Walt Disney World Memories: ‘Tapestry of Nations’ at EPCOT

From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Steven Miller

“Behold! The great Millennium walk.” Those booming words from the Sage of Time echo in my head more than 20 years after the debut of “Tapestry of Nations” at EPCOT. Created for the Walt Disney World Resort Millennium Celebration, this spectacular parade took place nightly around World Showcase Lagoon. It is by far my favorite parade ever created for a Disney park, and I spent countless evenings capturing performances on film. Recently, I scanned those negatives and wanted to share some of my favorite memories with you.

According to
Pam Brandon’s “Marking the Millennium – The Celebration of a Lifetime at Walt
Disney World Resort,” the parade was in development for three years. Originally
conceived as a show called “Carnival of Giants,” the working title evolved from
“Millennium 2000,” then “Earth 2000,” then “Tapestry of Dreams” (a name later
used when the show continued during the “100 Years of Magic Celebration”), before
landing on the perfect “Tapestry of Nations.”

During the
show, millennium drums served as a human heartbeat while guests were
transported on a spiritual journey with larger-than-life puppets set to an emotional
score.

‘Tapestry of Nations’ at EPCOT

The concept
clicked for me, as there were many times I found myself lost in the moment,
drumming along to the music while performers danced on the World Showcase promenade
with 20-foot-tall aerial rod puppets. I think my favorite puppets were the
futuristic Hammered Man or the gangly Disc Man.

‘Tapestry of Nations’ at EPCOT

Award-winning
designer Michael Curry brought the puppet designs to life, and a crew of 50
worked for over a year creating 120 puppets for the show. There were 40
different styles, three of each design with names like Bird Man, Wiggle Girl,
Aztec Man, Inverted Marionette, Angel Girl and the Sprite.

Thirty drummers pounded giant rolling clocks in time to a breathtaking score composed by Gavin Greenaway. He said the soundtrack “communicates a feeling of oneness, of belonging, with many cultures and people together.”

Music was
recorded at Abbey Road in London with musicians from the Royal Philharmonic and
the London Symphony Orchestra, and a 30-member chorus. Even now as I write this
article while listening to the soundtrack, I’m moved to tears, as the music is
filled with such hope and optimism.

‘Tapestry of Nations’ at EPCOT

I extend a
sincere thank you to the cast members who spent many hours bringing this show
to life. Throughout my career, I’ve met many people who adore “Tapestry of
Nations” as much as me, and it’s always an instant bond we can share.

This is just one of the countless indelible memories from my years at The Most Magical Place on Earth. I’ll continue to share more here on the Disney Parks Blog as part of our ongoing celebration of the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary. You can also follow #DisneyWorld50 on social media channels to become part of the conversation!

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