Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

I’m not a Magic Kingdom gal.

I mean, don’t get me wrong–I adore Magic Kingdom because it is the pinnacle of Disney, what with Cinderella Castle in its full 189-foot glory and the sights and smells of Main Street, plus the new Fairy Tale Hall where I can meet my favorite princesses. And it is home to the rides everyone knows and loves, like Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and the soon-to-be Seven Dwarves Mine.

But no, I’m not a MK Girl at heart.

Epcot Hat

I think its because my first Disney job was at Epcot. And Epcot was a BIG surprise to me. My first day at Epcot–ever– was my initial training day, Discovery Day, which was probably the most magical day ever. Well…it was definitely interesting. Somewhere in my archives I have a blog post about it, but I can’t find it for the life of me. I know it exists.


I am, and always will be, an Epcotian at heart. Yes, I made that word up, but I think it will catch on.


And as utterly magical as Wishes is to view from Magic Kingdom, both in front of the castle and from the cast parking lot (and it really does make me teary every time), I will always hold a special place in my heart for Epcot’s Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.


Here’s why: I will never get that music out of my head. I think it is permanently embedded into my soul, thanks to three months straight of listening to it in the background as I closed my various kiosks for Food and Wine. (Fun tip of the day—watch Illuminations between Italy and Germany. Best view.)

And really, I’ve become so in tune to the musical score of the show, not only can I utter the guttural “GOOD EVENING” at exactly 9:00 each night (which gets me applause from random strangers) I know exactly when the snaps, crackles and pops of each firework shell will produce their thunderous sound.

You’d think I’d get sick of it, wouldn’t you? Perhaps I was a little tired of crooning, “We Go On” at the end of each night with my fellow Cast Members, but I didn’t really mind. The best part is the music they play in the half hour leading up to the show. During Food and Wine we called it the ‘Going Home Soon’ music, but its so cheerful and catchy I never got sick of it.

Actually, I love it. It is my ringtone.IMG_3521

Part of my daily trek to my location for Food and Wine took me backstage, right past the earth-shaped dome that spews fire during the show. I watched the skilled technicians work their mechanical magic, toiling all day every day to send guests home with what Walt Disney himself called the “kiss goodnight.”

IMG_0215 (2)

So, without further ado, here are some fun facts about Epcot’s Kiss Goodnight!


Fun Fact #1:

Illuminations, although not immediately clear in its intentions the way Fantasmic and Wishes are, is intended to run like a 3-part play.

* Act One: Chaos – The flames and fire spewed across World Showcase lagoon signify the birth and creation of Planet Earth

* Act Two: Order – The graceful globe of planet earth spins onto the lagoon and spewing fountains cool the hot creation of earth. Countries begin to form and lasers and fireworks signify the growth of the countries in their unity.

* Act 3: Meaning – The torches around the lagoon re light. The countries around World Showcase light up and point lasers at their respective locations on the globe. The big finale occurs and that sappy, catchy song’We Go On’ is played. Everyone rejoices in the fact that we all share one big beautiful earth.

People don’t get teary about Illuminations the way they do about Wishes, but I find it quite inspiring because I’m a bit of a sap.


Fun Fact #2:

All of the countries light up during Illuminations except Morocco, due to respect for the religion of the country.


Fun Fact #3:

1,105 firework shells are used in each show, and 400 gallons of propane are used by the inferno barge every night.


Fun Fact #4:

The first show of Illuminations was in 1998, and has gone through four major makeovers. The current Illuminations has been in place since 1999.

Fun Fact #5:

In 2009, Gold Ticket Awards pronounced it the Best Outdoor Night Production Show! It runs for twelve minutes.


Yep. That’s about all the fun facts I have currently. Don’t worry, I’ll collect more. I like Disney trivia.

Obnoxious, I know.

Anyway, if you’re ever at Epcot, don’t skip out on Illuminations. I may be the slightest bit prejudiced, but I think its the best show Disney has to offer. (I mean, they light the world on fire and point lasers everywhere. Its awesome.)

Although you really can’t go wrong. How can you lose when you get a kiss goodnight from the most magical place on earth?



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