Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary: The World’s Most Magical Celebration

Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary began on October 1st 2021 and will continue for 18 months making the end date fall in March 2023.

The extended date of this celebration is pretty typical of Disney Park anniversary celebrations which allows fans enough time to plan a visit. This is a perfect time to plan a trip to Walt Disney World!

Fireworks Show and Entertainment

A new nighttime spectacular called Disney Enchantment debuted at Magic Kingdom and will run during the duration of the 50th anniversary.

This new fireworks show was created to launch with the 50th Walt Disney World Anniversary and features music, lighting, fireworks, and projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.

Over at Epcot, the new nighttime spectacular Harmonious will also run during the duration of the 50th celebration!

The show celebrates how the music of Disney inspires people all over the world and carries the crowd ‘harmoniously' on a stream of Disney tunes reinterpreted by a diverse group of musical artists. The show will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers. This show is one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for  Walt Disney World!

Animal Kingdom has also received a new daytime show called Disney KiteTails. 

This show comes alive several times a day at the Discovery River Amphitheater with performers catching windcatchers and kites of all shapes and sizes. Out on the water of the river, three-dimensional kites- some stretching to 30 feet long show Disney animal friends like Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie. The kite show is set to the music of favorite Disney songs.

Guests can also see these favorite characters features in special golden character sculptures around all four theme parks celebrating the 50th anniversary!

There are more than 50 characters total in this series of sculptures that will be displayed across all four theme parks.

Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary Decorations The World's Most Magical Celebration - Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary

You can expect to see all the theme parks decked out in decorations celebrating the 50th anniversary! The four icons of the Disney World theme parks have become transformed into Beacons of Magic which means that Cinderella's Castle, Spaceship Earth, The Tree of Life, and the Tower of Terror all received a celebration overlay.

Epcot's Spaceship Earth Receives a Permanent Sparkling Touch

New lighting on the panels of Spaceship Earth resemble a twinkling night sky.  In the case of Spaceship Earth at Epcot, this overlay is permanent as part of Epcot's reimagining just in time for the 50th anniversary.

Hollywood Tower Hotel Receives a Golden Light at Hollywood Studios

Walt Disney World's Hollywood Hotel, home to the infamous Tower of Terror attraction, receives a golden inspired light display for the celebration.

The Tree of Life Lights Up with Sparkling Fireflies at Animal Kingdom

The Tree of Life, the centerpiece at Animal Kingdom, receives a sparkling display in the evenings meant to resemble sparkling fireflies circling around.

Cinderella's Castle Receives the 50th Anniversary Royal Treatment

Walt Disney World's most iconic centerpiece, Cinderella's Castle in Magic Kingdom, was given an overlay that's present day and night.

Our beloved castle has now received new gold bunting, sparkling golden embellishments and other new enhancements, including a 50th anniversary crest.

Notice how complementary these 50th anniversary colors are with the recent renovation of Cinderella's Castle that took place last year.

Cinderella's Castle will light up at night with the same iridescent, or as Disney is referring to EARidescence, color scheme displayed on most of the park icons.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Opening Date

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is Epcot's newest e-ticket ride at Walt Disney World which opened just in time for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary!

This Marvel themed roller coaster is based on the popular Guardians of the Galaxy movies and is one of the longest enclosed coasters in the world! This new ride will be coming to Epcot along with a brand new themed pavilion. This rollercoaster experience is a mixture of a thrills and storytelling which is made possible by its unique ride vehicle system called the “OmniCoaster” ride system. The ride itself features show scenes which makes it a family friendly roller coaster so it sounds like it will be a nice balance of thrills with the Disney storytelling the Imagineers excel at.

This brand new roller coaster featuring our favorite Guardians of the Galaxy is now open!

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Open for the 50th Anniversary

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the brand new ride in Epcot, is now open for the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary!

This new ride based on the popular Pixar movie “Ratatouille” uses similar technology to what we've seen on Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway with trackless ride vehicles. Remy's Ratatouille Adventure allows guests to feel like they've shrunk to the size of Chefy Remy as the ride takes you through Gusteau's restaurant on an adventure for the whole family- there is no height requirement. This experience will expand the France Pavilion which will also open on October 1st bringing with it a new restaurant called La Crêperie de Paris.

France Pavilion Makeover

The France Pavilion at Epcot received a transformation as park of the new opening of the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure! See the beautiful renovations to see how Imagineers incorporated our favorite Little Chef and the spirit of Paris into the area.

We love the attention to detail!

MagicBand+ New Update to MagicBands

Just in time for the 50th Anniversary, Disney has announced that MagicBands are getting an update to MagicBand+ with brand new features. These new Magic Bands will retain all the same features but with new updates! Now once you enter the theme park, MagicBand+ will come alive with color changing lights, haptic vibrations and gesture recognition, enhancing the environment’s immersive storytelling.

These new storytelling features include:

  • Play like a bounty hunter in a galaxy far, far away and find virtual bounties throughout Black Spire Outpost in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Interact with the “Disney Fab 50 Character Collection,” the golden sculptures spread throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks.
  • Experience nighttime spectaculars in a new way as they see their bands light up and complement the magic in the skies, including the new “Harmonious” at EPCOT and “Disney Enchantment” at Magic Kingdom Park.

They will be available for purchase sometime in 2022/2023- no official date has been released just yet.

MagicBand+ will be available at a discounted, pre-arrival price for Disney Resort hotel guests, as well as new and renewing Walt Disney World Annual Passholders. Current MagicBands will continue to be available, as well, along with the complimentary Disney MagicMobile service that extends MagicBand features, such as park entry, to smart devices.

Mickey and Minnie's New 50th Anniversary Outfits

Mickey and Minnie received new wardrobes to celebrate Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary that match the overall style of this celebration and Cinderella's Castle.

Mickey is looking stylish in this EARidescence inspired suit.

The details on his suit jacket feature Cinderella's Castle and notice the 50th anniversary pin on his lapel.

Minnie's dress matches the style of Mickey's EARidescence suit.

Minnie is dressed up in an EARidescence dress that matches the style of Mickey's suit and the overall color theme we've seen so far in the glimpse of the park decorations.

These outfits also gives us clues as to what the merchandise for the 50th anniversary will look like. I predict a very popular spirit jersey to come out in honor of this celebration in these colors!

Want to Book Your Trip for Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary?

Walt Disney World's celebration is a highly popular event and the sooner you can book your Park Pass reservations– the better! Keep reading to see why we love Get Away Today and how to get yourself a no obligation quote!

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Foodie Guide to the Walt Disney World 50th AnniversaryCollage of treats from Magic Kingdom Park during The World's Most Magical Celebration

Magic Kingdom Park

Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies

  • Uncle Orville Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow Sundae – Chocolate and vanilla soft-serve, brownie pieces, hot fudge, and whipped cream topped with red, white, and blue sprinkles served in a “bathtub”

Be Our Guest Restaurant

  • Squids Revenge Drink – A michelada with a salted rim and garnished with charred octopus and cucumber. Watch out, the giant squid is back!

Casey’s Corner

  • Pressed Penny Silk Pie – Chocolate tart shell, silky chocolate filling, sweet whipped cream, and a chocolate-pressed penny
  • 50th Celebration Hot Dog – All-beef hot dog topped with strawberry bacon jam, crisp funnel cake pieces, and powdered sugar

Cinderella’s Royal Table

  • Royal 50th Celebration Flight – Flight of Enchantée Champagne – a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunière (Enchantée Champagne is sold exclusively at the Walt Disney World Resort)

Happy Haunts Milkshake, Mission to Mars burger, a plate from the Crystal Palace, and The Toad Burger

Columbia Harbor House

  • Happy Haunts Milkshake – Blackberry milkshake topped with a purple chocolate-glazed doughnut covered with black sprinkles

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café

  • Mission to Mars – Burger topped with bacon and macaroni & cheese served on a bun dusted with crushed cheese-flavored puffs

The Crystal Palace

  • Walt’s Favorites on the Buffet – Chicken fried steak, New York strip steak, pork chops, and more!

Friar’s Nook

  • The Toad Burger – Brat burger served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and American cheese

Veranda Fried Rice, Dumbo Churros, The Banana Boom split, and Cheers to 50 Years! sundae

Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen

  • Veranda Fried Rice – Spicy chili-garlic shrimp served over pork fried rice with eggs and peas (from the original Verandah Restaurant menu)

Outdoor Kiosks

  • Dumbo Churros – Churros rolled in peanut dust and served with chocolate dipping sauce in a Dumbo-themed churro bag
  • Royal 50th Churro – Churros rolled in strawberry sugar, drizzled with marshmallow cream, and shimmer sprinkles served with  chocolate dipping sauce

Plaza Ice Cream Parlor

  • The Banana Boom – Traditional banana split topped with popping candy and a candied shooting star

Plaza Restaurant

  • Cheers to 50 Years! – Chocolate and vanilla ice cream, brownies, cupcakes, cookie crumbles, pretzel rods, and hot fudge topped with whipped cream, EARidescent sugar, and a Mickey pretzel drizzled with caramel and chocolate icing (serves 4-6)

Storybook Treats

  • Heigh-Ho Sundae! – Chocolate soft-serve, hot fudge, graham cracker pieces, chocolate gems, and whipped cream

Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

  • Five Alarm Wings – Wings tossed in a sweet-and-spicy heat served with ranch dressing for dipping

Hand-dipped 50th Celebration Mickey Premium Bar and 50th Celebration Chocolate Gâteaux

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Drinkwallah

  • Hand-dipped 50th Celebration Mickey Premium Bar – Our classic Nestlé Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar dipped in blue raspberry-flavored coating with celebration sprinkles and a little bit of pixie dust

Restaurantosaurus

  • Cheese Fries with Walt’s Chili – Crispy fries topped with Walt’s favorite chili and cheddar sauce
  • Walt’s Favorite Chili on Foot-long Hot Dog – A foot-long hot dog served on a warm bun topped with Walt’s favorite chili and cheddar sauce

Tiffins

  • 50th Celebration Chocolate Gâteaux – Almond praline, white chocolate crémeux, ganache, and chocolate-South African cream liqueur sauce

Glimmer and Shimmer Pineapple Mousse, Filet Mignon with Walt's Hash topped with an egg, Shimmer over the Moon, and Chocolate Mousse

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Trolley Car Café

  • Glimmer and Shimmer Pineapple Mousse – Golden pineapple mousse on a toasted coconut crisp with caramel cream and matcha sponge cake

The Hollywood Brown Derby

  • Filet Mignon with Walt’s Hash topped with an egg (just the way Walt liked it!)

The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, Oasis Canteen, Sunshine Day Bar, Animation Bar

  • Shimmer over the Moon – Apple pie moonshine, amaretto, falernum, pineapple juice, and club soda served with a souvenir glow cube

ABC Commissary

  • Chocolate Mousse – Raspberry-dark chocolate mousse, chocolate-almond cake, and a layer of hazelnut crunch and whipped chocolate-hazelnut cheesecake

Key Lime Tart, EARidescent Croissant Doughnut, Chocolate Mousse Bar, and Mini Chocolate Bundt Cake

EPCOT

Coral Reef Restaurant 

  • Key Lime Tart with toasted meringue, EARidescent shimmer, sprinkles, and chocolate garnish

The EPCOT Experience 

  • EARidescent Croissant Doughnut – Croissant doughnut with blue icing and sprinkles

Le Cellier Steakhouse

  • Chocolate Mousse Bar – Dark chocolate mousse, caramel cookie pieces, milk chocolate shell, and chocolate shortbread cookie

Sunshine Seasons

  • Mini Chocolate Bundt Cake – Mini chocolate Bundt cake with chocolate ganache, sprinkles, and icing dusted with EARidescent shimmer and chocolate 50th anniversary garnish

50th Celebration Petit Cake, 50th Celebration Chocolate Bundle, Chocolate Pigñata, and Sweet Nostalgia Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Disney Springs

Amorette’s Patisserie

  • 50th Celebration Petit Cake – Vanilla chiffon cake with celebration blue mousse, blueberry jam, and lemon curd

The Ganachery 

  • 50th Celebration Chocolate Bundle:
  • 50th Celebration Ganache Chocolate Bar – Milk chocolate combined with caramel and crispies for a playful crunch
  • 50th Celebration Ganache Square – Celebration cake ganache mixed with sprinkles, enrobed in 65% dark chocolate, and decorated with a shimmering castle design

Frontera Cocina

  • Chocolate Pigñata – Chocolate shell filled with cajeta mousse, tender cake (infused with whiskey & vanilla), crumble of chipotle bacon, candied orange, and Maria cookies. Yes, there’s a mallet to break your piñata!  Serves two.

The BOATHOUSE

  • Sweet Nostalgia Pineapple Upside-Down Cake – Pineapple upside-down cake with  caramel glazed with Chantilly cream

Terralina Crafted Italian,

  • Whimsical White Chocolate Mousse –White chocolate mousse with salted caramel and cotton candy

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, 

  • Caramel Banana Chocolate Sphere – Dark chocolate sphere, vanilla pudding, banana caramel compote, gold dust, and chocolate pearls

Chocolate Mousse with a cardamom financier, 50th Anniversary Peanut Butter-Banana Pie, Braised Lamb Shank, and Chicken Dinner Cupcake Trio

Resorts

The Mara, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

  • Chocolate Mousse with a cardamom financier

Contempo Café, Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • 50th Anniversary Peanut Butter-Banana Pie – Sweet tart shell filled with peanut butter mousse and banana sauce topped with chocolate glaze and chocolate décor

Toledo–Tapas, Steak, and Seafood, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

  • Braised Lamb Shank with olive oil-potato purée, rosemary-roasted garlic gravy, huckleberry jam, and English peas

P&J’s Southern Takeout, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds

  • Chicken Dinner Cupcake Trio
    • Fried chicken-apple fritter, apple pie moonshine filling, and vanilla buttercream ​
    • Peas and carrots-strawberry moonshine custard, white chocolate frosting, and  M&M’S Mini “peas” ​
    • Mock mashed potato-SNICKERS mousse cupcake, caramel buttercream, and STARBURST “butter”

50th Anniversary Vintage Minnie’s Brown Betty Profiterole, Spam-Cheddar Biscuits, and 50th Celebration Cupcakes

Grand Floridan Café, Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort & Spa

  • 50th Anniversary Vintage Minnie’s Brown Betty Profiterole – Crunchy-topped cream puff filled with one of Walt’s favorite flavors of cinnamon-spiced apples and Chantilly cream

Olivia’s Cafe, Disney’s Old Key West Resort

  • Spam-Cheddar Biscuits with white gravy and drizzled with honey

Capt. Cook’s, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

  • 50th Celebration Cupcake – Vanilla cupcake with DOLE Whip pineapple center, tropical fruit salsa, and pineapple macaron

Le Petit Café, Disney’s Riviera Resort

  • 50th Celebration Cupcake – Vanilla cupcake, cake-flavored mousse, and caramel-buttercream icing garnished with crisp pearls, 50th anniversary sprinkles, and a whimsical gold Mickey

Petit Stump Cake and 50th Celebration Tart

Roaring Fork, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

  • Petit Stump Cake ​– Chocolate cake with birthday cake buttercream filling surrounded by chocolate “bark” fondant topped with 50th anniversary chocolate coin

The Market at Ale & Compass, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts

  • 50th Celebration Tart – Birthday cake mousse dome on top of a milk chocolate mousse-filled vanilla tart shell with mini chocolate crisp pearls, buttercream, fondant, and chocolate décor

EARidescent Sip-a-bration Non-Alcoholic Beverages, and • Magical Beacon Cocktail

Available at select table-service restaurants, lounges, and pool bars throughout our four Theme Parks and Resorts 

  • EARidescent Sip-a-bration (Non-Alcoholic Beverage) – Minute Maid Premium Lemonade and fruity strawberry punch served in a souvenir 50th Celebration Cup with a surprise Character and a little bit of magic!
  • Magical Beacon Cocktail – Gin, blue curaçao, Minute Maid Premium Lemonade, orgeat (almond) syrup, lemon, hibiscus grenadine, and a souvenir glow cube
Classic Nestle Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar

The classic Nestle Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar has a festive new wrapper showcasing Mickey in his EARidescent finest at Magic Kingdom Park!

50th Anniversary Celebration Décor at Orlando International AirportFirst Look: Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary art installation coming to Orlando International Airport

The 50th celebration extends to the Orlando International Airport with a wide-spanning art installation in the terminal train stations featuring favorite Disney characters, new magic engaging passengers as they walk through a glistening glow of projected EARidescent light patterns, and an immersive photo opportunity with a re-creation of a Disney ride vehicle.

Walt Disney World has even partnered with Southwest Airlines to offer guests the chance to fly on an airplane filled with Walt Disney World 50th anniversary touches!

Space 220 Now Open in Epcot

Space 220 is now open in Epcot just in time for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary celebration!

The theme of Space 220 features a trip to outer space to dine on a signature prix fixe menu that guests can customize for all members for their ‘crew' before their trip back from space. Read all about the Epcot Space 220 Restaurant in our guide.

Drawn to Life in Disney Springs

Cirque du Soleil's much anticipated show is now playing during Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary after a year of postponement due to COVID! Drawn to Life is runs weekly in Disney Springs. Buy tickets on Walt Disney World's website!

NEW 50th Anniversary Merchandise

 

 

Guests can bring home the new coffee table book by Disney editions called “Walt Disney World: A Portrait of the First Half Century” at Walt Disney World and online at shopDisney.com. The book features the history of Walt Disney World written by Kevin Kern, Tim O’Day and Steven Vagnini.

Other merchandise you can find in the parks includes spirit jerseys, Minnie ears, Loungefly backpacks, Magic Bands- you name it! Here's a glance at some of the amazing merchandise you can find… along with some neat retro pieces!

The merchandise will go quick but will likely continue to be restoked during the celebration.

Plan Your Walt Disney World Vacation!

Keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for a Disney Parks vacation! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:

Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

About Lindsay Brookshier

Lindsay is a college English instructor and has years of writing experience through various nonprofits, charities, newspapers, and online magazines. As the editor of Mickey Visit, she oversees article content and leads our fantastic team of writers to meet guest vacation needs. You can still find her writing weekly content to help make your Disney Parks trip fantastic here on Mickey Visit and writing Disney culture pieces on DisneyDose.com- you can also view her recently featured posts on Disney Parks travel on Visit Anaheim, Nerd Wallet and SFGate. Lindsay comes from a dedicated Disney family and enjoys taking her son to the Disney parks as often as possible.

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3 comments add your comment

  1. Since when is the Tower of Terror the “icon” of the Studios? The last time I was there the Chinese Theater had this distinction.

  2. Will they also have Christmas decorations or just the anniversary ones? I would suppose not. Just wondering.

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