On December 5, 2023, Walt Disney World debuted the newest nighttime show at Epcot, Luminous The Symphony of Us. Michele and I were fortunate enough to be invited to cover the opening of this new show. They had told us we would be watching in a reserved area in the Italy Pavilion. We had not done much research into the show as we didn’t want to spoil anything or be given any false information.
Let’s look back, the show IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth ended on September 30, 2019, Epcot has needed a show that made a statement. We had Epcot Forever, then Harmonious, and then back to Epcot Forever till this new show was ready to debut. I was never a huge fan of these shows. First, it’s very hard to watch a show and not compare it to the previous show. It was going to take something amazing to top Illuminations. With Epcot Forever, we knew it was a temporary show to begin with. While there were some great parts, it just missed the mark for me.
With the 50th we saw the debut of Harmonious, I was never a fan of. I didn’t like that unless you were facing the middle part of the barges you missed part of the shows projections. I also didn’t like all the different IP’s they showed. Not because of the IP’s themselves, but because there was no flow from song to song. Compared to Happily Ever After, the show goes from one to the next scene and it all comes together perfectly.
After the disappointment of the previous 2 shows, I had very little hope for this new show to be good. Before the big debut, we were invited to sit in on a panel with some of the show’s creative team. They gave us some great insight about Luminous. They spoke about how this new production would mean something different to everyone watching it. There were 2 new songs created for this show. They brought out the artist Sheléa to sing the opening song for us. The song gave me hope for a show that was going to be entertaining but also contained a lot of meaning. After the panel we were taken to the area we would be viewing the debut. Everyone was busy finding their spot to film and watch.
From the very beginning, Luminous The Symphony of Us started to remind me a bit of Illuminations. The meaning behind Illuminations: Reflections of Earth was about the creation of the Earth and the lives of people around the world coming together as one. With Illuminations being about the creation and forward of the Earth, Luminous is about us as individuals.
Luminous The Symphony of Us is made up of sections, each representing life experiences that we have in common. This show truly shows us that we’re more alike than we are different. You really need to listen to the music and the background sounds. My suggestion, watch the show without a camera recording it in front of you.
One thing I loved was that Luminous incorporated the countries from around the Epcot World. Each country had a firework launch toward the center of the lagoon with the message of Welcome in their native tongue.
Above I mentioned, in Harmonious, I didn’t like how the IP’s had no flow. Luminous incorporated some Disney songs in a way that had a perfect flow from section to section. The show opens with one of the two new songs and concludes with the other new song. The songs and order are:
- “Heartbeat Symphony”
- “You’ll Be in My Heart,”
- “Proud Corazón”
- ”You’ve Got a Friend in Me,”
- “Friend Like Me”
- “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”
- “So Close,”
- “When She Loved Me”
- “Remember Me,”
- “Into the Unknown.”
- “I See the Light,”
- “Beating of our Hearts.”
Before the songs, you may notice different sounds which relate completely to the section of the show you are getting ready to see. Keep your ears open throughout as there is so much detail with the sounds of the show.
In my humble opinion, no show will ever be able as good as Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, but Luminous The Symphony of Us gets very close. The first week of the show, I watched it 3 times over 4 days. The first night, recording it was just alright.
Then I was able to see it again the second night and I enjoyed it and then the third time it all came together for me. I love this show. There is so much meaning to each and every part. Luminous highlights the biggest parts of our lives and things each and every one of us on this planet deal with. From new life to losing someone to realizing when we feel we are alone, we really aren’t.
If you are able to, make sure to see the show more than once. Each time I’ve seen it I’ve liked it more and more. I feel the team really knocked this one out of the park and I feel Luminous The Symphony of Us will be around for many years. Will it have the 20 year run that Illuminations had? I don’t think so but honestly the story of it is so beautiful, it very well could be.
If you haven’t seen it or want to see it again, please enjoy Luminous The Symphony of Us
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