A Look Back at Walt Disney World’s 25th Anniversary
Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary is almost 3 months away. The celebration kicks off on October 1, 2021 and will last for 18 months. As the countdown continues to the World’s Most Magical Celebration, we’re taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting Disney World’s infamous 25th anniversary.
Walt Disney World’s 25th Anniversary Celebration
On October 1, 1996, Disney World officially celebrated its 25th anniversary. The event ran until January 31, 1998, a total of 16 months. Cinderella Castle was transformed into a giant pink birthday cake, complete with decorative icing, rosettes, gumdrops, sprinkles, and a giant “25” in the center. It was also festooned with 26 candles – one for each year, plus one for the future years.
Opening ceremonies featured speeches from Roy E. Disney, Hilary Clinton, and Michael Eisner. Several commemorative materials were available including posters (pictured above), lithographs, and complimentary “Guest of Honor” badges handed out to visitors.
The anniversary also introduced the epic parade “Remember the Magic”. The parade featured six giant floats decorated with 25th anniversary banners, all featuring classic Disney characters. This was the first parade in Disney to feature “stop-action” elements in which dancers and performers essentially became a street theater act amongst the parade floats.
The Infamous Pink Cake Castle
Do you remember when Disney did that to Cinderella Castle? The pink birthday cake castle is easily one of the most memorable moments in Disney history (and easily one of the most debated moments in Disney history, too!)
Love it or hate it, you have to admit the sugary sweet cake castle was one impressive Imagineering accomplishment! Personally, the 25th anniversary castle holds a very special place in my heart. The first time I ever visited Disney World was in 1997, so it will always remind me of my childhood and the pure joy and awe of seeing Disney World for the very first time.
Alas, not everyone has such fond memories of this castle-turned-confectionary. 25 years later, people still have some seriously strong opinions on the controversial transformation!
Looking Ahead to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary
As previously mentioned, Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration will kick off on October 1, 2021 and conclude 18 months later. Disney has pulled out all the stops for the special occasion, including special benefits for resort guests, new EARidescent attire for your favorite Disney characters, two new nighttime spectaculars, sparkling park decorations, and more!
More importantly, Cinderella Castle’s makeover is much more subtle this time around. Hopefully we won’t be debating over the rose gold and bright blue for the next 25 years…
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Video clips and featured image courtesy of Disney Fandom