Today I’m back on my bullshit about how much I like Epcot. Specifically: the Illuminations fireworks show, still one of the best things Disney’s ever done. The last time we went to Epcot, I got to see it, knowing that it was my final time seeing it, and I just cried and cried as I said goodbye to what felt like 20 years of my life.
Any obsessive fan can tell you that the appeal of Illuminations wasn’t just the fireworks, but the whole experience. In that way, I imagine it’s like Burning Man for middle-class suburban white people. (Or in other words, Burning Man). Even before the narrator blows out the torches all around the lake, there was an electricity as people walked around the World Showcase to find a good spot to watch the show. All set to early 2000s new age world music, composed in an environment where Gregorian chants set to electronic beats were played on popular radio. Most memorable is probably “Our Life” by Uttara-Kuru, from the album East Wind.
For years, I just assumed that if these songs never appeared on an official Disney album, there’s no way I’d be able to have recordings of them. But then I remembered the internet exists. A playlist by Timothy McJilton on Apple Music compiles most of the songs from the Illuminations preshow, and there are countless others on streaming services and YouTube.
That’s how I know that the song I’ve always known as “Holy Shit The Fireworks Are About to Start” is actually called “Gaviotes” by Hevia, from the album Tierra de Nadie.