I honestly can't remember when I saw IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth for the very first time, but what I can tell you is that it was in 1999. I was too young to understand what the show stood for back then, but my parents really loved it, so it was only natural for us to come back and see it. Year after year, we would go to Disney World and we would always end our days (and our trips!) with IllumiNations. By the time I was five or six years old, I had it memorized to the very last beat, and I knew exactly when each firework would explode up in the air.
I really love watching this show from anywhere around the World Showcase lagoon, and I have great memories of it from literally every single pavilion. I also love the fact that my entire family will hum along to the tune every time we watch it. Right now I live here in Orlando, and even though I've had time to watch Happily Ever After, Fantasmic!, and Rivers of Light countless times, IllumiNations still is, and always will be, my favorite show here at the Walt Disney World Resort.
As an International Relations major, this show really speaks to me. For fourteen minutes, it seems as though the entire world lives in perfect peace and harmony. All the countries in the World Showcase light up and dance along to "We Go On", a wonderful, heart-warming song that really speaks to us and makes us realize that, even though we all come from different countries, in the end, we're all citizens of the same world.
I understand that the Walt Disney Company is ever-changing and that IllumiNations is a show that still relies on heavy pyrotechnics and lasers, so I guess the decision to end its life was completely necessary. I trust this company with my life, and I have no doubt that Epcot Forever and the next IllumiNations show will be nothing short of amazing. Nevertheless, I can't help but feel really sad and nostalgic about the one and only show that I've been watching with my family since the very first time I ever set foot in the Walt Disney World Resort.
Even though IllumiNations only has a few months left for the guests of the Walt Disney World Resort to enjoy, I will continue to enjoy it from the comfort of my own home. I have plenty of home videos, audio clips, pictures, and most importantly, memories of my favorite show. I can say that I've had the pleasure to watch it with the most important people in my life, from my parents, to my best friends, to my cousins, to my roommates, to my boyfriend, so it feels amazing to say that they have all shared one of the key pieces of my love for Disney with me.
And to IllumiNations, I'll be sad to see you go. In fact, it will probably take a while for me to watch the new show without feeling like I want to cry my heart out. But your message has always been one of hope, and I will always continue looking forward to the future. Like you've taught me for twenty years of my life, "we can see a new horizon built on all that we have done, and our dreams begin another thousand circles 'round the Sun".