Happy (super-duper early) birthday, Walt Disney World!!!
Yes, we *know* the official 50th anniversary of Disney World isn’t until October 1st — but we’re just so EXCITED about all the celebration announcements that have been made lately! From changes you’ll see at the airport to a new cavalcade and more, there will be lost to enjoy during this 18 month celebration. Time to get hyped with us as we review everything Disney World has announced for its anniversary (so far)!
EARidescent Excitement for Cast Members and Characters
Disney World Cast Members and some of our favorite Disney characters will be getting some new looks soon!
Let’s start with Cast Members. Disney World Cast Members will be getting NEW name tags that reflect the EARidescent vibe of the 50th anniversary. The new name tags feature gold foil and some blue colors that are representative of the Castle turrets. These new name tags will officially debut this fall.
Cast Members who have received a Legacy Award, and wear blue name tags, will also be getting a redesigned name tag for the 50th Anniversary which will have EARidescent sparkles and holographic foil!
Next, we’ll talk about our good pals — Mickey & Minnie (and their friends)! Mickey, Minnie…
…Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and more of their friends will be sporting rather spiffy-looking outfits during the 50th Anniversary. Their new looks feature shimmering displays of purples and blues with shiny gold accents. WOW!
Just where will you be able to spot our friends wearing these new looks? Well, we’ll actually tackle that in some of the sections below.
Golden Touches and Refurbishments
Cast Members and characters aren’t the only things that will be getting a special new look as part of the 50th though.
And you’ll find even more touches of gold and other refurbishments going on in preparation for the 50th anniversary celebrations. The Partners statue is underwent some refurbishment in preparation for the anniversary…
…some areas in Fantasyland got a glow-up (including the Tangled restrooms), and some Magic Kingdom rides will look a bit more sparkly soon! Disney has shared that shimmering gold leaf is being added to some Fantasyland attractions.
We’ve already seen some gold leaf touches added to Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, and we can’t wait to see what other golden touches come to other spots in the park.
Click here to see some of the changes we’ve already spotted in Fantasyland ahead of the 50th Anniversary!
According to Disney, the show will take guests “on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment,” inspiring everyone to believe in magic. It’s set to feature “music, enhanced lighting, [and] stunning fireworks.”
And, for the first time ever, there will be immersive projection effects that will stretch aaaaaalllllll the way down Main Street, U.S.A.! Can you even IMAGINE standing in the middle of Main Street, U.S.A., with that perfect view of the castle, and watching EVERYTHING become coated in a blanket of sparkling gold pixie dust?
That being said, we are going to miss Happily Ever After and its dazzling nightly performance. (We just got you back, HEA! Now we got to say goodbye, again? So bittersweet.) Click here to see when Happily Ever After will have its LAST performance!
But WAIT. There are even MORE fireworks we’ve got to talk about.
We were sad to see IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth leave the EPCOT scene, but now it’s time to prepare to say goodbye to EPCOT Forever as well. Starting October 1st, a brand new nighttime spectacular will light up World Showcase Lagoon in EPCOT — Harmonious!
Harmonious is going to be a celebration of our favorite Disney music like we’ve never heard it before. There will be fireworks, water effects, colorful light displays, and projections. PLUS, the Disney songs will be “reimagined,” according to the Disney website, in over “a dozen languages” by artists and musicians from around the world. YASS!!
Okay, we really weren’t expecting this one, but we are HERE FOR IT! As part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations, your favorite Disney animals will take flight in the form of kites, surrounded by colorful windcatchers, in a new show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom called Disney KiteTails!
The show will take place in the Discovery River Amphitheater and is set to feature characters (in the form of kites) from The Lion King, The Jungle Book, and more.
Beacons of Magic
Remember how we talked about Cinderella Castle already getting all snazzy for the 50th celebration? Just imagine how it’ll look when the celebration continues on into the night…when it becomes one of the Beacons of Magic!
We’re talking shining, shimmering, SPLENDID park icons.
Cinderella Castle will twinkle with pixie dust, Spaceship Earth will be covered in lights that will actually become a permanent new nighttime look, The Tree of Life will be surrounded in firefly glows, and The Hollywood Tower Hotel will sparkle with movie-magic glamor.
It’s going to be quite the sight to see at each of these parks. And work is already underway to get some of these icons ready. Specifically, we’ve seen several lights already being installed in EPCOT on Spaceship Earth for its new nighttime look.
Disney Fab 50 Character Collection
Can’t get enough gold for this GOLDEN celebration? Then don’t forget to search for the Disney Fab 50 Character Collection while you’re in the parks!
FIFTY golden character statues will be scattered throughout all four Disney World parks. And Disney has noted that guests will be able to interact with the sculptures as part of the celebrations. (We can’t wait to hear more about what that might mean!)
Disney has yet to release all the characters that’ll be transformed into these epic sculptures, but they have announced a few including Mickey (of course!), Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, and more! We’re keeping track of all of the announced statues and will be updating our post linked below with the latest info.
Want to see Mickey, Minnie, and their friends in their new 50th Anniversary garb? Then you’ll want to head over to Magic Kingdom to catch them in the NEW 50th Anniversary cavalcade!
You may also be able to spot them in their new outfits at select Disney World hotels. More on that in a second!
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
The rat of all our dreams is FINALLY taking us on a wild (and hopefully delicious) ride in EPCOT’s France Pavilion through the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction.
Disney’s shutdown pushed back the release date of this 4-D attraction, but we’ll all get to race through Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (based on Disney Pixar’s award-winning animated movie, Ratatouille) when it opens for Disney’s 50th anniversary on October 1st.
Just like Harmonious, we’ve been watching the construction progress of Remy’s trackless dark ride for a long time — namely through the windows of our Skyliner gondolas. Though we were also lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the area! It won’t be much longer now until we’re swept away to Gusteau’s where we’ll be shrunk down to the size of — you guessed it — a rat to embark on a zany Paris adventure!
La Crêperie de Paris
When Disney’s 50th anniversary rolls around, EPCOT’s France pavilion is going to be BUSY!
Along with Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, a new crêperie is coming to town — La Crêperie de Paris.
This spot will offer both table-service and quick-service options, with a menu created by celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse. YUM.
More Food and Wine Festival Booths
EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival began on July 15th, but TWO of the global marketplaces — where you can taste new and unique festival treats — won’t open until October 1st.
Originally, Disney had announced nine total booths would be reopening on October 1st, but they surprised guests by opening SEVEN of them early, so now there are just two additional booths that you’ll be able to enjoy once Disney World’s 50 anniversary commences including Belgium and Brazil.
EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival will be going on until November 20th so you’ll have lots of time to check out these returning booths once they arrive, and (of course) stop by the other booths that have already become available.
Disney Magic Makers
One special thing that Disney is offering as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations is a way for everyday heroes to win a FREE trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth! Through the new Disney Magic Makers contest, 50 Disney Magic Makers will win a trip to Walt Disney World Resort to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, along with a one-year subscription to Disney+!
If you know someone who makes magic for others and deserves a little pixie dust of their own, you can nominate them online right now!
Early Entry and Extended Hours
Disney World hotel guests used to enjoy a perk known as Extra Magic Hours, but that benefit was suspended when Disney World reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic closures.
But, if you still want extra time in the parks, all guests staying at Disney World hotels (and select other hotels) will get to enjoy Early Theme Park Entry starting October 1st! With this perk, you’ll be able to get into any park on any day 30 minutes early!
Guests staying at Disney World Deluxe Resorts or Deluxe Villas will get an additional benefit later this year. They’ll actually get to enjoy extended evening hours on select nights at certain parks. This is set to become available in early October.
But Wait, There’s More!
There are so many other things Disney has announced or is working on as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations! Let’s go through them here.
First, Florida Residents can grab a pre-sale voucher for Disney’s new 50th Anniversary license plate which celebrates the 50th Anniversary. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this license plate will be going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Disney has also announced that a NEW Coco scene will be added to Mickey’s PhilharMagic in Magic Kingdom as part of the 50th Anniversary. The scene has already been added to PhilharMagic in Disney California Adventure Park and you can get a look at it by clicking here!
Want to see more of the Disney characters in their special 50th anniversary looks? We’ve seen the characters popping up at Disney World’s hotels sporadically over the past few months, but you’ll want to be on the lookout for surprise character visits at the hotels during the 50th Anniversary where our friends will be in their snazzy new looks!
But, the anniversary fun will start before you even set foot on Disney World property. Your arrival experience at Orlando International Airport will actually be transformed as part of the celebrations. There will be new art, projected light patterns, and more!
Other areas of Disney World are also preparing for the 50th Anniversary. The Confectionery is currently undergoing refurbishment ahead of the celebrations (though it is possible the refurbishment won’t be done by October 1st, but that’s subject to change).
Rooms at Disney’s Contemporary Resort are also receiving a new Incredibles-inspired look that’s set to be done (at least in terms of its first phase) this fall. And The Wave…of American Flavors is closed and set to be “reimagined” into a new dining experience in time for the 50th Anniversary.
The Wave will officially become Steakhouse 71.
Love Snapchat? Then you might be excited about another announcement related to the 50th Anniversary. Disney partnered with Snapchat earlier this year and shared a peek at other exciting collaborations with Snapchat that are on the way, including a virtual transformation of Cinderella Castle which will create “a beautiful mosaic of special moments shared by our guests.”
If you won’t be able to physically get to Disney World right away to get in on the 50th Anniversary fun, you can still participate from home by snagging some of the NEW books that will be coming out this fall! Some of these books will feature unseen park concept art, others will have recipes from the past 50 years of Disney World, and there will even be a coloring book!
And while we anticipated that there would be special 50th Anniversary snacks, the very cookbook we mentioned above gave us a peek at what one of those will look like — peep the 50th anniversary cupcakes on the bottom right!
Plus, you can even join into kick-off all the celebrations on October 1st by tuning in to ABC for “The Most Magical Story on Earth: 50 Years of Walt Disney World” at 8PM EST. The two-hour special will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and feature a look back at the history of Disney World and other pop culture moments with appearances from celebrities, athletes, Disney Imagineers, and Disney executives.
And, want to win a trip to Disney World for the 50th Anniversary? D23 Members can enter for their chance to win a free trip, but you’ll have to enter by the end of the day on August 2nd!
And that’s a look at ALL of the things that have been announced for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary (so far). We expect more announcements will be on the way soon, and we can’t wait to hear about them!
We’ll continue to give you updates as we hear more about Disney World’s 18-month celebration, so keep checking in to make sure you stay in the know!
What part of Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebration are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!