If there's one thing still missing at Disney domestic theme parks that I miss the most, it's the nighttime spectaculars. From the fireworks over Magic Kingdom to The epic show that is (Disneyland's) Fantasmic!, the best stuff at Walt Disney World and Disneyland happens at night. However, since those events always draw crowds, they've had to be put on hold. Although if you've been to Epcot recently, you know that the park is teasing their future with a set of massive barges that will be used in a new nighttime show called HarmoniUS.
The barges are sitting out in the World Showcase Lagoon and if you find yourself in Epcot you'll occasionally see them spraying water or otherwise being tested in advance of an as yet unspecified premiere date. Recently, Blog Mickey put together a time lapse video showing how some of the mechanisms will work when the show is going on, and the official Universal Orlando Resort Twitter account couldn't help but make a comparison to an infamous Will Smith movie that also had a massive creature with mechanical arms, or in this case legs.
If you've seen Wild Wild West, then no further explanation is necessary. That movie contained a massive mechanical spider in its finale which has gone down in infamy. These four mechanical arms come out of the barge and, especially due to the slightly unnatural speed of the time lapse, they looks absolutely creepy. If you turned this thing over it certainly looks like it would be able to crawl around like an actual spider. Although, speaking of spiders I feel like this thing more closely resembles Doctor Octopus.
HarmoniUS was first announced shortly after it was revealed that the long running Epcot nighttime spectacular Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, would finally be retired. In its place, starting in October 2019, was a show called Epcot Forever that was designed to be a stop gap until HarmoniUS was ready to roll in October 2020. That obviously did not happen. Epcot Forever ended when the park closed in March 2020 and while Epcot was back open by July, no nighttime shows have returned to the park yet.
There have been hints that Walt Disney World could be eyeing an October 2021 launch date for HarmoniUS. October 1 will mark the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, but nothing official has been announced. These barges have been in the lagoon for months being put in place and occasionally tested.
The barges have been criticised by many for being something of an eye sore. While Illuminations included a massive floating globe, it was able to be sailed out of the lagoon at the end of every show and then was brought out each night. These barges are simply too big for that, and thus will be a permanent part of Epcot's sightlines for the foreseeable future. One assumes that in the dark the slightly creepy metal arms will be more difficult to see, and we'll all be looking at the lights and the fireworks anyway.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.