35 to Epcot 35: Day 12 – IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

Epcot Center 35th Anniversary on October 1, 2017

The next stop in our journey of 35 to Epcot 35 takes us to the World Showcase Lagoon. IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a 12 Minute nighttime show, performed nightly. “This show utilizes fireworks, pyrotechnics, water fountains, fire effects, lasers, and searchlights to create a visual production on the park’s World Showcase Lagoon.” IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth has been running continuously since October 1, 1999, where it debuted as “IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth”. Each show featured about 2,800 firework shells and costs Disney approximately $25,000 per show.

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

The show is comprised of three parts;

  • Part One: The Earth Is Born
    Earth’s fiery birth begins with flames and fireworks erupting from the lagoon. Beneath a swarm of heavenly explosions, red and golden lights blaze on the shimmering waters. As the volcanic effects subside, a glowing globe glides peacefully across the waters.
  • Part Two: The Triumph of Life
    Our individual stories culminate in one adventurous tale. The illuminated surface of the globe reveals the history of humanity and the achievements of our time.
  • Part Three: Hope for the Future
    Comets of light race into the sky, before the globe blossoms like a lotus flower, revealing a torch ablaze with our dreams. A chorus of voices rises as the entire lagoon dances with bursts of joyous white light.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z2vwjD2Pvw&w=560&h=315]

Behind the Magic

All kinds of extraordinary technology and talent went into producing this spectacle. While watching the show, you’ll see and hear:

  • The Inferno Barge, a liquid-propane mechanism that launches balls of fire 60 feet into the air
  • The 350,000-pound Earth Globe, the world’s first spherical video display system. It is also wrapped in 15,600 LED clusters, each consisting of 12 light-emitting diodes, totaling in 187,200 individual lights.
  • Jim Cummings, the voice of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and other Disney characters, narrates this nighttime spectacular.

Additionally, taking place from November 24 – December 30, 2017, IllumiNations will have a special holiday conclusion!


The festive finish features holiday greeting in native languages from countries around the World Showcase. Furthermore, you will also hear the beloved sounds of the classic song “Let There be Peace on Earth”. This holiday finale will fill your heart with comfort and joy and leave you with a message of “peace on earth and goodwill to men.”

Where Should I View This Show.

The show can be seen from anywhere around the World Showcase. Grabbing a nice seat at La Cantina de San Angel in the Mexico Pavilion is the preferred location according to TouringPlans.com. Although you will need to do a bit of planning, you can relax here with a nice drink and/or snack. Additionally Touring Plans highlights a few other spots, if you don’t want to stake out a spot along the railings around the lake. These spots can also go unnoticed and you may be able to snag one 10-30 minutes before the show.

  1. International Gateway Island.The pedestrian bridge across the canal near International Gateway spans an island that offers great viewing. This island normally fills 30 minutes or more before showtime.
  2. Second-floor (Restaurant-level) Deck of the Mitsukoshi Building in Japan. An Asian arch slightly blocks your sight line, but this covered deck offers a great vantage point, especially if the weather is iffy. Only La Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico is more protected. If you take up a position on the Mitsukoshi deck and find the wind blowing directly at you, you can be reasonably sure that the smoke from the fireworks won’t be far behind.
  3. Gondola Landing at Italy. An elaborate waterfront promenade offers excellent viewing. Claim a spot at least 30 minutes before showtime.
  4. The Boat Dock Opposite Germany. Another good vantage point, the dock generally fills 30 minutes before IllumiNationsNote: This area may be exposed to more smoke from the fireworks because of Epcot’s prevailing winds.
  5. Waterfront Promenade by Germany. Views are good from the 90-foot-long lagoon-side walkway between Germany and China.

The Future is Unknown

As IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth was sponsored by Siemens since 2005, the partnership between Siemens and Disney burned out this year. Siemens announced they would not be renewing their sponsorship and shortly after they abruptly pulled out of the park. At this time the future of the show unknown, as it lacks a sponsor and it solely lays with Disney.

[Source: Wikipedia, Touring Plans and Disney]

[Image Source: Disney]


As a kid, I had visited Disney multiple times and it sparked a passion for all things Disney. In 2010, I proposed to my wife in front of Cinderella's Castle an since then it has been a large part of our life. Now as a father and experiencing Disney with my wife through our daughters eyes, our love for Disney has grown tenfold and I can't wait to share my passion and experiences with you.