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Magic abounds: Walt Disney World Resort begins 50th-anniversary celebration

Disney lovers, get excited. It's Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary and you can join in the fun, with new attractions, nighttime spectaculars, entertainment, EARidescent décor and even more magical moments planned for the next 18 months of celebrations.

Disney lovers, get excited. It’s Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary and you can join in the fun, with new attractions, nighttime spectaculars, entertainment, EARidescent décor and even more magical moments planned for the next 18 months of celebrations.

On 1 October, 1971, Walt Disney World Resort officially opened to guests for the first time, the culmination of years spent imagining, planning and developing Walt Disney’s magical dream.

Five decades later to the day, guests experienced that dream anew when they visited The Most Magical Place on Earth to be part of its 50th anniversary.

“It is a thrill to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World and the extraordinary cast members and Imagineers who bring the resort to life every day and create magical moments for our guests,” said Bob Chapek, chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company.

“As we look to the next 50 years and beyond, we are inspired to continually reinvent the way we tell stories and to use technology to immerse guests deeper into the story worlds they love so much.”

The magical 18-month event will bring new attractions, nighttime spectaculars and other magical experiences for all guests who visit.

Shining at the center of it all is Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park, welcoming guests to the celebration with gleaming gold bunting, sparkling golden embellishments, a 50th anniversary crest and other enhancements inspired by the art of Disney Legend Mary Blair.

Guests will discover new experiences across the resort, where shimmering EARidescence appears as if by magic everywhere from theme parks to Disney Resort hotels to transportation to merchandise and more.

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale – otherwise known as the “EARidescent 8” will also be getting into the spirit, dressed in sparkling new looks, custom-made for the occasion.

Walt Disney World 50th Annivesary
Miguel and Dante at EPCOT are two of the “Disney Fab 50 Character Collection”. Image: Disney

Each of Disney World’s theme parks (Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot), and will boast unique celebrations; including new rides, attractions, entertainment, and food offerings.

Oh, and on top of hidden Mickey’s, visitors should keep their eyes out for the new “Disney Fab 50 Character Collection”.

These 50 golden sculptures will be spread across the four Walt Disney World theme parks. Characters such as R2-D2 and BB-8 from “Star Wars”, Timon and Pumba from “The Lion King”, and Miguel and Dante from Disney and Pixar’s “Coco” will be waiting to be found.

The evening shows have had a very sparkly celebratory upgrade too.

“Harmonious,” one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park, debuted at EPCOT on Friday and it’s safe to say, it will give you all the warm and magical feelings you expect to feel when immersed in Disney.

The new show brings the globe together at World Showcase Lagoon in a celebration of Disney music that inspires people worldwide. It is 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.

Joining “Harmonious” is another new nighttime spectacular, “Disney Enchantment” at Magic Kingdom Park.

Created to launch with “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” this evening extravaganza takes guests on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment.

Inspiring everyone to believe in magic, “Disney Enchantment” features stunning fireworks, powerful music, enhanced lighting and, for the first time, immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.

Walt Disney World 50th Annivesary
“The World’s Most Magical Celebration” Image: Disney

On top of new rides, daytime entertainment, hotel experiences, evening shows, music, and celebratory food and drink offerings, the special anniversary merch is expected to be a highlight for collectors worldwide.

These new items include apparel, accessories, plush, homeware, keepsakes, collectibles, and much more, in several different collections.

Will you be planning a trip to Florida to join in on the 50th-anniversary fun?

Click here or visit your travel agent for more information.