The Epcot wand. A source of much contentious debate. The structure began as an addition to Epcot, the focal point for the year long Millennium Celebration, and ended as a reminder that we can all be united together, if only in a twisted sort of fashion. If you are looking for me to stir the pot here, or comment one way or the other, then this is not the article you are looking for.
Disney has a long association with hot air balloons. From the introduction of the Mickey-shaped Ear Force One in 1986, to the inclusion of Cinderella Castle and Donald Duck balloons, and even the recent opening of a balloon attraction, Characters in Flight (which isn’t actually a ‘hot air’ balloon), the soaring feeling of flight and beautiful photographs that accompany this marvels of the air fits perfectly within the Disney wheelhouse.In October and November of 2000 the newly unveiled Millennium Balloon soared through fifteen cities around the country. It was comprised of 2,700 individual triangles, which could cover half a football field, and stitched together with five miles of thread to give the balloon an authentic Spaceship Earth appearance. Once filled, the basket and balloon stood as tall as an eight story building, making it easy to spot as it passed overhead.
In the years following the Millennium Celebration, the balloon received a makeover, adjusting the 2000 text to Epcot in order to mirror its inspiration. The balloon, complete with wand, has lasted longer than Spaceship Earth’s adornment, most recently taking part in the 2011 Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World. Whatever your take was/is on the original wand, there is no denying that the Millennium Balloon is a thing of beauty.