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20th Anniversary Surprise Celebration Parade

20th Anniversary Surprise Celebration Parade

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 Walt Disney World celebrated two decades in 1991.  The Disney Channel aired a special in honor of the birthday called Walt Disney World: Past, Present and Future that was hosted by John Lithgow and featured cast members from Disney Channel version of The Mickey Mouse Club.  

The Surprise Celebration parade was based on (but not the same as and less elaborate than) Disneyland's Party Gras Parade.  The floats from Disneyland were remodeled and then reused in this parade, although the Mickey balloon was different.  It ran from September 22, 1991-June 4, 1994.  It featured Disney character balloons and carnival themes such as Mardi Gras, Carnival del Rio, and Venetian carnivals.  After a countdown, the parade would step off and begin.  Escorted by characters from Pinocchio wearing Mardi Gras outfits and musicians, a Roger Rabbit balloon wearing a jester hat led off the parade.  A family was chosen each day to ride at the base of the float.  Two masked figures followed behind, wearing puppet-like costumes that made it look like a woman was on either side of them.  Masked dancers that looked like they were from a Venetian carnival followed them.  Minnie Mouse was next, led by a group of dancing women.

Mardi Gras Minnie Mouse

A horse-drawn cart followed Minnie and one of King Louie's servant monkeys rode backwards on it.  He fanned King Louise as he rode on a pineapple float and Baloo walked beside it.  More dancers came behind them, followed by the Three Caballeros on the Donald Duck float.  Chip and Dale rode on motorized rotating vehicles that looked like palm trees.  The Country Bears rode with Pluto on his float and played tropical music.  The music speaker that came behind this float was decked out in a rotating jester face.  Acrobats did cartwheels ahead of the Goofy float.  The procession for the King Mickey float came after Goofy.  Being that the float was for royalty, Snow White and Cinderella rode with him.

Marti Gras Mickey float

 The six cold-air balloons were between 35 and 40 feet in height.  Originally titled in honor of Walt Disney World's 20th Anniversary, the parade was later known simply as the Surprise Celebration Parade.  Some viewers remember gold, blue and green coins being thrown from the floats in this parade.  If anyone can provide a picture of one of the coins, it would be appreciated.  

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See ya real soon!