Monday, February 4, 2013

20th Anniversary Surprise Celebration Parade

    The 20th anniversary surprise celebration at Walt Disney World was a 15 month long campaign which began in 1991.  The celebration included a daytime show at EPCOT Center called Surprise in The Skies, the debut of Spectromagic, as well as a new daytime parade that took place in the Magic Kingdom. Guests would also be randomly surprised with 20th anniversary themed merchandise.

    The Magic Kingdom parade had it's origins beginning at Disneyland.  The parade was called Party Gras, and ran for about 11 months for the 35th anniversary of Disneyland.  This was a hugely popular parade and was arguably the most popular part of the 35th anniversary celebration.  The parade only ran for less than a year during 1990 because of the incoming Celebration USA parade.

   This parade was pretty much just sitting unused in California.  So in typical Disney fashion, why not haul the parade over to Walt Disney World to be used during the 20th anniversary celebration.  The only problem with this was that the themes of Mardi Gras and Carnival did not entirely gel with the theme of the "surprise" celebration on the east coast.  But they went along with it anyway being that this was the most economically feasible option.

    The parade featured massive character balloons that stood around 40 feet tall.  These balloons featured the Fab 5 as well as Roger Rabbit.  The floats did receive some aesthetic upgrades and an entirely new Mickey balloon for the stint at WDW.  The Disneyland version portrayed Mickey in his sorcerer garb.  
Cinderella and Snow White Graced this float
   The parade also featured characters from Pinocchio and the Jungle Book.  As well as Chip and Dale in their own individual mini floats and various dancers and unique costumed characters.
    Although the parade did not have all the fantastic elements that made the Disneyland parade so popular, it did have enough staying power to last for almost 3 years. This parade ran throughout the celebration and for a couple years after, until the ever popular Mickey Mania parade replaced it in 1994. 





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