It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me, reads this blog, or listens to Generation Mouse, that I LOVE Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. I’ve never elaborated on why this nighttime show is so special to me, and why after almost 13 years, I get goosebumps every time, so please allow me to do just that… and I hope you enjoy our story tonight, Reflections of Illuminations.
Disney knows how to set “a mood” don’t they? The preshow music loop that plays around World Showcase 30 minutes before the show starts does just that! It’s one of my favorite music loops in the entire park, and both versions (Yes, the current one is not the original!) are great and set the tone for the evening. The original loop ran from 1999 to 2004 and while not as upbeat as the newer one, it had some great pieces of music in it such as “30-års Jiggen (Thirty-Year Jig)-Väsen” (You can download it on iTunes… and it’s worth it… Go listen. I’ll wait.) The current loop is much more upbeat, bass heavy and has gotten the nickname “Club Illuminations” from various members of the Disney Social Media Community and certainly helps keep guests upbeat after a long day in Epcot. I honestly consider the pre-show music a part of the actual show because when you hear it you know what’s coming. It keeps with the multinational theme of World Showcase and features music from around the world.
The Earth globe that comes out during the “Life” portion of the show is amazing! When it debuted back in 1999, it was a technological marvel (and very much EPCOT like)! It’s the world’s first spherical video display system. The globe is wrapped in 15,600 LED clusters and is considered to be the most complicated piece of show action equipment ever made by Disney. For a tech geek, this thing is awesome and the scenes that are shown from the world’s history are very well thought out. I always seem to notice something, someplace, or someone I’d never seen before on the show. It is also the only place in Epcot where you can still see Tapestry of Nations, even if it’s for a few seconds.
I would have to say my favorite parts of the show would be the ‘Celebration’ and ‘We Go On’ parts at the end of Reflections of Earth. I think Disney absolutely came as close to perfection with an ending for a nighttime show with these 4 minutes. The story of the show really has meaning and speaks to the future of mankind. It has some of the most incredible music and down to the second fireworks that just make this complete. During Celebration, the tempo of the show really speeds up and ends with a dramatic flourish of fireworks from all over World Showcase Lagoon, and then leads into a very touching and beautiful piece of music for the ending, “We Go On”. I’ll freely admit, even after all these years, the finale can be a tear jerker. I think it can mean any number of things, such as talking about humans as a whole, or it can have a very personal meaning for an individual or couple.
This show is incredibly special to me. I saw it for the first time during the Millennium Celebration. This was a very tough patch of life for me and something about it just stuck with me. The message of the show can inspire and give hope to people. It has something for everyone. I was 15 when I saw it the first time and now I’m 27 with a family of my own. I can still find meaning in the words, images and music of this show. I’ve always felt “We Go On” was a song that had a meaning for me as a teenager, and now has a totally different meaning for me as an adult with a family of my own. Simply put, this show excels at what Disney wants it to do which is to be inspiring and incredibly memorable.
Needless to say, I hope Disney keeps Reflections of Earth right where it is. The hardware can certainly be upgraded, and it’s quite obvious many people love this show as much as I do. That’s one reason why a few years ago the replacement show, “Skydance”, never took off. Once word of it got out that RoE was going to be leaving soon, Disney got such strong feedback and support for Illuminations that they put the thought of replacing it to rest. I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about this amazing show at Epcot, so please leave me a comment!Share