Guest Editorial: Goodbye to a Showcase Spectacular, ‘IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth’

On Sept. 30, 2019, Epcot said goodbye to one of its best firework shows in my opinion, “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.”


By Jeremy Durham

This show ran for about 20 years, and was rarely canceled due to weather. It only happened four or five times, mostly due to hurricanes and one non-weather related event, 9/11.

Pictured: Guest editorial author Jeremy Durham, second from left, with his fellow Professional Interns, their leader, Mickey and Pluto.

Why would a 33-year-old who lives in Texas care about a show in Florida? Well, because “IllumiNations” has a special place in my heart. Back in 2012, I was one of four people chosen to be a part of Disney’s Professional Internship Program, a different internship program than the College Program, geared more toward specific degrees. The four of us would rotate parks throughout our time spent there working on the various shows that were there at the time.

I was fortunate to have Epcot be my “home” park for the internship. My first shift was following the head entertainment technician for the day. He showed me around all the different shows and things that were Entertainment’s backstage, then that night, he went to his locker and threw me a life vest.

With a curious look on my face, he told me to put it on and that I would see what we are doing. So I followed behind and we got on a small motorboat and ended up on the Earth Globe Barge.


The journey on the barge to the center of the lake will be one that will forever be etched in my memory. The thousands of camera flashes that I saw lit up the lake like a bunch of stars. Accompany that with all the “oohs” and “ahhs” that I could hear across the lake made me smile and think of how lucky I was to be a part of this show.

Flash forward seven years, I was on a wonderful birthday trip for my now fiancé. I had heard that it was going to close in September and wanted her to experience the show on her birthday in January and share a memory of a show I worked on with my future wife. As I watched with her, I caught a glimpse of her becoming overwhelmed with awe and amazement at the display. It was a sight that I am all too familiar with, not only on my own face but millions of others that have ever seen “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.”


The joy it brought will live on in everybody who was either working or watching that great show. Goodbye old friend, hopefully, you will have a small hint of yourself in the temporary “Epcot Forever” show and the permanent spectacular to come.

You can watch our video of the final performance of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” below:

Final Showing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot

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One Comment

  1. Thank you again for letting me send this to you! I hope everyone who has read it got a nice glimpse into just a fraction of the life I have lived.