“Good evening. On behalf of Walt Disney World — the place where dreams come true — we welcome all of you to Epcot, and World Showcase. We’re gathered here tonight, around the fire — as people of all lands have gathered for thousands and thousands of years before us — to share the light, and to share a story. An amazing story as old as time itself, but still being written. And though each of us has our own individual stories to tell, a true adventure emerges when we bring them all together as one. We hope you enjoy our story tonight: Reflections of Earth.”
It’s the spectacular that you have been waiting for and the highlight of your vacation – Disney fireworks. Most guests only get to catch this show once on your trip, so it’s important that you get that “picture perfect” viewing spot. Keep in mind that not all spots are created equal so we are going to break down the best spots to watch the nighttime spectacular at EPCOT, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth!
Starting from scratch, let’s talk about the basics. Epcot has one nighttime spectacular called Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. At 9 pm, the lights around the World Showcase Lagoon will be dimmed and primarily lite by torches that surround the body of water. The show itself brings together technologies that range from a carefully choreographed tapestry of lights, lasers, music and fire. If you have never seen this show before, plan to be amazed as it is a must do and is by far one of the most “Disney” experiences you’ll have in Florida!
The soundtrack, in my opinion, is what makes the show truly memorable. In fact, most Disney fans have a download of the soundtrack somewhere on their computer or YouTube playlist.
An Insider Tip: When choosing your spot, you want to see across the lagoon (with no trees or islands blocking the center of the water. If you are behind trees or stuck with the islands in your sight line, you’ll be missing the entire middle part of the show! The floating globe actually travels into the main “stage”, with LED screens projecting a full portion of the show. PLUS the globe has a few hidden secrets, like it’s ability to spontaneously combust into flames!
Map of Where to Watch Illuminations at Epcot
The Best Illuminations Viewing Spots
Front and Center
This seemed like a good place to start. The very front, when you first walk in is our #1 Epcot firework viewing spot. But be warned this location is often restricted to private parties or during special events, it’s reserved for those who purchased the dining package.
This is another one that is often reserved for parties (because it’s one of the best)! This spot juts out over the water and is raised up giving you a killer view. For the best view on the Isola, head all the way to the corner of the Isola closest to the American Adventure.
Bridge between France and UK
This is actually right above where the boats dock for the Epcot firework cruises. Obviously, if they are using it you know it has to be good!
Tips for Viewing Illuminations
The show has a unique showpiece feature of a giant globe that will come out during the show. You will want to be sure you don’t have one the infamous Epcot tree islands blocking your view. There are three of these islands of trees, be on the lookout when settling on your spot.
By about halfway through the show, you will find a giant smoke cloud has developed and it does continue through to the end of the show. How do you avoid this giant Illuminations smoke cloud? Well, it’s all in the wind direction, but it often blows toward the France/UK pavilions. People wanting to avoid the smoke should look for spots on the Norway/Italy side of the lagoon.
If you are a photographer or just want to snap some great fireworks shots to brag to all your friends on social media beware of the torches. Located all around the World Showcase Lagoon are fire torches that will light up before the show.
Insider Tip for Resort Guests
If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours at EPCOT, stick around the World Showcase Lagoon for a special little something! With all the propane utilized in the show, there is a need to “clean” the pipes of the Inferno Barge in order to have everything set for the following day. This is called the “Burn Out” and only happens after all the guests have left for the evening…unless there’s an Extra Magic Hour event, when they still have to stick to a schedule. Look for it around 10 pm.
More Disney Firework Tips
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!