Ready for The World's Most Magical Celebration? Walt Disney World Resort Celebrates 50 Yearsby Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Ready for The World's Most Magical Celebration?
Walt Disney World Resort Celebrates 50 Years
October 1, 1971 to October 1, 2021
To all who come to this happy page, welcome!
Here at MousePlanet, we celebrate all things Disney, but mostly the domestic Disney Parks, Resorts, and Experiences. Usually on Mondays, we provide our Disneyland Resort Update, but, on Friday this week, October 1, the realization of Walt Disney's Florida Project, Walt Disney World Resort, turns 50 years old. So, while our publication schedule might be a bit off this week, we expect that we will be providing extensive coverage of The World's Most Magical Celebration on our social media channels and here on MousePlanet.com as well.
In fact, the festivities of "The World's Most Magical Celebration" will actually be getting underway ahead of the October 1 anniversary. Disney Parks Blog announced the two new nighttime spectaculars that official debut on October 1, "Harmonious" at EPCOT, and "Disney Enchantment" at Magic Kingdom, will be live streamed on Disney Parks Blog ahead of their official debut. You may want to bookmark the special Disney Parks Blog "Everything Walt Disney World 50th" page for easy reference.
On Wednesday, September 29, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern, Disney Parks Blog will share a live stream of "Harmonious" from EPCOT, the new show that is part of the overall transformation of the park that "pays tribute to the stories and songs that unite us all" in one of the largest nighttime spectaculars Disney has ever created. The show features new pyrotechnics, moving fountains, special lighting and media, with new interpretations of classic Disney songs in more than a dozen languages and performed by 240 artists from around the world.
On Thursday, September 30, starting at 10:15 p.m., Disney Parks Blog will share a live stream of "Disney Enchantment" along with a special celebratory moment. This new nighttime spectacular extends the lighting and projection effects from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A. and includes the new original song, "You Are the Magic" by eight-time GRAMMY-winner and former Walt Disney World cast member Philip Lawrence. The new show includes characters, moments, and music from dozens of Disney and Pixar animated films.
At the center of the 18-month event, "The World's Most Magical Celebration," Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom welcomes guests with its new paint scheme, gleaming gold bunting, sparkling golden embellishments, a 50th anniversary crest and other enhancements inspired by the art of Disney Legend Mary Blair. Shimmering EARidescence has been added around the theme parks, Disney Resort hotels, transportation, and can be found in plenty of merchandise offerings and more. Here's a rundown of the celebration around the Resort.
Expanded France Pavilion at EPCOT
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure officially opens on October 1 as part of a newly expanded France pavilion at EPCOT's World Showcase. Based on the "flavorful world" of Disney and Pixar's Academy Award-winning film Ratatouille, the new family-friendly attraction, makes guests feel as though they are shrunk to the size of Chef Remy as they scurry through Gusteau’s famous restaurant.
Also debuting on October 1 in the expanded section of the pavilion is the new restaurant, La Crêperie de Paris, offering both table- and quick-service options. The menu features sweet crepes, savory buckwheat galettes (naturally gluten friendly) and authentic French hard cider.
The attraction, restaurant and pavilion expansion are all part of the historic transformation of EPCOT currently underway.
Nighttime Spectacular "Harmonious" at EPCOT
"Harmonious," is one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park. As mentioned above, Disney Parks Blog will stream a preview of the show on Wednesday night, and it officially debuts October 1 at EPCOT. This new show "brings the globe together" at World Showcase Lagoon in a celebration of Disney music that inspires people worldwide. Disney describes it as "a grand, powerful tribute to the unifying power of story and song, embracing new technical magic that incorporates pyrotechnics, choreographed moving fountains, lighting, massive LED panels and media in new ways."
"Harmonious" features new interpretations of classic Disney songs in more than a dozen languages, performed by a diverse group of 240 artists from around the world, including Luis Fonsi, Joy, Danny Gokey, and the Ndlovu Youth Choir.
"Disney Enchantment" at Magic Kingdom
Following its live streaming preview on Disney Parks Blog on September 30, "Disney Enchantment" officially debuts on October 1. Disney says the new nighttime "extravaganza takes guests on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment." The show features fireworks, music, enhanced lighting and, for the first time, immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.
Following its live streaming preview on Disney Parks Blog on September 30, "Disney Enchantment" debuts at Magic Kingdom on October 1. Video Courtesy Disney Parks.
The show's soundtrack features an original song, "You Are the Magic," written and performed by multiple GRAMMY winner Philip Lawrence, whose musical career began as a Disney cast member performing in Walt Disney World shows. The new original song can also be heard in other ways around the Resort during the 18 month celebration, such as the Beacons of Magic and live entertainment in the parks.
Beacons of Magic at All Four Theme Parks
Icons at all four Walt Disney World theme parks will transform at night into Beacons of Magic. Each will come to life with an "EARidescent glow."
- Cinderella Castle illuminates Magic Kingdom with a dazzling radiance and pixie-dust sparkle.
- At Disney's Animal Kingdom, a warm light emanates from the Tree of Life as fireflies gather to usher in the magic of nature.
- The Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney's Hollywood Studios is awash in a brilliance evoking the golden age of imagination and adventure.
- At EPCOT, new lights shine across the reflective panels of Spaceship Earth, connecting to one another like stars in a nighttime sky and creating a mesmerizing symbol of optimism. The iconic structure's permanent new lighting will continue beyond "The World's Most Magical Celebration" as a defining feature of the park.
"Beacons of Magic" will light up the icons at the four theme parks during the celebration. The new lighting scheme at Spaceship Earth at EPCOT is a permanent addition to the park. Photo Courtesy Disney Parks.
Disney KiteTails at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom presents "Disney KiteTails" as new daytime entertainment, several times daily beginning October 1 at the Discovery River Theater. Performers fly windcatchers and kites of all shapes and sizes, while out on the water elaborate three-dimensional kites—some stretching to 30 feet long—depict Disney animal friends, including Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie. These colorful creations dance through the sky to the beat of favorite Disney songs in an uplifting, vibrant experience for the whole family.
Beginning Oct. 1, “Disney KiteTails” will take the magic of nature and Disney storytelling to new heights, immersing everyone in a gala performance of color and movement at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: https://t.co/YVuAlnE4lx #DisneyWorld50 pic.twitter.com/RfPpZ4oeUX— Walt Disney World (@WaltDisneyWorld) August 30, 2021
Golden "Disney Fab 50" Characters Across All Four Theme Parks
The new "Disney Fab 50 Character Collection" golden sculptures are spread across the four Walt Disney World theme parks in honor of the 50th anniversary. Fifty characters are featured in total, including Miguel and Dante from Disney and Pixar's Coco at EPCOT; BB-8 and R2-D2 from Star Wars at Disney's Hollywood Studios; Simba, Timon and Pumba from The Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom; and Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse—dedicated to Walt Disney World cast members—at Magic Kingdom.
Food & Beverage Takes Inspiration From The Past
During its 50th anniversary celebration, new menu items for the celebration offer nods to the resort's past. These include theme park classics and some of Walt Disney's favorite items, along with novel dishes and "sips full of color, whimsy and a touch of EARidescent shimmer." Of the 150-plus new items available, examples include:
- Cheese Fries with Walt’s Chili at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Glimmer and Shimmer Pineapple Mousse at Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Mission to Mars burger at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Magic Kingdom
- EARidescent Croissant Doughnut at EPCOT
- EARidescent Ice Dream Cone at Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park
- Chicken Dinner Cupcake Trio at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- Magical Beacon Cocktail, found at many table-service restaurants, lounges and pool bars at Walt Disney World
Novelty items developed for the celebration, including popcorn buckets, mugs and sippers, are available beginning October 1, 2021, and continue to roll out across Walt Disney World throughout "The World's Most Magical Celebration."
Guests will discover new merchandise collections launching in October and November 2021 as part of the celebration. These new items include apparel, accessories, plush, homeware, keepsakes, collectibles and much more, in several different collections:
- The Celebration Collection includes a wide-ranging assortment of commemorative merchandise for the whole family.
- Drawing inspiration from Cinderella Castle, the Disney Castle Collection features everything from collectibles—such as ornaments and charms—to castle-inspired attire and a light-up, 50th anniversary-edition Minnie Mouse ear headband.
- Disney fans and those who love all things vintage will be eager to unlock the Vault Collection that pays tribute to 50 years of Walt Disney World magic with an assortment of retro-themed designs right out of the Walt Disney Archives.
- In line with new décor seen across Walt Disney World during the 50th anniversary celebration, the EARidescent Collection features a shimmering array of themed fashions and accessories.
- As the name implies, the Luxe Logo Collection offers a range of upscale pieces for the Disney collector.
Drawn to Life By Cirque du Soleil and Disney Premieres November 18, 2021
Drawn to Life, the new family-friendly show coming to Disney Springs, is an original creative collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Imagineering. Premiering November 18, 2021, during "The World's Most Magical Celebration," the live acrobatic show tells the story of Julie, a determined girl who discovers an unexpected gift left by her Disney animator father: an unfinished animation. As she dives into the inner world of animation guided by a surprising pencil, Julie embarks on an inspiring quest filled with her childhood Disney memories, brought to life through Cirque du Soleil's innovative design and dazzling performances. Tickets are available at cirquedusoleil.com/drawntolife.
Several scenes from "Drawn to Life" were shown during a media preview in March 2020, just before the Resort temporarily shut down because of the global pandemic. The show is now set to debut on November 18, 2021. File Photo from March 2020
“It’s like coming home!” Cirque du Soleil artists are thrilled to be together and rehearsing for "Drawn to Life" coming to @DisneySprings Nov. 18 during the 50th anniversary celebration of @WaltDisneyWorld Resort: https://t.co/4G9CwWmeT6 #DisneyWorld50 pic.twitter.com/W8QOMz3bjL— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) September 16, 2021
Space 220 Restaurant Now Open at EPCOT
In an expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion at EPCOT, the new Space 220 Restaurant is a culinary experience offering the celestial panorama of a space station, including daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles above the planet's surface. Guests board a space elevator for a simulated journey to the Centauri Space Station, where they experience the "height of dining." Once they arrive, guests enjoy meals and drinks while taking in views that are truly out of this world.
Original Walt Disney World Resort Hotels Updated
As Walt Disney World celebrates its 50th anniversary, Walt Disney Imagineering is continuing to enhance the storytelling at the vacation destination's two original Disney Resort hotels, part of the Disney Resorts Collection. All guest rooms in the iconic A-frame tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort are being completely refurbished, blending a sleek Monorail motif evoking Tomorrowland with some favorite characters from Pixar Animation Studios' Incredibles films. In the lobby, guests see a collection of modern art pieces as well as historical, behind-the- scenes photographs of Disney's Contemporary Resort in development and under construction. The resort's lobby restaurant is aptly renamed Steakhouse 71, offering a reimagined dining experience opening October 1.
Steakhouse 71, located on the first floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World Resort, will open its doors on Oct. 1 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we are excited to give you the first look at all the menus: https://t.co/PcLG3ZEeQ3 pic.twitter.com/CT4Q8WCDQ2— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) September 13, 2021
Guest rooms were recently reimagined at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort with a color palette inspired by the Pacific Ocean and its necklace of islands. Their fresh new look draws on the details, textures and patterns found in Disney's "Moana," with characters and references to the film's rich storytelling. The resort also boasts a dramatic new porte cochere to enhance the arrival experience as guests pull up to its Great Ceremonial House.
Many of the fun and convenient forms of complimentary Walt Disney World transportation receive special 50th anniversary décor during the celebration. Guests may ride in sparkling style with new artwork added to select Disney Skyliner cabins, Disney Transportation buses and a golden Monorail train.
Electrical Water Pageant Celebrates 50th Anniversary
A 50-year tradition, the Electrical Water Pageant sails nightly across Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, delighting guests at nearby Disney Resort hotels (and those guests at the entrance to Magic Kingdom) with music and lights in a floating parade. For the 50th anniversary celebration, the show will add new whimsy with a towering castle, swirling pixie dust and a version of the celebration anthem "The Magic Is Calling, recorded in the pageant's iconic electro-synth-magnetic sound.
The Electrical Water Pageant joins the fun of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” with new celebratory scenes featuring a version of the celebration anthem song, “The Magic is Calling,” bookending the full traditional show as it sails nightly. #DisneyWorld50 pic.twitter.com/fR5r0jnZna— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) September 22, 2021
Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, & Friends Are Dressed to Celebrate
Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Chip ‘n' Dale – otherwise known as the "EARidescent 8" – dress in sparkling new looks, custom-made for this special occasion. Highlights of these celebratory designs include embroidered impressions of Cinderella Castle backed by fireworks, as well as a brocade in multi-toned, EARidescent fabric – all punctuated with pops of gold. Disney characters will also make appearances at Disney Resort hotels, dressed in their EARidescent best.
Disney says that Walt Disney World cast members are at the heart of the celebration event. "Wearing new EARidescent nametags designed for the 50th anniversary, cast members will demonstrate yet again why they are renowned for their commitment to service, consistently exceeding guests' expectations and going above and beyond to make visits to The Most Magical Place on Earth special."
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