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Disney World Reveals New Entertainment for Its Dazzling 50th Anniversary

Walt Disney World has a big birthday coming up in 2021. It’s the big 5-0! Believe it or not, Magic Kingdom Park opened on Oct. 1, 1971. The "World's Most Magical Celebration" will kick off across all four Walt Disney World theme parks Oct. 1, 2021, and will run for 18 months. Disney has even coined the word "EARidescence" to describe what the celebration will be like! Like any big party, you’ll need time to plan. Disney Park Pass reservations are already filling up (in fact, Magic Kingdom is booked already for annual passholders on Oct. 1, 2021), so you may want to book your hotel and get a park reservation through the Disney World reservation system ASAP. EPCOT also shares an anniversary with Magic Kingdom (it will turn 39 years old this year!), and it will be celebrating in a big way with the grand opening of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure on Oct. 1, 2021. The "EARidescent" touches, not to mention the excitement, will extend all across Walt Disney World Resort!

Disney World's 50th Anniversary - Mickey and Friends on Main Street in New Outfits

What better way to celebrate a birthday than with fireworks? We've finally learned that Harmonious will premiere Oct. 1, 2021, at EPCOT. But that's not all! A new nighttime spectacular, Disney Enchantment, will kick off the 50th Anniversary Celebration with its debut at Magic Kingdom, and new daytime entertainment, Disney KiteTails, will premiere at Disney's Animal Kingdom. We'll get into more of the exciting details later, plus everything else you can expect during the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration (and how you can prepare!).

What to Expect at Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

Disney World's 50th Anniversary Celebration - EARidescent Banner

Most large Disney anniversary celebrations include magical entertainment, special park décor, new rides, fun souvenirs and delicious themed treats. We do not have all the specifics yet, but Disney keeps releasing more details about what to expect, such as Mickey and Minnie's new looks, more final touches to Cinderella Castle's royal makeover, special nighttime lighting at each of the four theme park's icons and new entertainment! Keep hopping back as the magical date gets closer for more information.

Disney World 50th Anniversary Entertainment

Disney World is 50 and fabulous. Nothing screams "party" like Walt Disney World entertainment! Due to the pandemic, parades and fireworks were temporarily suspended, but we're so hoppin' excited that not only are normal fireworks back at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, as of July 1, 2021, but also there will be new daytime entertainment and nighttime spectaculars to ring in the special birthday at the start of October later this year.

Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Disney Enchantment

At Magic Kingdom, a new nighttime spectacular will kick off the birthday celebrations. Disney Enchantment promises a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment that will inspire you to believe in magic. It will feature music, enhanced lighting, fireworks and, for the first time ever, projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle all the way down Main Street, U.S.A. Mickey, Minnie and their friends will also celebrate with a new "Mickey's Celebration Cavalcade" throughout the day.

With the new nighttime spectacular set to take over Oct. 1, catch Happily Ever After before it retires Sept. 29.

Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Harmonious

Harmonious — the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park — is set to debut Oct. 1 at EPCOT. Harmonious celebrates how the music of Disney inspires people around the globe. Expect to be carried away harmoniously on a stream of familiar Disney tunes reinterpreted by a diverse group of artists. Harmonious features huge floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, lasers and more. You'll be able to catch EPCOT Forever in the World Showcase Lagoon before it retires Sept. 28.

We'll also be getting new daytime entertainment at Animal Kingdom! Disney KiteTails will come alive several times daily at the Discovery River Amphitheater, starting Oct. 1. Performers will fly windcatchers and kites of all shapes and sizes, while larger three-dimensional kites, depicting Disney animal friends (including Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie), will soar through the sky above the water to the beat of Disney songs.

At night during the "World's Most Magical Celebration," Cinderella Castle, along with the icons from the other three parks, will transform into Beacons of Magic. Pixie dust will shimmer on the castle, magical fireflies will inhabit the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and new touches will come to life on the Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Over at EPCOT, new lights will shine across the reflective panels of Spaceship Earth, resembling stars in the night sky — this will be a permanent feature that stays beyond the "World's Most Magical Celebration."

New Rides and Attractions for Disney World's 50th Anniversary

A Early Look at Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration - Sign for Remy's Ratatouille Adventure

What better time to open new rides and attractions than during the World’s Most Magical Celebration? Here’s a look at new rides and attractions set to open. As of now, only Remy's Ratatouille Adventure is confirmed for Oct. 1, 2021.

  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (EPCOT) — You’ll shrink to Chef Remy’s size and race through Gusteau’s restaurant on a wild adventure.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (EPCOT) Join the Guardians of the Galaxy on an adventure across the cosmos. The storytelling coaster rotates 360 degrees to focus your attention on the action. If you were wondering where the rewind comes in, this is the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
  • PLAY! Pavilion (EPCOT)In this digital metropolis, you’ll discover an interactive city bursting with games, activities and experiences that connect you with friends, family and beloved Disney characters like never before. Help fashion icon Edna Mode on her quest to rid the world of uninspired style, or make a splash competing in a water-balloon fight hosted by Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby.
  • Originally, TRON Lightcycle Run coaster was supposed to open at Magic Kingdom in time for Disney World's anniversary, but that ride does not have an opening date on the calendar just yet. The park has hit "pause" on construction so we do not expect to see that coaster opening as planned.

New Restaurants and Lodging for Disney World's 50th Anniversary

You can also expect some new restaurants and an out-of-this-world hotel opening just in time for "The World's Most Magical Celebration!"

  • Space 220 restaurant (EPCOT) — A new restaurant in the Mission: SPACE Pavilion is out of this world. Dine in a stellar space station with a view into outer space. Enjoy amazing daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles away.
  • Star Wars: Galactic StarcruiserDisney World is launching a new vacation experience where guests can check-in for a two-night adventure aboard a glamorous starship. Once onboard, guests interact with characters and become active participants in the stories that take place around them on their galactic journey. The hotel is confirmed to launch sometime in 2022, so while it won't be available to guests at the beginning of the celebration, it'll be around to board before it ends.

A new perk for Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests will debut for the celebration, as well. Early Theme Park Entry will allow hotel guests to enter any theme park 30 minutes early, every day. Woohoo! Deluxe and Villa hotel guests will also have access to special extended evening hours in the parks. No matter which Disney hotel you're staying at, you can also look forward to some Disney pals dropping by to say hello in their party attire, such as Goofy and Pluto!

Disney World 50th Anniversary Décor

Cinderella Castle already got fresh new look in paint and gold in 2020 in preparation for the Disney World 50th anniversary celebration, and jewels and golden bunting have been put into place. The castle's transformation was recently completed with a 50th-anniversary crest.

You can expect special decorations around the resort to celebrate the occasion. The Walt Disney World archway sign and Magic Kingdom toll booth plazas are also undergoing a royal makeover to match the royal blue and rose gold paint of the castle. Other attractions around the resort are receiving touch-ups to look their best for the big day too.

Disney World's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Mickey and Minnie

Mickey and Minnie will also don special birthday outfits! Their sparkling new look will be custom-made out of EARidescent fabric with gold highlights. SUPER CUTE! Their pals Donald Duck, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto and Chip 'n' Dale will also get their shimmer on.

Disney World 50th Anniversary - Commemorative Statues

Mickey and friends will also be featured in special golden sculptures, among 50 total characters, that will be displayed across all four theme parks. More and more characters are announced as we get closer to October, so we can't wait to see which of our favorite characters will be next. The celebration even begins as soon as the airplane lands, as Disney World has announced special 50th anniversary decor for the Orlando International Airport. Special art, EARidescent light projections and photo opportunities will dazzle passengers before even leaving the airport.

Disney World's 50th Anniversary – Decor at Orlando Int'l Airport

Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration Merchandise, Food and More

An Early Look at Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration - Cast member holding Mickey-shaped food

No party is complete unless guests eat treats and depart with a goodie bag. In this case, the bag will likely be a bag of purchased “souvenEARS” from the event. You can expect event merchandise to be available at gift shops around the resort. Clothing, hats, ears, pins, plushes, frames, sippers, popcorn buckets and more are popular anniversary celebration merchandise. Expect all that and so much more.

In October 2020, Disney World announced a special 50th celebration license plate for Florida-registered car owners. Proceeds of the license plate go to Make-A-Wish of Central and Northern Florida.

We look forward to seeing and tasting the themed 50th treats in the parks. We Disney foodies must be patient as Disney World releases these delicious details much closer to the actual event. But we fully anticipate that there will be cupcakes. What's a party without cake?

How to Plan for Disney World's 50th Anniversary Celebration

Hop over to our post on Planning a Walt Disney World Trip in 2021 for the most updated details about park reservations, park operations updates and more. At this point, the Disney Park Pass reservations system is set to be in place until early 2023. That means you will need to make your hotel and your park reservations in addition to general park admission. Having hotel reservations without park reservations will leave you out of the park. Park hopping returned  Jan. 1, 2021, so take that into consideration if you're planning a 50th-anniversary trip! You only need to make a Park Pass reservation for the first park you plan on visiting; since the second park is subject to capacity limitations, we'd suggest making your Disney Park Pass for the park you'd most like to visit if you'll be hopping.

Park Pass reservations for annual passholders are already full for Magic Kingdom on Oct. 1 and can fill up quickly for theme park and resort guests. Since this is not a one-day party, you’ll have plenty of time to join the celebration if October is not your best time to travel. Large celebrations do tend to attract crowds. If you have your heart set on visiting when the event kicks off or at peak times, you should start planning now and lock in your park reservations! For the best availability, book early.

More details are yet to be unwrapped. The anticipation feels kind of like when you are looking at your pile of wrapped birthday presents and wondering what’s inside. We can’t wait until more news unfolds! So keep hopping back as we update this post with more and more details as they are announced. What we do know is that large anniversary celebrations always bring a lot of additional Disney magic to the parks, so they make an especially great time to visit.

Are you planning to visit during the Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration? You can save money on discount Walt Disney World Resort theme park tickets and hotels when you book with your favorite froggy friends.

Related: What's Coming to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando in 2021 and Beyond

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments
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Jul 28, 2021 at 8:29 p.m. Alexander Betancourt Says...

To whom it may concern, I will have a birthday on September 30. I was wondering are there any perks or incentives I can receive being it will be my 50th birthday and would like to spend it at Disney?!

Jul 28, 2021 at 4:48 p.m. Karen Mclean Says...

We my family and I came down in dec the first year you opened I was a freshman in high school. I really want to come down for your 50th anniversary. My husband and I went to the 50th anniversary in California. I went to that park when I was 6. Got my 50th anniversary ears from there and I will be getting the 50th anniversary ears from you guys

Jul 28, 2021 at 12:51 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Thanks for sharing, Karen! We hope you can make it for Disney World's 50th anniversary too :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 23, 2021 at 7:21 p.m. James or Gwendolyn Mayer Says...

James was a very early guest when Disney opened 50 years ago. are you inviting original guests back for anything special??

Jun 11, 2021 at 12:31 a.m. Tess Says...

I was born on October 1 1971 & central Florida resident my whole life. How can I get tickets to Walt Disney World to celebrate our 50th birthdays?

Jun 11, 2021 at 11:48 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tess!

You can see all of our ticket options herehoppy early birthday! :)

Mommy Frog

Feb 24, 2021 at 2:05 p.m. Hope Says...

Planning a vacation in November how far in advance do we have to purchase our tickets and reservations for the parks

Feb 24, 2021 at 8:10 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Hope!

The sooner, the better :) Things are booking up quickly, especially around peak times such as holidays.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 23, 2021 at 5:55 p.m. Daniel Sean Noonan Says...

We can be jaded nowadays, but" The Happiest place on Earth" is not a slogan, it's a fact. So many great memories with my family and friends. This place really makes me happy!

Feb 19, 2021 at 5:54 p.m. Michelle Says...

Is there a guide to which of the rides at WDW are simulators or similar, it would be easier to plan my holiday if I knew in advance which rides I need to avoid.

Feb 19, 2021 at 4:43 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michelle!

We have a full guide on motion sickness at Walt Disney World that will list exact specifications for you! Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Star Tours, Soarin', Avatar Flight of Passage and Mission: SPACE are all simulators. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 19, 2021 at 3:56 a.m. Heidi Brumleve Says...

can I come to the 50 I'm turn the 50 and I would to be in the parade if I can be in the parade please let me and you can Shawn the man want was in my dvd and he said that he will see me soon and I was there in December and is was nice to see the mickey mouse and Minnie to Heidi

Jun 8, 2021 at 4:28 a.m. Debbie Says...

Me 2. Gen X ERS

Jan 24, 2021 at 11:16 p.m. Virginia Rieth Says...

My sister visited Magic Kingdom on opening day almost 50 years can I surprise her with a ticket October 1? Bother her parents and brother who went with her have passed away. This experience would mean the world to her. Thank you for your consideration...her big sister who sadly missed that opening day. Ginger

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