50 Years ago on October 1, 1971, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando Florida opened! Can you believe this magical place has been open for 50 years?
What started as a dream of Walt Disney who wanted a place that both young and old could enjoy together as a family has turned into one of the most popular vacation destinations in the entire world. Walt’s first park Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California on July 17, 1955. With the success of that park, he purchased a large amount of land in Florida in hopes of building a larger Disney Park. Sadly Walt Disney passed away in December 1966 but his brother Roy carried out his dream of the Florida park.
On Opening day, Walt Disney World consisted of just two hotels, The Contemporary and Polynesian hotels. Today there are over 25 hotels on Disney property. They opened with just the one park, Magic Kingdom which included less than 20 rides and attractions. With just one park, you could visit Disney Word for two days and enjoy each ride multiple times and spend the rest of your week exploring other things in Florida like the beach. There have since been 3 other theme parks opened and two water parks. You could probably spend a month inside the Walt Disney World Resort and still not be able to experience everything.
I have been coming to Walt Disney World for 42 years since I was 5 years old. It’s amazing just how much the parks have changed over the years. Some changes have been great, some make me sad since I get nostalgic for the past. Cinderella’s Castle has certainly evolved over the years.
While I get nostalgic for the classic white and blue castle, they have done a great job at sprucing it up for the 50th Anniversary celebration.
The celebration officially begins on October1, 2021 and will last for 18 months. There have already been plenty of 50th Anniversary touches added to the park leading up to October 1st. As seen above, Cinderella’s Castle is all decked out for the 50th. A new fireworks show, Enchantment which opens on October 1st. In the Magic Kingdom and in Disney’s shopping, dining and entertainment district, Disney Springs, you can find new 50th Anniversary merchandise for all ages.
Walt Disney World has also released The Vault which is a collection of vintage merchandise from the early years of the park. Get classic tshirts, a vintage park map and other memorabilia.
There are plenty of 50th anniversary decorations throughout the entire Walt Disney World Resort. From birthday cakes to sparkly 50th banners, you can’t miss all these beautiful displays of the celebration!
But the most impressive decorations to me where the Fab 50 Golden Character Statues. These beautiful statues are located in all four of the Walt Disney World theme parks, with at lease half them in the Magic Kingdom. While some of them are fairly easy to located in central areas of each theme park, there are a few you have to search for. I managed to find all but three, two of them I know where they are located but they had the area blocked off, but I still have yet to find Tink, she apparently is hidden in the trees. Next trip I’ll for sure find her! These statues are so beautiful and represent so many Disney characters from past and present movies.
When you visit during the next 18 months, not only will you experience the excitement of the 50th Anniversary, there are also so many new attractions opening.
On October 1st, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in Epcot opens. This 4D trackless ride will shrink you down to Chef Remy’s size for a culinary adventure. This ride has been at Disneyland Paris for a number of years and it is such a fun ride, I can’t wait to ride it again at Epcot on my next trip.
Also at Epcot, Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind will open in 2022. And earlier this week, the new nighttime show, Harmonious opened. Make sure to get a spot front and center along the World Showcase lagoon to experience all this nighttime show has to offer.
Speaking of new nighttime spectaculars, Disney’s Happily Ever After had it’s last performance on September 29th and now there is a new nighttime spectacular in the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Enchantment. Enchantment will have a lot to live up to as Happily Ever After was one of Disney’s best nighttime shows in my opinion and evoked lots of emotions during it’s tenure since May 2017.
In March 2022, Disney’s Galactic Starcruiser will open. This totally immersive Star Wars hotel will put you right into the Star Wars universe. Reservations for this experience will include two nights in the hotel, 3 meals per day and admission into Disney’s Studios. It sounds like quite the once in a lifetime experience that also comes in a once in a lifetime price tag. Reservations open on October 28th.
Magic Band + will debut in 2022. These bands will bring you more than the typical park ticket, hotel room key and ability to pay for your purchases. Now the magic bands will be more interactive, with is lighting up along with the nighttime spectaculars and interacting with the Fab 50 Golden Character Statues.
With so much going on in the parks and with all the world has gone thru since March 2020, the next 18 months are the perfect time to visit Walt Disney World and take part in the celebrations. Contact your favorite Disney Travel Agent at Beyond the Miles Travel today, firstname.lastname@example.org to book your 50th Anniversary Walt Disney World Trip. http://www.beyondthemilestravel.com.
Happy 50th Anniversary Walt Disney World, thank you for giving me the best memories over the past 42 years of my life. I hope every little kid has a chance to experience your magic like I did for the first time back when I was 5 years old.
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