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Original Show

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IllumiNations 25A

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IllumiNations ('98)

IllumiNations (2000): Reflections of Earth

Fact Sheet

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Fact Sheet

  • Don Dorsey, the show and music director, designed the general idea for the show in about 20 minutes while on a plane ride from Florida to California after WDW rejected two earlier ideas for the "Millennium" show. For a fascinating interview with Don, visit Theme Park Adventure.
  • Jim Cummings (voice of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and hundreds of other characters) provides the warm and inviting narration at the beginning of Reflections of Earth
  • Fireworks Technology:
    • Walt Disney World Entertainment Research and Development created a new system to launch fireworks shells with compressed air.
    • Controlling the pressure of the compressed air determines how high the shell will reach. A sensor is attached to the shell which allows technicians to control when it is to ignite and explode. This allows the bursts to be timed exactly with the music.
    • Eric Tucker, an award winning pyrotechnics designer, was brought on board to design new fireworks effects that had never been produced before. Eric and other Reflections of Earth creators traveled to China (the birthplace of fireworks) to meet with fireworks manufacturers to create these new effects.
    • The starfield that forms at the end of Act I: Chaos on the lagoon surface is an example of this new technology. The shells are secretly launched and tossed only a few feet in the air out away from the barges to scatter atop the lagoon surface. The gas starts off as white, burns for about thirty seconds and then changes color. When it burns out, it simply disappears.
    • 2,800 fireworks shells are used for each show and are launched from 750 mortar tubes and 56 firing modules at 34 locations around the lagoon.
    • In the middle of the Adventure part of the show, four sets of colored fireworks appear one color at a time.  The colors were specially created colors for the show:
      • lagoon blue
      • mint green
      • pumpkin orange
      • lavender
  • Torches:
    • 19 torches are spaced surrounding the World Showcase Lagoon
    • Each torch reaches 27 feet above the lagoon's surface
    • There are 19 torches because 19 centuries have passed.  The 20th century, completing the second recorded millennium, is lit during the show.
  • Lasers:
    • The new lasers feature a full rainbow spectrum of colors.
  • Inferno Barge:
    • Weighs 100,000 pounds
    • Its liquid-propane system sends balls of fire shooting 40 to 50 feet into the air or out over the surface of the lagoon from 37 nozzles
    • The Orlando Sentinel reports that 300 gallons of propane are used every night for the show.

  • Earth Globe:
    • Dubbed as the most complicated piece of show equipment ever built by Walt Disney Imagineering
    • Jerold Kaplan was the Globe's designer and engineer
    • The Globe is 28 feet in diameter and sits atop a 10 foot pedestal
    • Weighs 350 tons
    • 6 computer processors control the Globe
    • 258 strobe lights
    • An infrared guidance system allows the barge to be steered across the lagoon
    • Slightly less than 300 images appear on the Globe's spherical 15,000 LED (light-emitting diode) video screen, the world's first
    • Century III, an Orlando area film and post- production company, edited the video portion of the show. The images came from the stock libraries of Image Bank, National Geographic and Archive Films, live footage, and custom created 3-D graphic animation.
    • The petals of the Earth Globe blossom to reveal the 20th torch which rises to a height of 38 feet above the lagoon's surface. The gas lit flame forms a ring around the perimeter of the torch allowing fireworks to be launched from the center of the flame.
    • The base of the barge was moved from WDW Central Shops to the Epcot Marina around 3am on a Sunday morning in mid June 1999. Parts of World Drive were blocked off for the move.
  • Music:
    • Gavin Greenaway is the composer for Reflections of Earth. Friend Hans Zimmer, composer of The Lion King's score, asked Gavin to take on the project because he was busy with other projects. Hans collaborated with Gavin in the beginning of the process.
    • "Reflections of Earth"
      • Executive Music Producer: Steve Skorija
      • Music Score Composed, Produced, and Conducted by Gavin Greenaway
      • Show and Music Director: Don Dorsey
      • Recorded and Mixed by Alan Meyerson
      • Music Supervisor: Dan Savant
      • Music Preparation: Express Music Services
      • Music Editor: Michael Atwell
      • Music Recorded: at Abbey Road Studios by members of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
      • Music Mixed at Media Ventures
      • Music Coordination by Savant Productions

    • "We Go On"
      • Lyrics: Don Dorsey
      • Vocal Solo: Kellie Coffey
      • All other credits refer to "Reflections of Earth" above


    • "Promise"
      • Executive Music Producer: Steve Skorija
      • Music Score Composed, Produced, and Conducted by Gavin Greenaway
      • Lyrics: Don Dorsey
      • Recorded and Mixed by Alan Meyerson
      • Music Supervisor: Dan Savant
      • Vocal Solo: Kellie Coffey


  • View pictures of the show taken by creator Don Dorsey at his site: Don Dorsey Productions
  • The cost to stage the show per night stated by some Epcot cast members is typically overstated and inaccurate as the real dollar amount is a closely guarded fact.
  • The show was presented twice in the same night on December 31, 2000, for what is believed to be the first time ever (except on nights when the show was in its testing phase and was tested early in the morning).  After the first showing at 7:30pm, technicians restocked the barges with fireworks and returned the Earth Globe to its docked position.  The second show including the New Year's Eve tag was presented at 11:40pm. The same schedule was utilized on December 31, 2001.

Photo of IllumiNations

Original IllumiNations Show
Fact Sheet

While these facts were released in relation to the Original IllumiNations show, some of them are accurate for the shows that have followed.

  • The show requires a crew of about forty people, four 30-ton barges, and six diesel generators.
  • The luminosity of the searchlights equal one billion flashlight bulbs.
  • The stereo system is powerful enough to turn 1,350 homes into Studio 54.
  • The World Showcase pavilions are rimmed with enough light bulbs to fill the electronic billboard in Times Square five times.
  • A half-million watts of theater light are used to illuminate the pavilions. That is equal to what it would look like if 4,167 car headlights were coming at you.
  • If the strobe lights were to be equated with the flash of a photographer's camera, there would be enough light bursts to take a snapshot of every person in the stands during a sold-out game at the Louisiana Superdome.
  • There are 104 fountain heads pump 5,000 gallons of water per minute and push the water to heights of 40 feet.
  • It takes four off-duty firefighters about six hours to assemble 872 pieces of fireworks for the show.



IllumiNations Fact Sheet | Original IllumiNations ('88) | Holiday IllumiNations
IllumiNations 25 A | IllumiNations 25 B | IllumiNations ('98-99)
IllumiNations (2000): Reflections of Earth

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EPCOT Discovery Center
Created February 14, 1998 / Last modified August 28, 2002

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