Disney to close current IllumiNations show at Epcot

September 17, 2018, 3:16 PM · The Walt Disney World Resort today confirmed widely-held suspicions that Epcot will be replacing its popular IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show.

Before anyone gets too concerned about the news, do keep in mind that this is the third version of the IllumiNations show, not counting holiday and anniversary versions. The original debuted in 1988, with Reflections of Earth bowing in 1999.

Whether Disney keeps the "IllumiNations" branding for a new production remains be seen. But there will be a new nighttime spectacular at Epcot.

"The Disney Parks Live Entertainment team is already busy creating new thrills to debut immediately following the conclusion of IllumiNations, continuing the tradition of nightly entertainment on the World Showcase Lagoon," Disney said in a statement today.

Disney is giving fans plenty of time to see Reflections of Earth before it closes, too. Disney announced that the production will not close until after next summer.

The new fireworks production is one of several new attractions coming to Epcot, including a Ratatouille dark ride in World Showcase's France pavilion and a Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster experience in the old Universe of Energy pavilion in Future World. Disney has not yet announced opening dates for any of these.

Replies (19)

September 17, 2018 at 3:21 PM

If Disney were to replace Reflections of Earth with the original production, I'd be happy with that.

September 17, 2018 at 3:35 PM

I love this show but I'm amazed it has been around as long as it has. I remember being at the very first show presented to the general public. When the fire barge did its thing people around the World Showcase Lagoon were confused as to if it was part of the show, or if something had gone very wrong.
I'm excited to see what's next, and I hope they really mix it all up. Until Universal opened their new nighttime show I'd figured World Showcase lagoon would have been a likely place for an East Coast version of that show's technology. Now that seems less likely. The one element I hope they keep, but I imagine will leave is the ring of cauldrons around the lagoon that are lit early in the evening and then "blown out" just before the show begins. That little bit of storytelling is magical to me.

September 17, 2018 at 3:45 PM

If they could keep the theme of moving forward as the human race to better knowledge and cooperation, I would be happy. I think this really sums up the vision and dream of EPCOT. Its a vision many still need these days.

With the stillness of the night,
There comes a time to understand,
To reach out and touch tomorrow,
Take the future in our hand,

We can see a new horizon,
Built on all that we have done,
And our dreams begin another,
Thousand circles 'round the sun,

We go on,
To the joy and through the tears,
We go on,
To discover new frontiers,
Moving on,
With the current of the years,

We go on,
Moving forward, now as one,
Moving on,
With a spirit born to run
Ever on,
With each rising sun,
To a new day,

We go on,

We go on!

September 17, 2018 at 3:48 PM

As IPs continue to take over the park, one has to wonder if the new night show will follow suit. Rivers of Light didn’t exactly light the world on fire compared to the response Happily Ever After got.

September 17, 2018 at 3:58 PM

More great news coming out of Walt Disney World. EPCOT'S blowing up -- and the announcements for new shows and attractions are probably not done yet.

September 17, 2018 at 4:03 PM

"EPCOT'S blowing up" ... The perfect hype line for a new fireworks show?

September 17, 2018 at 4:15 PM

They better not screw up EPCOT...TH, I am looking at you ;)

September 17, 2018 at 5:28 PM

Disney fans have another year to see it before it closes and it was rumored for years. LOL!!! I'm sure the requisite food, shirts, and commemorative items are available for purchase.

September 17, 2018 at 5:28 PM

As long as EPCOT has the Rose & Crown, it can't be screwed up.

September 17, 2018 at 5:41 PM

So much truth there.

September 18, 2018 at 6:40 AM

I love RoE - it's the only IllumiNations I've known - but 20 years is a ridiculously long run. Parks shouldn't be static.

I'll echo everyone else though in hoping it doesn't just become another "IP in the sky" job. Anchoring the new Epcot around an evening show with integrity will allow them to get away with a lot of the inevitable franchisey stuff elsewhere in the park. I hope they realise that.

September 18, 2018 at 9:58 AM

We were recently at SeaWorld and saw their summer fireworks show. It combined fire, synchronized fountains (with changing color lighting), lasers, smoke and fireworks.

It was the most spectacular fireworks show I have ever seen. We were at Mickeys Halloween party later that week. While the fireworks were great, it didn't compare with SeaWorld.

If Disney can do what SeaWorld did and combine it with the Disney music and their polish. It would be indescribable.

September 18, 2018 at 10:40 AM

Definitely a show that was ready to end. However, I'm really surprised that they've made this announcement so far in advance. I wonder if that means the new show will have a decidedly different dynamic and/or perhaps a designated viewing area (would be very sad if that were the case, since the beauty of Illuminations has been that it is so very different depending upon where you view the show from, and a designated viewing area would likely eliminate that).

I absolutely agree with others here that they've got to keep IP out of this show. It's been a monumental success without so much as a peep from Mickey Mouse or any other Disney character. Even though EPCOT is starting to embrace IP in its attractions, this show should not need it. Rivers of Light demonstrates that Disney can produce a great nighttime spectacular without leaning on recognizable IP (though it does use some Disney Nature footage). Even with the changing focus and mission of EPCOT, Disney should still try to cap off a day at the park with something inspiring and memorable, not a "greatest hits" package that the MK and DHS shows have become.

September 18, 2018 at 11:25 AM

Am amazed it's lasted so long but I was a sucker for the original version of each nation lighting up on its own. Still, looking forward to what comes next as sure to be great.

September 18, 2018 at 12:24 PM

I can't wait for Star Wars: A Galactic Lagoon Spectacular or Star Lord's Awesome Mix in the Sky!

September 18, 2018 at 3:14 PM

The presence of popular (pop) IP doesn’t matter. Lights, music, pyrotechnics, fountains and HD mapping will hold guests (and their wallets) inside the park until closing. Another wise investment by Team Disney.

September 18, 2018 at 4:37 PM

I worked at Epcot in 1993/94 and I agree with Robert, i’d Be happy with a return of the original, I’ve always thought it was much better, much more spectacular

September 18, 2018 at 5:04 PM

I think that the original EPCOT evening show was fantastic. It included a LOT of fireworks and water sprays with cartoon characters, and so much more. EPCOT seems to have fallen off the cliff. It's a lot more commercialized. CommuniCore was great. Now it's just a commercial showplace. Exxon's Universe of Energy was great. Then they changed it to Ellen's Universe of Energy. Wonders of Life was great... but now it's just a showplace/meeting hall/commercial place. So many exhibits have closed. It's no wonder why the lines are longer now.

September 19, 2018 at 2:05 PM

I grew up at Disneyland, and I visited EPCOT for the first time in 2015. Everyone raved about IllumiNations, and I was completely underwhelmed. That much space and hype should yield an unparalleled show, yet I was met with a tiny globe and a few fireworks. Can you imagine if they added a World of Color caliber show in this amazing space? I've skipped IllumiNations every time since.

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