Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Carnival! Carnival!

Yessiree! It's Carnival season, and people are scrambling for costumes to wear at their masquerades, booking trips to Rio, or buying high-caloric king cakes (either for a party or because they claimed the trinkets embedded in their slices). What better way to celebrate the season than providing you fellow Disneyphiles with a relic of the past?

This was my first non-seasonal Disney parade I had seen at age 2, back in the family vacation during Winter Break 1991. Needless to say, that was my first trip to the Vacation Kingdom. Everything was good back then - the snazzy 70's Walt Disney World logo (with that Mickey globe - pure genius), the time before Disney's Animal Kingdom was built, character revues that have semi-live music, and of course, the presence of Roger Rabbit (yes, Roger Rabbit) in the roster of characters, just to name a few that I've missed. To make things more juiced up, the Vacation Kingdom celebrated its 20th anniversary, and the daily parade echoes the pre-Lenten revels celebrated worldwide - that samba-flavored Rio carnivals in Brazil, the Junkanoos of the Caribbean, the Carnivals of Venice (masks and fancy dresses included), and of course, Mardi Gras in the Southeast, particularly around New Orleans and the Mississippi River Delta region. It also sports falloons (the floats with cold-air balloons attached to them) in the likes of the Disney Characters in crazy costumes - Mickey (in his Venetian king rainment), Goofy (in his Hawaiian shirt and blue pants with a purple banana leaf pattern), Pluto (with maracas), Donald (with a samba blouse and a conga drum), Minnie (in a Carmen Miranda-esque costume), and the aforementioned Roger Rabbit (in a jester hat). Most of those floats are reminiscent of the parade's forerunner at Disneyland, used in its 35th anniversary a year before its debut, Party Gras (not to confuse you with that video with Samuel Wright's concert under that same name), because as Jim Hill noted, the Vacation Kingdom spent a large money on the now-playing (albeit with the Genie of the Lamp from Aladdin as conductor) Spectromagic, causing them to rehab them to create a new daytime parade (and purchase a new falloon as well). With rehabbed floats, new music, and a carnival atmosphere, the resort birthed the Surprise Celebration Parade.

Of course, it had ended its run in June 1994, but that memory of seeing it even in toddler stage is ingrained in my mind. I bring you the video footage of a childhood memory (albeit a rainy day version, sans the stilts and the chants of "stamp those feet" as the walkers danced), filmed by a Disneyphile back in 1992. May the spirit of Carnival live!

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