Welcome to 40 Days to 40 Years. This countdown series is dedicated to appreciating EPCOT’s past. And in turn celebrating its future. The 40th Anniversary commemorations are quickly approaching, but today we stop and remember how the turn of the century was marked. A special thanks to the series co-host, Beth and Denny from Mouze Kateerz. They have graciously shared these photos from EPCOT 2000. (And some are courtesy of my two boys too!)
Yesterday’s 2001 post described the one of the events for the Millennium Celebration. So I thought I’d take a closer look at just one of these features. The very one that my boys can’t stop talking about to this day.
The Tapestry of Nations Parade
Introduced on October 1, 1999 and showing until 2001, this parade was far more of an “experience” than most. The story is that the stilt-walking grand marshal, “Sage of Time”, revisits the earth every 1,000 years for his Millennium Walk.
“The gateway of time has opened and the spirit of humanity has brought us together. Let us reach out and touch. Peace and goodwill to all who gather for this earthly celebration. May the spirit of humanity bring us together… may the promise of the new millennium light the child within your heart. And now… as the millennium drums unite and become one heartbeat, let us fly together hand in hand on the wings of joy, kindness, compassion and love.
– Introduction to Tapestry of Nations
First, the Millennium Clocks would begin their beat. (They were actually giant drums.), Cue the amazing soundtrack, “Celebrate the Future Hand in Hand!” This impressive score was written by composer Gavin Greenaway. He was also commissioned to write the score for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. The parade would thencommence around the World Showcase Lagoon. Tapestry of Nations showed twice nightly, and due to its pageantry and scope, was performed in triplicate in three distinct sections around the lagoon.
Tapestry Of Nations Puppets
But for us, the most impressive and memorable feature of this parade were its puppets. All 120 of them! They towered to 17 feet tall, and were designed by none other than artist Michael Curry. (Renown for his Broadway “The Lion King” fame.)
These performers were masterful. But what left us awestruck was how they interacted with their audience- especially the child lining the route.
Children Starred in the Interactive Tapestry of Nations Parade
From the description- the spiritual tone, artistic embellishments and complete lack of Disney Characters- you might expect that Tapestry of Nations did not have kid appeal. Aside from allowing children to reach up and touch the puppets, Disney masterfully involved children in another way.
Kidcot Funspots to the rescue! Little artists were able to create their own masks. They were encouraged to add elements at each of the pavilions around the World Showcase. Then they were featured during the parade.
Thank goodness we still used a stroller for our (older) son. Those masks were hard to transport!
The children waved their masks high as the puppets passed by.
At parade’s end, the children were encouraged to march with their “designer” masks in place!
Guess who stole the show?? (At least in this mama’s eyes.)
Epcot 2000, a very good year… What a way to kick off a century!!
Thank you Denny, once again, for your wonderful captures from the Tapestry of Nations!