Looking Back at Epcot’s Millennium Celebration: Vintage Article #8

Hi everyone!

We’ve been posting Walt Disney World vintage articles over the last couple of months as we approach the 50th Anniversary of the resort (The World’s Most Magical Celebration). Most of the photos have been taken by Jeff, this week they are from me of Epcot’s Millennium Celebration. I actually had small websites back in the late 90s and while I don’t have many original vintage photos left, I do have some of the digital versions.

Epcot’s Millennium Celebration was a very exciting time as we celebrated heading into the 2000s. Spaceship Earth received a “2000”, which eventually became “Epcot” as it spent about 8 years on Spaceship Earth. I started Mousesteps back in 2007, around the time the wand was removed. I can’t believe it’s been almost 15 years now.

There were still finishing touches being put on the wand at the time, the photos I took were just after Mickey’s hand was added. Some of the photos were taken September 28th, 2021 – just before the official October 1st debut.

“Preparing for the Dawn of a New Millennium”.

Like everything else, the Leave a Legacy program was just starting. Guests would buy small tiles that went onto the monoliths that spent almost 20 years at the front of Epcot. The tiles also were also part of some Walt Disney World vacation packages. The tiles are now just outside the park entrance but the monoliths are gone and the entrance looks nice and clean.

Workers were putting up Leave a Legacy information under Spaceship Earth.

On the same day, they also finished the work.

Guests start buying the tiles. When Leave a Legacy first debuted, there were Cast Member tiles including Imagineer John Hench on a monolith to show how the images looked. It cost $35.00 for one person or $38.00 for two.

The 2000 logo was part of a display here. Media was also set up in the location so I couldn’t get a clear shot – but you can see “EPCOT” spelled out below it as kind of a topiary. Also, one of my favorite Disney songs came from this celebration – “Celebrate the Future, Hand in Hand”.

There was a new times board.

Banners were up, including next to the Pin Station. I’m not showing much that we’ve seen in the last couple of years – for example, Mouse Gear was new back then and it was just replaced with Creations Shop this year.

The Pin Station (now gone) was new, as was pin trading.

Here is a banner in World Showcase.

Millennium Village was newly built. It is now called World Showplace, I still often call it by its original name. Jeff does have photos that he could share of the inside from back then, if anyone is interested in a part II of the Millennium Celebration.

Tapestry of Nations was a unique parade, although it ran in several locations simultaneously at first in World Showcase and if you just wanted to walk around, it was hard to do so.  I did enjoy Tapestry of Nations, which eventually became Tapestry of Dreams in 2001.

The Sage of Time led the parade.

There were puppets as part of the parade.

The drummer sections were among the more interesting aspects of the parade for me.

Here are some photos of the performers.

The parade was beautiful to watch, with all the colors and puppetry.

Innoventions was still relatively new and was renovated for the Millennium Celebration.

There was a Web Site Construction Zone, sponsored by go.com. Back then, the World Wide Web was pretty new. What I remember most from this timeframe was a Cast Member in Innoventions talking about movies on demand coming in the future. Mind blown.

There was a cool audio-animatronic in the Motorola pre-show.

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth debuted. I loved this show for its entire run.

Here is a look at Spaceship Earth from the parking lot at night.

I mentioned that Jeff could share more from the Millennium Celebration, he also has Epcot Daredevil Spectacular photos and so much more from around the parks. Most of my photos start in 2007 except for a handful through the years since I started visiting the parks in 1977. Jeff has been visiting each year since 1971 and has photos through much of that time.

Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary books I’m looking forward to:

A Portrait of Walt Disney World: 50 Years of The Most Magical Place on Earth (Disney Editions Deluxe)

Disney World at 50: The Stories of How Walt’s Kingdom Became Magic in Orlando

Birnbaum’s 2022 Walt Disney World: The Official Vacation Guide (Birnbaum Guides)

 

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