In a surprise announcement, the EPCOT Forever fireworks show is returning to Walt Disney World for a 3rd time as a temporary show starting April 3, 2023.
In this post, we are going to explain everything you need to know about EPCOT Forever and what it means now that it’s returning to Disney World.
We’ll break down the latest announcement from Disney, the opening date, and all the changes it will have once it returns. We’ll also try to answer all of your questions about the show.
Remember, Disney has not given all the details yet, and everything is still fresh. We look forward to sharing more news with you in the coming weeks as we prepare for its return.
EPCOT Forever Coming Back April 3
The third time’s a charm? That’s what they say and Disney finally confirmed the news that the nostalgic nighttime spectacular EPCOT Forever is returning to Walt Disney World on April 3, 2023.
This news may be somewhat surprising to you, but it really makes a whole lot of sense when you consider the circumstances.
Back at the most recent D23 Expo, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Josh D’Amaro announced that the nighttime show “Disney Harmonious” was being retired after Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebration is over (March 31).
On top of that, they announced a brand new nighttime spectacular is replacing Disney Harmonious front and center in World Showcase Lagoon. However, as you might expect, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to get a brand new show ready in time for April, especially considering how long it takes Disney to get new shows up and running.
As a temporary gap-filler, it makes sense to bring EPCOT Forever back as the park’s fireworks show. After all, it originally served as EPCOT’s temporary show when Illuminations: Reflections of Earth shut down in 2019. It also came back in a temporary role when EPCOT started having nighttime shows again in July 2021.
So here we are, once again with EPCOT Forever. Disney hasn’t given too many details about the show and we will have to wait to see any changes it will have. However, we do know that World Showcase Lagoon will look completely different as the oversized screens installed for Harmonious are being removed.
EPCOT Forever on the other hand will use little hardware on the water as it relies mostly on mobile launch platforms that can be brought in and out of the lagoon each day.
Disney describes it as: “A limited-time spectacle of lasers, lighting, special effects, and fireworks, “EPCOT Forever” returns with a collection of songs that offer both a trip down memory lane and a look toward the future.”
We’ll be getting more details about the show in the coming weeks so stay tuned. In the meantime, keep reading for our original review of EPCOT Forever.
Original EPCOT Forever Show
Last night we saw the last show of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, and tonight we witnessed a changing of the guard, although temporary, with Epcot Forever making its debut.
The date was a special one, October 1, 2019, as EPCOT and Walt Disney World as a whole celebrated its anniversary, and what a great way to celebrate it. In this post, we’re going to have a video of the whole show and our initial thoughts in our review of Epcot Forever.
While we’re working on our initial review, here’s a video of the first performance of Epcot Forever:
Our first reaction to Epcot Forever is that we loved it. No, really, we did, and if this is just a temporary show, I’m extremely encouraged about the future of Epcot nighttime spectaculars moving forward. Remember this is only a hold-over show as the real show, HarmonioUS will make its debut sometime in 2020 (Summer most likely).
This show isn’t perfect, but it’s darn good. Right off the bat, the music of Epcot attractions of old pulls at your heartstrings with songs from icons like Horizons and the original Journey Into Imagination. There were even shows like Kitchen Kabaret in there too which we loved hearing. It’s nice that this show can recall some amazing memories from years past and it does it well.
One of the biggest changes we knew was coming was the drones, which fly around looking like kites soaring through the sky. They were awesome to watch and moved sleekly and with grace, and we thought they were a solid addition.
Just when it couldn’t get better, the kites burst into flames and sparks were flying around in a trail behind the drones with gasps and cheers from the crowd. It was a really cool effect and moment to witness.
If you were wondering about fireworks, wonder no more. There are many more fireworks in Epcot Forever than Illuminations, and it shows. The bursts came often and were huge, all the while exploding at an altitude much higher than Illuminations. There also were a lot of new types of bursts that were introduced which was refreshing to see.
The show is a bit narrower than Illuminations was and the majority is concentrated in the center of World Showcase Lagoon which makes it easy to line up for taking pictures or video. However the shell bursts are very tall, so shoot vertically to capture all the fireworks.
We thought the pace of the show was also a strong point, and at no point did it start to drag…(here’s looking at you Rivers of Light). Even the “slow” parts (the drones) were extremely entertaining to watch and didn’t last too long before the fireworks started up again. It was the perfect blend in my opinion.
While I loved the music playing off the classic Epcot attractions, I have to say it just doesn’t compare to the unreal score from Illuminations. I love all the classic Epcot songs, but blending a little here and there at times seemed a bit jumbled and not as smooth and natural as Illuminations. It’s a small thing though and overall we really like the music.
From a purely technical standpoint this is a superior show to Illuminations and you can see Disney’s efforts to work in new technology like the drones have paid off. We heard that the Sunday before the debut was the first rehearsal where the show was actually a success, so that should tell you how complicated this was to pull off.
If that is the case, then it’s no wonder they need an extra 9 or so months to prepare HarmonioUS. After all, they don’t want another Rivers of Light problem.
We really loved Epcot Forever and we can’t wait to watch it again and again. It’s hard to rank it right now and we don’t want to be a prisoner of the moment, but we were thoroughly impressed and are extremely optimistic for HarmonioUS.
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I want to know what you think about the debut performance of Epcot Forever…
- How much did you enjoy the show?
- Where does it rank for you among Disney shows?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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Wednesday 9th of October 2019
I love the music. Even as a kid, Epcot’s Classic Future World and its songs held more magic and appeal for me than the Magic Kingdom and Disney cartoons (not that those things aren’t wonderful too, they just never resonated with me. ) But Epcot was MY Disney growing up, and this show makes me smile. I love the choice of kids’ voices- it harkens back to the kids heard in the original 80’s versions of New Horizons, Tomorrow’s Child, and Listen to the Land. And it fits with the idea of Epcot being more family friendly. I like how Soarin and Spark both weave through the program. This show and all the changes announced have me excited for the future of Epcot.
Sunday 6th of October 2019
To do today: 1. See about band boards 2. Look at ones graphics has done
This show was a complete disappointment. We have watched illuminations for over 15 years and although we loved it we were looking forward to seeing the new change. However this show has no heart, no story, the voices of the children was rather annoying being more of an adult park. There was no emotion or story tying you into anything but it’s annoying chaos with a bunch of random comments that made no sense and didn’t tie you into anything.
Epcot is more of a park full of adults the voices that they used is not going to connect much adults as it is to children and that would be more appropriate at Magic Kingdom not Epcot. It’s like they don’t even know their own audience. To change it from the theatrical guy announcer voice to the child just made no sense at all. Granted we did enjoy the flying kites that was the best part about the show.
My Husband and I decided that the only way were going to watch it again is it if we wear headphones and listen to our own music! That’s pretty pathetic that a passholder that’s been there for over 15 years listening to that amazing show we have to drowned out the music and whatever voices they try to put in it made no sense at all. Honestly whoever put that together should be fired!
I hope they really take the time to listen to the people that are paying for this park of what our thoughts are and make improvements to not repeat the same mistake when they actually put the real show together it’s going to be there a year from now.
I love fireworks and yes they did have good fireworks but there was just no heart and no story to any of it it would’ve been better if they left off all the children’s voices and just had some emotional music that just had some meaning to it. Honestly it was absolutely annoying I couldn’t wait to get out of there! And every time we went to Epcot which was literally six times a year watching the illuminations added emotional closure that was just so connecting to the park. This left you frustrated and annoyed and not connected at all that they understood us as their audience and customer. Please change this. We love Epcot it’s one of our favorite parks and the closure of such an awesome show that used to be there was a pinnacle part of that.
Wednesday 2nd of October 2019
Bring back ILLUMINATIONS!! This show has NO Heart, NO feeling and NO story! There were NO DRONES in this show as I was there opening night, unlike the writer of the article. When the show ended it was just a polite clap of approval instead of a roar or Applause light would be heard on ANY night of Illuminations. Disney isn't creative anymore, they outsource most newer things and this is why the standards have been so low.. This was purely a mishmash of song from the Epcot vault thrown together with a poorly executed amount of pyro. I can say from EXPERIENCE as I am a pyrotech that has worked at Disney IN Fireworks in the Magic Kingdom which is the elite team considered around the world. During this "show" they should have had screens of water fanning out and and projected the symbols and names of attractions and scenes from those attractions so you could fully remember and relive the experience that attraction within this show. But no. I spent most of the time trying to pick out what song was from what attraction, by then it had changed to a different song so the pressure of picking out what is what starts over.. Illuminations is and will always be a far SUPERIOR show with the magic of Disney and the hearts of people around the world wanting peace and togetherness , THAT my Friends was the story of ILLUMINATIONS
Wednesday 2nd of October 2019
Was there in person for the last Illuminations and first Epcot Forever. Have loved Epcot since '82, so while I recognized all the tunes, I have to admit to having been let down by the overall presentation. A few bars of each song, often redone with younger voices, just didn't touch me. The pre-show or post-show music could have been something relevant - it wasn't. The fireworks were nicely done, but frankly not as good as the Illuminations tags at 30 and 35. Frankly, what could have been done would have been to keep Illuminations but refresh the fireworks...perhaps bring back the original colors, which were quite unusual, or the whistling fireworks during the finale, which were really tuned nicely with the music at that point. But a true upgrade to the fireworks would have done the trick. The joy of Epcot has been the Disney approach to showing what the future can hold, and I'm saddened that the future now appears to be various live retreads of Disney movies - if I wanted that, I could go to Studios, where such things belong, or to MK if I wanted to see Mickey/Minnie/etc. I get it - it's a park, not a museum - so I understand the need and desire for change. But the basic mission of the park was sound in '82 and could be sound today if brought up to date.
Matthew s Bennett
Wednesday 2nd of October 2019
I sure thought we were looking at Jet skis pulling kits not drones but maybe I am wrong? We should both watch again
Matthew s Bennett
Wednesday 2nd of October 2019
Yes, Jetskis, no drones. I was not impressed and I have been to Epcot before but honestly the music in Ecpot is not Grim Grinning Ghosts or Yo Ho Yo Ho. Tapestry of Nations is a memorable tune they should use more but the others are dedicated to people that are all tuned into Epcot history. This shows leaves out those that are now to the park. I have been many times but was not stired by this show. I miss the grandeur of the old show and the fine music. Children's voices are out of place, this is a family park that leans in the educational direction with a lot for adults. We dont need Magic Kingdom 2.0 just enlarge the Magic Kingdom.