Illuminations: Reflections of Earth / Tapestry of Dreams (2001 CD)

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a fireworks show, performed nightly at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It premiered on October 1, 1999 as IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth as part of the Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration; it was so successful that after the celebration ended the 2000 was dropped from the name and the show was continued. It was previously presented by General Electric, and now Sylvania, at a cost of approximately US$17,000 per show.

Show structure

Before the show begins, a 30-minute music loop is played around the lagoon. The loop contains 9 songs, although the last few may or may not be played, depending upon the exact start time of the show each evening.

  1. Jalan Kopo by Sabbah Habas Mustaph
  2. Falling through a Cloud by Uttara-Kuru
  3. Busindre Reel by Hevia
  4. Gaviotes by Hevia
  5. Tula by Cusco
  6. Our Life by Uttara-Kuru
  7. The Bear by Hedningarna
  8. Red Skies by Omar Faruk Tekbilek
  9. Texas by Wimme

The lights dim, and torches are lit around the lagoon. The beginning of the show is narrated by Jim Cummings, who says: "Good evening, on behalf of Walt Disney World, the place where dreams come true, we welcome all of you to Epcot and World Showcase. We've gathered here tonight, around the fire, as people of all lands have gathered for thousands and thousands of years before us; to share the light and to share a story. An amazing story, as old as time itself but still being written. And though each of us has our own individual stories to tell, a true adventure emerges when we bring them all together as one. We hope you enjoy our story tonight; Reflections of Earth." IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is split into three acts:

  • Act I: Chaos. Chaos represents the creation of the planet Earth from a cosmic event. (This part uses the Inferno Barge.)
  • Act II: Order. The Earth Globe appears. As the Earth cools, it changes from hot white to red to blue. Images appear on the Globe of countries, famous places, objects, and people. Chaos turns to Order.
  • Act III: Meaning. The Earth Globe opens revealing a torch and 1,000 white fireworks are ignited. The final loud fireworks explode with a white flash and end with a loud crackle.

The post-show announcement is, "All of us at Epcot have enjoyed hosting you at World Showcase Lagoon, and we hope you have enjoyed Reflections of Earth, presented by Sylvania, a Siemens Company. Thank you and may all your dreams come true." The song "Promise" plays directly after this, followed by the Tapestry of Nations medley as guests exit the park. As the music plays, the continents are laser-projected onto Spaceship Earth, making it appear as a spinning globe.

Show Technologies

The Earth Globe

The centerpiece of the show is the Earth Globe, a 350,000 pound globe housed on a barge. The world's first spherical video display system, the globe is wrapped in 15,600 pixels, each consisting of 12 light-emitting diodes. The Earth Globe starts its journey from the edge of the World Showcase Lagoon, a 40-acre man-made lake in Epcot, before anchoring itself in the middle of the lagoon. The Globe is 28 feet in diameter and sits on top of a 10-foot pedestal. It contains 258 FlashWorks mini strobe lights (43 per petal) and is controlled by 6 computer processors. This is the only barge in the show with a driver onboard. The Earth Globe is considered to be the most complicated piece of show action equipment ever made by Disney.

During the first 2 minutes of the show, the Earth globe's LED screens are off. It is brown in color, but invisible in the thick black of the night. The Earth Globe's LED screens turn on in part 2 of the show, showing imagery of the natural world and iconic man-made structures. Slightly fewer than 300 pictures appear on the Globe's spherical video screen during the show. Century III, an Orlando area film company, edited the video portion of the show. The pictures came from the stock libraries of Image Bank, National Geographic and Archive Films, some custom-shot live footage, and a single 3-D graphic animation shot. Jerold Kaplan of Walt Disney Imagineering designed and engineered the Earth Globe and supporting barge. At the end of the show, the Earth Globe blossoms like a flower, revealing a flame torch that rises high above the lagoon. When the show ends, the fires on 20/21 of the torches keep burning, but the Earth Globe's torch is put out.

The LED video display is run by a Pentium II server running Microsoft Windows 95/8 using a Serial ATA drive. There are two servers constantly running the same programs at the same time for fail-safe support. If one goes down, they can instantly switch to the other server which presumably will still be running. The video control software, written by Brian Seekford (now CEO of Seekford Solutions, Inc.) for Hitech Electronic Displays of Clearwater, Florida, communicates with on-board PLCs using two interfaces. The serial interface is used to receive the 4 character command codes separated by spaces to signify the end of each command. The NIDAQ (National Instrument Data Acquisition) card is used to provide status back to the PLCs. There are 8 optically isolated status channels. One channel is used to provide a heartbeat signal to tell the PLC that the software is on and functioning. The software was called QuickCon Multimedia Presenter. It was originally so named because it used the Quicktime engine, but was modified to use the Windows Media Player engine. The file formats are uncompressed AVIs passed through a masking filter to put the pixels in the spots for the countries.

In the summer of 2008, the show ran a shortened, modified version in order for the Earth Globe to be refurbished. The refurbishment was to install a new LED video system, improving the clarity of the video. The content of the video was not changed.

The Inferno Barge

The Inferno Barge is a liquid-propane system that sends balls of fire soaring 40 to 60 feet into the air and on to the surface of the lagoon from 37 nozzles. 400 gallons of propane are used every night for the show. After the show ends, around 10:30 PM, the "Inferno Barge Burn Off" takes place where any extra propane is blown out and burned off safely. On nights when Epcot is open late, this action is visible to guests. It is usually accompanied by an announcement that reminds viewers that the blow off is intentional and controlled, so as not to panic guests thinking that the explosion was a bomb or similar device. This used to be the case, but is now (2008) done during the show on the last inferno barge cue, to save time in de-rig.

The Inferno Barge also houses an air-launch fireworks system. On September 19, 2005, the Inferno Barge was pulled from the show due to the explosion of a firework still inside its mortar tube earlier in the day. The structure took heavy damage; fortunately, no one was injured. The Inferno Barge returned to service on February 1, 2006 without the air launch system on the barge, although the cause of the accident was the firework shell itself and not the air launch system. The shells previously fired from this barge were moved and fired from the center slip.


Walt Disney Entertainment created a new way of launching fireworks by using a compressed air system, instead of black powder, which pollutes more and causes the trail of an igniting firework shell to be seen. The compressed air technology allows for explosions to be timed perfectly with the music and for the desired height of the shell to be reached. Not all the shells use the ALF (Air Launch Fireworks) technology. Only the two opening shots of the show are ALF. A Timeing chip is inserted into the shell and can be programmed to ignite and explode with precision. Eric Tucker, an award winning pyrotechnics designer, was brought on board to design new fireworks effects. Eric and show director Don Dorsey traveled to China, the birthplace of fireworks, to meet with fireworks manufacturers to create these new dazzling effects. 1,105 firework shells are ignited during each show and are launched from 750 mortar tubes and 56 firing modules at 34 locations around the lagoon.


Lasers are used in the show, emanating from the American Adventure, Canada and Mexico pavilions. The FAA requires the user of any outdoor laser system to obtain advance permission and to contact local airports prior to use. Consequently, Orlando International Airport is notified every night when the show begins so that air traffic can be advised and directed accordingly.

Moving Lights

A ring of programmable moving searchlights called Syncrolites are used. The lights have color scrollers and dousers that are gelled with Rosco 79 Bright Blue, and Lee 125 Mauve.

Fountain Barges

There are 4 fountain barges aka Maxi Barges that have 40 water nozzles per barge. Each barge pumps approximately 4,000 gallons of water per minute. These barges carry pyrotechnics as well.


Twenty torches are spaced surrounding the World Showcase Lagoon, representing the twenty centuries that have passed in the Common Era. The twenty first torch is lit at the end of the show when the Earth Globe blossoms like a flower. Each torch reaches 27 feet above the lagoon's surface.

Control Booth

The control booth for the show is above the Mexico Pavilion. It houses emergency stop controls, and communication controls to each barge using wireless ethernet, and headset communication to the Earth barge driver. The show is controlled from the boat pontoon nearest the shop. All barges are wired together with multi-core cables, and nothing is left to chance like using wireless as stated above.


Gavin Greenaway is the composer for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Greenaway's colleague Hans Zimmer, composer of The Lion King, asked Greenaway to take on the project because he was busy with other projects. Zimmer collaborated with Greenaway in the beginning of the process. The score from "Reflections of Earth" was used for ABC 2000 Today, ABC Television's 25 hour-long program that followed the beginning of 2000 around the globe on December 31, 1999/January 1, 2000. ABC also used a modified version for their program ABC 2002 on December 31, 2001/January 1, 2002. Finally, ABC News used a version of the theme for their televised election coverage throughout 2000 and 2004. Most of the score (excluding the Chaos section and the start of We Go On) was used in a laser light show at the 2005 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill. The Chaos section was used in the October 4, 2008 fireworks celebration of the 250th anniversary of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


"Reflections of Earth" (Working Title: "EARTH 2000")

  • Executive Music Producer: Steve Skorija
  • Music Score Composed, Produced, and Conducted by Gavin Greenaway
  • Show and Music Director: Don Dorsey
  • Recorded and Mixed by Alan Meyerson
  • Music Supervisor: Dan Savant
  • Music Preparation: Express Music Services
  • Music Editor: Michael Atwell
  • Music Contractor: Isobel Griffiths Ltd
  • Music Recorded: at Abbey Road Studios by members of the London Session Orchestra, possibly including some players from the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Music Mixed at Media Ventures
  • Music Coordination by Savant Productions
  • Video project manager for Century III and editor for the Earth Globe visuals: Oliver Peters

"We Go On"


  • Executive Music Producer: Steve Skorija
  • Music Score Composed, Produced, and Conducted by Gavin Greenaway
  • Lyrics: Don Dorsey
  • Recorded and Mixed by Alan Meyerson
  • Music Supervisor: Dan Savant
  • Vocal Solo: Kellie Coffey

View pictures of the show taken by creator Don Dorsey at his website: Don Dorsey Productions


The complete show soundtrack can be found on these releases:

  • Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration (1999)
    • There was also a shortened version of the show soundtrack on a promotional CD when you bought Energizer batteries in 2000.
  • Re-released in 2001 as Illuminations: Reflections of Earth / Tapestry of Dreams (2001), containing one less track than the 1999 release.


Jim Cummings (the voice of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Darkwing Duck as well as other characters) provides the narration at the beginning of Reflections of Earth:

Good evening. On behalf of Walt Disney World, the place where dreams come true, we welcome all of you to Epcot and World Showcase. We've gathered here tonight around the fire as people of all lands have gathered for thousands and thousands of years before us... to share the light... and to share a story. An amazing story as old as time itself, but still being written. And though each of us has our own individual stories to tell, a true adventure emerges when we bring them all together as one. We hope you enjoy our story tonight: Reflections of Earth.

The original narration substituted the first two sentences with "Good evening and welcome" but was changed for the Year of a Million Dreams.

Mary Thompson Hunt is the female voice that does the pre-show announcements stating that the show will be starting shortly.

Christmas version

Starting in 2004 during the holiday season, the finale from Holiday lllumiNations is played after "We Go On". A female announcer says, "And now, at this special time, as we embrace a promise of a new year, we would like to offer one final message." The song "Let There Be Peace On Earth" is played as the Earth Barge closes. After that, there were messages of "Peace on Earth, good will to men" in several languages. When a language is spoken, the pavilion lights up. Walter Cronkite then says, "During this glorious time of year there is one message that rings out around the world in every language. Peace on earth. Good will to men is a wish to hold in our hearts throughout each passing year. A gift of immeasurable value. A treasure being handed down with care, from generation to generation. And so our holiday wish is that everyone, everywhere share in the spirit of the season. Peace on earth, good will to men." The song continues with an uninterrupted firework display, ending with a loud explosion of fireworks. This tag launches just as many pyrotechnic devices as IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth does.

Fourth of July version

The show is shown around 10:00 PM and after the show, the song Yankee Doodle plays and fireworks shoot up from the roof and back of the American Adventure Pavilion. More fireworks in the lagoon are synchronised as if fireworks were marching along with the drumbeat. Then Stars and Stripes Forever plays. The Earth Barge displays images of American independence during a flute solo. Then a barrage of fireworks during the finale, which creates a smokescreen and as the music ends, the smoke has been cleared out. And the show ends. The style was altered in 2006 as selected songs were played for the 230th & 231st year of US independence. At the end, the song The Battle Hymn of the Republic was heard, as fireworks shoot up from the back of the American pavilion. Just before the end of the tag, hundreds of fireworks shoot up in the lagoon as the show ends. Just as the crowds exit, God Bless the USA is played, the American pavilion is outlined, and the Earth Barge displays the US flag. The laser projection in the US pavilion (projecting to Spaceship Earth) displays "Happy Birthday America: Celebrating 230/231 Years of Freedom". More than 2000 shells are launched from 32 barges for the latest version of this tag.

New year version

The show is shown twice during New Year's Eve, at 7:45 and 11:45 PM. After the last show (11:45 PM), an introduction for the New Year's Eve countdown is heard. The Asian pavilions (Japan and China) go first, followed by those in Europe (Italy, Norway, France, Germany), after that, the countries of those in the GMT time zone (Morocco and the United Kingdom). During that presentation, fireworks shoot from the back of each pavilion. Lastly, the North American nations (United States, Canada, Mexico). Then the people, along with the female (male at the last 3 seconds) announcer, count down along with a dong (which came from the American pavilion). Then Auld Lang Syne plays. The people cheer and greet "Happy New Year!" along with a dazzling display of fireworks. A male announcer says as at the closing to the celebration. It ends with a huge fireworks display. This tag uses double the amount of fireworks that are launched in IllumiNations: Reflections of earth. Every New Year's Eve, Epcot stays open until 1:00 AM.

Epcot's 25th Anniversary version

On October 1, 2007, a four-minute long, one-day only tag commemorating Epcot's 25th Silver Anniversary followed IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. The tag used the "World War III Barges" and was said have to tripled the amount of fireworks launched. At the end of the regular show a male voice over was heard saying, "And now in honor of Epcot's 25th Anniversary we celebrate our history and look to the future. We've just begun to dream" Once the music began select segments of classic Epcot music was played including We've just Begun to Dream, Tapestry of Nations and Tapestry of Dreams. After the show, the retro music loop played throughout the park that day began to play, beginning with New Horizons. Due to the extra amount of fireworks used for the special tag, it took much longer than normal to move the firework barges off of the lagoon which resulted in a Burn-Off after midnight.


  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth was originally named IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth for the Millennium Celebration that took place from October 1, 1999 to January 1, 2001. The show was so popular that its run was extended, and the "2000" was dropped from the title.
  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth replaced IllumiNations 25 (B).
  • The show lasts about 12 minutes.
  • The music was recorded with a 71-piece philharmonic orchestra and a 30-voice chorus.
  • The show was produced by longtime Disney entertainment executive Ron Logan. Ron commissioned Don Dorsey to create the show.
  • Footage of the now-defunct Tapestry of Nations parade can be seen on the globe towards the end of the show prior to We Go On.

Show facts

  • Previous show: IllumiNations (98)
  • Sponsors:
  • In the last 15 years, Epcot has had to cancel IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth and its predecessor, IllumiNations, only three times due to bad weather. These three occurrences were all due to named hurricanes.


External links

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