LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Dancing flames, cascading fountains and eye-popping fireworks synchronized to a dramatic musical score light the skies and decorate the lagoon of Epcot World Showcase during “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.”
The nightly spectacle, created by Show Director Don Dorsey, is the grand finale each day at Epcot.
“IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” begins with a cosmic event that leads to a ballet of fire and “chaos” signifying the origins of the planet. That mayhem transforms into a sea of floating pyrotechnic stars on World Showcase Lagoon, setting the stage for the appearance of the show’s centerpiece, Earth Globe.
The dramatically spinning Earth Globe, a 28-foot diameter sphere, becomes a three-story video screen projecting vivid pictorial images that celebrate both human diversity and the unified spirit of humankind.
Covered with video screens in the shape of the continents, the twinkling, steel-ribbed Earth Globe rotates on a 350-ton floating island that houses six computer processors, 258 strobe lights and an infrared guidance system.
Using more than 180,000 Light Emitting Diodes, the electronic pictures depict primal seas and forest and the development of famous cultural landmarks including the Himalayas, the Sphynx, the Easter Island statues and Mount Rushmore. Diverse visages of famous people from around the world such as Martin Luther King, Dr. Jonas Salk, Mother Teresa, Albert Einstein, Muhammad Ali and the Dalai Lama are captured on the Earth Globe sphere during the presentation.
A dazzling visual mix of leaping fountains of water, fire and fireworks is choreographed to a symphonic score crafted by British television and Hollywood motion-picture composer Gavin Greenaway. This powerful composition blends the melodies and rhythms of many regional cultures with an uplifting, unifying theme.
The inspiring performance concludes with the Earth Globe opening up like a lotus flower. From its heart emerges a giant fire torch rising 40 feet into the air. Nineteen additional torches ringing the lagoon combine with a confetti of fireworks creating color-rich reflections across the rippling waters.
“My goal was to remind people that our home planet is an amazing place,” said Dorsey. “This show weaves the story of our planet, using mystical elements that signify unity and peace for all humankind. ‘Reflections of Earth,’ like Epcot itself, is a celebration of our home planet, our humanity and our potential.”
The 13-minute show requires 67 computers in 40 locations, hundreds of special lighting fixtures, four fountain barges pumping 5,000 gallons per minute, a 150,000-pound inferno barge with 37 nozzles shooting propane flames into the air, and lasers delivering a kaleidoscope of colors.
Some 2,800 shells are exploded during the nightly display — more than twice the number used in previous productions. Fireworks are launched from 750 mortar tubes and 56 firing modules at 34 locations.
“IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” Fast Facts
- The Show of the Century: “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” is an exhilarating nighttime spectacular filled with music, flames, fireworks and fountains on and above Epcot World Showcase Lagoon.
- A Whole New World: Earth Globe is a 28-foot diameter sphere on World Showcase Lagoon and the centerpiece of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.” Earth Globe is covered with video screens in the shape of the continents, all of which project vivid images that celebrate both human diversity and the unified spirit of humankind.
- Circle of Light: Earth Globe, the world’s first spherical video display system, is three stories tall and wrapped in more than 180,000 Light Emitting Diodes. The gigantic sphere rotates on a 350-ton floating island that houses six computer processors, 258 strobe lights and an infrared guidance system.
- Magnificent Melody: British television and Hollywood motion-picture composer Gavin Greenaway created an original symphonic score to accompany the combination of cascading fountains of water, glowing flames and lively fireworks.
- Double Blast: Some 2,800 shells are used for each show — more than twice the number ever used in previous nighttime productions at Epcot.
- A World of Color: Sixty-seven computers in 40 locations, hundreds of special lighting fixtures, four fountain barges pumping 5,000 gallons of water per minute, a 150,000-pound inferno barge with 37 nozzles to shoot propane flames skyward, and a full color spectrum of lasers in custom Disney shades are required to produce the brilliant 13-minute show.
- Great Ball of Fire: In the grand finale, the Earth Globe opens up like a lotus flower as a giant fire torch emerges from the center and rises 40 feet into the air. Nineteen additional torches encircle the lagoon making a wall of flames that, when combined with the radiant explosion of fireworks, creates resplendent images across the lagoon.