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Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration

in Walt Disney World

wdw 50th

Credit: Disney

On October 1, 1971, Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World — The Most Magical Place on Earth — opened to the public, and before we knew it, it became one of the most popular vacation destinations around the world. And here we are, almost 50 years later!

Do you want to book a trip during the 50th anniversary? Start planning today!

In October 2021, we are going to be celebrating the 50th anniversary, and we should all know by now that Disney doesn’t take milestones like this lightly. That is exactly why Disney World is bringing a party to all of its Disney theme parks later this year — making this Walt Disney World’s biggest celebration yet!

Here is everything you need to know before planning your 50th anniversary Walt Disney World vacation.

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Credit: Disney

The World’s Most Magical Celebration

Known as “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” Disney World will begin its anniversary festivities on October 1, 2021 to commemorate exactly 50 years since Magic Kingdom first opened its gates in 1971.

Disney Parks Blog shared some exciting details regarding the upcoming 50th anniversary at Walt Disney World, writing:

Beginning Oct. 1, Walt Disney World Resort will throw “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” in honor of our 50th anniversary, bringing new experiences to our four theme parks and beyond. This milestone is such a big deal, we’ve even coined a new word – “EARidescence” – to describe what you’ll see when you visit. Our Disney teams are creating all sorts of new decorations that will shimmer and sparkle all day and into the night.

As part of the celebration, Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park will add to its royal makeover from last year. As you can see in this new artist rendering, the castle will feature golden bunting and a 50th anniversary crest as part of its festive new look.

The castle will add even more magic at night, joined by icons at each of the other three theme parks as they transform into Beacons of Magic.

50th anniversary
Credit: Disney

When is Disney World’s 50th Anniversary?

Disney World first opened up Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971 and so on October 1, 2021 we will be kicking off the 50th anniversary of the Resort!

How Long Will Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Last?

The good news is that this celebration isn’t just going to last one day, a few months, or even one full year — it’s going to be going on for a total of 18 months, into 2023!

Do you want to visit Disney World during the 50th anniversary? Start planning today!

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Credit: Disney

What Other Disney Parks Plan to Celebrate Disney World’s 50th Anniversary?

These 50th anniversary festivities won’t just be happening at Magic Kingdom — they will be happening at all four of the theme parks, including Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

So, what this means is that no matter which park you visit at the Disney Resort, no matter which day you visit, you as a Disney World Guest will be celebrating Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary!

Though not too many details have been revealed quite yet, we do know that a special celebration will be coming to each of the four theme parks on Disney World property. Let’s break it down and take a look at what Guests can expect at each of the Disney World theme parks later this year.

Magic Kingdom

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Credit: D23

Magic Kingdom — the Disney Park that started it all for Walt Disney World Resort. So what will be happening over at this theme park? Well, Disney has confirmed that Cinderella Castle, the theme park icon of Magic Kingdom, will be getting even more magical ahead of the 50th anniversary celebration.

Cinderella Castle recently underwent a makeover in honor of Walt Disney’s Cinderella (1950) celebrating 70 years. Now, we can look forward to additional ornaments and embellishments to be added to the theme park icon, which will give Cinderella Castle an even more stunning appearance.

Disney Parks Blog shared:

As part of the celebration, Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park will add to its royal makeover from last year. As you can see in this new artist rendering, the castle will feature golden bunting and a 50th anniversary crest as part of its festive new look.

But, that’s not all because Cinderella Castle will transform after the sun goes down as well! Disney Parks Blog continued:

The castle will add even more magic at night, joined by icons at each of the other three theme parks as they transform into Beacons of Magic. […]

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Credit: Disney

Additionally, we know that Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will have custom-made looks, featuring “EARidescent” fabric and Cinderella Castle, which you can see in the image above. At this time we do not know if they will be decked out in this new attire at all four theme parks or they will only wear commemorative outfits at Magic Kingdom, but Inside the Magic will keep you posted as we get information.

EPCOT

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Credit: Disney

Recently Walt Disney World Resort confirmed that much-anticipated ride, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, will open on October 1 — Just in time for the 50th anniversary celebration.

Guests can also look forward to a new permanent lighting package for Spaceship Earth! Disney Parks Blog explained:

And at EPCOT, new lights will shine across the reflective panels of Spaceship Earth, connecting to one another and resembling stars in a nighttime sky. This permanent new lighting will continue beyond “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” as a defining feature of the park.

You can read more about this new Spaceship Earth lighting here.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Credit: Disney

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the theme park icon, also known as the thrilling attraction Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, will transform into something special to commemorate 50 years of Walt Disney World Resort.

Though Disney Parks Blog did not give many details, they did share that Guests can look forward to “special new touches coming to life on the Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.”

Start planning your Disney World vacation today!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Credit: Disney

One thing Guests look forward to every night at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the Tree of Life Awakening. In case you aren’t familiar, Disney World describes the Tree of Like Awakening as:

Flickering fireflies magically appear and stir to life the animal spirits in the tree’s towering trunk—bringing to light a dazzling visual display swarming with color and animated imagery.

Gaze upon a young doe embarking upon a thrilling journey. Behold love blossoming between a pair of hummingbirds. Spy a sly fox spreading gifts of love among the denizens of a wintry forest.

A feast for the eyes, each revelation celebrates the eternal balance and harmony that exists in all living things, big or small, and is sure to inspire and delight your whole family tree.

Well, Guests can look forward to something very similar come October 1, 2021! Disney Parks Blog explained the 50th anniversary celebrations happening at this theme park as “magical fireflies inhabiting the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.”

Special Events For Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

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Credit: Disney

Disney World announced the 50th anniversary will bring new makeovers to the theme park icons — Cinderella Castle, Tower of Terror, Spaceship Earth, and The Tree of Life.

Additionally, Guests will be able to enjoy the first-ever interactive character statues featuring beloved Disney Parks characters.

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Credit: Disney

The “Fab 50” sculptures will showcase Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Pluto, Goofy, and precocious chipmunks Chip and Dale. Disney Parks Blog noted:

These eight friends will also be featured in special golden character sculptures debuting Oct. 1 at Magic Kingdom Park; in this artist rendering, you can see Mickey and Minnie shining in the sunlight near Cinderella Castle. There will be 50 characters total in this series of sculptures that will be displayed across all four theme parks. We’ll soon reveal more of the “Disney Fab 50” as excitement builds for the big day, as well as the surprising ways you’ll be able to interact with these beautiful sculptures as part of the 50th anniversary celebration.

What nighttime spectaculars will Disney World debut for the 50th?

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Credit: Disney

A brand-new show called Disney Enchantment and will debut on October 1 at Magic Kingdom! Disney Parks Blog shared:

A new nighttime spectacular, “Disney Enchantment,” will help kick off the 50th anniversary festivities when it debuts Oct. 1 at Magic Kingdom Park. Created to launch with “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” this evening extravaganza will take you on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment. Inspiring everyone to believe in magic, “Disney Enchantment” will feature music, enhanced lighting, stunning fireworks and, for the first time, immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.

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Credit: Disney

Additionally, EPCOT’s HarmonioUS will debut on October 1, 2021. Disney Parks Blog shared:

Joining “Disney Enchantment” on Oct. 1 will be “Harmonious” at EPCOT, one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park. This new show will bring the globe together at World Showcase Lagoon in a celebration of Disney music that inspires people worldwide. It’s a grand, powerful tribute to the stories and songs that unite us, embracing new technical magic that incorporates pyrotechnics, choreographed moving fountains, lighting and media in new ways. “Harmonious” will invite you to travel the globe through new interpretations of classic Disney songs as you’ve never heard them before, reimagined in more than a dozen languages by a diverse group of 240 artists from around the world.

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Credit: Disney

What shows will be available during Disney World’s 50th anniversary?

At this time Disney World has not announced if stage shows would be available for the 50th anniversary. Due to the pandemic-era restrictions and social distancing, the Resort has not hosted several of its entertainment offerings, including Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire at Magic Kingdom.

However, we do know that a new daytime show will be coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Disney Parks Blog shared the following information regarding Disney KiteTails:

There’s also new daytime entertainment stirring at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Check out this artist rendering of “Disney KiteTails,” which will come alive several times daily at the Discovery River Amphitheater beginning Oct. 1. Performers will fly windcatchers and kites of all shapes and sizes, while out on the water elaborate three-dimensional kites – some stretching to 30 feet long – will depict Disney animal friends, including Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie. These colorful creations will dance through the sky to the beat of favorite Disney songs in an uplifting, vibrant experience for the whole family.

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Credit: Disney

Related: Will the 50th Anniversary Bring a New Stage Show to Magic Kingdom?

Schedule of Events For Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

At this time, the only schedule that has been confirmed by Disney is how long the 50th anniversary celebration will last for. It will begin on October 1, 2021 and will run for a total of 18 months!

What does the planned schedule of events for Disney World’s 50th anniversary look like?

Again, unfortunately Disney has not released any information regarding special events for the 50th anniversary at Disney World but Inside the Magic will update you as we get information.

Decorations For Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

Disney World will be decked out with all types of decor for the 50th anniversary — Some of which we have already seen! The theme parks will bring in a brand new look, which Disney is calling “EARidescence!

cinderella castle
Credit: Zach Riddley

What kind of decorations will you see during Disney World’s 50th anniversary?

For starters, Guests will see embellishments added onto Cinderella Castle to give the theme park icon an even more dazzling appearance. Disney Parks Blog shared:

As part of the celebration, Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park will add to its royal makeover from last year. As you can see in this new artist rendering, the castle will feature golden bunting and a 50th anniversary crest as part of its festive new look.

The castle will add even more magic at night, joined by icons at each of the other three theme parks as they transform into Beacons of Magic. […]

Additionally, we know several different locations at Magic Kingdom are getting touch-ups for the celebration, including Prince Charming Regal Carousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan’s Flight, the Tangled restrooms, and more!

Over at the other parks, Disney plans to deck out the theme parks icons including Spaceship Earth, the Tree of Life, and Tower of Terror, as mentioned earlier.

cinderella castle 50th anniversary decorations
Credit: ITM

Planning a Trip During Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World during the 18 months of celebrations, but need help getting started, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friends at Academy Travel.

Founded in 1996, Academy Travel is celebrating over 20 years in business and as the original “Disney Exclusive” travel agency. Academy Travel has earned the highest designation that Disney can bestow upon a travel agency, EarMarked Diamond!

From booking Park Passes to helping with dining reservations, Academy Travel will be there with you every step of the way when planning your magical Disney World vacation.

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Credit: Zach Riddley

Why Should You Visit Disney World During The 50th Anniversary Celebration?

Walt Disney World is going to be throwing a party in the parks for its 50th anniversary — Something you won’t want to miss! As mentioned earlier, beginning later this year, Disney World will begin its highly anticipated 50th anniversary celebration to celebrate the opening of Magic Kingdom, which took place on October 1, 1971. But, this is much more than a celebration of 50 years for Magic Kingdom — it’s a celebration of Walt Disney World Resort as a whole!

Back in 2019, during the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products panel at the D23 Expo, it was announced that there will be a party brought to EACH theme park to commemorate 50 years since Walt Disney World opened — making this Walt Disney World’s biggest celebration yet!

cinderella castle 50th anniversary decorations
Credit: ITM

Now, we know that the Disney Resort’s 50th anniversary celebrations will begin on October 1, 2021 and will run for a total of 18 months. Again, these festivities won’t just be happening at Magic Kingdom — they will be happening at all four of the theme parks, including Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

So what this means is that no matter which park you visit at the Disney Resort, no matter which day you visit, you as a Disney World Guest will be celebrating Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary! This is just one of the many reasons why you will have to visit during the 50th anniversary!

Guests can also look forward to special costumes worn by Mickey and Minnie, decorations on all four theme park icons, and more!

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Credit: GMA

What Kind of Park Reservations Will Be Required For Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary?

When Walt Disney World reopened to the public in July 2020, Disney put multiple new health protocols in place in order to operate safely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One of those new safety protocols is a brand new Disney Park Pass system which requires Guests to book a theme park reservation in advance.

This new system requires those who wish to visit a Walt Disney World theme park — including Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom — to have both a valid ticket as well as a reservation for the park you wish to visit on that day. The Park Pass system allowed Guests to book any theme park for any day all the way through January 2023.

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Therefore, a theme park ticket and a Park Pass reservation will be required to enter any of the four theme parks during the 50th anniversary celebration.

When Should You Reserve Passes and Book Hotel Rooms For Disney World’s 50th Anniversary?

The short answer — As soon as possible! We reported recently that Guests are already beginning to plan for the Disney World 50th anniversary as Park Passes are filling up quickly.

At the time of publication, Magic Kingdom has already booked up for all Park Pass types on October 1, while EPCOT also booked up for Annual Passholders. On October 2, both Magic Kingdom is booked for Annual Passholders but still available for theme park ticket holders and Disney Resort hotel Guests. Be sure to check the Park Pass calendar for the most-up-to-date information. 

Related: Disney Park Pass Extension Could Be Due to 50th Anniversary

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Credit: Disney

Book Your Disney World Vacation Today!

If you want to visit Disney World during the 50th anniversary celebrations to experience everything the parks have to offer, but aren’t sure where to begin planning — Don’t hesitate to reach out to our friends over at Academy Travel.

Founded in 1996, Academy Travel is celebrating over 20 years in business and as the original “Disney Exclusive” travel agency. Academy Travel has earned the highest designation that Disney can bestow upon a travel agency, EarMarked Diamond!

Academy Travel is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and has been designated as a Diamond EarMarked Travel Agency specializing in Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.

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They will be with you when planning your Resort hotel, dining reservations, theme park tickets and Park Passes, plus will give you tips and tricks so you don’t miss out on anything while visiting the Resort.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your dream Disney vacation today!

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