Walt Disney World Unveils Two New Performances
After years of hype, EPCOT finally unveiled its new nighttime presentation, Harmonious.
Meanwhile, after weeks of less hype, Disney’s Animal Kingdom revealed its new daily performance. Both went about how you’d expect.
Let’s talk about the two new presentations at Walt Disney World.
World Showcase Lagoon has spent most of 2021 preparing for this week.
When IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth performed its last show two years ago, construction began on the Harmonious set.
This state-of-the-art event requires five massive barges, all of which have taken up permanent residence at World Showcase Lagoon.
Four of these barges possess a half-circle design. In addition, each of them includes a multifunctional moveable arm.
These arms contain dozens of lights and projectors, along with some water techniques.
As such, the supporting barges prove essential to the main stage, the barge that effectively replaces the globe from IllumiNations.
So, you cannot help but gawk at the sets as you gaze across World Showcase Lagoon.
Once the show begins, you’ll notice a remarkable celebration of classic Disney stories as told through the pinnacle of Imagineering innovations.
The main stage functions as a giant circular projection screen. Water effects cause images to appear on this screen. It’s similar tech to Rivers of Light and World of Color, albeit in an improved form.
A Musical Approach
The imagery onstage reinforces the music and vice versa. As the opening narration suggests, “We find each other in song.”
Harmonious cycles through snippets of at least 15 Disney songs while accentuating them with water-projected visuals from the films.
Perhaps the most fitting bit of storytelling is the one that has triggered the most online criticism to date.
Disney utilizes multilingual music during the show, starting with Moana’s How Far I’ll Go and Go the Distance. Later, one song, Mulan’s Reflections, even starts in Mandarin.
You’re at the World Showcase, and Disney celebrates this fact with its nightly musical presentation.
The other surprise involves the fireworks, which take a backseat to the barge visuals, at least when you’re close to the lagoon.
Instead, the focus remains on the main stage’s projections, which the four other barges function as supporting players.
You can watch a video of the show to see what I mean:
That’s what I love about the show. When you’re watching a nighttime show at Disney, it should glow in the dark figuratively and literally.
World of Color has already done that, but EPCOT now exhibits something similar and objectively better.
The overall reception to the show online has proven quite positive. However, some critics lament the prioritization of Disney intellectual property.
Alas, Walt Disney World’s other new show hasn’t gone as smoothly…
KiteTails…More Like KiteFails!
Don’t worry. I’m talking about an actual issue during an early performance when I make that joke.
Yes, Disney KiteTails has debuted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Suffice to say that the first show didn’t go smoothly.
Park officials had to cancel it midway through the performance when a jet ski flipped, stranding its driver in the water. Thankfully, the cast member was okay.
Still, that’s a fairly apt summary of reception to KiteTails, which comes in (at least) two forms.
One version features Jungle Book, while the other celebrates The Lion King.
So, what is the show? Well, it’s sort of like Disney’s movie-based show attractions.
You know how a cast member carries around Bruce the Shark from Finding Nemo, and we pretend the person is not there?
The theater portion of KiteTails works similarly as performers fly kites or carry around props that look like Disney characters.
Meanwhile, jet skis (hopefully) sail around the bay on the water, providing the velocity to keep giant kites in the sky.
As for the kites, some of them look like inflatable balloons while others look like, well, monster-sized kites.
I suspect your enjoyment of the show will depend on whether you ever watch kite shows or parades. Also, the music plays a factor.
Here’s the version with The Lion King:
And here’s Jungle Book:
I believe that Baloo is the best kite overall, but The Lion King show comes with much higher energy.
Still, reception of the shows has been mixed at best, which I think misses the point a bit.
These performances are for kids more than adults…and they’ll love the giant inflatable Disney kites!
For adults, I suspect that KiteTails is something we’ll watch when we’re bored or want to sit down rather than prioritize.