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Forging ahead! A lot has changed in the world since we last checked-in on the HarmonioUS construction progress. To say the world has been flipped upside down would be the understatement of the year. While many projects around Walt Disney World have hit the pause button, others like the Star Wars Resort and HarmonioUS have been full steam ahead. Why is the HarmonioUS construction work still underway? What progress has been made? And, most importantly, when could Epcot’s new nighttime spectacular debut? That’s what we here to discuss. Grab those hard hats and construction vests, it’s time to head out to the job site or otherwise known as backstage!

Concept art for Epcot's HarmonioUS

Where We Left Off

In the beginnning…no, no. We’re not going to bore you with a recap of our previous check-in of the HarmonoioUS construction process. We’ll let you check out it at your convenience, you can find it here. The two big things to note were that the show barges were delivered to Epcot and the new nighttime spectacular was penciled onto the calendar to begin October 2020. Nowadays, we say penciled over slated. What can we say a pencil is easier to erase than something etched in stone.

HarmonioUS construction work - barge docking stations. Photo credit BlogMickey

World Showcase Lagoon

The majority of the work associated with the HarmonioUS construction project occurred in Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon. It’s the main reason why the temporary show, Epcot Forever, had the vast majority of its show aspects take place above the water. From the fall of 2019 to the early parts of spring 2020, different areas around World Showcase Lagoon were drained for construction teams to install the show elements for HarmonioUS. Mainly electrical work for the permit docking stations for the smaller barges. There will be four docking stations for the smaller barges with the largest bargest or the centerpiece having its own unique docking station. What is unknown at the moment is whether or not the barges will be present at the beginning of the show or brought out as an element of it. Additionally, firework stations were added around the lagoon.

From our understanding, the work associated with World Showcase Lagoon is mostly complete. So much so, that Disney has moved onto the testing phase of these elements. On September 24, 2020, after Epcot closed for the day Disney tested a variety of fireworks for the show. The testing was by no means the full production or test run through. Instead, what was witnessed from the Boardwalk Resort bridge to Epcot’s International Gateway was individual fireworks being shot into the sky. There were no musical elements or any type of theatrical presentation. In the DVC Duo house, we believe this was Disney simply testing the newly installed firework stations, docking elements, and potentially the barges (cannot be confirmed). The testing went on for about 15 minutes.

Even though it was just testing, these were the first fireworks at Walt Disney World since the parks reopened. Something tells us this could be a Disney trivia question in the not so distance future!

LED screens installed as part of the HarmonioUS construction work - Photo credit BlogMickey

The Barges

Speaking of the barges. Work on the centerpieces of HarmonioUS is well underway. Thanks to BlogMickey we got our first glimpse of the LED screens being installed to the outside framework for one of the four smaller barges. This can only mean one thing, the work on the interior of the barges is complete. Based on the concept art, the interior of the barges will have fountain and lighting aspects that will more than likely be powered by the different docking stations installed within World Showcase Lagoon. What is unknown is if the barges will also have fireworks shot from them or not. If we had to guess the centerpiece, or better known as the fifth barge could have this functionality as it’s larger than the other four.

The fifth barge will have a unique design all to itself. From the concept art, we could see a more circular shape compared to the oblong shape of the four other barges. Looking at the picture from @bioreconstruct on Twitter we can see just has massive the centerpiece will be compared to the other show elements. There is still a lot unknown about the centerpiece, especially, whether or not it will get similar LED screens installed or use something different to create visual effects within the circle.

Timing

It’s what we all want to know. When will the HarmonioUS construction be complete? And, when will the show debut? Well, those very well could be two different dates. As we spoke in a previous article, HarmonioUS has been labeled a high priority project by Disney. It’s the main reason construction has forged on. Doing a little math based on when everything was shut down and then restarted, we would expect work to be completed by end of year or early quarter one 2021.

However, that may not be the start date for the show. There are many factors when it comes to Disney bringing back nighttime spectaculars to the parks, and the majority are out of their control. The biggest is the physical distance measures and how to best manage guests. With Epcot having one of the largest viewing areas for a nighttime show, we could see it being the first to come back. Additionally, Disney is keen on restarting their dining packages associated with the nighttime shows, as well as, night time dining at Epcot. We’re not going to project a date at this time, but we will say you should keep an eye on two things, the total number of COVID-19 cases (trending down) and the ability to lessen the physical distancing requirements below six feet. This is solely based on how Disney and The Oriental Land Company have brought fireworks to the Tokyo parks.

Our Thoughts

The show will be ready! Based on everything we’re observing the HarmonioUS construction is moving along a solid pace and it will be ready before we know it. Similar to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the biggest question will quickly become when will Disney feel comfortable debuting it. When it’s ready we’re excited to see it. We got a feeling this could be one of those all-time great Disney nighttime spectaculars. It’s time to take off those hard hats and construction vests and head back “on-stage”!

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