Saying Goodbye to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Saying Goodbye to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Kate K.

Nothing is constant but change. This age-old axiom is even true of Walt Disney World, where sometimes keeping the magic alive and well, means saying goodbye to an old familiar friend. This time that friend is IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth which is giving its last show on September 30th, 2019.

A dazzling 20-year run

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth had its first show on October 1st, 1999. That date is significant because with the closing show launching on September 30th, IllumiNations: R o E will have been showing for exactly 20 years! Its original title was IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth. It was the third version of the show to play in Epcot. First was IllumiNations, which launched in January of 1988 and ran until 1996. And then there was IllumiNations 25, which launched for the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney World (in 1997). All three versions of the show were created, directed and scored by Don Dorsey, a long-time consultant to the Walt Disney company. Mr. Dorsey is responsible for other nighttime spectaculars like Fantasmic and Sorcery in the Sky.

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

Image by chensiyuan on Wikipedia

A Show in 3 Acts

Act 1: Intro and Chaos

“Good evening. On behalf of Walt Disney World — the place where dreams come true — we welcome all of you to Epcot, and World Showcase. We’re gathered here tonight, around the fire — as people of all lands have gathered for thousands and thousands of years before us — to share the light, and to share a story. An amazing story as old as time itself, but still being written. And though each of us has our own individual stories to tell, a true adventure emerges when we bring them all together as one. We hope you enjoy our story tonight: Reflections of Earth.”


With these words the torches around Epcot blow out and IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth begins with a bang. Set to represent the creation of the planet earth this part of the show also draws attention upward so you don’t notice the globe floating out onto the lagoon until it starts its display.


Act 2: Order

The globe begins to display famous landmarks around the world. It highlights ethnicities, nations, buildings, history, and culture in a way that celebrates humanity. During this part of the show, the nations of the World Showcase are highlighted with laser lights and spotlights. However, you may have noticed that neither Norway nor Morocco is lit up during the show. This is because the buildings in Morocco are replicas of religious structures and are kept dark out of respect. The buildings in Norway are darkened to keep the lights in the lagoon balanced.


Act 3: Meaning

This act features IllumiNation’s signature song as the show reaches its climax. The torches light up, the globe opens into a central torch and the fireworks light up the sky. The soundtrack to this act is ‘We Go On’:


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!


As the show winds down the continents are projected onto Spaceship Earth as it is transformed into a spinning globe, then the lights go back up and the crowd begins to clear.

Saying Goodbye to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

It isn’t easy to say goodbye to shows and rides that have become a part of our memories of the parks. IllumiNations was introduced in its first form just 4 years after Epcot opened. It has had 31 years to wow us, move us and inspire us. And many of us will miss this show even as the next Epcot spectacular, Epcot Forever, moves into its place. Epcot is a celebration of everything our planet is, the land, the sea, the planets that surround us. Its also a celebration of our history, our cultures, the very imaginations that lets innovation happen. Epcot is a celebration of Man Kind and IllumiNations has highlighted that celebration for decades now. SO thank you IllumiNations, you were loved and you will be missed.

But as Walt stated: “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”

And as IllumiNation’s itself stated: We go on.

*Quotes taken directly from IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Kate K.

Kate K. is a freelance writer, artist, designer, and programmer. She has been working with Homes4uu as our primary blogger, graphic designer, webmaster, and social media manager since 2014. You can also find Kate on her homesite and her blog

Read More About Kate K. here

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