Disney World’s 50th Anniversary has brought a lot of new offerings.
Perhaps the most exciting of these offerings are the new firework shows. We’ve already seen Disney Enchantment in Magic Kingdom and Harmonious in EPCOT. Disney fans certainly have big feelings about these new shows, but we noticed something particularly interesting about Harmonious. It’s not really a firework show, is it?
The fireworks aren’t the focus.
In Harmonious, the fireworks aren’t really the purpose. As you’ve probably seen, Harmonious brought with it VERY LARGE barges that now sit in the middle of World Showcase Lagoon all day. These barges might be pretty unsightly out of showtimes, but they turn out to make for an absolutely jaw-droppingly gorgeous show at night.
In previous Disney shows, fireworks have been the centerpiece of nighttime shows. Even with Disney Enchantment, pyrotechnics remain just as important or more important than the projections. The same is not true for Harmonious.
EPCOT’s new show is fairly well-rounded. Though you might not see as many fireworks for the first 5-minutes of the show, there are some beautiful fireworks used in the latter half. We’ve even seen these from other parts of Disney World and they are large and impressive — just like we expect from Disney fireworks — but they aren’t the star. If you’re expecting the caliber of fireworks we grew accustomed to in its predecessor, IllumiNations…you might be a tad disappointed.
Instead, the show also features a rousing score, beautiful water effects, projections, and giant screens on the barges. Beyond that, the barges themselves “dance” along with the music as arms extend to help with the water effects. Yes, fireworks are a piece of Harmonious, but they aren’t the whole shebang. There’s a lot more to see!
If you want a fireworks show, you might want to head to Magic Kingdom.
If fireworks are your number one priority, you might enjoy Magic Kingdom’s show more. Disney Enchantment has a LOT of projections both on Cinderella Castle and running the length of Main Street, U.S.A., but the fireworks are still extremely prevalent in the show. Whether you’re watching from Magic Kingdom, the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, across the water at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, or even a few miles away; these fireworks are showstoppers.
The projections in Disney Enchantment are amazing too, but Harmonious is much more reliant on projections and screens than its use of fireworks. Sure, watching the show from the BoardWalk will still give you a nice view of some very cool pyrotechnics, but you’ll miss a lot of the show if you’re not standing in the park.
New show elements take the stage at Harmonious
Harmonious is an extremely technology-forward show with high-tech barges and advanced choreographed water and lighting effects. Seeing those barges all lit up with the water spraying is certainly something to behold!
Walt Disney World is a technology-oriented place and Harmonious is a brilliant example of that. There are new and improved technologies working together to create a complete experience with Harmonious. The barges are almost a character, moving and changing throughout. That’s fine, and it is pretty to look at, but it’s similar to the old globe that came out in the middle of IllumiNations. You just watch it and maybe some stuff happens around it, but at times you might be getting anxious like “can we just see more fireworks PLZ!”
So much of the appeal of EPCOT’s fireworks is that they’re essentially in the round. Any view in World Showcase is a great view and everyone has their favorite spots. Now, not so much. There’s a definite “front” to the show and viewing areas that are markedly better than others. For one of our viewings, for instance, we were standing back a bit and found most of the show was obscured by the trees near us. We still saw fireworks quite well, but the screens were mostly lost in that viewing experience.
The message of EPCOT leans into forward-thinking, so it kind of makes sense that we’d have this multisensory, multi-media experience with Harmonious. We aren’t just seeing explosions in the sky, we’re seeing water, projections, lasers, and screens to create an interesting experience. The heavy focus on Disney characters and films throughout rather than something new and original might not feel like the most “EPCOT” of things, but the technology, in a way, does.
And if you do love fireworks the best, you’re not out of luck. Harmonious has beautiful fireworks, you just might have to wait until a little later in than show. And they won’t be the focus throughout the show like we said above. Overall, it doesn’t quite make sense to call Harmonious a straight fireworks show. It’s just different. If you’ve ever seen World of Color in Disneyland’s California Adventure, we’d almost compare it to that…but with fireworks in the second half. There’s no way to make a direct comparison, but that was the vibes we got from it. And even then, the amount of fireworks seems pared down compared to past EPCOT shows. You don’t get that in-your-face finale that seems to light up all of the Florida sky quite like we did with other shows. It just kind of…ends.
With that being said, this show is being highly debated by Disney fans. Some love the new show, while others feel like it doesn’t feel “EPCOT” enough. We will say that this show is different. And for die-hard EPCOT fans, it might take some getting used to. The barges are still eyesores during the day and some fans feel like the show doesn’t make up for the distorted view. What are your thoughts about the show? Do you think it’s a fireworks show? Do you think it makes up for the massive barges? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
What do you think of Harmonious? Tell us in the comments!