Today is the last time anyone will ever see Epcot’s IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show. I was so devastated when they announced its closure last year that I immediately booked a private anniversary party in the UK Pavilion so we could see the show one last time. As I said in my write-up of that party…
I know a lot of people think IllumiNations is boring, and maybe I’m sentimental about it because the first time I saw it was my wedding day. But it is my all-time favorite Disney fireworks show—because of the music, because of the real fireworks and, most of all, because of the message. So many of Disney’s nighttime spectaculars are just intellectual-property fests with as many characters as they can cram in and generic lyrics about dreams, wishes and magic that seem to have been spit out by a random-Disney-phrase generator. IllumiNations is actually about something, and I love the idea that sharing our individual human stories can help us achieve a better future collectively.
So I’m sad that I’ll never be able to see IllumiNations again, but I’m even more sad that it probably means the end of this type of show at Disney. The closest thing left is Rivers of Light—and that’s legit boring! But at least it isn’t just a bunch of Lion King and Finding Nemo clips all strung together.
After watching Disney’s lackluster live stream of IllumiNations this spring, with all its awkward cuts and weird framing, I tried to figure out how I could get a good, straightforward recording of the show so I could watch it whenever I wanted. I know there are a few on YouTube, but I couldn’t find one that I really liked (and could keep).
That’s when my pal Mary Angelini of Key Moment Films stepped in and offered to shoot the show for me—from our wedding dessert party location of UK Lochside, no less!—and sync it with the audio track (no chatty strangers talking over my favorite bits!).
She has generously posted the finished video on Vimeo and allowed me to share it here with you. So, if you’re like me, you can now weep along to IllumiNations whenever you like!