WDW 50 – Looking Back at 50 Years of Parades: Tapestry of Nations

Walt Disney World is about to start celebrating their 50th anniversary with the World’s Most Magical Celebration but as we look forward to everything new, we are also looking back at everything that was, and in today’s case, a parade from a different celebration.

Back in 1999, the new Millennium was on approach and EPCOT pulled out all the stops to host the Millennium Celebration to welcome in the year 2000. This celebration wasn’t just a party across Walt Disney World, but also a message of peace and understanding and hope for harmony throughout the world. Part of this was one of the most unique parades to ever grace Walt Disney World (and one of the longest!), the Tapestry of Nations!

Located in EPCOT’s World Showcase, the Tapestry of Nations weaved its way along the promenade with giant puppets, rolling drums, and one of the most recognizable pieces of music ever created for a Disney park. The music, appearing decades later in a new fireworks spectacular, EPCOT Forever, still garners cheers from the crowd on an almost nightly basis as soon as that piece of music is heard.  

Performers controlled giant puppets (designed by Michael Curry): Angel, Aztec, Birdman, Discman, Hammerman, Reverse Marionette, Sprite and Wiggle Girl, who all remind us that we are many nations and we are many people, but within each one of us we all have the same threads of joy, kindness, compassion, and love which weave together to form our human spirit. Each of us and our ethnic, cultural differences are represented by the different groups of puppets. Within each group, each puppet is different.

Here, in this circle of nations, the Millennium Walk reminds us that we are indeed one earthly family. Join us … as we celebrate the circle of life … the family of human kind … the Tapestry of Nations!

The Tapestry of Nations stayed at EPCOT through the Millennium Celebration and through the next big event, the 100 Years of Magic (celebrating the 100th Birthday of Walt Disney) but evolving into the Tapestry of Dreams before it was retired in March of 2003.

Cole and I have taken closer looks at this beautiful EPCOT classic and you can find our articles below. You can also find (arguably) the favorite Super Bowl Halftime Show of EPCOT and Disney fans which not only featured music and puppets from the Tapestry of Nations, but from Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, and the anthem for the festivities, “Celebrate the Future Hand in Hand.”

Into the Archives: Tapestry of Nations

Extinct Attractions: Tapestry of Nations and Tapestry of Dreams

Super Bowl Halftime Show: Millennium Celebration

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Tony Betti
Originally from California where he studied a dying artform (hand-drawn animation), Tony has spent most of his adult life in the theme parks of Orlando. When he’s not writing for LP, he’s usually watching and studying something animated or arguing about “the good ole’ days” at the parks.