EPCOT’s World Showcase Lagoon is going to look a lot better in the near future. The enormous barges for Harmonious will be removed as EPCOT once again transitions to a new nighttime spectacular. EPCOT will switch back to EPCOT Forever as its nightly show beginning on April 3, 2023.
Disney provided an update on Walt Disney World’s nighttime spectaculars, including the fun note about the barge removal.
Before the new show launches, we will bring back “EPCOT Forever” as an interim show over the skies of World Showcase Lagoon starting April 3. Similar to how it appeared in 2021, “EPCOT Forever” is the perfect offering while our Entertainment team preps the Lagoon, including a phased removal of fireworks platforms following the final “Harmonious” performance on April 2.
Just in case there’s any confusion over what the “removal of fireworks platforms” means, Scott Gustin clarified.
In the blog post, Disney said mentioned “a phased removal of fireworks platforms following the final “Harmonious” performance on April 2.”
But – I confirmed (just to be certain) the barges are gone. Confirmed.
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) January 10, 2023
So long, taco barges and Stargate. You won’t be missed.
Harmonious will end its brief run after less than two years. The show originally debuted on October 1, 2021, but it was obvious the show would be polarizing as soon as the barges started appearing in World Showcase Lagoon.
The barges were massive and impossible to ignore. They disrupted EPCOT’s beautiful sightlines as soon as they were anchored.
Disney claimed the barges would be fountains during the day, enhancing the views around World Showcase.
Remember this concept art of the daytime fountain mode?
Nothing even remotely close to the concept art ever happened. Disney even claimed they were still working on the daytime appearance of the barges shortly before Harmonious debuted, but that never panned out.
Perhaps the most annoying part of the barges were how they limited viewing angles. While previous EPCOT shows could be viewed from just about any spot around the lagoon, Harmonious forced specific angles. Even Disney’s dessert party locations didn’t have optimal views.
Worse yet, the main ring barge wasn’t even aligned correctly with the rest of EPCOT. See how it sits to the side of the center line between the American Adventure Pavilion and World Showcase Plaza in this aerial from @bioreconstruct?
To be fair, the barges were extremely impressive from a technology aspect. The barges had moving arms, lights, video screens, fireworks, and fountains. But, all of that tech means there’s a lot that can – and would – go wrong. Video screens would glitch out not long after the show debuted. It’s almost as if the Florida climate is brutal on sensitive tech that’s anchored in a lagoon all day.
The Harmonious barges packed a punch, but they didn’t do enough during the show’s 20ish-minute runtime to warrant making World Showcase Lagoon look like a drilling site all day. We can criticize Disney for taking so long to realize their mistake, but we’ll elect to be thankful that change is coming.