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|Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade|
Walt Disney World's 100 Years of Magic celebration, which kicked off last October 1 and will run through December, debuted amid resort-wide budget cuts and staff layoffs. The celebration itself is a lavish and loving tribute to Walt Disney and his legacy, and signs celebrating the event are everywhere throughout the theme parks. All four parks have special interactive kiosks for learning about Walt Disney and the history and evolution he sparked, and are also selling Magical Moments interactive pins and a very cool handheld game are for those who want to be part of the fun. Four parades -- three brand new and one makeover -- have been specially created to mark the occasion. There is lots to see and do, so let's get busy!
Disney's Animal Kingdom finally gets its afternoon parade because of the 100 Years of Magic celebration. The park is usually empty by 3:00 p.m., but with the new parade every walkway is jammed with park visitors. It's just what the park needed.
Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade is a high-energy dance party that winds its way along the walkways circling the Tree of Life. It manages to combine the usual Disney characters with a sort of hipness usually lacking from most Disney theme park entertainment offerings.
Music for the parade blends infectiously "up" worldbeat pop songs such as Miriam Makeba's Pata Pata and Mais Que Nada from Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, along with an upbeat score somewhat reminiscent of The Lion King.
Parade floats are a mix of larger-than-life animal sculptures and customized safari jeeps. There are stilt walkers, Disney characters, dancing safari guides and motorized "rickshaws," which carry park visitors chosen to be "honorary" participants. Visitors chosen to be in the parade are given a Kodak disposable camera to capture the memories of their day.
The animal floats have been designed by Michael Curry, who was responsible for the inventive puppets in the Broadway production of The Lion King. That same ingenuity is readily apparent here.
Some of the highlights of this fun parade are offered here for your viewing pleasure:
The parade opens with, appropriately enough, Rafiki, accompanied with some honorary guests in a customized Jeep.
The first of the inventive animal floats.
A giraffe and hippo are next.
Minnie Mouse has brought everything, including her bathtub, on this safari.
Birds, camels and monkeys follow close behind.
A crocodile nips at their heels.
Goofy waves at the audience.
If toucan play, so can a fish.
Wildebeests and tigers, oh my!
Timon, Terk and the Solid Gold Safari Guides get down with their bad selves.
Donald Duck brings along his boat. But why would a duck need a boat?
Were off to see the lizard!
A drummer tucked inside a kangaroos pouch.
Finally, the big cheese himself: Mickey waves to the natives.
Photos on this page, unless otherwise noted, by Sheila Hagen
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