Why? Oh, just because October 1st happens to mark a teeny, tiny event in Disney history (sarcasm heavily implied) — it’s the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World! October 1st will have it all — 2 new fireworks shows, a new ride, a new restaurant, new EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival booths, and MORE! Want to try and tackle it ALL in 1 day? We’re breaking down our suggested plan for any of you out there brave enough to try it!
Tools You’ll Need and Assumptions that Could Change Things
Before we begin, we’ve got to go over some essentials you’ll need and some assumptions we’re making with this plan. If/when new information is released, then that could alter some of the parts of this plan.
First, let’s talk about the park hours. Park Hours in Disney World can change greatly. Disney hasn’t released the park hours for October 1st yet (we only have as far out as September). And even when Disney releases those October hours, that’s only a preliminary release of information. All of those hours could be extended or changed as October 1st gets closer.
So, for purposes of this plan, we’re going to assume that the hours in October will be the same as they are in mid to late July. The hours are as follows:
- Magic Kingdom: 9AM to 10PM
- EPCOT: 11AM to 10PM
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9AM to 8PM
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 8AM to 7PM
Again, these hours are subject to change.
Second, in this plan, you’ll be hopping throughout all 4 parks. This is for the group who wants to see and do it ALL on the 5oth. That means you’ll definitely need a ticket with Park Hopping abilities. Also, keep in mind that Park Hopping is currently based on availability. We haven’t encountered an instance (thus far) where we were prevented from hopping to a park based on capacity reasons.
However, given that the 50th Anniversary will likely be a VERY popular date, it’s possible that you may look to hop to another park and that park may not have any availability for park hopping guests to enter (based on capacity concerns). This plan presumes that there are no hopping issues, but just keep that in mind as it may ultimately become a potential problem.
We’ll also be operating under the assumption that Park Hopping hours will still start at 2PM, although that is subject to change.
Next, let’s talk about Park Passes. Park Passes have been filling up for the 50th Anniversary. At this time, Park Passes for all 4 parks have filled up for Annual Passholders on October 1st. Additionally, Park Passes for EPCOT and Magic Kingdom are already full for Theme Park Tickets guests and guests staying at Select Resort Hotels.
In this plan, we’ll be starting at EPCOT, so that presumes that you either already have an EPCOT Park Pass or one opens up in the future. You could also potentially use this plan for another day following October 1st though (when there is more Park Pass availability).
Additionally, we’re going to assume in this plan that you’ll be driving or potentially using a rideshare (if it can get you around fast enough) to get between the parks. While Disney transportation is incredibly convenient, it can add on a lot of extra time to your day if you get stuck waiting in a long line for a bus, boat, or monorail.
So for this plan we’re going to work off of the assumption that we’ll be driving around in a car.
And finally, we don’t have showtimes yet for any of the new shows coming to Disney World for the 50th. We’re going to presume, however, that there will be a variety of times during which KiteTails will be available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
We expect that the new lights on the Tree of Life and on Tower of Terror will begin around or right after sunset (which is set to be just after 7PM on the 1st). And we expect that Harmonious will take place at the same time as EPCOT Forever will be held in July (10PM), and that Disney Enchantment will be at the same time as Happily Ever After (9:15PM).
OKAY. Now that we’ve gotten that all out of the way. Let’s dive into our plan!
1. Start in EPCOT
Okay so technically before this you would wake up, get dressed, get breakfast, the whole deal. But after you’ve finished that (and fully freaked out that it is Disney World’s 50th Anniversary and YOU ARE IN THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH), then you head to EPCOT!
We would advise that you arrive in EPCOT as EARLY as possible. Recently, we’ve seen rope dropping procedures begin about 30 minutes prior to the park’s opening. Meaning you may be able to get in around 10:30AM (and potentially sooner).
BUT Disney has just announced that Early Theme Park Entry will become available starting on October 1st. Early Theme Park Entry will let Disney World resort guests enter any theme park of their choice prior to park opening. This means that EPCOT will open at 10:30AM already for hotel guests. So, you’ll likely want to arrive even earlier (presuming you’re a hotel guest), as rope drop could begin sooner. That can help you get to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (ideally) before the line gets too crazy!
If you’ll be spending the night at one of the EPCOT area hotels (with walking distance to the park) you’d be in an IDEAL spot. Entering through International Gateway would be best since the plan here is to go straight to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure which will be opening on October 1st.
But, even if you’re not staying at an EPCOT area hotel, the goal here is to head straight to the France pavilion and hop in line for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure as soon as the park opens.
We expect this ride will already have a fairly substantial line so you’ll want to allot well over an hour for this one.
After you finish racing around Remy’s Paris on this ride, swing by La Creperie de Paris, which is also opening on October 1st. This spot will offer both Table Service and Quick Service options. Since we’ll be a little tight on time with this plan, you’ll want to just grab a few crepes to go for now!
Next, you’ll want to eat and drink your way around the world (safely, but quickly) and check out the 9 Food & Wine Festival booths that won’t open until October 1st. Some of these booths are returning from previous festivals, so if you really want to speed things up, you could just focus on the booths that will arrive that day that are BRAND NEW to the Festival — Kenya, Lobster Landing, and Mac & Eats.
Estimating about a 2 hour like for Remy’s plus time for eating, you could (theoretically) end your time here around 2:30 to 3PM.
2. Next, to Disney’s Animal Kingdom We Go
Next, it’s time to head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to see this park’s new daytime show which will debut on October 1st, KiteTails. During this show, you’ll get to see performers flying windcatchers and kites of all shapes and sizes, including some shaped like Disney characters (like Simba or Baloo)!
Disney hasn’t released the showtimes for KiteTails yet, but we expect there will be several times available throughout the day. If you can arrive around 3 to 3:30PM and catch a show soon after, you may be able to finish up around 4 to 4:30PM.
3. Next Up: Magic Kingdom
Then, it’s time to go to Magic Kingdom to catch the NEW cavalcade. During the NEW Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade you’ll get to see Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and more will all be dressed in their special 50th Anniversary outfits.
Cavalcades, unlike parades, do not have set time schedules. At the moment, cavalcades have been running from around 10:20AM to 5:40PM. Assuming that you get to Magic Kingdom around 5PM or so, we’re expecting that you could likely catch an afternoon cavalcade.
We’re estimating that you’ll end your time here around 6:30PM.
4. Park Icons at Night
Next, it’s time to catch some of those park icons as they transform into “Beacons of Magic.” Again, times haven’t been announced for when this will start but we expect it would be some time after sunset (which is set to be around 7PM on October 1st).
First, we’d recommend heading to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to take a look at the Tree of Life! During the 50th Anniversary, you’ll get to see a warm light surrounding the Tree as fireflies dance around it.
Next, it’s time to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios to check out Tower of Terror. During the 50th Anniversary, this icon will get some special new touches and glimmer with EARidesence.
Also, we wanted to mention that throughout your time in the parks, you’ll want to look for those Disney Fab 50 character statues!
Throughout all 4 of the parks, you’ll find 50 golden statues celebrating some of your favorite Disney characters, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and more.
Finally, it’s time to end the night with a bang. First up, Disney Enchantment in Magic Kingdom. This show will take guests on a journey full of “adventure, wonder and empowerment.”
We expect this show will start around 9:15PM (just as Happily Ever After will in July). Be sure to look for those special projections that will go from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A. as part of the show!
Be sure to also take a close look at Cinderella Castle and how it has transformed for the 50th with all of its special draperies and gems.
And last, but certainly not least, it’s time to end the night with Harmonious! This show will feature custom-built LED panels, moving fountains, lights, lasers, and pyrotechnics all set to a soundtrack that features Disney music reinterpreted by diverse, cultural musicians from around the world! We expect the show will start around 10PM (just as EPCOT Forever will in July).
And don’t forget to take a look at Spaceship Earth either on your way in or your way out and how it has transformed into a Beacon of Magic with its new lights! The lights will shine across the panels of Spaceship Earth and connect to form a starry night sky.
And THAT’S your ultimate do-it-all in 1 day October 1st plan. How realistic is this plan? Well…it’s tough to say. There are SO many things to do and see and not a lot of time to do it all in. You could start at another park in the morning (say Magic Kingdom for example), but then you wouldn’t be able to hop until 2PM, so that could throw a wrench in your plans.
Driving from park to park and parking at each park will probably take more time than what we’ve got available in this plan. Not to mention you’ll need time to eat and take bathroom breaks. You might not be able to see all 4 beacons on the 50th, and you may have to choose a fireworks show depending on the hours.
But hey, you never know until you try right?! If you try this do-it-all plan, be sure to come back and tell us how it went! Got ideas for how this plan could be better optimized or what you’d do instead? Tell us in the comments! We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Click here to see what Disney World hotel availability and pricing looks like for the 50th Anniversary.
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How do you plan to spend the day on October 1st? Tell us in the comments!