I don’t know what it is about me and fireworks, but there is something about these nighttime shows of light, and music, and noise that just get me every time. I like fireworks in “general”….but nothing beats Disney when it comes to fireworks. And in my honest opinion, once you’ve seen Disney fireworks, you are pretty much spoiled for any other fireworks anywhere else.
I guess you could say that fireworks are truly one of my favorite Disney things.
Now Disney has a number of fireworks productions at its parks, both regularly scheduled and seasonal. And while everyone has their favorite Disney fireworks show, for me, it is Illuminations: Reflections of Earth that brings a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. I find this show to be breathtaking, exhilarating, amazing, exciting, moving….in other words, I really, really like it.
Held every night in Epcot’s World Showcase lagoon, Illuminations has actually had several “versions” over the years. The current show made its debut for the Millennium celebration in 2000 and has been going strong ever since. Choreographed with fire, and fireworks, and lasers, and a beautiful musical score, Illuminations: Reflection of Earth, tells the story of our planet. As the announcer says at the very beginning of the show:
“We’ve 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 we, each of us have our own individual stories to tell, a true adventure emerges when we bring them all together as one.”
What follows then is nearly 15 minutes of unforgettable special effects: walls of fire and explosions depicting the Earth’s very beginning, followed by images of mankind through the ages shown on a globe in the center of World Showcase. Punctuated with lasers that pierce through smoke clouds left by the incredible fireworks, this show does a beautiful job of telling the story of humanity. Projected on the globe, we see cavemen drawings, and the growth of civilization. We see momentous achievements like man’s flight into space, and magnificent works of art. We see visionaries who dreamed big dreams…..and we see Walt Disney.
Of course, the fireworks are, well, words really don’t do them justice. Perhaps it is the location of being right on World Showcase Lagoon, where everyone is so close that you feel the heat and smell the smoke. Perhaps it’s the way they sparkle and shimmer and reflect on the water till you can’t tell what is fireworks, and what is reflection. Perhaps it is the music that is timed perfectly to the fireworks…or is it the other way around? It’s hard to say what exactly makes this show quite so special and moving for me. Whatever the reason, this is a show that never gets old for me….and one that I hope Disney never, ever ends.
With a memorable story, glorious sound, and spectacular special effects…..Illuminations is Disney at its finest…..and something that I hope is, or will be, one of your favorite Disney things.