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Walt Disney World Is Getting Ready for Its 50th Anniversary

Some changes are coming to the parks as Walt Disney World prepares for its 50th anniversary.

Walt Disney World will be celebrating 50 years of magic and memories on October 1, 2021. And for its golden anniversary, Disney has planned 18 months of celebrations, special shows, light displays and new outfits for its most beloved characters.

So far, we’ve only gotten a glimpse of what Disney has in store for “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” but there’s definitely enough to be excited about.

For Walt Disney World’s 25th anniversary in 1996, Disney infamously decided to transform Cinderella Castle into a giant, pink birthday cake – candles and all. Guests who had been looking forward to getting their picture taken with the iconic castle were furious, and fans still talk about the “pink monstrosity” today. Disney seems to have learned from the past with their 50th anniversary Cinderella Castle makeover, which just adds some extra magic to this beloved Disney landmark.

Fresh off a new paint job from last year, Cinderella Castle will be decorated with a series of golden ribbons wrapping around its blue turrets. An iridescent medallion emblazoned with the golden number ’50’ will hang above the front balcony. It’s a great way to celebrate the anniversary without covering the castle in icing and gumdrops.

The other park icons are also getting new looks with nighttime light displays. The Tower of Terror, Tree of Life and Spaceship Earth are all getting their own nighttime projections to celebrate. Hollywood Studios’ Tower of Terror will transform from its normally foreboding exterior into an iridescent dream hotel at night, while Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life will invite magical fireflies into its branches. Epcot’s Spaceship Earth will be making a more permanent change, with the addition of new lights that will connect across the geodesic sphere to resemble stars in the night sky.

Mickey and Minnie are also sporting new, EARidescent anniversary outfits, complete with sparkles and embroidery of Cinderella Castle. I wouldn’t be surprised if their other friends decided to get dressed up too, but we’ll have to wait and see!

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Recent Changes

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Disney is still using a reservation system to keep their park capacity below 35% for the foreseeable future. Reservations are already completely booked for the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 2021, but don’t worry, the celebration will be going on for 18 more months. You have plenty of time to participate in this magical milestone.

This announcement comes amid some other changes at Walt Disney World. In January, Disney announced that it would be discontinuing Disney’s Magical Express, which ferries guests from the airport to their Disney hotel, in 2022. They have also halted sales of new annual passes, though current passholders are still able to renew theirs. Extra Magic Hours have now been replaced with early theme park entry for hotel guests. Epcot itself is in the middle of a massive renovation.

It will be interesting to see the ongoing changes to Walt Disney World as they celebrate their anniversary during these turbulent times. With the COVID-19 vaccine on the rise and a possible end to the pandemic in sight, I have no doubt that even more changes will be coming to the parks.

Will you be visiting Walt Disney World during its 50th anniversary celebration? Let us know in the comments below! 

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