the new show? Would it require draining the lagoon, like “World of Color”? Is a new, improved earth globe being created or will this show have an entirely different theme?

  • If memory serves, Siemens, the same company that was sponsoring Spaceship Earth, is no longer a Disney corporate sponsor. This might have something to do with the change and the timing. Maybe Disney should have taken those monorail trains, after all.

  • I loved that show! The music is great (I bought the CD years ago)! I will be sad to see it go away. But, for as long as we have YouTube, the show shall live on. Thanks to all that post their videos up there. :-)

  • I love to see the new illuminations in Epcot and I can’t wait to see it when it’s finished!

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