All about Harmonious in Epcot:
I know, I know – it’s quite a statement. I’ve seen some really incredible Disney fireworks shows. Wishes was very special to me and until now would hold the title as my favorite Disney fireworks. Happily Ever After grew on me, and I enjoyed Illuminations. But Harmonious really struck a chord with me. I saw it in person twice so I’m basing this not on watching a livestream but on actually experiencing it.
I know that it’s been getting some mixed feedback from people, and I think in a lot of ways Harmonious did not have the odds in its favor when it came to a positive reception from Disney fans. Illuminations was a very beloved show and around for a really long time, so anything that was going to replace it was always going to be scrutinized. Then they put the barges in the middle of the world showcase lagoon long before the show premiered, and during the day it’s definitely not an attractive view. So people were ready to hate it for that. On top of that it should have debuted in spring 2020, but got pushed back a lot due to the pandemic.
Indeed, I went in with some hesitancy, but I wanted to keep an open mind. I’m glad I did, because this one just really hit me in a good way. So I figured I would share some of the reasons why I think this show resonated with me so much.
Harmonious in Epcot soundtrack
I am moved by music. I find music to be so powerful, and when it’s synced to fireworks in the amazing way that Disney does it – that combination can be very emotional.
Most of the Harmonious soundtrack contains songs from Disney movies. I realize this is a departure from Illuminations, but I think it’s a good thing. It’s not “Disney shoving IP into everything” – you’re at Disney World watching Disney fireworks… doesn’t it seem appropriate to use Disney music? Especially the way that Harmonious does it, I think feels right for Epcot.
The fact that they had the songs in different languages really brought that together for me and had a big impact. I loved hearing these new versions of songs we love in their native language. There are original takes on a variety of songs, including How Far I’ll Go, Reflection, Circle of Life, Remember Me, Dig a Little Deeper, and more.
There is a song towards the very end of the show called “Someday” that sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. Turns out it’s the song that plays over the credits of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (originally supposed to be part of the movie’s soundtrack sung by Esmeralda. And I have to say I love how the song is used in Harmonious. It’s certainly a bit bittersweet – the lyrics acknowledge that there are a lot of problems in the world, but it’s still hopeful for a better future.
Harmonious represents Epcot
Particularly, I think it represents Epcot’s World Showcase and the message there really well. World Showcase is about bringing people from all different cultures and countries together to try and get along and understand each other. Harmonious brings together music from a variety of Disney movies that represents a number of different countries performed by singers in a combination of English and their native language.
I’ve seen some criticisms that the music is “all newer stuff” and to that I just have to say… yes it is. Because let’s be honest, the majority of older Disney movies are about Europeans and white people and doesn’t have a ton of diversity. So they need to tie in things like Moana and Coco. There’s a lot from the 90s films of the Disney Renaissance too (which I don’t really think counts as “newer stuff” anymore!).
Going along with that I read a review with a complaint that the movies represented weren’t all ones “represented in Epcot.” I don’t really think that matters? They represent different countries around the world all in one show. Beauty and the Beast/Hunchback (France), Brave (Scotland), Lion King (Africa), Aladdin (middle east), Mulan (China), Coco (Mexico), Princess and the Frog (US), Moana (Polynesia), etc. They may not have an Africa pavilion or a Polynesian area in Epcot but it doesn’t have to be an homage to the park (that’s what Epcot Forever was for). It’s about the spirit of what Epcot’s World Showcase represents.
The message of Harmonious
The message, of course, is right there in the name. It’s about getting along and that someday the world might be able to live in harmony. The addition of the song “Someday” at the end of the show was very powerful. I appreciated the fact that it doesn’t treat unity as something like It’s a Small World, where we all are dancing and getting along. The show acknowledges that we’re not there yet with the inclusion of this song – but maybe someday.
The part that really got me though was a brief moment that I think represents something important. Instead of a ton of booming fireworks, there is one small “shooting star” firework that soars across the lagoon as the narration says “You raise your voice and it’s enough to lift the human spirit. Set the song inside you soaring and the whole wide world will hear it.” After that a ton of of shooting stars come from all the pavilions around the World Showcase.
And that’s when I started to cry. Because to me, there is a lot of beauty in what that represents. It might just start with one small shooting star, but if enough other people see it and see its beauty they’ll join in and you’ll have a truly amazing sight. In the same way, if one person is willing to speak up, others may listen and join in – and that’s the only way we’re going to find any sort of harmony.
The ending of Harmonious in Epcot
Of course any major Disney fireworks show is going to end with a ton of beautiful fireworks. Then it goes dark – the show is over but there is a voice to remind us of something important. It says:
Wherever the world leads you next, we hope you carry a song with you.Harmonious
And know that the promise of someday begins inside of you today.
Maybe I’m a sap, but I really love that message and having that as the ending to the show.
The Epcot Harmonious Barges
I know this show was getting a lot of hate before people even saw it because Disney set up these huge (ugly) barges in the middle of the World Showcase Lagoon. And I’ll admit, I’m not a fan. This would definitely be my main critique of the show. I don’t think the projections do enough to justify to ugly barges during the day. Maybe other people need more stimuli, but I loved just the music and the fireworks. I saw it twice – once from the UK and once from France. I couldn’t really see the main circular screen at all but it didn’t bother me at all. I think the show could stand on its own and they could ditch the ugly barges.
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Questions about Harmonious
Is Harmonious open at Epcot?
Yes, the show officially opened at Epcot on October 1st, 2021. There were a few previews on September 29th and 30th. It is now running every night in Epcot.
What is Harmonious in Epcot?
Harmonious is the new “nighttime spectacular” taking place in Epcot right now. It’s mainly a fireworks show set to music, though it incorporates other elements too, such as lights, projections, and pyrotechnics.
What time is Harmonious?
Make sure to check the app or the signs when you enter Epcot, because the time can change. That being said, currently with a park closing time for Epcot at 10pm the fireworks are at 9:45pm. If/when Epcot goes back to a 9pm closing they will probably happen at 8:45 or 9:00pm.
What is the best place to watch Harmonious fireworks?
If you are really concerned with seeing the projections on the barges and the main circular screen, your options are going to be somewhat limited – the best place to be is right where you enter World Showcase from Future World as close to the center as you can be. On the other side of the lagoon you have the American Adventure theater blocking some of the view, so off to the side in Italy or Japan might be a better bet. That being said, I don’t think the projections add all that much to the show so you can really get a good view from anywhere. That’s one of my favorite things about the Epcot fireworks -I don’t feel like I have to see it from the front so I’m not as stressed trying to watch it.
How long is Harmonious in Epcot?
The show is right around 20 minutes. Because I’m a sucker for numbers and statistics, I tracked how long a lot of things took on my last trip. When Harmonious started at 9:45pm I was on line for the Skyliner by 10:09pm (leaving from the UK). So with a show about 20 minutes long, depending where you are you can be out of the park in just a few minutes after.
How are the Harmonious Epcot reviews?
So far I’ve seen an interesting mix of reviews for this show. Some people seem to love it while others hate it. I know people won’t necessarily love it in the same way that I do because we’re all different and things hit people differently. But sometimes I wonder if people have too high expectations or they just weren’t going to be happy with anything.
And I’ll admit that some of the criticisms I’ve heard have me a little confused – I listened to one podcast that said it was too similar to Happily Ever After and Disney Enchantment. While there’s some overlap of a few songs and films, the thing that makes Harmonious really “Epcot” to me is the languages of the songs, and the message behind it. They said you could have put this show into Hollywood Studios and it would be exactly the same. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t see that at all.
Sadly I’ve heard some people complain about the versions of the songs being in other languages, or that they wanted the original versions from the Disney movies. I think this complaint completely misses the point of the show. There’s a lot of talk about the barges not being worth it and I will agree with that. Not every show is for everyone either!
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Have you seen Harmonious in Epcot? What do you think of it?