Disney plans '100 Years of Magic' celebration

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Walt Disney World will stage 100 Years of Magic, a 15-month celebration honoring the achievements of Walt Disney, starting Oct. 1.

Parades at each theme park will be complemented by related attractions and features, according to two Disney officials who planned the celebration.

Related attractions include a gigantic Sorcerer Mickey icon and the Walt Disney: One Man's Dream multimedia tribute, both to be located at Disney-MGM Studios.

Other elements include Magic Moment electronic trading pins that "animate" and light up, and Stories Behind the Magic kiosks where users can simulate building their own theme park.

John Haupt, Walt Disney Entertainment's managing producer of the 100 Years event, said that the parades will average 30 to 50 minutes.

Parade highlights follow:

  • Magic Kingdom. Eight new floats in the form of giant snowglobes were produced for the Share A Dream Come True parade.
  • There will be at least one Disney character in each globe. The themes of the four floats will be Mickey Through the Years, The Early Years of Walt Disney, Adventures in Flight and Villains You Love to Hate.

    Three connected Princess Floats will showcase Belle (from "Beauty and the Beast"), Ariel ("Little Mermaid") and Cinderella. The Castle in the Clouds float features one globe stacked upon another surrounded by 15 Disney characters.

  • Disney-MGM Studios. This parade, Disney Stars and Motor Cars, salutes the glory days of Hollywood premieres during the 1930s and '40s and will showcase 15 classic cars with occupants such as Belle and Mary Poppins. The grand finale will be attended by Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Pluto and Goofy.
  • Animal Kingdom. Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade is a safari party that Disney characters throw for the animals living at the park. Five antique Jeeps are converted for Mickey's expedition. The finale has Mickey aboard a "super" Jeep and Donald with a boat atop his Jeep.
  • Epcot Center: Resembling this park's Tapestry of Nations parade, the Tapestry of Dreams event will emphasize that children represent the next generation of dreamers.

    There will be other attractions in addition to parades, said Roger Holzberg, senior show producer for Walt Disney Imagineering, Glendale, Calif.

    The Sorcerer Mickey icon at Disney-MGM will wear a hat that appears to levitate and change colors.

    Walt Disney: One Man's Dream, at Disney-MGM, will review what Walt Disney created, the events impacting his imagination and his achievements. The exhibit covers the 100-year span of 1901 to 2001.

    "When you enter," Holzberg said, "there is an image of Walt. Some younger guests don't know Walt is a man. They think of him as a company."

    Excerpts from unheard audio interviews will be reproduced. The exhibit will take 15 minutes to walk through.

    All four parks will contain the Stories Behind the Magic kiosks. The sites are under Sorcerer Mickey's hat at Disney-MGM, at the Main Street Expo Hall at Magic Kingdom, the Wonders of the Wild Shop in Disney's Animal Kingdom and Innoventions at Epcot.

    Magic Moment trading pins, Holzberg said, use "smart technology" and can be activated by the user or through remote-control by Disney staff for animation and lighting, especially at shows and parades.

    Pins bear theme park icons; others for Disney Cruise Line, Disney resorts and Downtown Disney all have 100 Years logos.

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