When it comes to the Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration, it’s safe to say that Disney is doing all it can to make it truly magical. Prior to the pandemic, there were numerous plans and attraction openings in place. But unfortunately, some of these plans had to be put on hold for obvious reasons. That being said, there is no doubt that Disney will do their best to make this celebration truly special. From new attractions, restaurants, and perhaps even parades and fireworks… Disney has some exciting plans in store for this big celebration!
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Planning a Disney World vacation in 2023? Be sure to check out our guide to all that the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer this year including the opening of TRON Lightcycle Run Roller Coaster, updated nighttime spectaculars, and more!
Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World first opened on October 1, 1971. And while Disneyland in California is known as the “happiest place on earth,” Walt Disney World would be known as being the most magical.
The Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration kicked off on October 1, 2021, and the celebration will last 18 months running through March 2023.
Here is some of what we know so far:
- This 18-month milestone event is officially titled “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”
- The official color of the anniversary is what Disney is calling “EARidescent.”
- Every park icon has been transformed in a unique and special way. As Disney put it, they will become “Beacons of Magic.” This includes Cinderella Castle which features two looks – one during the day (featuring “golden bunting and a 50th anniversary crest”) and another for the evening.
- There has been a costume update for both Mickey and Minnie featuring the festive “EARidescent” color.
- Disney Fab 50 Golden Sculptures are present at all four theme parks. According to Disney, “50 characters cast in gold wait to be discovered during The World’s Most Magical Celebration!”
- **NEW** October 1 marked the debut of “Early Theme Park Entry.” Available for Disney Resort hotel guests (some select neighbor hotels), early theme park entry allows guests to enter ANY park 30 minutes early to enjoy select attractions any day of the week.
- **NEW** For guests staying at Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels, Disney Deluxe Villas, and other select hotels (Swan, Dolphin, Swan Reserve, Shades of Green) will be given access to “Extended Evening Hours” on select nights in Magic Kingdom or Epcot. It is worth noting that in order to take advantage of these extra hours, guests must provide a valid Resort ID, valid admission, and a theme park reservation for the same park on the same day. (Or a ticket with the Park Hopper option, provided you entered the park where you made your reservation earlier in the day.)
Beyond the festive decor, many have been asking about new attractions and restaurants. Disney had some pretty ambitious plans prior to the pandemic. And while some things have been put on hold, here are some things we believe may be around for the celebration:
- TRON Lightcycle Rollercoaster (Magic Kingdom) – It is worth noting that the construction isn’t scheduled to be completed until 2022/2023 (it was unfortunately delayed due to the pandemic.) Based on Shanghai Disneyland’s Tron Lightcycle Power Run, this attraction features a thrilling coaster race on two-wheeled Lightcycles. Its opening means some general re-imagining for Tomorrowland as well (including some changes that have already taken place) in order to match the Tron Lightcycle theme.
- Jungle Cruise (Magic Kingdom) – This ride underwent a complete reimagining that includes more humor and wildlife while maintaining the same ride experience and feel of the ride we all know and love.
- Mickey’s Philharmagic (Magic Kingdom) – This attraction was spruced up for the 50th Anniversary with a brand-new scene featuring characters from Disney’s popular animated movie Coco.
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (EPCOT) – Now open, this new 4-D dark ride is much like the version found in Disneyland Paris. Guests will get the chance to experience what life would be like for a rat-like Remy in a very large kitchen.
- La Crêperie de Paris (EPCOT) – Now open, this new restaurant (which offers both quick-service and table service options) is overseen by Chef Jérôme Bocuse who is already behind Chefs de France and Monsieur Paul in the Epcot France pavilion.
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (EPCOT) – Scheduled to open summer 2022, this roller coaster will be a “family-friendly adventure, featuring a totally new type of roller coaster experience.” The coaster not only rotates 360 degrees to immerse riders in the story, but it will also feature the first reverse launch in Disney history and is one of the longest enclosed coasters in the world.
- Moana Journey of Water (EPCOT) – This attraction has been postponed indefinitely, but it has been mentioned by Disney since reopening the parks. This leads us to believe we will most likely see this new attraction completed sometime in the future.
- Play! Play! (EPCOT) – Taking over the Wonders of Life Building in Future World, this project was delayed due to the pandemic. It will most likely open 2022 and will include interactive exhibits as well as character meet and greets.
- Space 220 (EPCOT) – I’m personally excited about the opening of this new “out of this world” restaurant, which is located between Mission: Space and Test Track. It is said that guests feel as though they are actually dining in space. This restaurant opened on September 20, 2021! For more info on Space 220, including a sample menu, be sure to visit our Epcot Dining Guide.
- Roundup Rodeo BBQ (Hollywood Studios) – This new restaurant in Toy Story Land should be up and running at some point during 2022.
- **NEW** Finding Nemo – The Musical (Animal Kingdom) – This popular attraction will finally return in 2022 as a newly reimagined live show! The show will feature new story material as well as popular songs from the original musical such as “In the Big Blue World” and “Go with the Flow.”
There have been quite a few announcements in recent weeks concerning entertainment and nighttime shows for the 50th Anniversary Celebration!
- Disney Enchantment kicked off the 50th-anniversary festivities when it debuted at Magic Kingdom Park. It includes music, enhanced lighting, fireworks, and projections extending from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A (which is a Disney first!)
- Harmonious officially made its debut at Epcot. According to Disney, “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.”
- Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade – Running several times a day, this new cavalcade at Magic Kingdom features Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale in all-new EARidescent costumes.
- Disney KiteTails debuted at Animal Kingdom as well. This daytime show incorporates flying windcatchers and 3D kites. Characters will include Simba, Zazu, Baloo, and King Louie.
For the ultimate Star Wars fans, Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser will be launching on March 1, 2022. This immersive hotel experience will allow guests to be active participants in their own Star Wars stories over the course of a 2-night, 3-day adventure.
Looking to vacation during the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration? Be sure to visit my step-by-step guide to get started!