Yesterday, January 30, 2013, marked the 25th anniversary of IllumiNations, the nighttime fireworks show held in World Showcase of Epcot. The show originally debuted on January 30, 1988, although there have been several variations offered since that debut.
Its current incarnation is known as IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. This particular variation made its debut on October 1, 1999 as part of Disney’s Millennium Celebration and was known at the time as IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth. It proved hugely successful with guests and led to the dropping of 2000 from the title and its remaining as an entertainment powerhouse up to the present.
Still, one has to look at the history of shows held in Epcot’s World Showcase to understand the true background of the current spectacular. The first nighttime show held at Epcot was the Carnival de Lumiere which premiered on October 23, 1982. It was replaced the following summer with A New World Fantasy.
One year later, more changes were made and the Laserphonic Fantasy premiered on June 9, 1984. This show remained a staple at Epcot until the aforementioned January 30, 1988 when Illuminations made its debut.
Since that debut, Illuminations has been modified several times including an IllumiNations 25 which celebrated the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney World itself and the more recent Reflections of Earth version. Throughout all of the variations, the main premise of the show has remained the same by telling the history of the planet through music, words and fireworks.
The current Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is described by Disney as having three different parts:
The Story of Earth
Gather around the World Showcase Lagoon to witness the incredible history of our planet.
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.
If you are planning a visit to Disney World to see Illuminations, you may want to check out the Disney Park Hours page here on All Things Mouse!
Thanks to paulchiu who provided the video shown above!