Disney's Epcot IllumiNations fireworks show to end after 20 years
The signature floating globe of Epcot’s IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks spectacular is set to make its final rotation next year at Disney World.
The Orlando-based resort announced Monday that the 20-year-old nighttime pyrotechnic show will hold its final presentation during the second half of summer 2019 after two decades of closing out Epcot’s daily operations.
Disney further confirmed a new evening show will replace IllumiNations — which debuted at Epcot on Oct. 1, 1999 to glowing reviews en route to becoming one of Disney World’s most popular attractions — on the park’s World Showcase Lagoon immediately after its final run.
IllumiNations‘ discontinuation comes on the heels of Disney World’s ongoing effort to revitalize the resort’s four theme park properties over the next several years. Among site-wide improvements scheduled for the parks, Epcot’s France pavilion will receive a Ratatouille-themed dark ride (similar to the one already operating at Disneyland Paris) in addition to a rollercoaster set in the Guardians of the Galaxy universe — both of which are on track to open by 2021.
Additions happening elsewhere at the Florida property include Disney’s Hollywood Studios — which opened a new Toy Story land this year — debuting a new Star Wars-themed land in 2019 (with a corresponding hotel on deck for a later date) ahead of the Magic Kingdom opening a Tron-themed rollercoaster next to Space Mountain two years later.
As it prepares to leave Epcot, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth stands as one of the most complex shows at Disney World, incorporating fire and water effects, fireworks, and an orchestral soundtrack. Arguably the show’s most popular moment occurs when the aforementioned 28-foot-tall globe — floating atop a barge — makes its way to the center of the World Showcase Lagoon as it projects various video images to patrons gathered around the water’s 1.2-mile perimeter. The 320-ton creation premiered as the world’s first spherical video display device, and accompanied Illuminations‘ 11-year winning streak as the Best Outdoor Night Production at the annual Golden Ticket theme park industry awards.
An exact closing date for Illuminations has yet to be announced, though Disney has said the park will be “celebrating” the classic show all year long in anticipation of its final bow.