Illuminations trade off question

We’re going to have very limited time in Epcot (only a couple hours in the evening), but we have a non-ticket evening planned on the Boardwalk. How much of the Illuminations show do you lose viewing from the ESPN bridge as opposed to inside the park? Would you recommend spending our limited park time watching Illuminations or catching a ride? Also considering the cruise, but if we decide against the cruise due to $$$, this is the next decision.

I never recommend watching Illuminations, I think it’s really dull and extremely skippable. Others disagree though! I’ve never watched from outside the park so can’t give an opinion.

You’ve posted this in UOR forum by the way. Those tend to be quieter, you might want to edit your post and change it.


You won’t be able to see the globe and the projections on it fully, even if you can catch a glimpse of the globe (which I’m not sure about). I’m not sure if you will hear the dialogue either, or whether they have speakers at the bridge.

I think you have to decide if you want to see Illuminations or just some fireworks. Similar to HEA and Star Wars, they all now have projections that are integral to the show. Personally Illuminations is my favourite nighttime show, with Fantasmic and Wishes close behind. If you’ve never seen it I would recommend it. But in the end you have a hard choice to make!

Can you say more about your plans on the Boardwalk? What time will you be in Epcot? Some of the attractions close at 7:00?

I believe you would only be able to see some of the “high” fireworks.

I agree with @missoverexcited. I feel it is waaay over-hyped. But that’s just me!

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Illumninations seems a bit lack luster to me. But i am more of a thrills person.

That said i am working in being a part if an illumninations cruise.

Yes they are expensive but maybe you can shout out and share a cruise.

BUT most impirtant is what you want to do. What is it you want most out of the little bit of time you will have at epcot??

I LOVE IllumiNations, but you’ll see essentially none of it outside of the park, and I doubt you’ll hear much of the music either…

I am currently planning our first trip to WDW. I am planning on watching Illuminations, however it is not a huge priority for us. My plan is not to stake out a place far in advance, but rather just locate a place with a halfway decent view just before the show starts. If we can’t see everything or don’t have a perfect view, I would rather have that than lose a significant amount of park time or using a fast pass.

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I was planning to skip it myself for our first trip until I looked at videos of it online and heard the score. It’s beautiful and won me over despite the lack of thrills in the show. But I think it’s a personal preference. If it were me trying to decide I’d watch at least a snippet of the show online and make my decision based off of that since I don’t think you can hear it from Boardwalk although I know you can see some of the fireworks from there.

It’s my favorite too, and I like how you put it: “if you want to see illuminations or just some fireworks”. What I love about it is that it does not dwell heavily on Disney character theming. Instead it sticks to the feel of Epcot - cultures, harmony, progress, etc. For me that makes it my favorite show, but I do tend to lean toward toward experiences that are unique and tied to the themes of the Disney parks rather than the shows that dwell heavily on the movies and characters. Ex. rivers of light is my second favorite.

In my opinion, Illuminations is best watched either from a dinner table with a good view or right after dinner at the World Showcase. I can’t imagine that you would have a view of the globe from outside the park and for me that would be missing most of the show.


Things have worked out that we’re going to have 2 evenings in EPCoT: 1 with EMH to do the rides and one just for an Akershus dinner and Illuminations. Thanks for all the advice.

Just a quick thought, if you have a spot to watch illuminations near the International Gateway, you’ll be an easy 5 or 10 minute walk from the Boardwalk. There are plenty of spots around the gateway. Perhaps that can help you do both on that same night?