IllumiNations Reflections of Earth: The Pre-Show Soundtrack

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When the final torch is blown out on IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot, a small piece of my Disney fandom will go out with it. I suspect the same can be said for many other Epcot lovers around the world. Thankfully, for those of us who have been lucky enough to experience the nightly fireworks extravaganza over the last two decades, the show will forever live on in our memories. While the show itself is uplifting, breathtaking, and (at times) delightfully confusing, the full experience of IllumiNations begins long before the first firework of “the big bang” is shot into the sky. As night falls on Walt Disney World, torches around World Showcase lagoon light up and a universal pre-show soundtrack replaces country-specific area music on the promenade’s speakers.

Surely this nightly ritual and it’s iconic soundtrack evokes specific emotions for every guest in the park on any given night. For some it is “reflections” on our collective past or thoughts of those who will “go on” long after we’re gone. For others it is, quite frankly, the culminating buzz of a day long drinking binge. Whatever emotions it elicits, for whatever reasons (mild-altering or not), if you have experienced IllumiNations, this soundtrack will spark “the feels”, so to speak. And the good news is that even after the show is gone forever, the music and emotions can still live on for all of us, thanks to the magic of streaming music.

We get a lot of questions  about where to find “______ background music” from Walt Disney World and requests for the IllumiNations pre-show mix have to be near the top of the list. The first thing to know is that there is not one universal pre-show loop, there are actually two. Both debuted at different points in the show’s run, sometimes playing exclusively for a length of time and other times actually running on alternating/random evenings.

The original loop – and the one that is in my opinion the more iconic – runs as follows…

They Danced Barefoot by Judas Poliker

Superwasp/Along the Coast of Norway/Neckbuster by Seelyhoo

Native Funk by Burning Sky

Flute Battle by Cusco

The Concertina Set (Medley) by Burach

Montezuma by Cusco

Inca Dance by Cusco

Appalachian Morning by John Williams

Two more tracks (Imeland by Groupa; Thirty-Year Jig by Vasen) are included in the loop but unavailable for streaming in the United States.

 

The second loop debuted in the mid-2000’s with the following playlist…

Falling Through a Cloud by Uttara-Kuru

Busindre Reel by Hevia

Gaviotes by Hevia

Tula by Cusco

Our Life by Uttara-Kura

Another track (Jalan Kopo by Sabah Habas Mustapha) is included but unavailable for streaming in the United States. Three additional songs (The Bear by Hedningarna; Red Skies by Omar Faruk Tekbilek; Texas by Wimme) are included in the mix when production issues require a longer than normal period before beginning the show.

The main show soundtrack as well as the heavily featured songs by Kellie Coffey (We Go On; Promise) and the park closing music (formerly used in the Tapestry of Nations parade) were made available by Disney over the years in various sources, though many are currently out of print and unavailable for streaming.

Even though IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth may be ending at Epcot, you can still fire up this soundtrack every night at 8:30 PM in your own home from now through eternity.

Do you have a favorite song from the music of the IllumiNations pre-show soundtrack? Let us know what your favorite is in the comments.

Neil Trama

Neil is a radio and podcast host from Scranton, PA. He's a husband of one and father of two (one human; one dog.) When not visiting Walt Disney World he can be found at home drinking craft beers, eating pizza, and watching old school pro wrestling.

10 thoughts on “IllumiNations Reflections of Earth: The Pre-Show Soundtrack

  • September 28, 2019 at 5:45 pm
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    Very sad to see the end of Illuminations. My husband and I used ‘Promise’ as our first dance song at our wedding. <3

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    • September 30, 2019 at 10:58 am
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      My wife and I used “Promise” as the last song played at the end of our wedding…just like it’s the last song played at the end of a day at Epcot!

      Reply
  • September 28, 2019 at 8:28 pm
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    Thank you for compiling this! I hadn’t thought of THIS music going away and it’s so evocative of so many memories.

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    • September 30, 2019 at 10:59 am
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      I suppose it is worth noting – and maybe I should have included this disclaimer in the post – we don’t ACTUALLY know FOR SURE that this music is going away. I presume it is but hey, stranger things have happened. I guess we will know very very soon.

      Reply
  • September 28, 2019 at 10:38 pm
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    Thanks for posting these. The Illuminations pre-show loops are every bit as crystalline in my mind as the opening of the MSEP.

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  • September 29, 2019 at 9:30 am
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    You’re a hero. I found *most* of these on Spotify. I also found a song by Yehuda Poliker on someone else’s Illuminations playlist that’s name is in Hebrew that is one of the songs that’s definitely part of the preshow. Gavin Greenaway has a version of “We Go On” on Spotify and also “Tapestry of Nations” (although his name is spelled differently for some reason to Greenway).

    Reply
  • September 29, 2019 at 1:41 pm
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    TuneIn app had several BGM and show audio stations but they seem to have been taken off the “air” a couple of weeks ago. I’ve recorded quite a few hours of them on my old iPod Touch and newer phones.

    We’ll miss this show. My family have fond memories of being around the lake when it’s playing. Thank you for finding them on Youtube.

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 12:38 pm
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    Bookmarking this. Thanks so much for compiling these.

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  • April 13, 2020 at 5:25 pm
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    Do you know if the Tapestry of Nations music still plays after the new nighttime show? They used to play it after Illuminations and it always was so bittersweet because it meant leaving the park, but it was also so magical and moving! I haven’t been back since Illuminations was shut down last year.

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  • April 14, 2020 at 10:50 am
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    I can’t say for certain, but I am reasonably certain that the answer is no.

    Epcot is known to cycle through different audio tracks (the preshow music used to cycle as well) so it’s possible none of our bloggers experienced the Tapestry version of the walk out music. But since everything else was changed, it’s probably safe to assume that was too.

    Reply

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