Rumors about a new nighttime show for Epcot have been swirling since 2015, and with Disney opening Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom, and Disney Movie Magic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, many speculated that the timing was right for Epcot to get a new, refreshed nighttime show, especially as IllumiNations has been operating without a sponsor for several months now.
And though this rumor has been around for quite some time, Disney has now confirmed that IllumiNations is indeed coming to an end. However, it looks like fans of this long-running show will have plenty of time to say goodbye...
IllumiNations confirmed to be ending summer 2019
Though longtime readers probably won't be surprised by this development, Disney finally confirmed this week that IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will conclude its almost 20 year run at Epcot at end of next summer, giving guests almost a year to say goodbye to this landmark show. While it is certainly sad to see IllumiNations go, the development of a new nighttime spectacular as this park seems appropriate as this park reinvents itself with the new Ratatouille and Guardians of the Galaxy attractions coming in the next few years.
A replacement is on the way.
Though Disney hasn't said much about the show that will be replacing IllumiNations, we do know a bit about what is coming next, thanks to a report released a few weeks ago by the Orlando Sentinel. According to their sources, the Reedy Creek Improvement District has approved a new construction project that will bring extensive electrical upgrades to Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon. This nearly $2 million project will involve drilling a pipe from the South side of the lagoon onto one of the manmade islands as well as “electrical upgrades” that include money to purchase new transformers and switches, which will lay the technical groundwork for the successor to the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth nighttime spectacular.
And while this work has been going on for some time, we'd guess that construction work is about to become a LOT more visible, which is probably why Disney decided to go ahead and confirm this new show's development almost a full year before the closure of IllumiNations.