Top 3 Things We LOVE (and One Thing We Hate) about Epcot Forever

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There wasn’t a dry eye in the house on Monday when IllumiNations ended its decades-long run, and so expectations were riding high for the debut of Epcot Forever. Epcot Forever has been described as a love letter to the history of Epcot (from its early days at EPCOT Center until now), and it delivers completely on so many levels, and then utterly fails on another. Here’s three things that we love, and one thing we hate, about this new nighttime show.

The Kites

Photo (c) Disney

I have a soft spot for kites, and I love things with LEDs, and I love pyrotechnics — so when you combine them together, it adds a unique effect. Personally, I had expected that we might see drones in this show, but who knows what HarmoniUS will bring in the future. In the meantime, the kites add such a unique twist to the show experience.

The Pyrotechnics

Photo (c) Disney

Humblebrag time — from my pool, I’ve got front row seats to fireworks at Magic Kingdom. If I go upstairs, I can watch fireworks from Disney’s Hollywood Studios out of the second story window. In theory, I can also see the fireworks from Epcot from that upstairs window, except so much of the pyrotechnics in IllumiNations was at water level. And of course a good portion of the show did not include pyrotechnics as the globe did its wonderful history of everything. But this show has a lot more on the pyrotechnics front. For those who felt IllumiNations was lacking a bit in fireworks, this show is for you.

The Music

Photo (c) Disney

Arguably, Epcot has had the best musical history of any park at Walt Disney World. Even today, I still know all the words to Listen to the Land and One Little Spark. And while you won’t hear the original versions of these songs in Epcot Forever, so many of the classic Epcot tunes you love are part of this.

But then….

Remember back in your college days when you had an entire semester to write a research paper, and you got 90% done. But then it was the night before it was due, and you needed to put that last 10% together. So you just tossed down something — anything — in an attempt to get it finished with the hopes that the professor would pass you on the first 90%. That’s what the ending of Epcot Forever feels like with the inclusion of A Whole New World. Its inclusion was so jarring and made for plenty of audible groans. But the positive side of it is that I don’t think anyone will be heartbroken when it is time to retire Epcot Forever. Maybe that was the plan to begin with?

What are your thoughts on Epcot Forever? Is this a show you can’t wait to see, or are you still in mourning for IllumiNations. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Julia Mascardo

Freelance writer and editor, living the dream in Central Florida with my husband, cats, and spirited nine-year-old daughter.

25 thoughts on “Top 3 Things We LOVE (and One Thing We Hate) about Epcot Forever

  • October 2, 2019 at 9:25 am
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    I agree with this post 100%. I loved nearly every aspect, except the inclusion of Whole New World. I suppose, Epcot Forever looks to the future too, and the inclusion of movie IP is perhaps the direction of the future (sadly).

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    • October 3, 2019 at 8:27 am
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      Part of me hopes that maybe they were doing this to test the waters….to see what people’s reaction would be before they firmly set a plan for HarmoniUS. That would have been a safe thing to do after the incredibly poor reaction happened to Rivers of Light, which they spent so much on that they can’t do much with for years.

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  • October 2, 2019 at 11:16 am
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    You know how the show SHOULD have ended? With the same finale as Reflections of Earth.

    The fact that this is true is kind of telling about this whole situation, I guess.

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    • October 3, 2019 at 8:28 am
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      I was waiting for that to happen, truth told. Or do what most shows do and tie it back to the beginning music.

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  • October 2, 2019 at 11:50 am
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    So we can watch the first 90% of the show and then head to the exits once Whole New World starts playing? To the Skyliner! [If it’s running.]

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    • October 3, 2019 at 8:28 am
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      That’s my plan!! 😉

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  • October 2, 2019 at 12:40 pm
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    I miss the globe!!! That was the best part of Illuminations along with the music!

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    • October 3, 2019 at 8:29 am
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      From a tech standpoint, that globe is simply amazing, and the video has such a great showcase of history.

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  • October 2, 2019 at 1:19 pm
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    Watched the Disney Parks broadcast. I was underwhelmed by it. Wasn’t terrible, but just okay. Didn’t really like the music other than the “Celebrate the Future” section. Loved that part. It should have had more Fountain of Nations music, like the song from Rescuers Down Under, for instance. The kites were pretty cool, but it felt like it was missing some visuals to complete the scene. I’m glad it’s a temporary show.

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    • October 3, 2019 at 8:31 am
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      And as one of my co-workers pointed out, because it is a temporary show, there’s only so much that they’d want to invest in it. Even with a temporary show, a few minor tweaks would have made it good, I think.

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  • October 2, 2019 at 6:18 pm
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    Any recommendations on a good spot to watch Epcot Forever?

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    • October 3, 2019 at 8:25 am
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      The good news is that compared with IllumiNations, it’s easier to find places with good viewing. Any place that you enjoyed IllumiNations still works, but because everything is up in the sky (i.e., no globe at water level), you don’t have to be right on the water. It is a show that, for once, has great viewing anywhere around World Showcase Lagoon.

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  • October 2, 2019 at 8:08 pm
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    To me, this was just 10 minutes of reminding me what has been taken away from Epcot, and 2 minutes of foreboding of the onslaught of non-Epcot IP to the eventual permanent show.

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    • October 3, 2019 at 12:12 am
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      Exactly this. Did no one consider a piece of “We Go On” instead of a song from Aladdin? It’s like they were intentionally trying to insult the EPCOT Center fans they were reportedly appealing to.
      Also, who thought children singing songs that had excellent recorded versions was a good idea? I mean, there’s a reason schools lock the doors at elementary school shows so parents can’t leave once their own kid’s performance is done.

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      • October 3, 2019 at 8:32 am
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        As a parent with a kid in chorus….yeah, I agree. I suppose it could have been worse. They could have had a student band play the songs on recorders. *shudder*

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  • October 2, 2019 at 8:41 pm
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    Watched Epcot Forever. Kites did not impress. Liked referenced to imagination and the giant puppets in music. Did not like Aladdin inclusion. I know things need to change. Wish I had been there for end of Illuminations. Just loved the music and the theme. Disney is losing so much of what I loved at different parks. I know others will love the new program. Sorry I can’t join them.

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    • October 3, 2019 at 8:34 am
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      It will be interesting to see how things change. There’s a few things I’m excited about….and a lot of things that I’m not. We’ll have to see what happens!

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    • October 3, 2019 at 2:14 pm
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      I was at the last 3 nights of Illuminations (can’t get it enough and that was how all our previous trips ended also). I was THRILLED the show was not full of water projections, I’m sorry waterline focus (globe), and water projected scenes are really hard to make out.
      We were woken up (stayed at Swan) the nights leading up to the FE debut with the testing of the Pyro, and just from that, I could tell they put something into that. Unfortunately, some may have forgotten how much pyro was initially in Illuminations, over time they took shells out, not to mention things (the globe, the fountains) stopped working.
      Which leads me to, how long before those kites (especially the one everyone loves, including me) stops working. Thankfully it’s only a few months so maybe it will make it the whole length of the planned showing.
      I like kites but as a centerpiece of fireworks show.
      And the music lakes any sort of build or lead in to really make you want to look to the future. Illuminations if nothing else that ending left you wanting to move on, go forward, and not in disappointment but with excitement, maybe the other parts not so much.
      Ending with Walt’s inspirational words and then a musical build to lots of pyro would have been enough, adding a whole new world, guess I’m just not interested in the new future world. Oh, wait it’s not Future World so Whole new World doesn’t work.

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  • October 2, 2019 at 9:13 pm
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    This is exactly what I said to my wife after watching the stream last night….nice, nostalgic, and fairly impressive (considering I was watching on my phone screen)…then BAM…Whole New World? Such a let down after a wonderful trip down memory lane. I so wished they had ended with something, anything else from Epcot…maybe even the Illuminations closing?

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    • October 3, 2019 at 8:36 am
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      I would have to imagine that they’re pretty far along in the production work for HarmoniUS, and I had figured that maybe they were going to close with some of the new music from that. My first thought was “Gee, what a shame that they didn’t.” And then I had the terrifying thought…what if they DID close with some of what they’ve got planned for HarmoniUS (and that Aladdin is part of that new soundtrack). I think it would blow Disney’s mind to know that there are people who are fans of the parks but aren’t major fans of Disney movies.

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  • October 3, 2019 at 1:09 am
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    I have to call B.S. on being able to see all those fireworks from your home. Nowhere in that area is there a complex or any place to see MK fireworks from a pool and EPCOT and Studios fireworks from your second story window. Your “humblebrag” is a HumbleLie.

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    • October 3, 2019 at 8:24 am
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      Feel free to email me (Julia at touringplans dot com) and I’ll be happy to send you photos, if you’d like. We bought the lot because of its alignment for seeing MK fireworks from the backyard (where we built the pool), but being able to see the others is a nice bonus when we want to mix things up. It’s not the best view on those thanks to the trees growing in the area and the construction of the new school (it was a better view when we moved in), but they’re all still visible.

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  • October 3, 2019 at 8:37 am
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    The montage to Epcot past was nice, but it lacked the cohesive storyline of Illuminations or the music that drew you in “around the fire” emotionally. Still holding out hope for limited runs of RoE as special events. The addition of IP to world showcase when the message of RoE was exactly what’s needed falls sorely flat.

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  • October 3, 2019 at 2:36 pm
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    It has a figment infestation.

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  • October 4, 2019 at 12:45 pm
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    I’ve never been to old Epcot, I’ve only ever seen it kind of sad & worn & dated a couple of years ago so I’m looking forward to the new things as i could see so much potential there. Watching the show online, except for the kites, the show bored the heck out of me & I started skipping through it. I had no idea what any of the songs where or why they were included so none of it meant anything to me. I was actually glad to hear A Whole New World, as at least I knew that song. Seems like they’ve managed to annoy the old guard of Epcot fans & bore & confuse us potential new ones.

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