19 April 2011

Larger than life figures

When Epcot unleashed its Millennium Celebration, it brought with it a parade unlike anything guests had seen before. Tapestry of Nations, which would be transformed into the Tapestry of Dreams later in the parade’s lifespan, featured rolling percussion units that shook World Showcase with seven-hundred and twenty drums, but the real draw were the puppets.

The parade rolled out in three sections, from Mexico to Germany, Germany to Morocco and Morocco to Canada. Each of the three segments were identical to one another, which meant guests would not miss out on a particular performance piece. The parade operated twice nightly, the first time running clockwise around the lagoon (Mexico to Germany, Germany to Morocco and Morocco to Canada) and the second time returning the processions to their original starting parts by going counter-clockwise (Germany to Mexico, Morocco to Germany and Canada to Morocco).The throng of performers in the cavalcade towered over the guests, standing at a whopping eighteen feet. While some of the performers stood on stilts, the majority of the engaging entertainers were the one-hundred and twenty puppets controlled by a puppeteer at their base. The brainchild of designer Michael Curry, the puppets were crafted so that they weren’t only a part of the processional, but were also able to interact with guests. If the puppets of Tapestry of Nations reminds you of similarly creative puppets from Finding Nemo: The Musical, that’s likely because he worked on those as well, in addition to puppets from Broadway’s The Lion King, the Jammin’ Jungle Parade and Aladdin at Disney California Adventure, among others.

Tapestry of Nations ran from 1999 until it morphed into Tapestry of Dreams in 2001. In early 2003, the parade was shut down entirely. Save a nighttime spectacular, Epcot has never fully embraced large-scale entertainment productions. Tapestry of Nations was just another glimmer of hope for those who love pageantry, and what a wonderful glimpse it was.


denise said...

I miss that parade and still have a t shirt from it.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Denise, it was such a wonderful addition to Epcot's entertainment. I really wish they would bring back some sort of World Showcase parade or daytime spectacular...