Well, the first Harmonious Firework Barge has arrived at EPCOT… and we have feelings!

It is hard to believe that we have gone almost a year without an EPCOT nighttime spectacular! Love it or hate it, EPCOT Forever was making sparks with hopeless nostalgics back when the parks shut down due to the coronavirus. Fans had hoped that the unexpected time off would lead to a bit of extra construction around the second gate, particularly focusing on the upcoming Harmonious nighttime fireworks spectacular. Unfortunately, no such luck.

But, Disney and their crew are more than making up for lost time now by working steadfastly to get the World Showcase Lagoon show-ready! Just last week, the first of five separate barges was positioned in the centre of the beloved lagoon. Festooned with spotlights, fountains, and LED screens, these colossal barges are unlike anything we have seen!

These barges will be a permanent fixture within the World Showcase Lagoon. However, that doesn’t mean that there will not be additional floating elements that make their way in and out of the act.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

In addition to the first barge, signage can also now be found around World Showcase Lagoon, explaining that the barges will be used for both daytime and nighttime entertainment.

“Harmonious will be a stunning celebration of the global connection we all share – brought to life each night here on World Showcase Lagoon. By day, a dazzling fountain will sparkle. At night, iconic Disney music and images – reimagined by artists around the world – will inspire with the stories we share.”

While it remains unclear whether the fountain feature will provide any vignettes or abbreviated performances throughout the day, I would assume that they will. These fountain showcases have been a staple throughout Las Vegas and have dazzled audiences for decades. It would be an awful waste of technology if they did not utilize it to its fullest potential. In addition to being a modern people-pleaser, its attention-grabbing ability would also serve as a people-eater, helping direct the flow of traffic in a somewhat predictable manner.

“EPCOT Will Be In A Stage of Becoming…”

You can say that again, Walt!  The photo above is perhaps one of the most telling photographs that I have seen in a long while. It paints a perfect picture of the state of things at EPCOT, which is to say… flux:

  • You catch a glimpse of a Morocco Pavilion in its first days of transition.
  • The dome-like building is the soon-to-be home for the Play! Pavilion.
  • The blue building is the show building for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Despite the slight annoyance of having to navigate a park full of walls, I am actually not that upset by EPCOT’s current state of affairs. I applaud their willingness to ebb, flow, and grow with the times!

Disney’s Largest Nighttime Spectacular?

Disney claims this will be their largest nighttime spectacular. I have to be honest; it is hard to imagine anything beating the grandeur that is Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After. Sure, from a technological standpoint, it is safe to say that with each day they are discovering new and exciting ways to present live entertainment. However, a nighttime spectacular is so much more than just fancy projections and pyrotechnics. It also hinges on the story and the score that accompanies it. In my humble opinion, Happily Ever After and illumiNations: Reflections of Earth are two of the most flawless compositions surrounding their park entertainment.

Happily Ever After features an endless medley of familiar tunes, some of which have had over forty years to sneak into your emotionally attached subconscious.

While IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is an absolute epic masterwork, constructed by Gavin Greenaway, a colleague of Hans Zimmer!

Can Harmonious really measure up to either one of these compositions? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. At the end of the day, if anyone can top Disney… its Disney!

The Harmonious nighttime spectacular was originally slated to debut in 2020. It is now rumoured to premiere sometime in 2021.