The successor to Epcot’s long-running “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” next summer isn’t designed to last long on the World Showcase Lagoon.
As announced at the D23: Destination D event at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, “IllumiNations” will be the temporarily replaced by a show called “Epcot Forever” in fall 2019. This limited-run nighttime event will feature classic Epcot music set to fireworks, lighting and lasers.
It will only be a precursor to the as-of-yet-unnamed, permanent replacement for “IllumiNations.” Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products Chairman Bob Chapek said that show, set to debut in 2020, will feature floating set pieces and custom-built LED panels along with pyrotechnics and fountain effects and “celebrate how Disney music inspires around the world.”
Epcot purists, however, may not be pleased with the content of the show. Glimpses shown at the Destination D event included many Disney and Pixar characters — which have noticeably been kept away from previous Epcot nighttime shows — such as those from “Brave,” “Moana,” “Mulan,” “Tangled,” “Dumbo,” “Frozen” and “Peter Pan,” among others.
As Chapek has often repeated since the initial announcement of Epcot’s transformation at last year’s D23 Expo, the changes are aimed at making Epcot “more timeless, more relevant and more Disney.”
“IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” will close next summer, just shy of its 20th birthday at the end of the summer. Its chief creator and designer, Don Dorsey, told Orlando Rising earlier this year that he expected Disney characters to feature prominently in its replacement.
“The original vision for Walt [Disney’s] EPCOT is long gone,” he said. “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.”