Disney World's millennium celebration features new attractions at all four theme parks, but the focus of the festivities is Epcot Center, where a Year 2000 logo looms above Spaceship Earth, the park's signature silver ball. Epcot's millennial events and merchandise raise questions about 2000 and beyond--including whether a trip here is worth it.
WHEN: Forget arguing whether this New Year's Eve or next is the "real" millennium marker. The 15-month Disney event, running through Jan. 1, 2001, covers both.
COST: A one-day Epcot-only ticket is $46.64 for adults, $37.10 for kids. Or buy a Park Hopper Pass for admission to Epcot along with the three other Disney World parks; a four-day pass is $177.02 per adult, $142.04 per child.
Once you're at Epcot, the future--or at least its commemoration here--looks even pricier. A full set of 495 millennium pins, one for each day of the official celebration, will run you $3,000. A $35, 1-by-1-inch digital photo (there's room for a million) etched into a panel on a "Leave a Legacy" sculpture could be a good investment in the future, though. With a 20-year display period, that comes to $1.75 a year. Or pick up an Ear 2000 calendar for $19.95.
WHY GO: The 30-minute Tapestry of Nations Parade, held twice daily along Epcot's World Showcase Promenade, exudes energy, with 120 15-foot-high puppets who interact with the crowd. And the nightly "IllumiNations 2000" show serves up huge blasts of fire, a gorgeous luminescent globe, music, fireworks, lasers and fountains. But Millennium Village, highlighting more than 20 countries new to Epcot, feels flat, except for the young "ambassadors" who talk about their native lands. The "Gifts to the World" theme could be "Gift Shops to the World"; the place seems more like a Millennium Mall and Food Court. And Innoventions, all new for the millennium, seems hard-pressed to compete--or even keep up--with advances in science and technology.
HIGHLIGHT: Dessert. For $6.75, the Millennium Specialty Dessert at various Epcot restaurants fills a hollow chocolate Spaceship Earth with a country-appropriate filling: Guinness white chocolate mousse at the English pub, creme brulee at the French restaurant.
BOTTOM LINE: Don't make a special trip. But if you're at Disney World anyway, hit Epcot in midafternoon and catch the Tapestry of Nations parade, have dinner at a full-service restaurant (Chefs de France is one of the nicest) and end your day with "IllumiNations 2000."
Information and reservations: 407-W-DISNEY, www.disney.com.
WHAT'S THE DEAL?
Post-Holiday Jaunts to Punta Cana and Paris
* Moment's Notice is selling a post-holiday trip to the Dominican Republic for a bargain-basement price just shy of $500. The $398 deal, plus about $82 in taxes per person, includes: round-trip charter flight from BWI to Punta Cana; three nights at the all-inclusive Allegro Resort Bavaro; and food, beverages and most non-motorized water and land sports. For an extra $99 each, bring along the kids. Travel begins Jan. 6 and must be completed by Jan. 31. Ryan Air flights from BWI are limited, however, and you might have to pay $198 more to fly from National or Dulles. But with three nights at the resort costing $441 and flights starting at about $550, you can still save hundreds. Details: 718-234-6295, www.moments-notice.com.
* An Air France Holidays deal lets you spend a long weekend in Paris for about the cost of a flight there. The $399 deal includes: round-trip air fare from Dulles; three nights at the Home Plaza St. Antoine or the Ibis Paris Cambronne; breakfast; and a tote bag, dining and shopping discount booklet and map. Add about $60 in taxes. (The deal starts Jan. 14, with Thursday or Friday departures; travel must be completed by Feb. 29.) The Plaza, an Old World-style hotel with private courtyards, is in the heart of the Bastille district, near the new opera house; the Ibis is a high-rise within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower. With Air France flights starting at about $480, you'll have enough left over for an American-sized cup of coffee. Details: 1-800-237-2623, www.airfranceholidays.com.
TRAVEL TIP 126
Learning to Print
PROBLEM: You're working in your hotel room, you've schlepped your laptop but not your printer--and now you need to print a document.
SOLUTION: Barry G. Waldman of Livingston, N.J., has a neat trick: faxing the document from your PC to yourself in care of the hotel's front desk, for a minimal fee. "The document is printer-quality, as it's transmitted from the PC directly."
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SITE OF THE WEEK
For well-grouped and easily navigable links to
tour operators, cruise lines and ticket discounters:
This site--a province of the mega-search engine/catalogue GoCrawl Directory--links to 1,617 tour operators around the world, well organized into 18 regions (Africa, Caribbean, Indian Ocean islands, etc.). If you know what you want to do but lack a destination, use the broad activity links (adventure and sports, cruises, etc.). There's also a link to discounters and consolidators.
HOME THIS WEEK?
Czech photographs, through Thursday, Embassy of Czech Republic, 202-274-9100, www.czech.cz/washington.
Upper Marlboro, Md.: Jan. 22-23, Antique Doll Show, 301-952-7999. Never outgrew Barbie? Peruse a veritable FAO Schwarz of modern and antique toys.
Baltimore: Feb. 6, Chinese Lunar New Year Festival, 410-377-8143. Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with a dance performance, organ recital and Chinese dinner.
Camden, Maine: Feb. 4-6, U.S. National Toboggan Championships, 207-236-3438, www.camden- snowbowl.com. Wooden toboggans slip and slide down a 400-foot chute onto a frozen pond.
Tampa, Fla.: Feb. 5-6, Gasparilla Pirate Fest, 813-353- 8108. One thousand "pirates"--precursors of spring breakers--invade the shores.
Madrid: Feb. 10-15, ARCO International Contempo- rary Art Fair, 212-265-8822, www.arco.ifema.es. Art enthusiasts ponder such topics as "Would Goya Have Liked the Internet?"
Send news about events, festivals and other things To Do by e-mail to email@example.com.