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Millennium Celebration/Millennium Village
Millennium Celebration/Millennium Village
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Walt Disney World celebrated the coming of the year 2000 and the Millennium in a big way. The official start to the festivities began on October 1, 1999. All of the parks participated in the "Celebrate the Future Hand in Hand" theme with special decorations and merchandise. Magic Kingdom, the Disney-MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom promoted "new" offerings that had actually opened in 1999, such as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Sounds Dangerous, Doug Live! and Tarzan Rocks!
Millennium Celebration at Epcot
Spaceship Earth Makeover and Leave a Legacy
Epcot was the main focus of the Millennium Celebration and numerous events were held throughout the park. Spaceship Earth got a makeover with the giant numerical "2000" and 116-foot Mickey hand. This polarized some Disney park fans, even more so when the 2000 was later changed to say "Epcot" after the celebration was over. Another controversial addition was Leave a Legacy, where guests could pay to have pictures of themselves etched on stone monoliths in the entrance plaza in front of Spaceship Earth. Participants would receive a silver folder containing their photo on a plastic transparency with the location of their tile. They would also receive a card with a now-defunct website to access their photo. Some long time visitors likened it to a "graveyard" and complained that it made the plaza cramped and ruined park sightlines. Despite this, Epcot continued to sell images until June 16, 2007. For those wishing to locate their photo, a tile locator station is inside the Camera Center or visitors can e-mail WDW.EC.firstname.lastname@example.org. In February of 2019, Disney announced that the entrance plaza of Epcot would be renovated and that Leave a Legacy would be relocated outside of the park's entrance.
Pin Trading and Entertainment
Pin Trading was heavily promoted during the event. A new pin was issued every day of the celebration and many pin trading events and seminars were held at "Millennium Central" near the information kiosk in Future World. Guests could also get a special "Postmark Epcot" stamp cancellation near the pin trading area.
World Showcase got its first parade since the short-lived World Showcase Parade with Tapestry of Nations as well as a new night show: IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth. Tapestry of Nations was later revamped into a parade called Tapestry of Dreams and IllumiNations dropped "2000" from the name once the year was over.
Epcot also hosted the Millennium Culinary Series at the former Odyssey Restaurant. A different country would periodically be featured and a visiting chef would create a four course dinner. Entertainment was also offered and there was a special viewing area for IllumiNations.
Millennium Village was a new pavilion that was between Canada and the United Kingdom in World Showcase. It featured exhibits from countries that did not previously have a World Showcase presence. The actual building is still there but it is now used mainly as a backstage area. Since 2001 it has been referred to as World Showplace and is sometimes used for special events such as the Food and Wine Festival.
Expo 2000 Projects
Germany hosted Expo 2000 Hannover from June 1 to October 31 and it was promoted at both Millennium Village and at an "Expo Window" at the Germany pavilion in Epcot. The exhibits in the village were a collaboration between Epcot and the Expo. Expo projects included:
Integrated Food Security (Ethiopia): This project worked with villagers to raise healthy crops.
Mini Hydra Power Project (Indonesia): The focus of this project was on generators that could produce light and power for things like reading and cooking.
Children Teaching Children (Israel): A peace project between Jewish and Arab teachers and students.
Matinyani Women's Development Project (Kenya): Kitui weaving helped to support health clinic services for residents.
Zero Emission Brewery (Nambia): Brewery waste was recycled as nutrients for crops.
The Gisborne Project (New Zealand): A crop rotation and tree reforestation project helped to preserve land.
Women and Health Management Training (India): The goal of this program was to increase health education programs in India.
The Wind-Up Radio (South Africa): Rural areas could stay informed with a hand-cranked radio.
Millennium Village Exhibits
Threshold to the Future: World Bank Ambassadors would show guests "Gifts to the World" via interactive activities. This area also featured the British Airways "Change for Good" campaign for UNICEF. The sponsors were the United Nations, World Bank, British Airways and The History Channel.
Brasil: Guests could walk through the Amazon rain forest and listen to different sounds, experience Carnaval, and play a cyber-version of soccer. The costumes of the Millennium Village Ambassadors were the colors of the Brazilan flag and were donated by the Brazilan Olympic Committee. This area was presented by Varig and Embratur.
Scotland: Here guests could learn how Scotland has contributed to world culture while playing miniature golf. There was also a virtual tour of the country hosted by the poet Robert Burns. The Ambassadors in this area wore a special plaid designed for the decommissioned Royal Yacht Britannia. Presented by Scotland the Brand and Scottish Enterprise.
Saudi Arabia: Visitors could take a virtual tour and hear stories from the past. Presented by the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council.
Eritea: Guests could take part in a traditional coffee ceremony with representatives from this East African nation. Presented by The State of Eritrea, Ministry of Tourism.
Sweden: Walk through four 30-foot tall eggs that recreate the seasons in Sweden. The eggs were originally featured at Expo 98 in Lisbon. There were also exhibits featuring technology, nature, social responsibility and culture. Presented by ABB, Skandia, and The Kingdom of Sweden.
Chile: Here guests could discover how Chile's Expo 2000 project harvests fog for drinking water and see the "Moai of Peace". The statue was created in 1991 for the Easter Island Non-Profit Association. Ambassadors in the Chile area wore "huaso" cowboy outfits. Presented by the Wine Association of Chile.
Israel: Visitors here could walk down a recreation of an ancient street paved with real Jerusalem stone. There were also interactive exhibits about the modern State of Israel. Presented by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Israel.
The Gift of Cuisine: Featured food from around the world.
The Salute to Folk Art: The exhibit featured artists from around the world that created their own interpretation of the Coca-Cola bottle.
Gifts From the World: This area featured items for sale from the Millennium Village countries.
World Showplace: A performance area featuring song, dance, music and also Tivoli Gardens puppet shows from Denmark. In between performances a video tour of Venezuela was shown. After Millennium Village closed to the public, the building was referred to by this name for special events that were held there.
Millennium Village Green: This area showcases renewability and was presented by AARC.
World Marketplace: Artisans from countries such as Lebanon, Peru, Thailand, Egypt, Greece and South Korea worked inside a yurt structure from the Kyrgrz Republic.
The World Culture Game: The World Bank presented this area, which featured a quiz and an hourly video.
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