In the ParksWalt Disney World (FL)

Luminous and World Celebration Gardens Debut at EPCOT

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December 5th is Walt Disney’s birthday, and it was definitely a day to celebrate at EPCOT. Yes, there is a lovely new statue of Walt. Yes, there’s a great new nighttime show with fountains, lights, and fabulous pyrotechnics. But perhaps the biggest reason to celebrate is that after 1548 days (that’s a little over 4 years), almost all the walls came down at EPCOT!

EPCOT had two new openings on December 5th: World Celebration Gardens, and Luminous: A Symphony of Us. I’m here to let you know about both of them.

World Celebration Gardens

World Celebration Gardens is the area between Spaceship Earth and World Showcase. It brings together World Nature and World Discovery with pathways throughout that connect to all areas of the park. You are now free to take the direct route to anywhere you would like to go.

The gardens have park-like landscaping with many different varieties of trees. There aren’t showy flowerbeds, although it will be interesting to see what happens here during the Flower & Garden Festival. The centerpiece is a planter surrounded by the EPCOT logo, which has been designed into the walkway. There is a sculpture area for meet and greets with characters, but be on the lookout for Pluto, as he plays throughout the gardens.

This area is stunning at night, and a fun space to meet characters during the day.

Several benches (they are beautiful and very deep, so my feet don’t touch the ground) and a couple of areas with tables and bar seats, complete with charging stations, are placed throughout the gardens. There’s a huge amount of seating built into the sides of the planters as well. It’s a lovely spot to drink your coffee, people-watch, and daydream.

Some of the seating, notice the charging station in the corner.
The view of the gardens from Dreamer’s Point

And let’s not forget, every area needs a little merch. At the pathway that leads to Journey of Water: Inspired by Moana, there is a cart with bubble wands, bottled beverages, and ears. Yesterday they were also selling hats and gloves because it was a little chilly for Florida. And of course, Moana-themed plush and toys.

If you are visiting, don’t forget to use your ears. The gardens are beautiful, but the soundtrack for the area is stunning. The music, composed by Pinar Toprak, is mesmerizing.

Dreamer’s Point

Walt the Dreamer

Walt Disney was a dreamer, and the statue aptly named “Walt the Dreamer” captures him smiling as he looks over EPCOT and … daydreams! The statue is sitting on a bench with plenty of room to gather your group around him for a photo. There are two plaques. The firs reads “Dedicated to all who dream of a better tomorrow”, and the second says “…always be in a state of becoming” -Walt Disney.

As the sun sets, the lighting all around the statue, even shining from the pathway, adds to the spectacular light show that is Spaceship Earth.

World Celebration After Dark

World Celebration after Luminous

After dark, World Celebration likes to show off. The centerpiece lights up, and even the logo in the walkway joins in and coordinates with the Spaceship Earth show. In the garden are fun light sticks, and as “When You Wish Upon a Star” plays everything twinkles, even the trees.

World Celebration is a beautiful, functional, much-anticipated addition to EPCOT. As much as I love the urban park feel, the most exciting part of the project is the usable, wide-open walkways!

Luminous: A Symphony of Us

Luminus: A Symphony of Us- Heart

Luminous: A Symphony of Us gets off to a hot start. Cannons welcome you from every country as this nighttime extravaganza begins with a bang! Luminous is a master class for pyrotechnics, and the inclusion of Spaceship Earth is inspired.

After the fabulous beginning, the show slows down. If you’re visiting you might be wondering why I just called this a dynamic show. Wait for it, I promise it picks up. As soon as you hear “Into the Unknown,” hold onto your ears.

This show for me is all about the big cannons and the rocking ending. Some of the soundtrack and narration can feel a bit draggy, and through the middle, it can feel like a fancy fountain show in Vegas. But again, I promise your heart will be beating in the end.

The Best Viewing for Luminous

Anywhere around the lagoon will give you a nice view, but to really capture the full experience try to be where you can see Spaceship Earth. This is especially important to those of us who are EPCOT nerds and will appreciate the nod to Illuminations.

The tree is not conducive to a perfect view, but it is still beautiful.

Our team was spread out and had views from Mexico, Italy, and Canada. Italy had the best view, including Spaceship Earth and a wide open sky for all of the fireworks. I was in Canada, and I did not have the best view. I couldn’t see Spaceship Earth, and there was a tree blocking the larger fireworks, but I was right on the fence, so I was able to see (and feel) the cannons in the beginning and experience the exciting finale.

If you are trying to decide if you want to beat the traffic or the long Skyliner line, I recommend you stay and enjoy the show.

New areas and shows are exciting and sometimes frustrating. We would love to hear what you think about World Celebration and Luminous: The Symphony of Us. Please post thoughts and questions in the comments.


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Amy Schinner

Amy Schinner is a lifelong fan of Disney, a mom, and an advocate for people with special needs. She loves spinning in teacups, screaming down Mt. Everest, and exploring it with her family. Her joy is helping families vacation and create memories together because everyone deserves some pixie dust!

5 thoughts on “Luminous and World Celebration Gardens Debut at EPCOT

  • I’ve tried to using the personal touring plan option on this site and it says Luminous won’t be going on for the first week of December- Is that a flaw in the program or is it ending that soon?

    • Hi Kathleen, we have no reason to believe that Luminous will be ending that soon, but all hours and showtimes that far out are predictions – Disney hasn’t released them yet. Luminous is not only not on the calendar for the first week in December, it’s not there for any date after that either. Most likely this is because it’s the first year and it didn’t get predicted automatically. I’ll let the team know that it should probably get added in. Thanks!

    • Hi Kathleen, this is fixed now. Thanks for letting us know, and have a great trip!

  • Hi Jennifer! That sounds like such a great night. I wouldn’t change those plans. Have a great time!

  • We are heading to Epcot in a few weeks and have a nighttime reservation at La Hacienda de San Angel with plans to watch the show from there. Is this still a good spot or should we adjust our plans?


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