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May 27, 1985 – A Special One-Day Parade at Walt Disney World

For the first two weeks of February 2016, the WDW Radio Blog Team will be reviewing great moments in Disney History. These moments have impacted the history of the company through film, parks, innovation, events and more.


Several years ago, while taking a behind the scenes tour at Disney’s Epcot, the Cast Member was sharing theme park trivia and asked the tour group a question. The American Adventure attraction was the setting for a non-Disney event only once—what was that event? Kathy’s hand shot up and blurted out, “Ronald Reagan’s inauguration! And I was there!” And that was indeed the answer to the trivia question. Aside from being shocked (and disappointed) that a guest would know the answer to the question, the Cast Member was incredibly surprised to meet a guest who actually had been at the event.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0At0vwxWops&w=420&h=315]

As the story goes, Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration on January 21, 1985 was moved inside due to the bitter cold temperatures in Washington, D.C. The parade was to feature more than 50 high school bands that briefly played before the President and Mrs. Reagan at the Capital Center. Knowing there were some very disappointed high school bands and realizing an opportunity, representatives from Walt Disney World invited the bands and President Reagan to Disney’s Epcot for a streamlined version of the cancelled inaugural parade.

Kathy happened to be at Disney’s Epcot on May 27, 1985, on a family vacation. There was nothing to indicate it was a day unlike any other at Walt Disney World, until a helicopter landed behind The American Adventure, and guests were informed by loudspeaker of the day’s events. The ceremony began with President Reagan presenting a speech, which gave a nod to Disney’s World Showcase Scholarship Program. The speech was followed by a parade that circled World Showcase with 20 high school bands performing.

Kathy has a few memories of the event, such as the Marching Dutchmen band from Holland, Michigan, that marched in wooden shoes! There was a balloon release and an F-16 flyover. But, her favorite memory was the distraction the inaugural festivities had on the ability to enjoy the attractions—no lines!

Video produced by Walt Disney World Media Production, ©1985 Walt Disney Productions. 


LookingforMagicLooking for Magic is Kathy @ Two Roads Photo  and Sean @ Shamrock Photo .  Kathy is a librarian, walker of many miles, and Paper Bag Princess, who dreams of having coffee with Belle at the castle and co-administering a fantasy book discussion group.  Sean is a fire fighter, pilot, and closet superhero, who would like to join the pack with Tigger to use his bouncy and fun powers to make people smile. Kathy can be contacted at imtxag85@aol.com Sean can be contacted at spoc65@aol.com