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January 2, 2001

Walt Disney World Starts New Year With A Bang

Lake Buena Vista, FL -- Walt Disney World Resort Sunday night brought the curtain down on a 15-month-long party -- and the curtain up on 2001 with a grand and gala New Year's Eve celebration property-wide.

The Vacation Kingdom was a nighttime spectacle of parades, parties, on-stage live entertainment and bursting fireworks. Despite brisk temperatures, a party mood filled all four parks including Disney's Animal Kingdom where a special 5 - 8 p.m. New Year's Eve party geared to families included extended stage shows, party favors and a unique nighttime safari through the animal reserves.

From its launch Oct. 1, 1999, Disney's dazzlingly popular 15-month Millennium Celebration came to a rousing close at Epcot. With its shooting lasers, sky-filling pyro and original musical score, two performances of "IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth" burst above World Showcase Lagoon on Sunday night. Guests also were treated to "Tapestry of Nations," a moving spectacle of giant-sized puppets performed around the lagoon.

Both shows helped lift Walt Disney World Resort to a sixth straight year of record attendance in 2000 -- and, by popular demand, both shows are being extended indefinitely into the new year.

Disney stages sparkled with name entertainers, including Duran Duran and Foreigner at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island to Tito Puente Junior at Epcot to Florida's own Sister Hazel at Disney-MGM Studios.

Parades and smile-wide merriment filled the Magic Kingdom --there was even a special Children's Christmas Ball nearby at Disney's Contemporary Resort.