The EPCOT Harmonious Barges Suck - Disney vs. Universal Dust-Up

Edited: April 8, 2021, 8:28 AM

The five Harmonious barges are now in place in EPCOT’s World Showcase Lagoon. These additions are very reminiscent of the infamous Mickey sorcerer’s wand tower that loomed above Spaceship Earth from 2000-2007.
The big question is what was Disney Imagineering thinking? These barges look like sh*t, especially during the day. The “fountains” aren’t going to conceal the huge black monoliths underneath. Why were these added with no color, no frills, no imagination? The six-story tall ring isn’t even centered in the lagoon!
What was Disney Imagineering thinking?

Replies (47)

April 6, 2021, 4:40 PM

They were thinking that they are creating a monumental night time show that will draw a zillion people and make the cash registers spin like nuclear turbines.

And your wand comparison makes no sense as it was a static structure that drew no crowds.

Edited: April 6, 2021, 5:53 PM

1. A zillion isn’t even a number.
2. Harmonious will be the same as Illumnations in terms of making money for Disney, so that’s a wash.
And 3. Both the barges and the wand are eyesores.

April 6, 2021, 6:16 PM

1. Apologies. I meant to write "a gloowillion dollars". That's a number, look it up.

2. No basis for assuming Harmonious' impact will be the same as previous shows -- especially with the added Ratatouille attraction.

3. Besides whiny purists who will attack Disney regardless, who cares whether or not they don't look appealing? Why does that matter?

4. I'll bet you actually tried to look up gloowillion, didn't you?

April 6, 2021, 9:43 PM

I've never understood the "sightlines/appearance" argument theme park fans always have. Isn't the biggest complaint always "So-and-so isn't building enough new attractions!"? Now that Epcot is finally getting a brand new night show that has been needed for a long time, we're worrying about the way it looks?

April 7, 2021, 1:44 PM

That’s right, James, why should anything in a theme park look visually appealing?

April 7, 2021, 7:13 PM

There are a a gloowillion places in EPCOT that are visually appealing.

Edited: April 7, 2021, 7:59 PM

I’m gonna say it, EPCOT sucks. Of all the Disney parks, EPCOT is the worst, and yes that includes WDS in Paris. And the barges solidify this.

April 7, 2021, 8:18 PM

I strongly disagree that Epcot is the worst. I could even see the argument that it is the best park. To me, it is a wonderful change of pace. After spending time at the other parks rushing and fighting with reservations, there are so many charming nooks and crannies that have zero wait times. Plus, it is the absolute best place for food. It is almost like an oasis in the morass of people that you have to put up with elsewhere. The China, France, and Canada movies are amazing with no wait. The American Experience is a nice shot of nostalgia, and it will soon have a new advanced coaster.

The best park will always be MK to me followed closely by DL, but I enjoy them all, especially Epcot. The only thing there that I can skip is Test Track, as the wait is not worth it. I even like the boat ride in Mexico. And the rock band in England. The bazaar in Morocco. The pastries in France. The beer in Germany. I could do this for hours...

April 7, 2021, 10:24 PM

I agree the barges are ugly as hell, its a shame they can't be hidden backstage during the day like the Illiminations barges were. I also agree that Epcot has been in an identity crisis for like 25 years. Honestly i'm not so sure the current remodel is going to fix that either.

That being said Disney (and Universal while on this topic) have become so completely enamored with building major brands and milking them for everything they're worth that I don't expect any different at this point. That strategy has been hugely successful for them for a while now and until the public demands something different it aint going to change.

Edited: April 7, 2021, 11:38 PM

Harmonious is still being worked on. There is still a chance Disney truly will "pretty it up" successfully with the daytime fountains. Maybe we should at least wait until the show has opened before we start criticizing it? Who knows, it might be so good that it'll be worth dealing with unsightly views. I'm not a fan of Velocicoaster ruining the aesthetic of Jurassic Park, but a new ride is better than nothing.

April 8, 2021, 6:36 AM

Speaking of VelociCoaster, that’s opening June 10th. When is Tron opening?

April 8, 2021, 7:00 AM

@Keith Schneider: "Speaking of VelociCoaster, that’s opening June 10th. When is Tron opening?"

Me: Yawn.


Edited: April 8, 2021, 8:24 AM

It’s about time we had another Disney vs. Universal dust-up.
Universal keeps moving forward while Disney is in hiding!
When is Tron opening? When is the Play pavilion opening? Maybe we can get the Moana water fountains?
Meanwhile, Spaceship Earth and The Land are stuck in the 80s, Imagination is stuck in the 90s (and it’s not the good 90s) and EPCOT’s big transformation is flag poles, a clone from France and five ugly barges. Yeah!

April 8, 2021, 9:10 AM

In all fairness since Harry Potter most of what Universal has built kinda sucks. Transformers is OK, Jimmy Fallon sucks, Kong is OK, Fast & Furious is one of the worst attractions at any major theme park ever, that World of Color ripoff show was just sad, Bourne Spectacular is a waste (even though Terminator is way outdated at least people know about the story of Terminator, no one knows or cares about the Bourne movies), Volcano Bay is fine but the tapu tapu system is awful. Also Nintendoland looks like a pretty big disappointment as well. On the other hand most of what Disney has built has been great they just have been doing it at a slower pace. This Harmonious show looks pretty awesome other than the barges being ugly during the day, i'm sure it will be waaaay better than the World of Color ripoff at Universal.

Edited: April 8, 2021, 1:14 PM

Volcano Bay=best water park in the world!
Hagrids Motorbike Adventure=best rollercoaster in the world!
VelociCoaster will be the new best rollercoaster in the world!
Kong is a great attraction! Borne Stuntacular is a fantastic new show! Transformers is awesome! All of Harry Potter is awesome! All the resorts are fantastic! The infrastructure at UOR is perfect. IOA is the best theme park in the world! And when UEU opens in 2025, it will be the new best theme park IN THE WORLD!

April 8, 2021, 10:10 AM


April 8, 2021, 10:43 AM

Lemme help yah, TH!

Disney Springs = Best Non-Theme Park, Theme Park in the world!

Edited: April 8, 2021, 12:35 PM

5 + 6 = 11 ... IN THE WORLD!

April 8, 2021, 1:16 PM

Take note, TH has been shutdown!


April 8, 2021, 1:42 PM

It's getting ugly in here.

April 8, 2021, 1:58 PM

I thought Universal’s Marathon of Mayhem at HHN was amazing so I don’t know why they need those huge floating TVs at Epcot instead of water screens. I think JP is the least well themed island at IOA so any JW theming is a win for me. Velocicoaster is definitely the biggest attraction of the year since a bigger IP than Ratatouille and Spider-Man and will be a better ride.

Edited: April 8, 2021, 2:15 PM

Did everyone "take note" -- per Mr. Schneider's request?

April 8, 2021, 2:18 PM

Mr. McMahon: "Velocicoaster is definitely the biggest attraction of the year ..."

Me: I will reserve judgement until we see when/how 'Cosmic Rewind' drops.

April 8, 2021, 2:25 PM

Hillman: "It's getting ugly in here."

Me: I'll say it is. That Disney Springs comment was the rudest post ... IN THE WORLD!

April 8, 2021, 3:13 PM

Thank you, TH! My life is now complete!

But dude, I am concerned because Keith has been tossing you around like Godzilla did to Kong in the last movie. Is there nothing left in the tank?

April 8, 2021, 4:14 PM

@ Hilly: I'm not exactly sure where he sees a conflict. He thinks the barges are eyesores (okay) and I think they're no big deal and the show will be extraordinary. As for his tantrum about Universal ... um ... On this thread, don't think I posted any negative comments on the attractions he is LOUDLY pimping.

So I don't know what he means by me being "shut down".

If it makes him feel better I will agree he writes the best TPI posts ... IN THE WORLD!


Edited: April 8, 2021, 5:47 PM

I’ll repeat the question then TH, when is Tron opening? I’ll go a little further, why is Disney pushing off the opening of Tron when Universal is opening VelociCoaster June 10th? Universal dealt with the same conditions Disney did yet got the job done. Is Disney/WDW really that much better than Universal/UOR? Disney was better than Universal from 1971-2010, that we can agree on. But hasn’t Universal done more overall than Disney (and done it better) since 2010, ever since The Wizarding World opened? And the opening of UEU is right around the corner.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is still the best and most immersive themed land IN THE WORLD!

Edited: April 8, 2021, 6:25 PM

Any information I could offer about the opening of the TRON coaster in the.Magic Kingdom would be based upon speculation. And frankly, you would have to admit the same.

I do know that 'Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind' is nearing completion -- and I am looking forward to that as it will be the longest indoor coaster IN THE WORLD!

Also I don't really mind the barges in World Showcase Lagoon.

April 8, 2021, 7:05 PM

As you may know, TH, I’m a fan of both WDW and UOR, like you. GotG: Cosmic Rewind will be an awesome and much needed addition to EPCOT. It will be a strong anchor attraction like Frozen Ever After (a seriously fantastic attraction!), Soarin’ and Ratatouille. But EPCOT needs even more renovation/replacement, like the entire right side of the current Future World (Imagination, The Land and The Seas). Future investment in the WDW parks should focus primarily on EPCOT. The Harmonious barges still suck, there’s no getting around it. As for Tron, it should open for the 50th anniversary. No excuses.

April 8, 2021, 7:32 PM

KS: "As for Tron, it should open for the 50th anniversary."

Me: Why not open it in 2023 in time for the Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary?

April 9, 2021, 9:42 AM

So am I still "shutdown"?


April 9, 2021, 10:44 AM

Yes, as long as Universal is blowing open Orlando and Disney is not, you are shutdown, sir.

April 9, 2021, 11:48 AM

I come for the info...but I stay for the fun! :)

I'm an 80s kid and I credit Epcot as the reason I fell in love with Disney. And we can (and have) debated Epcot's current identity crisis until the end of time. But from my vantage point (and I haven't seen them in person yet, only photos) I feel what these barges are going to be capable of will far outweigh their visual appearance impact. Yet I thrive on technology and innovation and I'm just going to say it...these things look cool! For me, seeing the "nuts and bolts" of anything is far more interesting than disguising it as something it isn't.

Everyone is different and I can appreciate those who like a park for a completely different reason. But for me, Epcot was always been an exposed look at technology and you can't make an omelet without cracking a few eggs. Harmonious is going to be amazing!

Edited: April 9, 2021, 12:43 PM

KS: "I’ll repeat the question then ..."

Me: Hey! So will I! Why not open TRON in 2023 in time for the Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary?

And what does this mean? This "blowing open"?

Edited: April 9, 2021, 8:56 PM

Opening Tron for WDW’s 50th Anniversary would be far more meaningful than putting it on hold for the company’s 100th. Remember, Tron is not new or novel, it’s a clone from China. No new ground is being broken with its opening. For WDW, yes it would be new and exciting and it would be a great addition to celebrate a huge milestone in the resort’s history. But for the company as a whole, it’s a clone, been there done that. Although, WDW could delay the opening of Ratatouille to 2023 for the company’s 100th as well, which could give WDW a chance to do a cross promotional event with their Star Wars property and the delayed Tron and Ratatouille attractions and call it “Attack of the Clones in 2023 at WDW for Walt Disney Company’s 100th Anniversary Celebration!”

April 9, 2021, 7:17 PM

KS you actually just offered up "Remember, Tron is not new ..." And then in the wrote "For WDW, yes it would be new ..."

You're a guy who just wants to feel the satisfaction of feeling like you're right.

Okay, you are so right. Enjoy your moment of triumph.


Edited: April 9, 2021, 10:18 PM

TH, backpedaling and deflecting without making a single point is not the most affective way of winning an argument. At least you haven’t resorted to name calling. You are getting rag-dolled, though.


April 9, 2021, 9:00 PM

Great post, Sarah Warner!

April 10, 2021, 6:44 PM

Wow ... this went in all directions quickly, but getting back to the original post.

I’ve watched as each barge, and the one ring to rule them all, have been positioned in the lagoon, and my view remains the same. They are a nasty blot on the Epcot landscape. As I’ve said many times I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt until the fountains are operating.

On another Epcot topic .... it’s going to be a sad day when Mousegear will not be part of a conversation regarding the park. As iconic as the ball itself, I do sometimes wonder what are Disney trying to accomplish with all the changes.

As an AP my views are very different to the vast majority on this site, but change just for the sake of change does not make any sense whatsoever.

DAK on an at-capacity day today was an absolute joy. Long live the reduced capacities and reservation system.

Edited: April 15, 2021, 12:14 PM

I'm going to have to agree with Keith. These barges look awful.

The crux of the matter is that the magician never reveals his secrets. If you can see the mechanical stuff behind the tricks, it's not magic.

I'm not being anti-Disney. here. I thought the giant screen apparatus from Cinematic Spectacular at Universal was an eyesore. Cinematic Celebration improved on this immensely, hiding the "magic" until it's needed.

The barges seem like a step in the wrong direction.

April 15, 2021, 12:52 PM

@DBCooper - The barges are supposed to be "hidden" behind fountains/waterfalls during the day. However, until everything is fully installed and tested, they don't want to initialize those aspects of the structures. Sometimes a magician needs to pull back the curtain while they set up their trick with the hope that the audience isn't paying attention, but once the trick is on stage and ready to go, the "magic" will be hidden from view.

April 15, 2021, 1:59 PM

Hey Russell,

I hope that works -- it would be a shame to mess up the beauty of this area. Epcot isn't my favorite park as far as experiences and thrills, but it is a very pretty park.

May 12, 2021, 9:56 PM

What was Disney Imagineering thinking? Well, the answer is here ( Just check it out. Mary | Co-founder at tree removal. Thanks for sharing your thoughts of this topic guys.

May 22, 2021, 4:34 PM

Oh, TH, if only you got paid for your defend Disney at any cost way of thinking. I can always tell when you are riled, you spend an entire day trying to sway popular opinion.

Edited: May 23, 2021, 10:25 PM

Wait a minute, NB! Are you saying that TH lost his part time gig with the Disney PR department? I knew things got rough during the shutdowns/cutbacks from the pandemic, but I thought TH had an ironclad contract. Man, that really stinks!

May 23, 2021, 5:41 PM

Nope. The checks keep dropping, wannabes.

May 25, 2021, 10:33 AM

Wow this is a big news!.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive