Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- How Long Will the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration Run?
- Do 50th Anniversary Celebration Events and Experiences Cost Extra?
- How is Disney Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World?
- Beacons of Magic: Glowing WDW Park Icons
- Disney 50th Anniversary Must-Have Merch
- Extras Include A New Ride and Restaurant
The happiest place on earth is celebrating a big anniversary in 2021. Kicking off on Friday October 1st, here’s what we have to look forward to. We outline new nighttime shows, special statues, Beacons of Magic, and of course 50th anniversary celebration merchandise. Even if you aren’t heading to the theme parks to celebrate the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary you can still be part of the world’s most magical celebration!
How Long Will the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration Run?
“The World’s Most Magical Celebration” begins on Friday, October 1, 2021, 50 years after the 1971 opening of Magic Kingdom. The Walt Disney Company will run this celebration for a whopping 18 months! Don’t worry if you can’t get to the Walt Disney World theme parks right away. You’ve got time.
Official Disney anniversary dates are October 1, 2021 through March 2023.
Do 50th Anniversary Celebration Events and Experiences Cost Extra?
No! There is no special ticket or upcharge for anniversary celebration special events at Disney. Your park pass will give you access. The experiences and extras are scattered throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, including resort hotels and Disney Springs (mostly merchandise for these), for all guests to experience.
SheBuysTravel Tip: “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” will overlap with several events with paid tickets such as Disney’s Boo Bash and Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours. These events are after hours and have an additional cost.
How is Disney Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World?
If you’re heading to the most magical place on Earth in Orlando, Florida, you’re probably excited but also a little bit overwhelmed! You want to make sure you see it all and maximize the celebration. The basics of the celebration can be broken down into the following areas:
- New Nighttime Spectaculars and Performances
- Beacons of Magic
- Disney’s Fab 50 Character Collection
- Special Disney Anniversary Merchandise
- A few fun extras
Now, let’s dive into them one by one.
New Disney Nighttime Spectaculars, Performances and Parades
Disney will begin celebrating the big anniversary with new nighttime spectaculars and performances including Disney Enchantment, Harmonious, and Disney KiteTails.
Disney Enchantment at Magic Kingdom
At Magic Kingdom, the Happily Ever After Fireworks were replaced by Disney Enchantment on October 1, 2021. With a start time at 9pm, this is one of the earliest shows we’ve seen. Perfect for your Disney-loving kiddos who need to be in bed before 11pm.
Disney Enchantment features music, enhanced lighting, fireworks and immersive projection effects that will come all the way from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.. Guest feedback has been mixed with some saying that the story of Disney Enchantment isn’t as solid as Happily Ever After. Nostalgia-wise it didn’t bring the throat lump quite like Happily did for us but it is still a fun show.
Harmonious at EPCOT
EPCOT Forever was replaced by Harmonious on October 1, 2021. Harmonious is being billed as one of the largest nighttime spectaculars (and most expensive) ever created for a Disney park. A diverse ensemble of 240 artists from around the world is featured.
You’ll want to have a good view of the World Showcase Lagoon. Giant floating screens, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers will combine for a 360-degree performance.
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Curious what Disney characters will be featured? So far we know the show will be inspired by Disney characters Moana, Aladdin, Coco, Brave, The Lion King, Mulan and The Princess and the Frog. Currently, the start time for the new show is appearing as 9:45pm in the Disney calendar.
Disney KiteTails at Animal Kingdom
We’re so excited that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is getting a new performance. Multiple performances daily will involve three dimensional kites and windcatchers flying through the air in synchronization with classic Disney music.
Kites will portray beloved Disney characters Simba, Zazu, King Louie and Baloo and mor. Catch Disney KiteTails at the Discovery River Amphitheater starting on October 1, 2021.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Find out which Disney Nighttime Spectaculars not to miss.
Special Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade Appearances
On October 1, 2021, a brand new character cavalcade will kick off at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park. Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade will feature classic Disney characters including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, Daisy and Chip ‘n’ Dale in some new looks.
The EARidescent eight will be wearing new costumes crafted of brocade in multi-toned, EARidescent fabric – all punctuated with pops of gold.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Don’t forget to check out cast members’ special anniversary EARidescent nametags!
Beacons of Magic: Glowing WDW Park Icons
We all know and love the Disney Park icons — Cinderella Castle, the Tree of Life, the Hollywood Tower Hotel and Spaceship Earth. These beloved icons at each Walt Disney World theme park are playing a big (and photogenic) role in Disney’s Anniversary Celebration.
Each night the icons will be lit up with an EARidescent glow, becoming a Beacon of magic. We can’t wait to share pictures with you.
Disney Fab 50 Character Collection Sculptures
Located throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, these 50 character sculptures celebrate Disney’s anniversary. But wait there’s more. Disney promises special interactions with them that we expect to be revealed using the My Disney Experience app. More updates to come!
Here is a full list of the Disney Fab 50 Characters by theme park. We will add locations as the character placements are confirmed.
Magic Kingdom Disney Fab 50 Character Sculptures and Locations
- Lady and the Tramp (Main Street U.S.A. outside Tony’s Town Square Restaurant)
- Minnie Mouse (Hub in front of Cinderella Castle)
- Mickey Mouse (Hub in front of Cinderella Castle)
- Goofy (Hub in front of Cinderella Castle)
- Daisy Duck (Hub in front of Cinderella Castle)
- Donald Duck (Hub in front of Cinderella Castle)
- Pluto (Hub in front of Cinderella Castle)
- Chip and Dale (Hub in front of Cinderella Castle)
- Jaq and Gus (Hub- near castle wall to the right)
- Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse (Hub- near bridge leading to Tomorrowland)
- Winnie the Pooh and Piglet (path to Adventureland in neighboring Crystal Palace)
- Abu (on the Adventureland sign)
- Orange Bird (Adventureland on a porch near Sunshine Tree Terrace)
- Pinocchio (Fantasyland near bridge entrance)
- Cogsworth and Lumiere (Fantasyland near entrance walking towards Prince Charming Regal Carrousel)
- Cheshire Cat (Fantasyland near Mad Hatter Tea Party)
- Mad Hatter (Fantasyland near the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and Mad Hatter Tea Party)
- Tinker Bell (Liberty Square- in a tree near the bridge)
- Stitch (Tomorrowland on the Purple Wall)
EPCOT Disney Fab 50 Character Sculptures and Locations
- Olaf and Bruni (World Showcase Entrance)
- Dante (World Showcase Entrance)
- Rocket Raccoon and Baby Groot (World Showcase Entrance)
- Miguel Rivera (World Showcase Entrance)
- Figment (Future World)
- Pua and Hei Hei (World Showcase Entrance)
Hollywood Studios Disney Fab 50 Character Sculptures and Locations
All statues in Hollywood Studios are located in the area in front of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
- Joe Gardner
- Edna Mode
- Flounder and Sebastian
- Woody and Bo Peep
Animal Kingdom Disney Fab 50 Character Sculptures and Locations
- Dory and Nemo (Tree of Life area)
- Simba (Tree of Life area)
- Timon and Pumbaa (Tree of Life area)
- Bambi and Thumper (Tree of Life area)
Disney 50th Anniversary Must-Have Merch
Time to tackle the merch. Disney merchandise surrounding special events is always a hot ticket item. Disney has announced 6 (yes SIX) different collections that will be associated with the 50th Anniversary. Most release in October, 2021. See a full list of our favorites on this dedicated Disney 50th Anniversary Merchandise post!
The 6 lines of merchandise include the Celebration Collection, the Castle Collection, the Vault Collection, the EARidescent Collection, the Luxe Logo Collection (coming in November, 2021) and Limited-Time Merchandise (released in August). Of course these items sell FAST and consequently limits are in place on items.
One thing we definitely recommend if you are heading to Walt Disney World Resort during the 18-month “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” is to plan a visit to the Disney Outlet outside the parks. In addition, be sure to check out the resort hotel gift shops if the merchandise in other shops is picked over.
Extras Include A New Ride and Restaurant
Long anticipated Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open on October 1, 2021, at EPCOT. You may have caught a glimpse of its progress as you traveled over France on Disney’s Skyliner. We’re excited to check out this ride. Mechanics-wise the “car” for this seems very similar to Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be operating on a virtual queue. There is no standby queue. The virtual queue is available at 7am. You do not have to be in the park to request. It is best to have adult members of your party each attempt to gain access through the My Disney Experience app. Whomever gets through first can then request spots for everyone in your party.
Also new at EPCOT is La Crêperie de Paris. This restaurant will offer both table service and quick service in the newly expanded area of France. Inspired by the Brittany region of France, all items are made to order. Galette pastries include gluten-free options. We’re also excited to add hard ciders at La Crêperie de Paris to our Drinking at EPCOT list.
We know that most of Disney’s celebrations also come with special treats. Accordingly, we’ll have our eyes out for any special Disney snacks that pop up.
Special 50th Anniversary Pictures at Disney
Since we all know anniversaries and celebrations come with special photo opportunities, we’ve made you a list. Don’t forget to snap pictures of the following:
Magic Kingdom 50th Anniversary Photo Opportunities
- Cinderella Castle. Not only will it be decorated after its big makeover but it will also feature a special 50th Anniversary Crest.
- 19 Disney Fab 50 Sculptures
- Purple Wall with your EARidescent Mickey Ears
- Beacon of Magic Cinderella Castle lit up at night
- Mickey’s Character Cavalcade
- Disney Enchantment Nighttime Spectacular
EPCOT 50th Anniversary Photo Opportunities
- Beacon of Magic Spaceship Earth lit up at night
- 6 Disney Fab 50 Sculptures
- The new Ratatouille Ride
- Your galette pastry at the new La Crêperie de Paris
- Harmonious Nighttime Spectacular
Hollywood Studios 50th Anniversary Photo Opportunities
- Beacon of Magic Hollywood Tower Hotel lit up at night
- 7 Disney Fab 50 Sculptures
Animal Kingdom 50th Anniversary Photo Opportunities
- Beacon of Magic Tree of Life lit up at night
- 4 Disney Fab 50 Sculptures
- New Disney KiteTails performance
- Expedition Everest pics before it closes for repairs from January 4th to mid-April 2022
Will you be traveling to Walt Disney World to celebrate the 50th Anniversary? Let us know what you’re looking forward to or what your favorite part was.