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January 5, 2000

Fireworks, Parties Ring In New Year at Walt Disney World

Lake Buena Vista, FL -- With a "bang" heard 'round the world -- Walt Disney World -- the Vacation Kingdom ushered in the year 2000 on Friday night with countdown parties, big-name bands and pyrotechnics that painted the Central Florida skies from six locations. More than 13,000 shells exploded over Disney's vast entertainment venues and resort hotels in the largest New Year's Eve sky show in the resort's 28-year history. The festivities also took to the sea, as Disney Cruise Line marked the milestone in grand fashion with guests aboard Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.

Guests arrived at Walt Disney World so early that capacity conditions were declared at Epcot at 7:49 a.m. (a record), limiting entry after that time to resort guests and holders of multi-day tickets and annual passes. The Magic Kingdom followed suit at 12:40 p.m., then Disney-MGM Studios at 1:34 p.m.

Festivities were all part of the year-long Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration that continues non-stop through Jan. 1, 2001. Taking the theme of "Celebrate the Future Hand in Hand," the year-long Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration features thrilling new attractions, breakthrough technologies and sights, sounds and tastes from around the globe. Among the highlights of the celebration, which is centered at Epcot:

"Tapestry of Nations," a twice-daily moving spectacle around World Showcase that celebrates the human spirit with larger-than-life puppets, giant rolling percussion units, an original musical score and more than 150 live performers.

"IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth," a stunning pyrotechnics show that takes place on (and above) World Showcase Lagoon as the daily grand finale.

Millennium Village, a pavilion along World Showcase that features interactive exhibits and displays from countries around the globe.

Throughout New Year's Eve 1999 at Walt Disney World Resort, pyrotechnics spectacularly lit the night above the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios and Downtown Disney as hundreds of thousands of revelers across Walt Disney World Resort joined in the fun. It was an exclamation point on a resort-wide New Year's Eve celebration that featured a musical lineup including L.F.O., Hootie & the Blowfish, the B52s, Cheap Trick, STYX and more.

At Epcot, celebratory sounds and global music filled the air in Epcot World Showcase, creating a festive atmosphere for the midnight fireworks.

Crowds filled the Magic Kingdom for a non-alcoholic celebration full of family fun, culminating with the park's fabled "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks show.

Magic Kingdom actually started the New Year's celebration early with an 8:30 p.m. fireworks show. At midnight, a newly created show was presented for guests, featuring a special "Celebrate the Future Hand in Hand" finale that welcomed the new year with the musical anthem of Disney's millennium celebration. The musical finale also was presented for guests at Epcot, Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney-MGM Studios.

At Disney-MGM Studios, L.F.O. and Cheap Trick were joined by swing's Big Time Operator, comedians, disco music and a '50s-'60s record hop as special entertainment filled every area of the park.

Jazz and a special New Year's Eve performance of La Nouba attracted a sellout crowd to the Cirque du Soleil(R) theater in Downtown Disney, while a street-party at Pleasure Island featured pop legends STYX, the B52s and Hootie & the Blowfish. Atlantic Dance, a swing-filled, big-band dance hall at Disney's BoardWalk, treated guests to a sold-out party with a five-course gourmet meal and live music, circa 1946.

"Our millennium celebration is giving guests a reason to mark a very special occasion with their families and friends -- and have a wonderful experience," said Al Weiss, president of Walt Disney World Resort. "And for guests unable to be with us on New Year's Eve, they will get the same magic every day and every night for the next 12 months as part of our year-long celebration."

The Disney Magic and Disney Wonder of Disney Cruise Line met off Disney's private Bahamian island to ring in the new year at sea with a spectacular nautical fireworks display. As shells seen from both ships lit up the ocean sky, guests danced beneath the stars to swingband sounds, basked in showers of confetti and sang along to "Auld Lang Syne."

As Walt Disney World Resort guests celebrated the momentous stroke of midnight, resort monorails, communications and theme park attractions were reported free of Y2K-related glitches.

WOW2K! Facts About New Year's Eve 1999 At Walt Disney World Resort

Millennium guests watched from all across Walt Disney World Resort as a record fireworks display filled the New Year's Eve skies.

Light Up The Night: In an incredible 26-minute time span, more than 13,000 pyrotechnics shells exploded in the skies over the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney and Disney's BoardWalk -- a record-breaking number for the Florida Vacation Kingdom.

Meanwhile, At Sea...: Disney Cruise Line ships Disney Wonder and Disney Magic met at Castaway Cay, Disney's private Bahamian island, to ring in the new year. More than 5,000 guests danced on the ships' top decks amidst showers of confetti and a pyrotechnics show featuring more than 2,000 shells.

Sky High: Of the 13,000 shells at Walt Disney World, some rose 1,100 feet in the air and exploded in a shower of color more than 800 feet in diameter. 2000' FOR THE YEAR 2000: The fireworks finale at Epcot featured an incredible 2000-foot-wide span of fireworks shot from behind the park's World Showcase pavilions.

A Global Celebration: To create its stunning New Year's Eve displays, Walt Disney World Resort imported fireworks products from Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the United States.

Five Times The Fun: The Magic Kingdom show was five times larger than any New Year's Eve pyrotechnics show ever presented in the celebrated theme park. Shells were launched from more than a dozen locations.

Break Out The Bubbly: More than 120,000 glasses of champagne were raised across Walt Disney World Resort on New Year's Eve.

Yum 2K: At Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort chefs prepared and served more than 4,000 chocolate desserts shaped like Spaceship Earth, the famed Epcot icon. The sweet treat is a new dessert created and served at Epcot in honor of the year-long Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration.

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