Monday, February 4, 2008

The Grump's Opinion: My Favorite Disney Hymn

We've gathered here tonight around the fire as people of all lands have gathered for thousands and thousands of years before us... to share the light... and to share a story. An amazing story as old as time itself, but still being written. And though each of us has our own individual stories to tell, a true adventure emerges when we bring them all together as one. I hope you enjoy our story tonight: Reflections of Earth.

IllumiNations Have you ever found yourself standing in a Disney Theme Park and suddenly realize that the music you are enjoying is causing an emotional response?  That the music you are listening to makes you feel something bigger than childhood nostalgia?

I'm sure the most novice of Disneyphile has already guessed where my quote comes from.  For those who are still trying to place where they know those words from, they are from IllumiNations:  Reflections of Earth.  It is EPCOT's nightly pyrotechnic masterpiece.

Every person has a favorite nighttime event at Walt Disney World and for many of us, we are very passionate about their favorite.  My wife loves Wishes! but I'm an IllumiNations man.

For me, it's not a Disney vacation until I hear the words quoted above.  But the real punctuation mark is when the narrator blows out the gigantic propane torches that surround the World Showcase Lagoon.

So, you are probably wondering what the meaning is behind the title of this post.....

Those who know me in the real world, know that I'm not a very religious person.  But, I have been around religion, specifically Christian faiths, enough to know many people who love to talk about their favorite Church Hymn.  The people will gladly tell you the emotional response they have when they hear these particular pieces of church music.  Some will even go as far as to tell you how they feel like they can take on the world after hearing their favorite hymn.  But, in an even greater case, they will tell you the hymn gives them a warm, all-encompassing feeling of being loved.

Well, it was during our trip in September 2007, while sitting around the World Showcase Lagoon watching IllumiNations that I noticed that I was having many of these feelings I have heard my more religiously inclined friends talk about.

It was at this time that I came to the conclusion that secular music could have the same impact on people as the non-secular tunes people enjoy every Sunday at their favorite religious service.

When I'm watching this particular spectacular at EPCOT, I cannot help but get into the music.  To me it's like a musical roller coaster.  There is a point near the middle of the show where I always feel like I have just climbed the big hill and it is going to be nothing but thrills to follow.  I'm not a musical person, but I think that's called building up to a crescendo.

The music tugs at my heartstrings which I find amazing since it's mostly an instrumental score.

To top everything off, you get some highly choreographic pyrotechnic displays which seem perfectly matches to the musical score.

During MouseFest 2007, I was able to get an added bonus in the form of the Holiday Tag at the end of IllumiNations.  As I think I described it in my Trip Report, it was like an explosion of glitter in the sky.

Sometimes when I'm feeling a bit down and suffering from a rather serious case of Post Disney Depression (PDD), I listen to the IllumiNations soundtrack.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to my 2008 trip to Disneyworld so I can get another dose of my favorite Disney Hymn performed by the masters who made it great.

What is your favorite Disney Hymn?


Karen said...

Well said! I think you've put to words what so many others have tried to do.

Unknown said...

Thanks mainstreetmom!

This post has been rattling around my head for awhile now.

Eric Hoffman said...

My favs are the Soarin' soundtrack and the "Tapestry of Nations" medley.

Great post as usual.

Unknown said...

Soarin' is amazing.

But I'm not sure I can quantify which is better: Wishes, Fantasmic! or Illuminations.

Wishes is emotional, Illuminations is awe-inspiring and humbling, Fantasmic! is heroic and exciting (except the Pocahontas part).

Great post!

Anonymous said...

I love the illuminations music too - I always enjoy the opening spiel but drive my hubbie crazy by blowing out the fire at the end!

Anonymous said...

well my little brother (45), I guess I should say younger brother sent this post to me. If you were to ask him what I did as I read it, specifically the first paragraph he would tell you I cried and he would be right as usual. Illiminations is the favorite of both of us and never fails to make me cry and truth be told I think he does to!! You summed it up completely I feel all those things you discribed and more!! Unlike you though, sometimes hearing it doesn't fix my Disney blues it makes it worse!! LOL That doesn't stop me though I have the CD and video of it and I watch it over and over and yes, I cry over and over! It doesn't get any better than Illiminations in my opinion anyway! Thanks for the wonderful post!

Unknown said...

Mrs S.,

I should have known that I wasn't the only person who blew out the giant torches in unison with the narrator

Unknown said...


I'm glad that your brother ended bringing my post to your attention.

It's interesting to hear about people's relationship with this piece of Disney music

Unknown said...

George and Eric,

I'd have to say that Soarin' is a close second for my favorite Disney Hymn.

For me, it's second place because the visuals seem to detract from the emotional response that I get when I just listen to the soundtrack.

Unlike IllumiNations where the visuals seem to add impact to the entire emotional punch

Anonymous said...

Bravo! I love every statement and sentiment you've all expressed. Every trip we've made, no matter what our plans, my bride and I end up almost every evening at Epcot for Illuminations. This included just about every night of our NINETEEN day trip in October of '05. No matter how many times I hear it, that song manages to choke me up. I loved it so much, I bought the CD. If you think that one is a choker,listen to "We Go On". Funny, I at first thought it signified man's ability to survive and always look forward. Eventually, after really listening to the words, I found that it pretty well summed up my 34 year marriage. I liked it so much that I had it printed in a letter to my wife for our thirtieth anniversary. She liked it so much, she has pressed it into a family tree scrapbook that she started shortly after we wed. After all that babbling, my point is this, The music of the parks has an uncanny ability to reach inside of all of us to find that magical point exposing the child in us all who is not afraid to experience our emotions

Unknown said...


Thanks for sharing with us about your relationship with IllumiNations

I think I would drive my wife nuts if I made her go to EPCOT every night to watch. She needs her Wishes! fix as much as I need my IllumiNations

Anonymous said...

Hey Grump--great post! Reflections of Earth definitely does it for me, as well as "The Promise" (the song played after the show is over [yes, that music you vaguely hear as you're being trampled trying to leave the park]). My chill moments though (every single time) are, 1.) the opening sequence to The Lion King ("Nants ingonyama bagithi baba..."); and 2.) the moment during Tapestry of Nations when the lights would dim, the parade stopped moving, and the whole parade and viewing area glittered with reflected light circling around. Even just hearing that point in the music does it for me, but actually being there during the parade was the ultimate!