Disney World’s 50th AnniversaryUpdated Sept 2020 Are you planning a trip to Disney World in 2021? If so, you will be in for a really big treat! In 2021 on October 1st, 2021, to be exact, it will be Disney World’s 50th Anniversary!! This is a really huge deal! I myself, cannot even believe that the park is already 50 years old. Granted I wasn’t even born yet when the park opened, but still, yet, it is just crazy that this wonderful, amazing place is just now turning 50 years old!
I have been to Disney World during this time …
And I plan on going again. I really wanted to experience what Disney World and Universal Orlando are like during this time with the modified experiences due to the Coronavirus.
I definitely was scared of the entire process. From going to the airport, getting on a plane, being around so many people, etc. But as a Disney blogger, travel agent, and all-around expert I had to be able to provide real and accurate feedback.
To be honest, all in all, I did feel comfortable going to Disney World.
While I was there I felt comfortable at least 90% of the time. The hardest part for me was actually the airport where people I didn’t know were in the seat right next to me.
- You have to reserve the park you would like to access for the day.
- A lot of entertainment and nighttime shows have been suspended.
- No character greetings
- Characters will be doing mini parades throughout the day
- Dining Plans are not available
- Parks have modified hours like 9-7 pm, 11-9 pm, 9-5 pm, etc.
I wrote an eBook about Disney World and planning your vacation during this time. It’s under $2, make sure to check it out.
What is the 50th Anniversary All About??Technically, it is not just Disney World’s 50th Anniversary aka the 50th anniversary of Magic Kingdom. It is also the 50th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort, or well, more specifically, The Contemporary Resort and the Polynesian Village Resort. When Magic Kingdom opened, so did both hotels and that is what started the Walt Disney World Resort. Throughout the course of Magic Kingdoms’ history, they have celebrated many milestones. October 1, 1981, was the very first big milestone these two hotels and Magic Kingdom celebrated. The next celebration wasn’t until they celebrated their 10th anniversary in which Disney called it the ‘Tencennial Celebration.’ The second big milestone Disney celebrated was the opening of the second Disney park (Epcot) in 1982, which coincidentally, opened on October 1, 1982; the 11th anniversary of Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary, and the Polynesian. Four years later on October 1, 1986, Magic Kingdom celebrated a milestone of 15 years! Five years later on October 1, 1991, Magic Kingdom celebrated its 20th Anniversary in which they called the Surprise Celebration! The last big celebration Magic Kingdom had was back in 1996 for the 25th Anniversary Remember the Magic party which lasted for a total of 15 months! Since then, the park has not celebrated anything huge. Yes, the park celebrated its anniversary, but they have only celebrated in a minor way when compared to prior ways they have celebrated. That will all change though come October 1, 2021. This day will be a very significant day like no other. If you have been to a huge milestone celebration in the past, then you will be in for a big treat as this celebration will be the biggest, grandest, and longest celebration ever. It is not just Disney World’s 50th Anniversary aka the 50th anniversary of Magic Kingdom, but also the 50th anniversary of the Contemporary and Polynesian Resort as well as the 40th anniversary of Epcot! As this is such a huge deal, you may be wondering just what exactly they will be doing to celebrate?
How the 50th Anniversary Could Be Affected by COVID-19I wanted to start off with an update on anything that might be affected by the current situation of Disney World in 2020. WDW, and all of the other Disney parks around the world, are closed for the time being. This is an unprecedented situation, as the last time any Disney park closed down was in the aftermath of 9/11. But with the parks closed, all of their construction projects of new hotels, rides, and the like, are shut down for the time being. The company planned for Walt Disney World 2021 to be a year of great change and celebration for everyone. Now, they will definitely go forward with the 50th Anniversary celebration. But some rides and other park changes might not be open by the anniversary. Disney hasn’t released a set plan for opening again, but there will be changes in the way things are run as life gets slowly back to normal. A few things that are likely to be altered are the fingerprinting at the entrance, the amount of fastpasses available, how the ride queue works in order to limit riders, as well as how many people are allowed in the parks at a time. This may seem intense and a little confusing for people who still have trips planned for Disney World 2021, but rest assured knowing that Disney will work as hard as they can to make visitors’ experiences feel as normal and magical as they can! Disney’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Dates
We actually don’t know the exact dates for the celebration, or what it will entail but we do know that other celebrations lasted around 16 months so it won’t just be a few days.
My Favorite Disney Must-Haves
What Does This Anniversary Party Entail??Since Disney World’s 50th Anniversary is still 2 years away, we know some things, and then we don’t know some things. The things we do know consist of projects Disney is working on and what we don’t know consists of rumors/speculation. Magic Kingdom Let’s look at Magic Kingdom for instance. One of the big projects being worked on is the building of the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster that will reach speeds of over 60 mph. If you’re not familiar with what this is, it’s a ride that was built for Tomorrowland in Shanghai Disneyland. It opened with the park in 2016. Believe it or not, the ride was developed and was always going to come to Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom, but it came to Shanghai first. That being said, the ride will make its debut in 2021 for the 50th anniversary of the park. That’s the first official thing we know about the plans for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. The second thing we know from examining Magic Kingdom is that Tomorrowland is getting some kind of major makeover. This process is in phases and has slowly been going on for the past year or two, but we see these changes. The whole theming of the land is slowly changing from a retro-future Tomorrowland to a more modern-techno future Tomorrowland. The first changes we saw in regards to theming was a complete refresh in the painting of the rock work towards the entrance to the land and some painting changes involving certain walls in the land. Specifically, in regards to walls, the famous ‘Purple Wall’ has been recently updated with a new color scheme. Staying in Tomorrowland, the next topic of discussion in terms of the future of the land would be the Tomorrowland Speedway. Currently, there is a love/hate relationship that many guests have with this ride. Personally, I don’t think it goes fast enough. People love it as it is a ride that brings about nostalgia when they rode it for the very first time as kids and then were able to take their kids on it for the first time. Then there are those who hate it. They hate it as it smells horribly from the gas it emits, and then it is a very loud ride. This ride was closed from January 2 – May 18, 2019, to alter the track slightly so that the addition of the TRON Lightcycle Run could be accommodated. There was a lot of speculation that Disney would be partnering with Tesla to convert gas-powered cars to electric, but Disney quickly debunked this rumor. This isn’t to say the cars won’t be converted to electric in the future, just that they aren’t as of yet. Speaking of refurbishments, Peter Pan’s Flight closed from January 7, 2019 until February 2, 2019. This 27 day refurbishment gave the ride a face lift — of sorts — with fresh paint throughout the ride. While no major changes were done, this ride is in top shape and ready for that 2021 celebration. Epcot I love visiting Epcot, but I am ready for some more rides there. Thankfully, Epcot is getting many renovations to prepare itself for this huge celebration.
Epcot’s renovations will “keep it true to the original vision while making it more timeless, more relevant, more family-friendly, more Disney,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts. “Families want a little bit more of that Disney wow factor.”It’s been years, (since the 90s actually) that Spaceship Earth received a major update. Now’s the time. At the D23 Expo, it was revealed that Spaceship Earth will be getting revamped with new technological effects focused more on storytelling and a new magical addition called a “story light” that will be a guide to guests along their journey on the ride. While the previous speculation had this ride down for 2 years or so, at this time Disney has not provided a time frame as to how long these updates will take. So, stay tuned. In Fall 2021, Disney World will be welcoming a GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY COASTER to Epcot’s Future World. I’m very excited, can you tell? The new indoor high speed roller coaster will be called Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind and will be centered around the mysteries and similarities of Earth and Xandar followed by an adventure with the Guardians of the Galaxy. It will also feature the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is scheduled to open between France and Morocco in the summer of Disney World 2020 and will honor traditional French cooking. If you’ve been to Disneyland Paris and have ridden the Ratatouille ride there, know that it’s going to be similar. If you haven’t, it is going to be a dark, trackless ride where the riders are shrunk to Remy’s (the rat) size. If you want a sneak peek of that, watch this video. Mission Space received an update of more space and seating and fewer computers. The newest addition will be a restaurant called Space 220 that will open in Winter 2019 and provide its guests with an unforgettable culinary experience including day and night views of the Earth from 220 miles up. The China pavilion will get a new 360-degree film to replace “Reflections of China” entitled “Wondrous China”. Disney also announced a Mary Poppins attraction coming which includes expanding Epcot’s United Kingdom to add Mary Poppins’ charming setting. It will be practically perfect in every way. Opening in 1982, Epcot was Disney’s version of the World Fair as well as a celebration of technology and the future, it’s fallen a bit behind so these changes will be very welcome for us all.