MIAMI BEACH -- Walt Disney World unveiled plans today at Pow Wow
for its 15-month millennium celebration. The string of events,
starting Oct. 1, will be of great interest to international
travelers, said George Kalogridis, vice president of Epcot, where
the major related events will take place.
Epcot, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., was selected as the venue because
Walt Disney once referred to Epcot (he died before it opened) as a
"living blueprint for the future," Al Weiss, president of Walt
Disney World said. "And it is in that spirit that we welcome the
world to celebrate the millennium at this, our discovery park," he
that one of the celebration's key features will be a
55,000-square-foot World Showcase pavilion (between the U.K. and
Canada pavilions). It will feature examples of lifestyles and
cultures of people from some 20 nations along with messages from
several organizations, none of them previously represented at
Among the many participants will be Brazil, Israel, Saudi
Arabia, Scotland, Sweden, the United Nations, the World Bank, the
American Agricultural Resource Council and Brazil's Globo media
concern, the latter spotlighting technology and the future, to mark
the 500th anniversary of Brazil's discovery.
Two major events will be held in the evenings, Kalogridis said:
the Tapestry of Nations street festival and the IllumiNations 2000
Reflections of Earth fireworks, laser-light and fire show.
The two daily 30-minute street festivals, about 90-minutes
apart, will feature 123 20-to-30-foot high animated, puppet-like
human and animal characters, parading around World Showcase
(clockwise, from Mexico to Canada); the public will be invited to
The puppets will be accompanied by costumed performers who will
work the puppet control panels. When the puppets interact with a
visitor, the puppets will emulate the visitor's behavior. The
festival also will have 18 rolling drum units, each carrying 12
drummers, to provide the marching beat.
The IllumiNations show calls for projecting images of the past
three centuries onto a giant sphere. As the music soars, fireworks
light the sky and flames will leap across the surface of the
lagoon, representing "an emotional conviction of who you are and
where you are on the planet," Kalogridis said.
In the Future World section of Epcot, themes of science and
technology, the environment, creativity, children and cultural
celebrations will be featured.
The Kodak pavilion will continue with its 3-D movie, but its
DreamFinder ride will be replaced by another one tied to
In addition, a souvenir millennium pin will be given away at
Epcot all 465 days of the celebration, along with Disney millennium
clothing and gift items. There will be 465 different pins, each
about one square inch. Should all of the pins
be collected and sorted out as puzzle pieces, they will form a
picture of Epcot. Disney officials expect the pins to be collected
and traded by visitors, Kalogridis said.
A Centorium shopping area will be created at Epcot, augmenting
the park's existing shopping space by 150%. Although it resembles
the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney, it will not be as
Perhaps the most memorable souvenir will be a personal photo of
each visitor who, after paying a fee, will have it embedded in the
gigantic Leave a Legacy sculpture that will be a permanent fixture
between Epcot's turnstyles and Spaceship Earth. On return trips,
visitors will be able to point out their photos to others.
Kalogridis suggested that agents have clients arrive at Epcot by
4 p.m. to be assured of seeing all of the entertainment.n