Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary runs through March 2023, continuing the celebration of Worlds of Magic. While there are many things to do in the parks, if you’re traveling through this time, be sure to take advantage of some of the 50th Anniversary EXCLUSIVES. From specialty snacks to merchandise, to shows, to experiences, here are our Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Top 10 Things to Do.
Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Top 10
Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary started back in October 2021 and has been going strong throughout 2022. But what is there to actually do for this celebration? While some things are simply there to look at, there are others that take more of an interactive approach. Either way, you’ll want to take notes. Here are our TOP 10 Things to do for the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World.
Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade | Magic Kingdom
This New Disney Character Cavalcade at Magic Kingdom Park is all about new characters and adventure. Disney Adventure Friends include Nick and Judy, Balloo and King Louis, Miguel, Moana, Merida, The Incredible, Marielle, and more! A must-see if you’re hoping to see rare characters in the park, as many of these friends are intermittently strewn across Walt Disney World. This cavalcade brings these favorites center stage with a new song, dance, and loads of possibilities. Running the parade route from Frontierland to Main Street USA, grab a spot in Liberty Square for lower crowds, or down Main Street for the best pictures.
Enchantment | Magic Kingdom
The newest fireworks show at Magic Kingdom is all about the magic in you! The Enchantment Fireworks Show includes a new song and new projections on Cinderella’s Castle and down Main Street. Believe that You are Magic and grab the lyrics to the song in our Enchantment post. This fireworks show is beautiful and set to run through the 50th Anniversary celebration ( March 2023). The best spot for viewing is just past the roundabout in front of Cinderella Castle if you’re hoping to see the castle projections. Otherwise, a little farther down Main Street gets you views of the images that crawl the buildings.
Harmonious | EPCOT
A spectacle on the World Showcase Lagoon, this show incorporates a variety of water barges that spray water, to show images and tell stories. Accompanies by international versions and covers of favorite Disney songs, you’ll be able to sing along and enjoy your favorite music from a variety of Disney films. The best location for viewing this show is on either side of American Adventure in World Showcase countries, Italy or Japan. You can also book a dinner at Tokyo Dining for balcony views of the show, or request terrace seating at the Rose and Crown Pub for on-the-water views of the action.
50th Anniversary Statues | All Parks
One of the most fun new additions to the parks is the Golden 50th Anniversary Character Statues across all four parks. These statues feature Disney characters, and some pairs of friends making up 36 statues in all featuring 50 Disney stars. From R2D2 to Winnie the Pooh to Tinkerbell, finding them all isn’t difficult, but you have to keep an eye out! In addition to finding these statues, you can also interact with them if you have the new MagicBand+ wristlet. Only part of the parks through the 50th be sure to find your favorites before the end of the celebration.
MagicBand+ | All Parks
The newest twist on technology at Walt Disney World ( and soon also at Disneyland) is the MagicBand+ wristlet. Not only does this MagicBand scan you into parks, and rides, open your room door, and pay for things, it can interact with its surroundings, when you’re nearby. Working in tandem with the Disney Play App, this band can interact with the 50th Anniversary statues at all the parks, and also the fireworks show! Displaying color-changing lights and vibrations, you can grab these MagicBands at the gift shops in the parks and in Disney Springs. ( Launch Date- July 27, 2022)
Electrical Water Pageant Parade 50th Anniversary Edition | Magic Kingdom Area Resorts
Able to be seen from Monorail Resorts, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds, this musical parade features an electronic soundtrack and floats covered in lights. All sailing across the waters of Seven Seas Lagoon. If you’re staying at a Magic Kingdom Area resort, this water pageant actually makes the rounds to each and can be seen from the beaches. If you’re not staying at one of these resorts, then you can simply resort hop to one for the evening entertainment to catch a glimpse of this fun show. Special for the 50th Anniversary, these water floats are decked out in new lights to celebrate.
50th Anniversary Disney Snacks | Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World is known for its fancy snacks, and the 50th Anniversary gave them one huge reason to celebrate. 150 New Snacks huge to be precise. From specialty cupcakes to churros to Walt Disney’s favorite things to eat, you can find all the Disney Snacks for the 50th Anniversary across the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. We’re fans of unique snacks that make the extra effort, so be sure to try the Carmel Apple Tart at ABC Commissary in Hollywood Studios and Uncle Orville’s Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow Sundae at Auntie Gravity’s in Magic Kingdom. With 150 snacks, there are plenty to choose from. Check out all the 50th Anniversary Snacks at Walt Disney World to start planning.
Beacons of Magic | All Parks
As part of the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Top 10, we had to include Beacons of Magic. This evening show happens at all four parks, each with its own unique spin. Beacons of Magic is a light show that takes place on each park’s icon. At Hollywood Studios the Tower of Terror lights up with glamour and shimmer that crawls across the hotel. In Animal Kingdom the Tree of Life gets visits from glowing fireflies that sparkle between the branches of the tree. At EPCOT, Spaceship Earth is awash in points of light that create patterns and colors across the globe. And at Magic Kingdom, Cinderella’s Castle is aglow with purples, pinks, and golds that cover the facade. These shows begin at sundown and are all set to music. Be sure to glimpse if you’ve traveling anytime through March 2023.
Let The Magic Begin Welcome Show | Magic Kingdom
With the return of characters to the parks is a brand new Welcome Show at Magic Kingdom. If you’re planning to arrive as soon as the park opens, then head to the castle! This new show features Mickey and Friends, and a new song to get you ready for the day! As a special show for the 50th Anniversary we don’t know how long this one will last. So if you’re hoping to see Disney characters in action, but don’t want to wait in line at Disney Character Meet and Greets, then stop by this show.
Character Cavalcades, Flotillas and Motorcades | All Parks
Partly thanks to the pandemic, Disney Characters can be found in more places than ever before. Now seen floating on boats in the Animal Kingdom Flotillas. Or driving down sunset boulevard at Hollywood Studios. Disney characters are popping up all over the place. While the extra effort seems to be specific to the 50th Anniversary, we’re hoping that these bits of magic stay around a little longer. One of our favorite places to catch characters is at Animal Kingdom. Here you can count on flotillas carrying Chip, Dale, Launchpad McQuack, Pocahontas, Meeko and all your favorite Disney Animal Kingdom friends, down the Discovery River.
New Things at Walt Disney World for the 50th Anniversary
While not specific to the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World and therefore not in our TOP 10, here are some other things that are new at Walt Disney World for the 50th Anniversary that may also strike your fancy. While these will definitely be around long after the World’s Most Magical Celebration is over, their inception was a result of the 50th Anniversary. And wanting to bring more magic to guests. You can check out the full list of all the Changes at Walt Disney World since 2017 for everything that’s been removed and added to the parks.
PeopleMover Makeover | Magic Kingdom
New PeopleMover Audio Soundtrack at Magic Kingdom. The PeopleMover is *known* for its out-of-this-world vintage audio track. But in 2022, there’s a whole new audio track now including info about TRON and is fitting for the changing Tomorrowland. Check out the NEW PeopleMovie Audio Track.
Space 220 Restaurant | EPCOT
Space 220 Restaurant at EPCOT. The newest restaurant to land in EPCOT is Space 220, complete with an elevator to beam you up to the space station. This restaurant features digital views of the galaxy and out-of-this-world dining to enjoy. Reservations are typically difficult to get, and while this isn’t a restaurant we’d return to often, trying it at least once should be on your list.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure | EPCOT
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT. This ride in World Showcase France is beautifully made and can be found down the streets of Paris at the back of the pavilion. This trackless dark ride features Remy swerving in and out of hazards in the kitchen. Before finding his way to safety. A cute ride, this is perfect for families. But, as a ride in general, we think Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Hollywood Studios is more worth the time.
Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind | EPCOT
Another part of all the changes coming to EPCOT park, Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT has taken over part of World Discovery. This indoor rollercoaster is huge. And offers up a 360-ride experience that has you launched into the galaxy. And amid a battle no less! Only available via individual Lightning Lane purchase or Virtual Boarding Queue, this ride is considered a must-do for coaster fans.
Coco in Mickey’s Philharmagic | Magic Kingdom
If you’re looking for something new that can get you out of Florida weather, head to Mikey’s PhilharMagic! This 3-D show features Donald Duck in all sorts of trouble, in and out of familiar Disney films. Filled with music from Fantasia, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and now Coco, there is plenty to enjoy here.
Connections Cafe at EPCOT
Part of the World Celebration renovations, Connections Cafe features large dining spaces, a quick-service restaurant, and Starbucks. Sleek and clean to match the look of the future this building anchors the front of EPCOT park. And offers up some much-needed indoor seating. As part of the new World Celebration Plaza, meant to be the hub of EPCOT, this restaurant will be regularly busy. Connections Cafe is also home of the Liege Belgian Waffle.
Creations Gift Shop at EPCOT
The largest gift shop at EPCOT, Creations sits next to Club Cool and has multiple entrances. Featuring products specific to EPCOT, festivals, and more, you can also find a large selection of apparel, jewelry, Dooney and Bourke, and more. Situated near the front entrance of the park, this gift shop is a great place to stop on your way out of the park. If you’re looking to grab souvenirs, that is.
If you’re heading to Walt Disney World before March 2023, then take advantage of the 50th Anniversary fun! Another anniversary of this magnitude won’t happen until Disney World turns 75, and that won’t be until 2046! So enjoy it while it’s here!
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.