Epcot debuted its new nighttime spectacular ‘Harmonious’ Wednesday night, and in typical fashion, the response among the Disney fandom was decidely mixed.
The new show has drawn the ire of Epcot purists ever since it was first announced, from the (accurate) expectation that it would focus more on Disney characters and music to bringing large barges that block daytime views across World Showcase Lagoon. With Disney livestreaming the debut performance, theme park reporters, bloggers, commentators and pundits were able to weigh in without physically being at Epcot.
It’s really sad that Harmonious has so much potential but it’s not great. The songs were great, it is more Disney and I loved the Coco section but that ending…. I do love the extra edge of the lagoon fireworks but the ending is is just bad. It gives me Rivers of Light feels pic.twitter.com/BzueunAQGd
— Expedition Theme Park (@ExpThemePark) September 30, 2021
It PAINS me to say this, but Harmonious was so disappointing. Using massive barges to play computer graphics when Disney has the world’s best animation at its fingertips is jarring and strange. It doesn’t feel Epcot, it doesn’t really feel Disney and I’m…shocked, to be honest. pic.twitter.com/XE1kxx1Wjq
— 🍓✨carlye wisel (@carlyewisel) September 30, 2021
Harmonious at Epcot looks amazing. pic.twitter.com/gK2z3mbo4p
— Ashley Carter (@AshleyLCarter1) September 30, 2021
Harmonious is a show that both shines a light on Disney’s failings with cultural depictions in their films and Epcot’s failures with cultural representation in World Showcase.
— Kevin Perjurer (@KevinPerjurer) September 30, 2021
the pointless wiggly fountains on the giant mechanical arms are really something else. it’s like WDI saw a bunch of expensive stuff in a trade show catalog and they said, yes, we’ll take that and toss it into a show somewhere. #HARMONIOUS
— twenty one royal street (@21royalstreet) September 30, 2021
WOW Harmonious is incredible, a technically impressive & fun nighttime show
BUT It’s not Illuminations Reflections of Earth & that’s the thing, it’s very “Disney” but it’s not “EPCOT” so lots of #EPCOT fans will be disappointed
— Gotta Go Orlando 🍊 (@GottaGoOrlando) September 30, 2021
As many fans noted, “Harmonious” is the permanent replacement for “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” which ran at Epcot from 1998 until 2019. In stark contrast to the new show, “IllumiNations” was devoid of Disney characters, but that approach doesn’t fit the modern-day Walt Disney Company or its vision for Epcot.
“The original vision for Walt [Disney’s] EPCOT is long gone,” said “IllumiNations” chief creator and designer Don Dorsey to Theme Park Tribune in 2018. “Even the subsequent revisions have fallen by the wayside. The world is moving and evolving way too fast for a single futuristic vision to last, so other non-future approaches are required and will succeed and change as needed.”
You can watch the full performance for yourself here: