Each week through the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary, we will be taking a look back at various parades, entertainment, and nighttime spectaculars throughout the history of the resort. Walt Disney World has seen so many different things come and go throughout its 50 year history. So, let’s take a look back at what people remember dearly or forgot quickly.
Today, we head back to Epcot and look back at what was one of the most beloved celebrations and parades that the park has ever seen. People to this day still talk about it and love when the music is played in various places.
“Tapestry of Nations” debuted on October 1st, 1999 as part of the Millennium Celebration. This one of a kind parade was presented twice daily traveling around World Showcase lagoon. The parade consisted of 15 percussion units, 120 tall puppets, 720 drums and 150 live performers. Gary Paben who created this spectacle said ” ‘Tapestry of Nations’ combines hundreds of artistic elements to create a celebration like no other.”
The puppets were designed by award winning designers Michael Curry who also worked on “The Lion King” on Broadway. These puppets would interact with guests as they went by. The parade was separated in three sections and each was led by the Sage of Time which was a stilt walking performer adorned in a silver cloak which symbolized the human spirit. 19 torches ignited around World Showcase to bring the spirit of the celebration to life. These torches which are now an Epcot staple also were part of “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.” Gavin Greenaway composed the beloved music for the parade, he also worked on the music behind Reflections of Earth.
Tapestry of Nations has such a resounding theme that it was even used for the Super Bowl XXXIV Halftime Show in 2000. “Tapestry of Nations” did end in 2001 but only to be replaced by a new version called “Tapestry of Dreams.”
This new version, “Tapestry of Dreams,” was a simple retheme of “Tapestry of Nations” to get rid of the Millennium Celebration to make the parade more timeless. The focus was on dreams of course. The main change in the parade was the Sage of Time becoming Dreamseekers. This new version of the parade didn’t seem to have the same connection with audiences that the original did. The parade closed in March 2003. This brought an end to parades at Epcot as well.
The Millennium Celebration at Epcot brought a lot of changes and additions that still are around today. As we have already discussed, the major entertainment was “Tapestry of Nations” and “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.” Outside of that, the Millennium Village was opened as a pavilion to host several nations not included in the pavilions throughout World Showcase. This building still exists today and is used for special events throughout the year as World Showplace. Journey Into Your Imagination opened during this celebration and was very short lived. This was the second version of the Imagination pavilion attraction. The third and current version opened in 2002.
The infamous “wand” was placed over and onto Spaceship Earth during the Millennium as well. Many fans were not fans of this addition and it was removed later on. An updated version of Innoventions opened during this time as well. Only one side of these two buildings exists today. And finally, Leave a Legacy was added to the front of the park in large monoliths. These monoliths were recently removed and the photos of guests on them relocated to new colorful displays just outside the entrance.
That is going to do it for this installment of Making Memories. It is just about time to kick off “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” so how will you be celebrating this momentous occasion?
- Making Memories: Cinderella Castle Takes on New Light
- Making Memories: A Celebration of Nations and Dreams
- Making Memories: Seeing the Stars at the Studios!
- Making Memories: Its Time to Dream and Celebrate
- Making Memories: The Night Comes Alive at Animal Kingdom