Illuminations fireworks at Epcot

Walt Disney World is open to the public but the parks are far from what they once use to be. Many popular attractions like parades and fireworks shows have still not returned, as social distancing and limited park capacity basically prevents them from taking place. Epcot was supposed to get a brand new nighttime spectacular in October of 2019, but the show, called HarmoniUS, had to be delayed. However, it now appears that Walt Disney World may be planning to launch the show about one year after the original plan, as the resort is promoting the new show for cooperate events starting this October just in time for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary.

Last week Walt Disney World dropped the first details surrounding the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World celebration. And while nothing regarding new attractions or events were revealed, Blog Mickey reports that corporate packages being offered by the parks as part of the 2021 Taste of EPCOT Food and Wine Festival include special receptions and viewing of HarmoniUS starting this October. While there are likely caveats attached in case this can't happen, it seems Walt Disney World is currently expecting to be able to launch the event in time for the park's 50th anniversary.

And this could have potentially farther reaching implications. If there's a belief that a nighttime spectacular will be able to take place at Epcot by October, the possibility exists that we could see the return of similar events like the Happily Ever After fireworks at Magic Kingdom or Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom will not be returning, as that show has already been officially ended.

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It would almost be necessary for other evening events to return to the other parks. If Epcot is the only place shooting off fireworks it's going to become really popular with park hoppers which could lead to overcrowding, which will almost certainly want to be avoided even if the pandemic is seen as largely under control at that point.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek recently made comments that he expects the theme parks to be able to function without the current health and safety guidelines by early 2022. And so seeing events that cause crowds, like fireworks or parades, start to return this fall potentially fits in that timeline. With vaccinations becoming more available it's possible that the parks could begin to relax restrictions this summer or fall, with things back to whatever passes for normal now by early next year.

While Disney may be working with the belief that HarmoniUS could launch in October, we likely won't get official confirmation of that for a few months-- even if it happens. The only thing surrounding the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary that has been officially confirmed are decorations and some nighttime cosmetic changes to major park landmarks, all things that can still happen even under the current park conditions. Additions like this will likely be held off until closer to the event when there is more confidence they will actually happen.

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