Epcot Update: IllumiNations Farewell Merchandise & More

We’re back with another Epcot update, which this time basically just entails a visit to MouseGear and Art of Disney for a look at the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth farewell season merchandise, new Figment window display, and other random items. We’ll end on a random note, with some cool dusk photos from World Showcase.

I’m not entirely sure how to approach this one, which is partly why I decided to make it separate from our Epcot Update: Now with 50% Fewer Tombstones. While I realize the title there is snarky, the substance of that post is pretty optimistic. I’m really excited about the new Epcot entrance plaza, and even in its half/unfinished form, it was an exciting and surreal sight to see upon entering the park.

A lot of changes are on the horizon that should make Epcot a better park, and on balance, I’m looking forward to Epcot’s future. I don’t think every change is a positive one, and it’s a mixed bag in a lot of ways. One of those ‘mixed bag’ things is the retirement of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth…

I absolutely love IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. I’ve seen it more times than I can count–far more than any nighttime spectacular in any other Disney park. Wishes would probably be #2 in terms of viewings, and I’ve seen that far fewer times. I’ll be really sad to see IllumiNations go, but I recognize that it has had a good run. It’s time for something different.

Everything we know thus far about Epcot Forever leads me to believe that show will really soften the blow. That’s probably part of the idea; ease the pain for longtime fans with a solid and fan service-y interim show, before delivering a more technically impressive show that the general public will love (but EPCOT diehards probably won’t).

It might sound weird, but I was also hoping for some great IllumiNations farewell merchandise to help. Obviously, I’ll always have the memories, but tangible reminders are also nice. Seeing my Summer Nightastic shirt still puts a smile on my face. I’ll also forever regret not having a chance to buy the Universe of Energy dinosaur merch; whenever I see someone wearing that in the parks, it brings me bittersweet joy.

My feelings about the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth Farewell merchandise are…less positive.

I don’t expect everything Walt Disney World does to cater to me personally. Be it in terms of attractions, entertainment, or even souvenirs. I’m not the target audience for a lot of things, or even most things; I respect and understand this.

The style here is just a colossal letdown to me, though.

The jubilant, cartoony style feels at-odds with the tone and message of IllumiNations. It makes me wonder if whomever approved these items had ever even seen IllumiNations.

Everything about these designs just feels off. From the use of Mickey and Minnie to the font and graphics.

It’s like if you created goodbye merchandise for ‘Happily Ever After’ but then used imagery from Spaceship Earth and the Star Wars font. All things that are separately cool, but don’t make any sense packaged together.

I love Figment and am really happy that he’s used in so many festival designs, but even he is a curious choice for an IllumiNations farewell shirt. (Especially this cutesy character model of Figment.)

Don’t get me wrong, these are some neat designs at their core…but not for IllumiNations.

I don’t know, perhaps I’m being unreasonable or my expectations are too high.

Walt Disney World’s merchandise team has done such an exceptional job with so much classic and retro-inspired EPCOT Center merchandise that I expected something better, and appropriate for IllumiNations. I assumed they’d deliver something for the farewell of IllumiNations that strikes the right tone and pays homage to the legacy of this beautiful show.

Instead, we got items that seem like they could be repurposed for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway with a few clicks in a graphic design program.

I’m probably in the minority on this, though. I’ve already seen several guests wearing the Figment shirt in Epcot. Oh well. I’ll just save my money and see what the Epcot Forever merchandise brings in terms of designs.

On a more upbeat note, the Art of Disney Window once again has a new display. This time, it’s Figment along with some fun Figment pieces of art.

Here are some other views of the Figment display:

Epcot’s window display game has gotten really strong.

Art of Disney, MouseGear, and World Traveler all have great displays that change with some degree of regularity. It’s a little thing, but it makes a difference.

In our last Epcot Update, we shared some photos of a beautiful surprise sunset. That’s not the only one of those we’ve had this week.

The stormy weather is a mixed bag, with the obvious downside being the rain. There’s also the dull, grey skies that follow, which make photos just look flat. However, in the hours before the storm, the clouds can look great. Likewise, after storms there’s a lot of potential for colorful sunsets.

Same with dusk and deep blue night skies. While waiting around for IllumiNations in China, I balanced my camera on this railing and took this.

One of my goals between now and the end of summer is to photograph IllumiNations from new-to-me vantages in each World Showcase country. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my tripod, so I’ll need a do-over on China.

Finally, a post-IllumiNations photo of Mexico.

Per tradition, we did the slow stroll out of Epcot following IllumiNations. I really hope Epcot Forever is accompanied by an equally good pre and post-show music loop. Oh, and some brilliant, retro-inspired merchandise that offers fresh twists on classic styles.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

What do you think of the Illuminations Farewell merchandise? Am I being unreasonable, or do you agree that these things miss the mark in terms of IllumiNations’ tone and message? Thoughts on the Epcot window displays? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

23 Responses to “Epcot Update: IllumiNations Farewell Merchandise & More”
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