Well folks, there’s not a terrible lot of news to report lately.
Ok, strike that – there’s not a terrible lot of news we’re willing to report on lately. We refuse to accept the Disney Cruise Line as a “park” or “resort” and we wont touch Aulani with a twenty-foot pole either. We might cover stuff at Universal Orlando, but that’s really outside of our general scope. Most of the current Walt Disney World resort projects are at a general standstill thanks to Easter crowds with very little in the way of interesting work happening. So, it’s time to look back on the past and on the mounds of research we stare at while working on those books you’re all going to be buying in the future (you do buy the books we write, don’t you? Because if not.. this blog is totally pointless.. )
This week’s theme.. not to imply we’ll do this weekly, or ever again: The Millennium Celebration!
Meylah-weylah! To keep things a bit less nonsensical than the parade theme song lyrics, we’ll divvy this up into chunks. Today we’ll just do a bit of a general overview. Then we’ll tackle Leave a Legacy, the Wand, the Tapestry Parade, Millennium Village (and seriously if you have a map/layout/ground-plan of that building we’d love to see it! email us or link to it!) and finally Reflections of Earth. If we have the willpower we might even discuss the cringe-worthy makeover of the Imagination pavilion.
In searching for some prose to really aptly to describe what the feel of the Millennium Celebration was all about and how the Walt Disney World resort really pulled out all the stops we ran across the following press release from the summer of 2000:
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — New Year’s Eve festivities that welcomed 2000 may be a fast-fading memory to some, but at Walt Disney World Resort, the fun’s just begun.
In a year-long millennium celebration, it’s the spirit of New Year’s Eve every day and night at the Vacation Kingdom.
Now through Jan. 1, 2001, a millennium celebration too big for one night features grand Disney spectacles, show-stopping entertainment, groundbreaking technologies and sights, sounds and tastes from around the globe.
The spectacle, centered at Epcot, takes the theme “Celebrate the Future Hand in Hand.”
In Disney style, a spectacular line-up of daily entertainment dazzles Epcot guests of all ages. “Tapestry of Nations” is a new spectacle for the new millennium featuring larger-than-life figures ablaze in vibrant colors. Soaring nearly 20 feet and controlled by performers dressed in elaborate costumes, these enormous figures (120 in all) dramatically prance, dance and interact with Epcot guests.
To the sounds of an original musical score, the puppet-like figures are joined by 15 gigantic percussion units, designed to resemble colossal timepieces. A global celebration builds as cultures from around the world join together for an unparalleled extravaganza.
This street festival breezes past the global pavilions of World Showcase twice daily. For Disney’s Millennium Celebration, Epcot is also introducing “IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth,” an all-new nighttime spectacular filled with the fiery glow of torches, a high-energy soundtrack, sky-piercing lasers and thunderous fireworks. More than a simple update, the show has been created from scratch, with more than 30 percent more fireworks than any prior Epcot show.
Skies above World Showcase Lagoon transform into a kaleidoscope of colorful pyrotechnic bursts. Comets streak across the sky as video images displayed across a giant sphere tell Earth’s incredible tale. Then, the sphere blossoms like a flower, exposing a brilliant ball of fire and setting up the show’s emotional finale. Dreams of hope for a better tomorrow are cast as the music soars, lasers shoot skyward, fireworks light the night and flames leap across the surface of the lagoon. This breathtaking new show is presented nightly during Disney’s Millennium Celebration.
Dozens of nations and international presenters join in the multicultural festivities at Millennium Village, an all-new World Showcase pavilion created especially for the celebration. Once they enter the attraction, guests become immersed in a collection of exotic smells, sights and sounds from this exciting “new world.” Within its borders are no borders, making it easy for guests to wander freely and discover its rich content including exhibits from 24 countries, the United Nations and World Bank. Guests journey through a Brazilian rainforest, experience first hand the four seasons of Sweden and meet artisans from across the globe.
At the front of the park, Future World welcomes Epcot guests to themes of science and technology.
For the millennium celebration, Disney Imagineers have completely reinvented Innoventions, where guests preview the future of technology today in a showcase of the latest products for the home, work and play.
At the new Future World pavilion, Imagination!, presented by Kodak, guests on Journey Into Your Imagination expand their own imaginations in a ride-through adventure of sights, sounds and senses. Rooms turn upside down and normal turns inside out as guests are challenged to increase their I.Q. — Imagination Quotient.
Guests also can literally leave their mark as a memory of their millennium visit at Leave a Legacy. Their photo is captured on a limited edition commemorative tile, then mounted on one of 30 sculptured granite megaliths near Spaceship Earth. Leave a Legacy tiles can be purchased at one of the five Photo Capture Stations located in the Epcot Entrance Plaza.
Reminiscent of other world-class celebrations, guests can interact with other guests and Disney cast members through pin-trading. Guests can purchase pins at several Walt Disney World locations, including inside each of the four major theme parks and Downtown Disney, or choose to trade pins they’ve brought from home.
Soaring dramatically above the whole scene, Epcot’s Spaceship Earth is crowned with giant, glittering “2000” numerals. Perched on a star-topped wand held by Sorcerer Mickey’s unmistakable gloved hand, the whimsical symbol offers guests a larger-than-life welcome.
“With the international cultures of World Showcase and the technological attractions of Future World, Epcot is the natural setting for an event that draws together all humankind in a celebration of what lies ahead,” said Al Weiss, president of Walt Disney World Resort.