A Guide to Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

Colette TamburiniOnline Editor

It is time to put on those Mickey Mouse ears! Starting Oct.1, Walt Disney World is celebrating their 50th Anniversary with an 18-month event filled with brand new fireworks, shows, food, rides and more. Here are a few things to know for planning a vacation at Disney World during its grand anniversary.

The beloved Fab 50, fifty Disney characters, will be all displayed across the theme parks. Some characters featured are Mickey Mouse, Timon & Pumbaa, Olaf, Woody, and even BB-8! Theme park icons- Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, Hollywood Tower Hotel, and Tree of Life- light up in a shimmer of color and glow as to welcome everyone to the celebration.

Magic Kingdom is an obvious park not to miss during a Disney trip. Right when entering the park, guests will be greeted with a transformed Cinderella Castle. Decorated with a new coat of paint and royal draperies, the castle also features a golden 50th anniversary crest front and center.

Later next year, the anticipated roller-coaster Tron Lightcycle Power Run will make its debut at Tomorrowland. (As of Sept. 2, there is no specific opening date for this ride.) For now, guests can enjoy favorite rides such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain and more.

The classic Mickey’s PhilharMagic introduces a new musical scene from Pixar’s Coco. Journey to the Land of the Dead as Donald Duck tries to pursue the Sorcerer’s Hat while Miguel and Héctor sing “Poco Loco.” Watch the 4D performance when it debuts Oct 1.

Magic Kingdom unfolds in the nighttime spectacular, Disney Enchantment, which showcases dazzling fireworks and projections from Cinderella’s Castle to Main Street U.S.A. The show tells stories that will spark the imagination and inspire the wonder of magic.

Epcot is serving up all the treats- both food and rides. The annual International Food & Wine Festival still goes on across the world showcase. Taste and delight through six continents with delicious foods from over thirty booths such as Kenya, Brazil, the Alps, Spain, and many others. This year, Epcot has plenty of new booths like The Noodle Exchange, Lobster landing, Mac & Eats, and the Brew-Wing.

The wait is almost over to experience Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Based on Pixar’s Ratatouille, Guests are transported into the “rat-sized” attraction at the France pavilion. Follow Remy through Gusteau’s restaurant in this immersive 4D experience while scurrying through walls, kitchen, and dining room from danger. (This attraction requires guests to join a virtual queue to enter.)

At night, be dazzled by Harmonious, a nighttime showcase which transforms all of Epcot into culturally diverse stories and songs sung in multiple languages.

Roll the red carpet and take all the pictures, Hollywood Studios is the perfect place for superstars. Speaking of stars, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is one of Disney World’s hot spots to visit. Soar across space in Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run in this interactive adventure. Battle against the First Order alongside the Resistance in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Just a reminder that in order enter Galaxy’s Edge, guests must join a virtual queue, in which reservations start at 7 a.m.

For those who want to go the calmer route, guests are welcome to assemble tomized lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop. Guests also have the option to build a droid in the Droid Depot. Now that is cute.

As of September 6, Fantasmic! will not have any showings until 2022. However, guests can watch the return of Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage, a suggestion while waiting to enter the more thrilling attractions like Rockin’ Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror.

Ride like the wind through Toy Story Land! Guests can feel like a kid again as they walk through Andy’s backyard as toys. Whether traveling around space with alien friends in Alien Swirling Saucers or springing up and around on Slinky Dog Dash, there is fun to enjoy for Toy Story fans. If you have a friend or two who loves a good competition, don’t forget to ride Toy Story Mania, a carnival-like game where you give your best shot at a variety of targets.

Roar into Animal Kingdom and meet some flying friends. Take to the skies to view Disney KiteTails at the Discovery River Amphitheater. Kites and windcatchers soar in this performance featuring Disney character-themed kites (Simba, Zazu and more) as they dance along to classic Disney songs. Disney KiteTails will have performances starting Oct. 1.

Explore the world of Avatar in Pandora, A ride that will take your breath away, Flight of Passage is a soaring experience that lets you ride on the back of a banshee as a Na’vi hunter and fly through Pandora. Drift along a mystical river in the Na’vi River Journey, where bioluminescent nature blooms and the Na’vi Shaman of Songs greets within the grotto.

A couple things to note when you’re planning a trip to Disney World. If able to, it is highly encouraged to get vaccinated before going to the theme parks and Disney Springs so that everyone is safe. As of Aug. 19, face coverings are required indoors for all guests 2 years old and up. Yes, even in buses, monorails, Skyliner etc. When outdoors, guests have the option of wearing their masks.

Fastpasses are no more. At least, they have been replaced. Disney Parks has introduced Lightning Lanes, a line in which you reserve your time to ride with access from Genie+ Service. Using the MyDisneyExperience app, Genie+ is a paid add-on which allows you to select one attraction at a time and skip to the front of the line.

Guests can also pay for individual selections to enter the Lightning Lane. Each guest can purchase their Genie+ pass $15/per day and reserve their first attraction on the day of visit. Spots are limited.

Ready to embark on a vacation to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary event? Whether going with friends, family, or even solo, this is a magical celebration made for everyone to enjoy. Stay safe and have fun.

Photo Courtesy of disneyparks.disney.go.com

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