What Guests Can Expect at Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebrationby Jessica Montevago /
On Oct. 1, 2021, Walt Disney World will kick off an 18-month celebration in honor of its grand opening 50 years ago in 1971. And while the celebration gets underway during less-than-ideal conditions, Disney has committed to pulling out all the stops to make the celebration a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Dubbed “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” the event will feature new experiences and an “EARidescent” theme, reflected in shimmering décor and illuminated icons across the four theme parks.
At the center of it, all will be Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park, which will add to its royal makeover from 2020 with new golden bunting and a 50th-anniversary crest as part of its festive new look. At night, it will come to life with a magical iridescent glow with pixie dust.
Concept art for the Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle. Photo: Disney Parks.
Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life, and the Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will also be illuminated as “Beacons of Magic” for the celebration. At EPCOT, new lights will shine across the reflective panels of Spaceship Earth, and will become permanent new lighting will continue beyond Disney World's 50th-anniversary celebration.
Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will be dressed in sparkling new looks, custom-made for the special occasion, with embroidered impressions of Cinderella Castle backed by fireworks, as well as brocade in multi-toned fabric punctuated with pops of gold.
“I’m most excited to see the castle, Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror, and The Tree of Life transformed for the celebration,” Michelle Allen, Owner/Travel Advisor of Travel Magic.
Thankfully, the event spanning a year and a half allows clients who are apprehensive about traveling to still be able to enjoy the festivities.
“Unless my clients absolutely want to be there on Oct. 1, most are delaying travel to avoid the crowds that are expected,” Allen said. “That, coupled with continuing COVID concerns, I have a lot of families booking for later in 2021 and into 2022.”
Ron Hayeck, president of Mickey World Travel, has seen an uptick in the bookings for the major milestone.
"We did a post about the announcement and its reach was one of our biggest of the year,” Hayeck said. “People have been waiting patiently to see what Disney has planned and now that they announced the official dates, people are booking. People are definitely ready to travel again, and we are seeing that firsthand. Disney released 2022 packages for this month, normally we can't book packages in the following year until June, but we are booking vacations as far out as June 2022.”
“I'm sure what was announced is just the beginning of what's to come,” Hayeck said. Indeed, more details have been teased in the months to come.
“If you remember what they did for Disneyland's 60th, special parades and nighttime show, I would think Walt Disney World's 50th will be even bigger.”
Personally, he said he’s most excited to be at Magic Kingdom on October 1st, the start of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” at the most magical place on earth.