“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 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.”

Every night since October 1, 1999, these are the words that have begun what is widely considered the best fireworks display at Walt Disney World.  Ever.

Since making its debut during the Millennium Celebration, Illuminations 2000: Reflections of Earth, has been stunning and amazing Epcot park guests over and over again.  This 13-minute long nighttime spectacular was designed by Don Dorsey (who also worked on the Main Street Electrical Parade) and composer Gavin Greenaway (who was asked by Hans Zimmer to take on this project) created the memorable score.

The show is broken up into 3 acts, each describing a part of the history of the Earth and of man. 

Act I: Chaos – This is the creation of the universe and the world, and this is where the inferno barge is used.  The barge is made up fro 37 nozzles which uses 400 gallons of propane gas per night, to shoot out balls of fire and jets of flame in all directions.  Yes, you can feel the heat from the edge of the lagoon.  Quite toasty on a cool evening!

Act II: Meaning – As this act begins, if you look towards the American Adventure area of World Showcase, you will see a globe light up and begin moving towards the center of the lagoon, as well as water fountains in the lagoon begin to light up. This is describing how the Earth cools, it changes from hot white to red to blue. Images appear on the Globe of countries, famous landmarks, objects, and people.  The globe is a technological marvel, as it is the first spherical video display system.  Weighing in at 350,000 lbs, and over 15 thousand pixels showing around 300 images throughout the show, its extremely hard to miss from anywhere in World Showcase. In summer of 2008, the globe went under refurbishment to update the screens to improve video and picture quality.  As Act II begins to transition into the third part, the fireworks begin again and the tempo of the music changes as well.

Act III – Celebration/Finale – As the 19 torches around the lagoon light up, along with lasers and fireworks, the globe continues to show video and images of more current human life and celebrations.  If you watch carefully you can even see a short video of the now extinct Tapestry of Nations parade that was in World Showcase.  As the show ends, “We Go On” starts play and describes humankind going into the future and the globe in the middle opens like a flower and a 20th torch (dawning of the 20th century) rises up out of the center along with an incredible fireworks finale.


One Response to Illuminations

  1. Alexander says:

    I haven’t seen this in about a year, but it never disappoints when it comes to a spectacular show.

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