Epcot Forever show opens October 1 at Walt Disney World

April 10, 2019, 12:22 PM · Walt Disney World announced last year that it would close its long-running IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth nighttime show at the end of this summer, replacing it with "Epcot Forever," a temporary new production that would run until next year. Now we know the specific dates for the end of IllumiNations and beginning of Epcot Forever.

The old show will close on September 30 and the new production will open the next night, October 1 — Epcot's 37th anniversary. Epcot Forever will feature lights, lasers, fountains, and fireworks like IllumiNations did, with the addition of light-up special effects kites, too. You can briefly see them in action in Disney's preview video for the new show.

But the focus of the preview video — as well as the show itself — will be Epcot's deep legacy of original music. Conductor Don Harper is arranging the music for the show, which will include several of the attraction themes composed for the park over the years.

Epcot Forever will close sometime in 2020, to be replaced by the park's next new nighttime show, which Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek teased at last fall's D23 Destination D event. Like Fantasmic! and Disney California Adventure's World of Color, that show will feature projections from Disney animated films on water screens around the World Showcase Lagoon. No name or debut date for that show yet.

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Replies (6)

April 10, 2019 at 12:49 PM

Sad as I am, it's time. I'm excited about the idea of Epcot Forever, and afraid of the show to come after that. If it's going to be a clip show like Fantasmic and World of Color it better be absolutely the best thing ever. Like many, I understand that the focus of Epcot is changing, but I really don't want it to lose some uniqueness among the other parks. It's not primary about Disney movies and characters. They can be woven into the backbone of Epcot, but let them augment that, not take it over. We'll see.

April 10, 2019 at 1:30 PM

I'm looking forward to Epcot Forever. I really used to enjoy IllumiNations, but I think the intent of the presentation has been eroded by all of the lagoon-side restaurants and nearly year-round festival booths. You should be able to get a good view of the globe no matter where you are around the lagoon, and that is no longer the case. Disney spectaculars are at their best when there is an equal viewing opportunity.

April 10, 2019 at 2:08 PM

If this uses some classic '80s EPCOT tunes for World of Motion, Horizons and others, I'll be happy.

I loved IllumiNations too but 20 years is more than enough time for a new version.

April 10, 2019 at 2:10 PM

Just come back from Orlando but returning end of Nov to do all things Disney so great timing. Looking forward to it. As Rob says, it's time.

April 10, 2019 at 2:28 PM

I have never particularly cared for IllumiNations for the reason Jeffrey cites; it's just impossible to see that tiny globe from almost anywhere on the lagoon at this point. I also agree that Epcot Forever sounds way, way more interesting than whatever they have planned to replace it, and I look forward to experiencing it as many times as possible before it is gone. Hopefully it's well-received enough that the park abandons plans to do a "World of Color but with countries" show and just lets Epcot Forever become the permanent show.

April 10, 2019 at 3:44 PM

Epcot Forever is developed with the existing sight lines around World Showcase Lagoon- which have drastically changed since the long ago debut of Illuminations- so the clutter of kiosks should not be an issue for the new good night kiss at Epcot. And yes, nostalgic fans of the original sounds found during Epcot's early years will find reason to smile:)

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