Walt Disney World is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the debut of Harmonious, a new fireworks, water, laser and pyrotechnics show appearing nightly at Epcot that features 15 Disney songs in 13 languages performed and arranged by more than 240 musical artists, composers and singers from around the globe.
But one of those artists, Latin Grammy-winning singer Luis Fonsi, is celebrating an achievement of his own: being chosen to record a variety of Latin songs for Harmonious. The "Despacito" singer, who is joined by Mexican singer-songwriter Joy for the performance, brings both an emotional rendition of "Remember Me" from the 2017 Pixar film Coco and a vibrant and upbeat medley of additional songs and music from Coco and Disney's 1943 film Saludos Amigos to the show.
"To be in the middle of Epcot and hear myself sing in Spanish and in English, it's a big step forward and a personal milestone that gives me a positive vibe that the world is coming together and we should celebrate each other's culture," Fonsi told Yahoo Entertainment about the show's recent premiere. "[That scene] is a big part of the show and I loved that it got people sort of moving. Obviously, the movies are great and the soundtracks are amazing but then, bringing all of these elements together — the lighting and the water and the fireworks — it's that moment where you just have to smile and dance a little because the arrangement is up-tempo and really well done."
Fonsi, who moved from Puerto Rico to Orlando, Fla. when he was 11, says he was "born and raised" in Walt Disney World parks, making participating in the show even more special.
"I grew up literally ten minutes away and hanging out at Disney was pretty normal," the 43-year-old said. "On a personal level, I've always been a big fan, especially of the music side, so when I got asked to be a part of Harmonious I was so excited. Once they told me I was going to sing 'Remember Me' from Coco, I thought, 'This is such a beautiful song. I can't wait.'"
But it's about more than a love of Disney for Fonsi. Harmonious also premiered on Sept. 29, in the middle of Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month. The Puerto Rican singer says he's thrilled to be a part of bringing Epcot guests on a journey into the music of his culture.
"The show captures little flavors from different genres within the Latin culture and different places," Fonsi explained. "In my head, I hear, 'We're in Mexico right now. We're in Brazil. We just went to Puerto Rico.' Sound-wise, these are the little details people may not notice, but there was a lot of planning behind all these decisions...at the end of the day, you don't necessarily notice it, but you feel it."
And what does Fonsi want guests to feel when they hear his contribution to Harmonious?
"I hope they smile," he said. "I hope they dance. I hope it puts them in a good mood. To me, that's what Hispanic culture represents: it's vibrant.
"We're colorful, we're happy people and that little moment of music? To me, that's what it represents. I hope they always get that from us."