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March of the ARTimals Parade

March of the ARTimals Parade

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March of the Artimals seahorse
 Animal Kingdom's first parade premiered when the park opened in 1998 and originally went by the name March of the Animals.  According to the Making of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park book that was released in April of 1998, Senior Show Producer Douglas May wanted a different kind of entertainment for Disney's newest theme park.  Designed by Swiss artist Rolf Knie, the parade was supposed to represent an informal celebration put on by the artists of what was then known as Safari Village.  May described the "animal festival" as "very intimate".  

March of the Artimals mantis

 The parade featured no Disney characters or music.  The floats were very simplistic and the animal costumes were fanciful depictions by artists.  Some of the costumes even showed the heads of the "artists".  In addition to the music (instrumentals of songs that had animals in the titles), some of the characters such as the frog and queen bee spoke or sung gibberish but nothing understandable.  Some guests may have found the whole procession a little too Avant-garde so some changes were made in the successive months.  In order to emphasize that this was a fanciful procession, the name was changed to March of the ARTimals (sometimes just spelled March of the Artimals).  A band and storyteller began to accompany the parade.  Despite these changes, the parade had its last performance in June of 1999.  While the costumes in this parade were later occasionally used for entertainment in the Safari Village/Discovery Island area, the park would not have another parade until Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade premiered in 2001.  

March of the Artimals elephant
Instrumental songs used in the parade included:
Aba Daba Honeymoon
Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing
Three Little Fishes
Flight of the Bumblebee
Baby Elephant Walk
Tiger Rag
La Cucaracha
Itsy Bitsy Spider

Floats and performers in the parade included:
Opening float with artistic kinetic elements and the parade's name.
Sea horses and a giant fish that had bells and chimes on it.
Frogs dancing around a float with a "crooner" frog wearing a straw hat and red and white striped jacket.  
Artists wearing tall bird costumes.
Bees waving ribbons and tickling their queen with a flower as she sat on her honey throne on a hive float.
Elephants with a tuba, saxophone and trumpet for trunks.
A tiger and monkey walking behind the elephants.
A lion on a float playing a xylophone made from the skeletons of some unfortunate gazelles.
A tall walking spider with moving legs and a spider web float, followed by two praying mantis costumes.

March of the Artimals tiger

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