To say I've grown up with IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth would be an understatement. If you've seen my "When Did It Start For You" video, you know very well that the soundtrack to Epcot's Fireworks spectacular has been a constant part of my life and inspired much of my love of music. Needless to say, that means that I've seen IllumiNations more times than most people could probably imagine. In fact, the last time I saw it (just a few days ago) a couple happened to be standing behind me and walked up about three minutes into the show. All I heard was "Do they still have that stupid globe thing...oh they do" as the barge that carries the globe floated out from behind the other side of the American Adventure pavilion. Her husband so kindly suggested that "at least I think it moves faster now." Sorry buddy, but it probably moves about the same speed as it did when the show first premiered years ago.
Anyway, lately I've really been trying to see IllumiNations from as many angles as possible, and now I can definitely say that I've checked off a few new locations. First and foremost, we spend most of our viewings on a bridge by Italy, which we've termed the "artichoke bridge" thanks to the decorations that line the top. If you get there early enough and secure a spot, you're above the rest of the crowd, and it makes for a wonderful view.
The Fastpass+ viewing area for IllumiNations is held almost directly across the water from my usual spot in Italy though, and offers a much closer look at the fire barge that is used in the opening act of the show. If it's a particularly cool night I love standing up there, and for those of you that just can't seem to use that fastpass on IllumiNations (Test Track is waiting, right?) then you'll be happy to know that there is still some decent viewing back behind the fastpass area. We got there about 20 minutes ahead of time and had no problem grabbing a decent spot. (For those curious, the left picture is inside the fastpass viewing area, and the right is back behind it).
On the band trip in 2014, our band director (and tour guide) insisted that we see IllumiNations from the bridge next to Mexico. While not my least favorite spot, I'm also not a far of the crowds (probably tour groups now that I think about it) that tend to gather there. We stood there for over an hour and a half to make sure we had a good view (and I only got up front because I was the one with the camera). Either way, like I said, the bridge does offer a nice view, if you're willing to put up with groups and/or stake out your spot.
And finally, the most recent of my viewing location discoveries - the balcony in Japan. If you're a photographer this is definitely one you'll want to check out sooner rather than later, although you will probably have to stake out a spot ahead of time. We happened to eat dinner at Tokyo Dining the night we watched from up there, which made it really easy to enjoy our dinner and then head right out onto the balcony to wait (we stood there for about 45 minutes, although other nights I know a friend of mine said it was completely empty).
Where will I go to watch IllumiNations next? Well, I've always been curious about the view that the bridge area near the France Pavilion offers, which has always seemed a bit far away from the action for my tastes, but I'm looking forward to a viewing in that vicinity at some point. Other than that, I'm sure there's plenty of other unique locations to view IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth from...it's just a matter of finding them!
Do you have a favorite location to watch IllumiNations? Let me know in the comments below!
Have a magical day!
(Note: This blog post was written on January 25 due to travel).