Harmonious is a new nighttime spectacular fireworks show coming to Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon at Walt Disney World. This covers everything you need to know: its debut date & soft opening, best viewing spots, concept art, and news. (Updated September 24, 2021.)
As background, Harmonious is the largest ever Walt Disney World nighttime spectacular–essentially a fireworks show on steroids and the permanent replacement for IllumiNations. Harmonious celebrates how the music of Disney inspires people the world over. It brings to World Showcase Lagoon massive floating set pieces that house a variety of show effects, including custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, colorful lights, lasers, pyrotechnics, and more during the 20-minute long show.
Harmonious is a beautifully-crafted nighttime spectacular presenting a dreamscape of music and imagery from Disney animated films, reimagined by diverse cultural musicians and artists from around the world. Walt Disney Imagineering describes it as a “transformative experience, where we can discover how Disney music has the power to inspire and unite us all.”
In the last few months, installation of the barges for Harmonious in World Showcase Lagoon has been completed. From that, we know that Harmonious will use five enormous platforms to house the main show elements.
Four of which are perimeter barges, which will feature double-sided LED walls standing 25-feet tall and have eight 54-foot-long moving arms along with moving lights, fountains, lasers, and more. These will surround a 6-story tall central ring structure and water curtain.
You should be able to view Harmonious from anywhere in World Showcase that looks into the lagoon. (So basically, don’t stand anywhere with a restaurant or amphitheater between you and the water.) However, some views will be better than others, with the best options being straight-on the Stargate and without islands between you and the taco barges.
We will update our Best Epcot Fireworks Viewing Spots after Harmonious debuts, but our preliminary recommendations are spots 1, 2, 4, and 5. Location 3 should not be as good due to the side angle. (It’s still not a bad pick, just not as good as the others.)
The soundtrack for Harmonious was produced remotely through 110 separate recording sessions in nine different countries and five states. In total, 240 musicians, artists, composers, arrangers, cultural consultants, and vocalists contributed to the unique sound of the show.
Harmonious takes Walt Disney World guests on a journey through new interpretations of familiar Disney songs, performed in more than a dozen languages by a cast of talented singers from around the world. Some are recognizable names, either in the United States or their home country. Others are rising stars being heard by a global audience for the first time.
Harmonious opens with an inspiring medley of “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana and “Go the Distance” from Hercules, performed by American Idol finalist and three-time Grammy nominee Danny Gokey and vocalists Elisha Garrett and Ninet Tayeb.
Throughout the soundtrack, there’s also a musical motif in the form of the soaring melody of composer Pinar Toprak’s new Epcot anthem, and all these diverse pieces of music are woven together by arranger Mark Hammond and Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Music Producer and Creative Director Yaron Spiwak. The resulting ensemble is a symphony of characters and culture that attempts to fit into World Showcase.
Award-winning Puerto Rican artist Luis Fonsi, responsible for several global hits including “Despacito,” joins Mexican singer-songwriter Joy for a rousing, pan-Latin version of songs from Coco and Saludos Amigos. “Dig a Little Deeper” from the Princess and the Frog features vocalist Bryson Camper and Gospel artists Karen Clark Sheard and Kierra Sheard. Other musical selections are highlighted by the vocal talents of Wang Liuqi, Hollie Hammel, Aditya Rao, Gaayatri Kaundinya, Jorgie Shkara, and Sanaa Marahati.
The Ndlovu Youth Choir from Johannesburg contributes a medley of favorites from the Lion King, performed in both English and Zulu. French pop singer Damien Sargue performs “Out There” from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The music of Brave gets a Celtic kick from the dueling violins of Grammy and Emmy-nominated violinist Máiréad Nesbitt and platinum-selling electronic artist and violinist Lindsey Stirling.
Harmonious brings to World Showcase Lagoon a combination of floating giant screens, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers in a 360-degree view. Enter worlds inspired by Moana, Aladdin, Coco, Brave, The Lion King, Mulan, the Princess and the Frog and other classic stories.
Colorful images and effects dance and change as Harmonious weaves familiar Disney music and stories together in brand-new ways. Harmonious builds to a finale that unites everyone around World Showcase and from around the world, as many of the musical artists come together to perform a poignant and powerful song, bringing Harmonious to an emotional close.
Harmonious Opening Date & Soft Opening
Harmonious officially debuts on October 1, 2021. This will occur alongside the “Disney Enchantment” nighttime spectacular in Magic Kingdom and other new entertainment for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.
The festivities, known as the World’s Most Magical Celebration, will kick off on October 1, 2021 and last for 18 months. You can read everything that’s officially announced and rumored for the festivities in our Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary!
Before its grand debut, Harmonious will soft open on September 29, 2021.
On both that night and September 30, Harmonious will be shown at 9 pm. While it still says “Harmonious – Opening October 1, 2021” on the official entertainment title, this soft opening is official. You can find it on the entertainment schedule and calendar on DisneyWorld.com. (Note that media previews of Harmonious are occurring on those nights, so don’t be surprised if not all viewing areas are available.)
The appearance of these Harmonious platforms in World Showcase Lagoon provided controversial among Walt Disney World fans. Social media has torn into these, understandably so.
The key criticisms are that these block World Showcase sightlines and look like some Waterworld-inspired post-apocalyptic ramshackle floating community. It’s hard to imagine these looking good during the day, but rather than piling, I’m still going to take a “wait and see” position.
However, it’s a bit disingenuous to pretend World Showcase had exquisite sightlines before this. That would require ignoring the Swan & Dolphin hotels, Soarin’ show building, Test Track show building, Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind show building, and more.
This isn’t to say Walt Disney World fans should eagerly accept further visual blight or intrusions, but the point is that views across the water haven’t been pristine and unspoiled for (literally) decades.
Moreover, when work is finished the Harmonious barges are going to function as fountains during the day. So long as they’re constantly running and cycling large amounts of water, they could look fine. Thus far, there’s no reason to believe these fountains will look even remotely good, but we’re willing to wait.
The views across World Showcase Lagoon are nice, but it’s also a huge and empty expanse, and colossal fountains during the day could add a good bit of kinetic energy to the park. This isn’t to say they’ll look as good as the concept art–I’m skeptical given how colossal and clunky they look right now and daytime testing we’ve seen thus far has been awful–but judging the work-in-progress project as if it’s the finished product is premature.
Ultimately, I’m cautiously optimistic about Harmonious. Ironically, before IllumiNations ended and Epcot Forever debuted, I wrote: “Harmonious looks a lot like World of Color, and the whole notion of a character-centric show on World Showcase Lagoon really makes me cringe. Part of me hopes that ‘due to guest demand’ Epcot Forever becomes permanent.” As it turned out, Epcot Forever was not very good and now I find myself really missing nighttime spectaculars.
EPCOT undeniably needs help in numerous ways, and it feels counterproductive for the fandom to drag our collective feet at every change. Harmonious could end up being a total dud, but it could also end up being a tremendous nighttime spectacular that, like World of Color before it, revitalizes a languishing theme park. At this point, IllumiNations and so much of old EPCOT Center is gone, and there’s no turning back. The future direction of the park is very different than its past, and even though I don’t love that in some ways, it’s certainly better than stagnation.
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Are you excited for Harmonious? Think it’ll be a nighttime spectacular worthy of Walt Disney World? If you’re an EPCOT Center purist, are you apprehensive that this will fit World Showcase? Expect it to be a culturally tasteful use of music and imagery from animated films, or do you think it’s inappropriate IP for World Showcase? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? 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!