Luminous The Symphony of Us

Steve Davison of Disney Live Entertainment Shares About ‘Luminous’ Ahead of EPCOT Debut

Lumious will debut tonight at EPCOT. When it does, it will be full of emotions as guests watch from around World Showcase Lagoon. What it won’t be full of is massive barges and projections. Unlike Harmonious, Disney is taking a different approach to this experience. Creative executive for Disney Live Entertainment Steve Davison shared with USA Today a bit about this new nighttime spectacular.

“A lot of emotion is where we kind of went with this one,” Steve Davison shared with USA TODAY. “You just feel it, and even without seeing some of the visuals now, people just cry when they hear the soundtrack.”

As mentioned above, there are no projections in Luminous. With this show, Disney is doing something different. “This will be a whole thing, ‘Ooo, why aren’t there projections in the show?,’” Davison predicted. “On purpose. Because by putting projection in the show, we’re telling you what to see. By not putting it there, by using color and light and texture and sound, we’re letting you paint your own journey in your mind.”

Instead of projections, light and color and water will be utilized to help the music tell the story. “We don’t want to tell you how to feel. We want to give you the opportunity to take your own life experiences and apply that,” said Tom Williams, executive producer for Disney Live Entertainment.

About the overall theme of this show, it really is about ‘us.’ “With the last show (Harmonious) for the 50th, it was great because we kind of explored how Disney and the world came together,” Davison said. “For this show, it’s about the human connection and bringing people together. Especially post-COVID, I think people have had a hard time connecting again, like how do we talk to people?”

Davison also shared about how the show starts and progresses. “It starts with this big invigorating (drum sequence), kind of gets you all excited and then we launch it into a blackout. And then out of the blackout comes the first voiceover and it basically says welcome to the great gathering, and then we go around the lagoon,” Davison said. Each country pavilion joins in. “Then there’s a cute little nod that we do to Future World because it’s this huge section over here with Figment, who everyone loves, and Figment welcomes everybody, too.”

The show utilizes water, music, light, and of course fireworks to take guests on an emotional journey that encompasses family, friendship, and also love. “Even loss – we have a section called loss that’s very endearing – and then found,” Davison said. “I guarantee you if you have children, you will hug them at some point in this, because it makes you remember those special things.”

Music is very important to Luminous. There are two original songs and also songs from different Disney stories. At one point in the show, four mothers sing You’ll Be In My Heart from Disney’s animated feature Tarzan in different languages. “There are dads that come in too, but I did it like a round, almost like ‘Row Row Row Your Boat,’ so it just layers on top of itself in a beautiful way,” Davison said.

On top of that, there are also songs like Friend Like Me from Aladdin and Can You Feel the Love Tonight? from The Lion King. During the loss section, songs like When She Loved Me from Toy Story and Coco’s Recuérdame are heard.

Other familiar songs include “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” from “Lion King.” The loss section tugs on heartstrings with “When She Loved Me”  from “Toy Story” and “Recuérdame” from “Coco.” “They’re great storytelling devices. And secondly, it lets children into the show in a different way because children know this music, but now they’re hearing it differently,” Davison said.

“People will cry,” Davison said. “It’s just one of these things where if you allow yourself to have that emotion, let it … just for once in the darkness.” There was one specific moment that was created at the end of the section on loss that is designed to do just that. However, the darkness is followed by light with brand-new fireworks and bursts of light. The entire finale is a reminder that no-one is alone.

“‘Luminous’ is about how we all bring our light to the world and how we can let that shine and let others see it,” said Williams. “The thing that takes us out of that time where we feel like we’re all alone is calling out to others and letting them shine their light, so that we can see it, so our light can shine back.

“Even if you end this experience and you look at somebody you didn’t even know and say, ‘Well that was really beautiful,’ and you have even a simple conversation, it starts exactly what we want to have happen,“ Davison said. “Not people being isolated any more.”

It also should be noted that yes, there are barges utilized in this show. However, they are not permanent. Unlike Harmonious, the barges utilized in Luminous will be brought out in the afternoon and not be out in the lagoon all day. “They come out every afternoon. They go back to their little home to get ready for the next day,” WIlliams said.

These barges are different in more ways than just size. In fact, the big barges house little ones that break away and move around the lagoon. “We used to have eight surrounding barges on the outside. We’ve expanded that to 12, which then makes the experience even bigger.” Davison said. “It will feel a lot bigger than it did before.”

Luminous debuts tonight on December 5th, which also happens to be Walt Disney’s 122nd birthday. EPCOT also opened its new World Celebration Neighborhood where guests can walk around the World Celebration Gardens to Dreamer’s Point and get a picture next to the new “Walt the Dreamer” statue. There are also characters found in the area to get photos with as well. It comes as EPCOT nears the completion of a multi-year transformation.

What do you think of what you are hearing about Luminous? Are you excited to see it? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!