Disney kicked off The World's Most Magical Celebration, Walt Disney World Resort®'s 50th anniversary party, with an early showing of the best nighttime spectacular it has ever produced. Harmonious, Epcot®'s new nighttime show, is the perfect representation of everything Walt Disney World Resort does right. This was Disney at its fullest force, masterfully weaving storytelling in a subtle, artful way that is reminiscent of many of Epcot's best stories.
The Viewing Experience—Where Should You Watch?
Harmonious is an experience that must be seen in person. Its true grandiosity cannot be translated properly to a screen streaming internet video, the magic behind its machinery a spectacle in itself. Though avoiding specific spoilers, the water, lighting, and sky-dusting fireworks create a near-overwhelming phenomenon that embodies the word "magic" in a way that only Disney's very best work has achieved.
That said, some viewing locations are better than others, though each location in World Showcase will give a unique perspective. For the best viewing experience, see the show from immediate entrance to World Showcase before turning right or left to any pavilion. The back of World Showcase is also an excellent location, namely America and its neighboring pavilions. The key is to center yourself with the show's centerpiece barge in order to see all the projections and get the show's maximum effect.
Why the Show is Disney's Best
I have long been of the opinion that I much prefer original content in the theme parks over more inclusions of Disney's film properties; however, in being a celebration of how music—and Disney's music, especially—can not only break communication barriers, but be a powerful source of connection, expression and optimism, Harmonious understands what is truly so special about Disney's intellectual property. Gone is the overarching narrator, and instead the show does what the best of Epcot has always done: it leads by showing you, not by telling you.
Without any show or story spoilers, Harmonious makes a statement as an art piece and a masterclass in storytelling more than it wishes to monologue and explain its concepts. The new musical arrangements of classic Disney hits are grand, powerful and emotionally pulling, and each are blended in a way that makes it sound more score than segmented soundtrack or playlist. It ends in one of the most beautiful and thoughtful celebrations of Epcot itself (and by nature, the core message the park portrays), understanding with a delicate touch why Disney's most storied and unique theme park is such. The end is, bar none, my favorite moment of any Disney spectacular ever.
The beacon of magic upon Spaceship Earth, as guests will see at the end of the show, is equally as spectacular as anything Disney has ever done. Magnificent and bright, its changing colors, led to by the show's finale, is as jaw-dropping and worth watching as Harmonious itself.
Harmonious's attachment to Disney's stories makes it as much a replacement for Happily Ever After as it does Epcot's spectaculars of old. Its 20-minute runtime is as much a celebration of why Disney is so special as it is a celebration of its guests and fans.
Harmonious was not only worth the wait, but is worth the trip to Walt Disney World Resort alone to see it in person. A must-do experience in every regard, Harmonious was, and will continue to be, the reminder of why I ever fell in love with Disney in the first place.