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.