We finally have an end date. The long-running, beloved Epcot nighttime spectacular, IllumiNations, will end its run over World Showcase Lagoon on September 30th, 2019. It is no surprise that the park's temporary fireworks show, Epcot Forever, will debut on October 1st, because it happens to also be the park's birthday. The start of October this year will mark Epcot's 37th anniversary and we will be getting a fantastic nighttime spectacular that will celebrate the park's history before looking ahead to the future.
The new show will feature fireworks, lighting, lasers and choreographed, special effects kites, accompanied by a stirring collection of songs that paints a colorful picture of Epcot. Disney Parks Live Entertainment is collaborating on the show with noted conductor and composer Don Harper, who is producing all-new arrangements of classic Epcot tunes to weave into the soundtrack of “Epcot Forever.”
“‘Epcot Forever’ is a celebration of what Epcot has been and what Epcot is going to become,” said Alan Bruun, show director for Disney Parks Live Entertainment. “Music is the star of the show, and we use songs going back to the very beginnings of Epcot to music in the park today – from attractions, spectaculars and other shows – and put them into a fireworks spectacular on the lagoon every night. Guests are going to hear music they know and love but in a whole new way.”
After its debut this October, Epcot Forever will continue to run into 2020. Later next year, Epcot will debut its new permanent nighttime show that celebrates music from around the world. I think we can expect hit songs to be featured in this upcoming show from more recent animated films such as Moana and Coco judging off of the concept art. I also believe that the new 2020 fireworks show could debut on October 1st as well, but that is yet to be officially confirmed.
If you're hoping to catch IlummiNations one more time before it is officially retired, you can watch the show from many locations around the lagoon. Some favorite spots include the small island in between France and the UK, as well as the island near the gondolas at the Italy Pavilion. You can make a Fastpass+ reservation to view the show, right at the front of the lagoon in Showcase Plaza. But remember that IlumiNations is part of Epcot's tier 1 Fastpass+ category. Meaning you'll have to choose between Test Track, Soarin' Around the World, Character Spot, Frozen Ever After and IllumiNations. Alternatively, you can get a good view of the show from select restaurants such as La Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico, Spice Road Table in Morocco and the Rose & Crown Pub in the UK. The table service restaurant that sits lagoon side at the UK pavilion is also home to the IllumiNations Dining Package. Which is currently accepting reservations through September 30th.