Walt Disney World will welcome three new nighttime spectaculars in the coming months, and thanks to Brady MacDonald at Blooloop, we have more details about the upcoming shows. Read on to find out what’s in store at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Epcot.
Wonderful World of Animation
Premiering on May 1 as part of the 30th-anniversary celebrations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Wonderful World of Animation promises to be an awe-inspiring look back at the history of Disney and Pixar animation. The nighttime laser light and projection show uses state-of-the-art technology to create moving images on the park’s replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
“It will be a catalog looking through the wonderful feature animation from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios,” Ray Coble of Disney Parks Live Entertainment told Blooloop. “It tugs at the heartstrings from romance to adventure.”
As previewed in the show’s concept art, Sorcerer Mickey brings scenes from Disney and Pixar movies to life. Films include:
- “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”
- “Sleeping Beauty”
- “The Little Mermaid”
- “Beauty and the Beast”
- “Emperor’s New Groove”
- “Lilo & Stitch”
- “Finding Nemo”
- “The Incredibles”
- “Wreck-It Ralph”
- “Big Hero 6”
According to Coble, the 12-minute show will include nods to every feature animated film released by Disney and Pixar, in addition to the movies listed above.
A new soundtrack will be recorded for the show, and as new Disney and Pixar movies are released, the team hopes to keep adding to the soundtrack. “We’re going to stay relevant with this production,” Coble said. “We can insert new content as we go along so it’s always fresh.”
Blooloop reports that Wonderful World of Animation won’t replace Disney Movie Magic or Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, which are currently running at the park. Depending on park hours, all three shows could be presented in one night.
Tree of Life Awakenings: Lion King
Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the park is celebrating the 25th anniversary of “The Lion King” by adding movie-related imagery to the Tree of Life Awakenings show. Debuting in late May, the Awakenings: Lion King show will “feature animated animals, thematic imagery and an original musical score inspired by the Academy Award-winning 1994 animated film,” says Blooloop.
“You’ll see visual highlights of Simba’s journey,” said Shawn Slater of Disney Parks Live Entertainment. “All of those moments from being born and presented to going off to live with Timon and Pumba to finding Nala again and taking his rightful place as the king. All of those little beats will play out visually.”
According to Blooloop, the four-minute Awakenings: Lion King projection show will run nightly from Memorial Day Weekend through September 30. The Awakenings: Lion King show will play multiple times after dark along with the other four Awakenings shows until the park closes for the night.
Epcot’s long-running IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show will close at the end of Summer 2019, and Epcot Forever will begin its limited-time run immediately after. The show will be a celebration of the park’s history set to familiar Epcot songs. “We’re going to look back a little bit. We’re going to celebrate in the moment and we’re going to advance to the future of Epcot,” Coble said.
Epcot Forever will feature something brand-new for an Epcot show — special effects-enabled kites capable of airborne choreography. “The illuminated kites will be controlled by two-man teams aboard Jet Ski-like personal watercraft. The show will employ eight of the Jet Skis, with a driver and kite performer aboard each personal watercraft. The movement of the Jet Skis will also create the wind required to keep the kites aloft,” says Blooloop.
As for the music? The soundtrack is expected to include “One Little Spark” from Journey Into the Imagination and the title song from “Magic Journeys,” as well as music from other former and current Epcot attractions. In addition, Coble told Blooloop the soundtrack for the pyrotechnic show is currently in production. “The pyro is the star,” said Coble, who serves as managing producer on the new show. “We need to make sure the music we’re creating will complement the payoff that our guests will be seeing.”
After Epcot Forever ends its limited run, the replacement for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will begin sometime in 2020. The currently-unnamed show will reportedly raise the bar for Disney spectaculars. “This next show that we’re bringing on as part of this overall transformation at Epcot that’s going on is really on a massive scale like we’ve never done,” said Slater. “Just immense floating set pieces, fireworks, LED panels that are huge, other special effects and lasers. The big, floating set pieces will also have fountains on board that do different choreographed things. It’s amazing.”
Each of these new nighttime spectaculars sounds incredible and we can’t wait to see them at the parks! Look for Wonderful World of Animation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting May 1, Tree of Like Awakenings: Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom starting in late May, and Epcot Forever in Fall 2019, followed by IllumiNations’ replacement in 2020.