By: Amy Kawa
Confession time, Dreamers. My name is Amy, and I am a obsessed with… things that glow – lights, neon, wearable glow gear, glow-in-the-dark things, strobe lights, blacklight – all of it.
Disney has certainly mastered the art of things that glow. How many kids have asked (maybe the correct term is begged? bartered? tantrum-ed?) their parents for something from one of the infamous glow carts wheeled around by cast members – spinning flashlights, light-up character necklaces, bubble wands, and now, even light-up Mickey Ears. I own at least one of those things from each category… and many more glowing things from the Disney Parks. Side note: I make my own money, so I didn’t even have to throw a tantrum! Adult win! I mean, Disney literally has a line of merchandise entitled “Glow with the Show,” where Mickey and Minnie Ears, wands, and Mickey gloves light-up in sequence to the various nighttime shows and can be controlled via the My Disney Experience app. Cue Disney taking all my money.
The plethora of glowing merchandise is just the tip of the iceberg. I have always been a firm believer that Disney magic comes alive even more so at night. Disney has mastered the art of using lighting (“the glow,” if you will) to create some pretty amazing scenes. I mean, just look at how they light up Cinderella Castle in a beautiful purple or teal or how all of the countries around World Showcase are lined in magnificent white lights that shine during Illuminations.
However, my favorite use of “the glow” comes in a much simpler form. Disney has so many unexplored pathways that hold some of my absolute favorite things in the Parks (like the Leapfrog Fountains we wrote about here). One of these pathways exits at the entrance/exit to Epcot. As guests leave the park for the night, they all end up going around the Fountain of Nations and filtering out down the main, center pathway around Spaceship Earth. Little do they know the beauty they’re missing!
As you exit, make sure to look down. On both the left and right side of this pathway, guests can find a small section of sidewalk that glows with lights that look like little stars. There are small, fiber-optic yellow lights that glow and fade embedded into the sidewalk. It’s just a little thing, sure, but it’s still breathtakingly beautiful, especially when paired with the indigo/orange hue of Spaceship Earth illuminating the night sky.
Now, those sidewalks are cool, but it’s the off-the-beaten-path stuff where “the glow” really comes to play. Just to the left of the main drag as you’re exiting Epcot, you will find some planters and benches in front of the entrance to Future World West and the old Innoventions. Within that maze of planters is the coolest sidewalk you will ever see. Now, if you traversed this path earlier in the day, you would have no idea what was really under your feet. Once the sun sets, this pathway transforms into the coolest light-up sidewalk you will ever see. I know… you didn’t even know you wanted to see a light-up sidewalk, but you do! Move over, Test Track, this is where the REAL show is. The best part? You don’t even need a Fastpass for this attraction! It always amazes me that so few people stop to admire the beauty of the different colors and patterns that turn what should be a mundane, ordinary sidewalk into something truly… magical. If that isn’t a perfect summary of the power of Disney, I’m not sure what is. It is absolutely mesmerizing. I literally sit in the middle of the three different sections for a solid 10 minutes soaking in the atmosphere – no people and Epcot’s beautiful exit music all while embracing my love for things that light up. Doesn’t get better than that for me.
So, next time you find yourself in Epcot, make sure you take a little detour to your left before racing to catch your bus or a monorail to leave the park. Even if you’re not obsessed with things that glow, it’s still something to see.
Oh… and if there is anyone out there who knows how much it would be to install these sidewalks in a driveway, please hit me up.