ORLANDO, Fla. — Disney World is marking its 50th anniversary with an 18-month-long celebration that officially kicks off Oct. 1.
While much of the attention will be focused on Magic Kingdom, the celebration also coincides with the massive, multiyear transformation of another park: Epcot.
What You Need To Know
- Transformation of Epcot is part of Disney World's 50th Anniversary
- The France pavilion has added Remy's Ratatouille Adventure
- A nighttime fireworks, pyrotechnics and music show will debut Oct. 1
- Disney live-streamed a preview of "Harmonious" Wednesday night
In addition to new attractions like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at the France pavilion and new shops like the Creations Shop, the transformation also include a brand-new nighttime spectacular called “Harmonious.”
The 20-minute show, which will take place on the World Showcase Lagoon, is one of the largest nighttime spectaculars Disney has ever created for its parks. It centers around Disney music and the different cultures that have inspired Disney stories.
“Harmonious” has all the traditional elements you would find in a Disney nighttime spectacular — fireworks, pyrotechnics and music. But the show also features lasers, multimedia, moving lights and fountains, as well as large choreographed arms on the lagoon barges.
“It’s on a huge scale,” said Kris Bunnell, senior producer with Disney Live Entertainment. “You can see it all over World Showcase, but you will really be able to see it with our center icon, which is about 65 feet off the water. It’s an amazing way to tell our Disney stories in a new way.”
The show’s focus on different cultures can also be seen through the media that’s displayed on the barges’ screens. Images from nine different Disney stories — including “Aladdin,” “Coco,” and “The Jungle Book” — have been reimagined for the show and will be shown in their own unique style.
For the “Jungle Book” section, the team used Indian shadow puppetry. The “Brave” scenes are inspired by European tapestries, and “Coco” is inspired by Mexican folk art.
The show also uses 15 Disney songs in a new way. The songs have been re-recorded in different languages. Disney used a diverse group of 240 artists — including musicians, composers and vocalists — to make it happen.
“You think you would recognize the songs you grew up with, but it’s with a new twist of hearing it in that native language that we’ve recorded it in,” said Gary Gutierrez, managing producer with Disney Live Entertainment. “You’ll hear Swahili or Hindu, and it’s really a different and special experience.”
The action won’t just take place on the World Showcase Lagoon. Elements around the World Showcase also play a part.
“So we have what you see on the lagoon, but we’re also incorporating everything around the World Showcase,” Bunnell said. “We have lights on the buildings, we have lights and colors and the torches around the lagoon — all of that is incorporated into the show so guests will feel completely a part of it.”
"Harmonious" officially debuts Friday, but Disney is offering a preview of the show before then.