Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary begins October 1, 2021. And with it comes new rides, restaurants, shows, resorts, services, and more! We’ve been covering the extensive list of Park Updates at Walt Disney World for the 50th Anniversary that has seen favorite rides, shows, and experiences come and go. But what about the Anniversary Celebration itself? Here’s everything you need to know about The World’s Most Magical Celebration at Walt Disney World and all the activities, themes, and new things planned!
Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Themes
Walt Disney World has officially announced a start date for the 50th Anniversary! The World’s Most Magical Celebration Begins October 1, 2021, and runs for 18 months until March 2023. Here are all the plans park-wide, and broken down by park so far! We’ll be adding to this post regularly as news is announced. Disney has introduced three focus areas for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. This is in addition to all the new rides, restaurants, and refurbishment of the areas of all parks, that has been well underway since 2017. For the World’s Most Magical Celebration, each of Disney’s four theme parks will get a little more sparkle, lights, and glitter than before with each Park Icon becoming a Beacon of Magic, complete with new projection lighting.
Worlds of Magic
“Throughout this incredible, 18-month event discovers classic favorites and exciting adventures across The Most Magical Place on Earth.”
The first focus of Disney’s Most Magical Celebration is Worlds of Magic. As certain areas of the parks begin to evolve into lands of their own, we’re seeing more lands show up. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, Pandora, and even the new Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind will help solidify a Marvel presence within the Walt Disney World Parks.
“Step into a celebratory scene with dazzling decorations, new looks for Mickey and Minnie, and magical touches at all four Theme Parks and beyond.”
In line with the iridescent unicorn colors of purple, blue, pink, silver, and gold Mickey and Minnie are decked to the nines! You can be sure to see merchandise and snacks with this color scheme across the parks and shopDisney.com as the October 1, 2021 start date draws near.
Heart of the Celebration
“Our Cast will be making boundless magic across Walt Disney World Resort, ready to create unforgettable memories that last a lifetime.”
A much-deserved nod to the cast members who have gotten caught up in the crazy of the pandemic, and no doubt have to deal with last-minute changes, crazy guests, and safety issues, this focus on honoring the cast is fantastic! A little more creativity and magical moments are going to be back in full force at the parks by fall.
Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Park Plans
In addition to the individual park enhancements below, there are also 50 Golden Disney Character Statues on the way! Plan to see 50 statues honoring Disney Characters. These golden statues are coined the Disney Fab 50 and will be scattered throughout all 4 parks at Walt Disney World.
- The Fab 8: As part of the celebration eight classic Disney characters will get brand new anniversary costumes. Minnie, Mickey, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale will be seen across the parks throughout the celebration.
- New Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Logo
“Cinderella Castle illuminates the park with a dazzling glow that sparkles with pixie dust.”
Magic Kingdom is getting an upgrade! With Cinderella’s Castle already standing tall in all her rose gold glory, we’re also being promised sparkle digital projections on the castle, complete with pixie dust! Add this magic to the other improvements happening in Magic Kingdom and it will feel like a whole new world.
Other improvements to Magic Kingdom Park for the 50th Anniversary include the following.
- Disney Enchantment Fireworks Show: This new Fireworks show, beginning October 1, 2021, is a combination of pyrotechnics, lighting, fireworks and enhanced projection lighting that will stretch down Main Street USA.
- Tron Lightcycle Run opening in 2022
- Jungle Cruise gets refreshed with New Scenes and Refurbishment
- Splash Mountain Re-Theme to Princess and the Frog
- Cinderella’s Castle 50th Anniversary Overlay with ribbons and buntings
- Tomorrowland Makeover
- Walt Disney World Railroad Refurbishment
- Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade
- New Entrance refurbishments
- New Projection Lighting on Cinderella’s Castle
- A new scene from Pixar’s Coco is coming to Mickey’s PhilharMagic!
Plus more changes at Magic Kingdom are on the way.
“Lights shine from within Spaceship Earth’s reflective panels as stardust emerges to symbolize beacons of possibility and optimism.”
EPCOT has been under construction forever! On the fast track to becoming even more grand and miraculous by its own anniversary in 2022, EPCOT recently got updated with a new Epcot Leave a Legacy Wall and new glass pylons at the front entrance. The 50th Anniversary at EPCOT promises to be celebrated with even more light, sparkles, and magic!
Other improvements to EPCOT Park for the 50th Anniversary include the following.
- NEW Epcot Neighborhoods
- Play! Pavilion opening in the Wonders of Life building in 2021
- Space 220 Restaurant near Mission Space, Open September 20, 2021.
- Spaceship Earth Refurbishment
- Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Rollercoaster
- Moana’s Journey of Water
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opening October 1, 2021
- La Creperie de Paris opening October 1, 2021.
- Harmonious Nighttime Spectacular October 1, 2021
- New Projection Lighting on Spaceship Earth
- Dreamers Point Statue
- New Entrance Refurbishment
Plus more changes at EPCOT are on the way.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
“The iconic Hollywood Tower Hotel glitters with EARidescence, evoking the glimmer and shimmer of the golden age of imagination and adventure.”
Promising amazing digital shows on the Tower of Terror, complete with sparkles and more magic, we can’t wait to see how this show transforms from day to night. Hollywood Studios may be covered in all things Star Wars but Toy Story Land still has some things in the works.
Other improvements to Hollywood Studios Park for the 50th Anniversary include the following.
- Woody’s Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant coming in 2021
- Star Wars Immersion Resort 2-night, 3-day experience on the Galactic Starcruiser
- New Projection Lighting on Hollywood Tower of Terror
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Star Wars Rise of the Resistance
- Mickey Shorts Theater
- Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run
Plus more changes at Hollywood Studios are on the way.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
“A warm and glorious light emanates from the Tree of Life, as enchanted fireflies gather to call forth the magic of nature.”
The Tree of Life will be on full display in all of its warm glow glory, complete with firefly lights. From little doses of magic like this to other spectacular scenes through the park, Animal Kingdom will be showing us some natural magic courtesy of all things in nature.
Other improvements to Animal Kingdom Park for the 50th Anniversary include the following.
- Return of Festival of the Lion King in a modified layout
- Disney KiteTales: This daytime show features 3-D kites flying through the air. At 30 feet long, some are shaped like our favorite Disney Characters including Simba, Zazu, Baloo, and King Louie. Open October 1, 2021.
- New Projection Lighting on the Tree of Life
Plus more changes at Animal Kingdom are on the way.
Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary FAQ
When Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, it was no small task. If you’ve ever watched the Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland Documentary on Disney Plus you know just the amount of work needed to create a theme park. But imagine Walt Disney World, which is 51 times ( at 43 square miles of land) the size of Disneyland ( at only 500 acres), lasting and thriving for 50 years. How exciting that somehow The Most Magical Place on Earth has withstood the test of time and is still here for us to enjoy! And the park is still growing, learning, and changing. Walt Disney would be so proud.
What is The World’s Most Magical Celebration at Disney World in 2021?
Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary is known as The World’s Most Magical Celebration. The official birthday of the park is October 1, 1971, but this birthday party typically lasts 18 months. The World’s Most Magical Celebration pulls together new experiences, new rides, new shows, new resorts, new merchandise, and a slew of offerings specific to the anniversary.
2021 also marks Magic Kingdom’s 50th Anniversary, which is why we’re seeing so much emphasis on the completion of TRON and the upgrades across Magic Kingdom park in anticipation of the event. Also celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2021 are The Contemporary Resort, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds, and The Polynesian Village Resort.
How Long will the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Last?
18 months. Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary runs from October 1, 2021 to March 2023.
What Changes Have Been Made at Walt Disney World for the 50th Anniversary?
So many changes have happened at Walt Disney World over the last few years. Thankfully we have been keeping track of all the Changes at Walt Disney World for the 50th Anniversary. Here are some of the BIGGER projects across the parks that have been completed and are being completed in anticipation of Disney Worlds Most Magical Celebration.
- Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
- Toy Story Land
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- TRON Lightcycle Run completing 2022
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Rodeo Roundup BBQ Restaurant
- Harmonious Nighttime Show
- Disney Enchantment Show
- Regal Eagle Smokehouse Crafts, Drafts and BBQ
- Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Rollercoaster completing 2022
- Play! Pavilion
- Star Wars Galactic Cruiser Hotel
- Club 33 at Walt Disney World
- The Disney Skyliner System
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
How Can I Attend Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary?
Disney tickets and packages are available NOW! The current Disney Parks Pass Reservation system is set to be in place potentially until 2023. Check out current Disney ticket prices on the website. And be sure to read our post about Walt Disney World in 2021 and everything you should know before you go.
Will the Disney Park Pass Reservations still be Required for the 50th Anniversary?
Yes. Disney Park Pass reservations have been rumored to be a new component of Disney Vacation Planning through 2023.
What is Happening for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary?
Along with all the changes in entertainment, rides, restaurants, and services, we also get a new Logo and an Event Name. “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” will be complete with 50th Anniversary Disney Snacks, Merchandise, and temporary events across the parks. Activities for the 50th Anniversary have not yet been released. But, check out our Walt Disney World 2021 Calendar of Events and our Walt Disney World 2022 Calendar of Events to use as a reference. Here are just some basic New Things you can expect for the 50th Anniversary at Walt Disney World in 2021.
- Exclusive Merchandise including new Disney Pins, MagicBands, Jerseys, Mickey Ears, and Annual Passholder Merchandise.
- Specialty Disney Snacks across all 4 Disney Parks
- A Television Special, most likely on ABC, the Disney Channel, and Disney Plus
- A New Parade and/ or Show at Magic Kingdom
- A D23 event to commemorate the event
- Disney Legends appearances
- Special events
Check out Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary page to keep up on all the details!
When’s the Best Time to go to Walt Disney World for the 50th Anniversary?
Following the historical crowd levels for Walt Disney World anniversaries we’d say your best bet is to Plan a 2022 Disney Vacation after the initial crowds have lessened. If you’re looking for the Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World during the 50th Anniversary celebrations here are our recommendations.
- January- February,
- First week of March,
- Third week of September,
- Mid-October to the
- Week before Thanksgiving.
Any of these times in 2022 would probably be the best times to visit.
And in 2023 we’d say January and February are the best times to visit Walt Disney World. If you’re looking to visit Disney World on a budget be sure to check out the Cheapest and Most Expensive Times to visit Walt Disney World.