Disney Parks Holidays

How To Celebrate Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

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Last Updated on September 23, 2021 by Allyson

On Oct. 1, 2021, Walt Disney World will celebrate a major milestone — Disney World’s 50th anniversary.

In typical Disney fashion, special celebrations are planned across the resort for what has officially been dubbed “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”

Disney World, specifically Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, first opened on Oct. 1, 1971. It’s a must to celebrate the start of the most magical place on earth 50 years later.

So, what exactly is planned for Disney World’s 50th anniversary? Well, the celebrations begin Oct. 1 and will run for 18 months straight! To be more specific, you can enjoy the 50th all the way through April 1, 2023.

That’s certainly a long time, but it’s nice to know guests will have the chance to enjoy the major anniversary for quite awhile.

With that, here’s everything else that’s been revealed so far. I will update this post as more information is announced.

A New Look For Cinderella Castle

Cinderella Castle will receive the royal treatment during both the daytime and nighttime.

During the day, you’ll see the addition of “golden bunting and a 50th anniversary crest.” Plus, the turrets and towers will have “shimmering pearls, jewels, and ribbons on royal blues and iridescent golds.”

new daytime look for cinderella castle during disney world's 50th anniversary

As you can see below, this is what the special decor looks like.

cinderella castle 50th anniversary

If that isn’t enough, when the evening comes, the castle will transform with projections resembling pixie dust and more.

nighttime projections on cinderella castle for disney world's 50th

More Projections On Other Park Icons

Guests will also be able to see brand new nighttime projections and light effects on all of the park icons.

new nighttime projections on tower of terror for disney world's 50th

From Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, to the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, to Spaceship Earth at EPCOT, you can expect for these to transform into “Beacons of Magic.”

new nighttime projections on tree of life for disney world's 50th

There will be special new touches on Tower of Terror and magical fireflies covering the Tree of Life. I love nighttime projections and these are bound to be even more stunning in person.

Say Hello To The New Spaceship Earth

As for Spaceship Earth, yes, new nighttime lighting will also cover the giant golf ball come Oct. 1. Actually, this isn’t just for the anniversary, but is a permanent addition.

Not only will these lights resemble stars in a nighttime sky, but, as Disney revealed, “This permanent new lighting will continue beyond The World’s Most Magical Celebration as a defining feature of the park.”

new nighttime lights on spaceship earth

On Feb. 20, Imagineer Zach Riddley also shared on Instagram about Spaceship Earth’s new lighting.

“Her classic look will be maintained and accentuated through new colors and intensity in programmed expressions that extend into the new main entrance fountain and the entire World Celebration area that continues to take shape before our eyes,” Riddley noted.

The EPCOT entrance plaza has seen many new beautiful additions recently, including 12 new flagpoles, an updated soundtrack, and lighting around the entire perimeter. I, for one, can’t wait to see Spaceship Earth resembling a star-filled sky.

A Fresh Wardrobe For Mickey & Friends

Get ready to see Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, and Chip ‘n’ Dale wearing new “EARidescent” costumes with gold touches. Aren’t they adorable?

mickey and friends in earidescent costumes

By the way, the official color of the World’s Most Magical Celebration is “EARidescent” or iridescent. How appropriate!

goofy and pluto 50th anniversary costumes

Also, Disney pals, like Pluto and Goofy, will show up for surprise appearances at Disney Resort hotels in their EARidescent costumes.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Opens

remy's ratatouille adventure grand opening date

On March 9, Disney revealed that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will officially open in the new expanded France pavilion area on Oct. 1, 2021!

This date is later than many anticipated, but I think it’s a smart move on Disney’s part. Not only does it make the 50th much more exciting, but it will help disperse the crowds.

Get Ready To Eat Some Crepes

la creperie de paris in epcot

Like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, La Crêperie de Paris will also open on Oct. 1, 2021.

You’ll be able to find this quick and table-service location in the France pavilion’s new area near Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

The menu will feature sweet crepes, savory buckwheat galettes (naturally gluten friendly), and authentic French hard cider.

Two New Nighttime Spectaculars

disney enchantment 50th anniversary

There will be TWO new nighttime shows for guests to enjoy beginning Oct. 1.

The first is called “Disney Enchantment” and you’ll be able to catch it at Magic Kingdom.

Per Disney, the show “will take you on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment.” Disney Enchantment will also feature music, enhanced lighting, fireworks, and for the first time ever projection effects extending from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.

The show will include many characters, like Tiana, Miguel, Rapunzel, Ian & Barley, Moana, Raya, Judy Hopps, and more.

disney enchantment 50th anniversary

Joe Gardner from Soul will also take guests into “the zone,” where they’ll discover a whimsical world inspired by Disney artist Mary Blair and filled with characters from stories like Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, Luca, and Wreck-It Ralph. Tinker Bell will also take flight.

Disney Enchantment, of course, has its own original song called “You Are the Magic.” You can listen to a teaser here.

It’s important to note that Happily Ever After is ending on Sept. 29. (I know, I’m upset too.) Then, Disney Enchantment kicks off Oct. 1 and will run for the duration (maybe longer? it’s unclear) of the entire anniversary celebration.

harmonious epcot

The second nighttime show is the long-awaited Harmonious on the World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot.

As described by 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.”

A New Daytime Show At Animal Kingdom

disney kitetails animal kingdom show

Coming to the Discovery River Amphitheater (where Rivers of Light used to show) at Animal Kingdom on Oct. 1 is a new daytime show called “Disney KiteTails”.

There will be performers flying windcatchers and three-dimensional kites gliding along the water with some stretching to 30 feet long!

Some of the kites will honor Disney animal characters, like Simba, Zazu, Baloo, and King Louie. The show will be held several times daily.

Special Golden Sculptures

mickey and minnie fab 50 statues magic kingdom

Golden sculptures will be placed around all four theme parks, so be sure to keep those eyes peeled.

These are called the “Disney Fab 50,” which is a play on the Disney Fab Five (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald).

Here’s where you can find all of the statues:

Magic Kingdom

Cinderella Castle Hub Area

  • Mickey
  • Minnie
  • Pluto
  • Goofy
  • Daisy
  • Donald
  • Chip ‘n’ Dale
  • Dumbo and Timothy
  • Winnie the Pooh & Piglet
  • Gus & Jaq
  • Tinkerbell

Town Square

  • Lady and the Tramp

Fantasyland

  • Pinocchio
  • Cogsworth and Lumiere
  • Cheshire Cat
  • Mad Hatter

Tomorrowland

  • Stitch

Adventureland

  • Abu
  • Orange Bird

Epcot

World Showcase Plaza

  • Pua and Heihei
  • Rocket and Groot
  • Miguel
  • Dante
  • Olaf and Bruni

World Showcase Walkway from Future World

  • Figment

chip and dale fab 50 statue magic kingdom

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Boulevard Grassy Areas

  • Woody and Bo Peep
  • Frozone
  • Edna
  • Joe Gardner
  • BB-8
  • R2-D2
  • Flounder and Sebastian

Animal Kingdom

Near Front Tree of Life

  • Simba
  • Timon and Pumbaa
  • Nemo and Dory
  • Bambi and Thumper

New Daytime Cavalcade At Magic Kingdom

mickey and friends in earidescent costumes

A new cavalcade called “Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade” debuts at Magic Kingdom on Oct. 1 and will feature Mickey and friends in their new EARidescent costumes. The cavalcade will run several times daily.

Early Theme Park Entry

Starting Oct. 1, Early Theme Park Entry begins. This early theme park entry benefit was first announced in January as a replacement for the currently discontinued Extra Magic Hours.

These special hours will be available for Disney Resort hotel guests and guests of other select hotels and grants them access to every theme park, every day of the week 30 minutes prior to official park opening.

Select attractions, merchandise and food and beverage locations will be available. The following attractions are slated to be open for guests:

Magic Kingdom Park

  • “it’s a small world”
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Epcot

  • Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Hollywood Studios

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Mania!

Animal Kingdom

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • DINOSAUR
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • TriceraTop Spin

Extended Evening Hours

There are also extended evening hours occurring on select nights in select theme parks.

But, know that these hours will only be offered to guests staying at either a Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort hotels and other select hotels (Swan, Dolphin, Swan Reserve, and Shades of Green).

Here is the current schedule posted by Disney:

  • Monday, Oct. 4 at Epcot: 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 6 at Magic Kingdom: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 11 at Epcot: 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 13 at Magic Kingdom: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 18 at Epcot: 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 20 at Magic Kingdom: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 25 at Epcot: 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 27 at Magic Kingdom: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Monday, Nov. 1 at Epcot: 10 p.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 3 at Magic Kingdom: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Monday, Nov. 8 at Epcot: 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 10 at Magic Kingdom: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Monday, Nov. 15 at Epcot: 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 17 at Magic Kingdom: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Monday, Nov. 22 at Epcot: 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 24 at Magic Kingdom: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Monday, Nov. 29 at Epcot: 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 1 at Magic Kingdom: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

More dates, times, and parks will be added in the future, so stay tuned.

Keep in mind that you will need a valid Resort ID, valid theme park admission, and a theme park reservation for the same park on the same day.

Or, you’ll need a ticket or annual pass with the Park Hopper option, provided you’ve entered the park where you made your reservation earlier in the day.

Select attractions, merchandise, and food and beverage locations will be available during both early theme park entry and the extended evening.

Here are the attractions currently planned to be available during the extended hours:

Magic Kingdom:

  • “it’s a small world”
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Epcot:

  • Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Electrical Water Pageant

electrical water pageant 50th anniversary

The Electrical Water Pageant will see the addition of special 50th anniversary scenes featuring a towering castle and swirling pixie. Even a version of the celebration anthem song, “The Magic is Calling” will bookend the full traditional show as it sails nightly across Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake.

Are you celebrating Disney World’s 50th anniversary at the parks? If you’re looking for assistance when it comes to planning a Disney World vacation, CJ Ayd from Magical Vacation Planner can help.

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