Harmonious update: Six-story central barge moves into place at EPCOT

Photo courtesy Disney

Harmonious is the next big night time show coming to EPCOT. Replacing EPCOT Forever and Illuminations: Reflections of Earth before that, the show is part of the  EPCOT transformation that was announced at the last D23 Expo.

What we know about Harmonious 

Located in the World Showcase Lagoon,  Harmonious will incorporate lasers, water fountains, giant LED screens, lights, and fireworks to tell a story of global connection and celebration. 

Photo courtesy Disney

Disney is currently placing five large barges in the center of the Lagoon. The barges have lights, fountains, screens and movable arms built in. These will be used during the nighttime spectacular, but also during the day as part of a water fountain display. 

This original nighttime spectacular promises entertainment on a grand scale as a tribute to the power of story and song that unite us. Musicians are recording music and artists are composing visuals from across Disney and cultures around the world as Imagineers are programming the floats.

According to Disney, Once complete, “Harmonious” will be one of the largest nighttime spectaculars they’ve ever produced. 

Photo courtesy Disney

The shows five floating platforms house the primary show equipment for Harmonious. Four look like giant chocolate tacos and the recently-placed center platform is a six-story-tall ring. The ring will support a high-density water curtain, moving lights, fountains and more.

Disney recently shared this video update on the progress of Harmonious.

What to expect as a guest 

Which theme park you choose to spend your evening at is a big choice for every Walt Disney World visitor. Different parks have different atmospheric strengths and weaknesses, but the big decision is which show to see. 

Fireworks, Fantasmic!, digital projections, or maybe even a parade (we can hope for the return of a nighttime parade someday, right? ).  EPCOT is the largest park in terms of capacity, and the park upgrades are expected to provide more viewing areas for Harmonious.

(Photos courtesy Disney.. Kent Phillips, photographer)

No opening date has been announced for the start of Harmonious or the daytime water fountain show. When it does open expect large crowds. 

We like to book a night or two at an EPCOT area resort, which makes it convenient to walk back to your room after the show let’s out. Expect large crowds for the Disney Skyliner.

The show is designed to play to the four points of the compass, but the central ring will face the World Showcase plaza. Disney likes to see dessert parties in this area, it’s a certainty those upcharge experiences will return. 

Location, location, location 

If you look at the location of the Stargate float, you’ll see that it is not quite centered in the lagoon as one approaches from Spaceship Earth. This has created a lot of consternation on #DisTwitter.

I get it. The way you approach World Showcase Lagoon now has a six-story off-center donut clogging up what was before a pristine view of the American Adventure pavilion. 

I do think we have to remember that Harmonious is a show Disney plans to anchor in the Lagoon for a long time.  Additionally, EPCOT itself is at the beginning stages of a massive transformation that will change the way guests access the Lagoon.

The placement of the big O could be positioned to play perfectly to the new multistory festival center, the top of which, will be a viewing platform for the Lagoon. 

The other big issue of consternation is that, unlike Reflections of Earth, the Harmonious barges also won’t go backstage during the day. Instead, there will be a water show with a variety of mini-shows for programming.

I won’t lie, the issues with Harmonious do bother me. But I am willing to wait and see what the final product looks like. 

Mostly, I look forward to the day when crowds can gather safely again around the World Showcase Lagoon to unite in a magical Disney nighttime spectacular. 

This is the promise of Harmonious and I’m willing to give Disney the space and time it needs to deliver on it.

Recommend reading: what was announced at the EPCOT transformation.