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All the hoopla leading up to the new millennium pretty well had petered out by the wee hours of Jan. 1, 2000, as parties around the world started to wind down, One place where it is stubbornly hanging on, though, is at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla., where Disney's Millennium Celebration will be running through Jan. 1, 2001.

There had been an ongoing running argument as to when the new millennium truly begins, with purists holding out for the 2001 date, while the rest of the planet, anxious to get on with it, celebrated on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, 1999. Disney got the jump on everybody, launching its millennium extravaganza on Oct. 1, 1999, and booking it for a 15-month run, Spectators have long since gone home from Times Square, the Washington Mall, and the myriad locations around the globe that mounted spectacular Walt Disney World will be packing tourists for the rest of the year.

Symbolized by the park's millennium icon--Mickey Mouse's gloved hand brandishing a 116'-high wand that, in turn, supports the illuminated numerals 2000 on top of Spaceship Earth, towering 25 stones above the ground the celebration is concentrated at Epcot. The two main attractions are "IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth" which lights up the night sky over the park, and "Tapestry of Nations," a parade that wends its way around Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon twice each evening,

"IllumiNations" features the world's first spherical video display system, consisting of 15,000 light-emitting diodes (LEDs), to show images, while full-color lasers flash; a barge shoots propane flames into the air; another barge pumps aloft 5,000 gallons of water a minute; walls of flame leap 40' into the sky above the lagoon; and nearly 3,000 shells burst into fireworks--every night!

The "Tapestry of Nations" parade stars 120 puppets--each about 20' tall--representing the countries of the world Controlled by elaborately costumed puppeteers, they interact with spectators as they are escorted around Epcot by 15 percussion stages on wheels bearing 30 drummers pounding away at more than 700 drums. All of this is accompanied by the music of a 71-piece symphonic orchestra and 30voice chorus.

Once in the park, visitors are confronted by new attractions galore, including Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh tn the Magic Kingdom; a Tarzan stage musical and Kali River Rapids white-water rafting at the Animal Kingdom; Doug Live! and the Rock `n' Roller Coaster at Disney-MGM Studios the Millennium Village. Journey Into Your Imagination and the high-speed Test Track at Epcot: and Cirque du Soleil at Downtown Disney

If you loved celebrating the millennium for one night, lust think of the fun you'll have doing it for another 10 months at Walt Disney World!
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Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Mar 1, 2000

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