If you have been waiting to plan a trip to Walt Disney World, now is the time to do so. Beginning on October 1, the Central Florida theme park mecca will celebrate its much-anticipated 50th anniversary. Here is what you need to know about this magical celebration at the happiest place on earth.
Overview of the Celebration
The centerpiece of Walt Disney World, the Magic Kingdom Park, opened on October 1, 1971. To commemorate this occasion, all four major theme parks are celebrating in a grand way. The “World’s Most Magical Celebration” will run for 18 months, giving Disney fans the chance to come together to wish the Magic Kingdom a happy 50th.Read More »
Beacons of Magic
As part of the celebration, the four primary theme park icons will be transformed into what Disney is calling the Beacons of Magic. Cinderella’s Castle will display a glow that sparkles with the famous pixie dust in the flagship Magic Kingdom. EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth will reflect stardust that represents possibility and optimism.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios will use the Hollywood Tower Hotel as its beacon as it evokes the golden age of imagination with its own special EARidescence. Not to be left out, the Tree of Life at the Animal Kingdom will feature enchanted fireflies that light up the night.
New Entertainment Debuts
Disney World is known for its amazing nighttime entertainment and this celebration will be no different. The culmination of the day at the Magic Kingdom will end with the Disney Enchantment show. Music and fireworks will float above Main Street U.S.A. with Cinderella’s Castle as the stunning backdrop.
Over in EPCOT, the latest Harmonious nighttime spectacular is being billed as the largest of its kind ever designed for a Disney park. The show will debut on October 1 to kick off the festivities at EPCOT. The show will feature lights moving in synchrony with classic Disney tunes, moving water fountains, pyrotechnics, lasers, floating set pieces, and much more. All of this will be centered on the World Showcase Lagoon.
The Animal Kingdom will offer the daytime show Disney KiteTails. The Discovery River Amphitheater will be the home to kites and windcatchers soaring through the air. All of your favorite Disney animal characters will be there with the magical aerials set to traditional Disney music.
New Rides and Attractions at EPCOT
Disney will also unveil a host of new rides and attractions at EPCOT as part of the anniversary celebration. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is the perfect addition to the France pavilion, taking riders on a race through Gusteau’s restaurant.
The Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind sends guests on a roller coaster that rotates 360 degrees to tell the story. This ride is distinguished as the first reverse launch on a Disney-engineered roller coaster.
Kids will appreciate the new PLAY! Pavilion in EPCOT, featuring a variety of interactive games and activities. This hands-on exhibit is hosted by Huey, Dewey, and Louie. While Disney has confirmed that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be open by October 1, the other attractions have not yet been given a launch date.
Additional New Experiences
Anyone who has been to Disney World knows that it is a foodie’s paradise. As such, it is not surprising that Disney is waiting until the 50th anniversary to open the much-heralded Space 220 restaurant in EPCOT. This restaurant is located in the Mission: SPACE Pavilion, allowing diners to feel as if they are eating in a space station looking out into the galaxy. The restaurant is slated to open in mid-September.
Star Wars fans anxiously await the chance to completely immerse themselves in an extraordinary vacation experience with a two-night stay at the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. This resort is located onsite at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the Galaxy’s Edge land of the park. This hotel is set to open during the spring of 2022, giving Star Wars aficionados the ultimate resort experience as they explore all of the amazing details of Galaxy’s Edge.
Ins and Outs of Planning Your Trip
There is no doubt that the 18-month celebration will draw the crowds. The important thing to remember is to pack your patience. It also helps to start your research early so that you have a plan of attack before heading to the parks each day. Keep in mind that Disney World is requiring that guests reserve a park to start the day. You are allowed to hop to another park later in the day, provided that you have purchased a park-hopper ticket and that there is space at that park.
The popular restaurants also book up well in advance, making it important that you secure your dining reservations as soon as possible. Guests can make advanced dining reservations up to 60 days in advance.
You will also want to acquaint yourself with the brand-new Disney Genie feature. If you have visited the parks in the past, you are probably familiar with the FastPass option. Launching this fall, the Disney Genie replaces what most guests knew as the FastPass. While the Disney Genie is free to all guests, you can also choose to upgrade to the Disney Genie+ for an additional $15 per day per guest. This premium service provides even more flexibility and convenience. It is worth your time to look into these options before heading out for the anniversary celebration.
There will also be a variety of merchandise created especially for this event. The new collection will boast limited-edition collectibles, vintage wear, new ears to sport in the parks, and more.
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