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For my family, there is one night time show that we make sure we visit each trip (partly because the start time isn’t too late with younger children, but mostly because we are enamored by it). There were three different night time shows in the park before this one. The show I’m referring to began in October 1988, it has had some changes and a few different sponsors since then but has retained its name. The show is great even without knowing what is being represented, but if you know the story that they are trying to tell, the show is even more incredible. The show I am talking about is Illuminations Reflections of Earth in Epcot. For most of the year the show starts at 9:00pm, although from late November through December the show starts at 9:30pm with more fireworks and a message of peace and joy throughout the world at the end. On New Year’s Eve, the show starts just before midnight. On the Fourth of July the show starts at 10:00pm and has a more patriotic theme. Although there are a couple different shows throughout the year, we will focus on the main version of Illuminations.

Preparing for the show begins in the early afternoon and it is the only night time show you can see them set up for. Set up begins with getting the inferno barge and fireworks barges into World Showcase Lagoon. The barges are kept “back stage”. They are towed into the lagoon through a draw bridge in between the China Pavilion and the African Outpost. When not in use, you wouldn’t even know the draw bridge was there unless you were looking for it. The only piece of equipment not kept back stage is the globe of the Earth used in the show.

Prior to the show, large torches are lit around World Showcase Lagoon and a narrator tells the basic story of what Illuminations represents, the evolution of Earth and our role in it. We are reminded that the story began before us and it is still being written as we go on. Once the narrator is finished, the torches are “blown out” and it is dark around World Showcase.

The show begins with a single firework shot from the edge of the lagoon. The firework lands in the middle of the lagoon, at which point there is a large fiery explosion representing the chaotic state of Earth. The chaos continues as a series of fiery explosions, fireworks and water effects are set off to music. After the chaos ends, a large globe emerges from the side of the lagoon near the American Adventure Theater. The globe is revolving and images appear on all the continents which are constantly changing. These images represent life, the evolution of man and cultures from around the world. Again we are treated to more water effects and large arial fireworks. As we near the end of the show, the song, “We Go On” is sung, the torches are lit and the main buildings in each country represented in Epcot are lit up. The globe in the middle of the lagoon slowly opens as it rotates with a torch in its center. Once the globe is open, fireworks emerge from it and start the grand finally which lasts several minutes celebrating mankind. A lot of the fireworks for the show are low which results in a more impressive experience.

The music to this show is incredible with calming and dramatic music to it. In fact, we liked the sound track so much that we bought the CD and listen to it frequently. The music is nice to relax to, or can help motivate you around the house. Let us know when you listen to the Illuminations music. Please leave a comment on here, like us on Facebook at Disneyhelp or follow us on Twitter @Disneyhelp.