The Highlights of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
What a momentous three days Disney friends! As we wind down from Disney’s 50th Anniversary celebration we wanted to take a few minutes and just recap some of the major highlights and announcements made over the last few days! It’s been such an adventure with so many details that it’s the perfect way to keep our readers straight not to mention ourselves! Let’s dive in!:
Expanded EPCOT France Pavilion Serves Up New Attraction, Restaurant
One of the biggest highlights of Disney’s 50th Anniversary celebrations for sure was the unveiling of the new section of the France Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase. This now includes the third World Showcase ride – Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
Guests are invited into the flavorful world of Pixar’s award-winning film Ratatouille in this family friendly attraction where guests are shrunken down to the size of a rat as you scurry through Gusteau’s famous Parisian restaurant.
Also at the newly expanded pavilion which provides a fantastic reimagining of Paris you’ll find a delicious new restaurant, La Creperie de Paris. The eatery provides both quick and table service options with a focus on both sweet and savory crepes along with authentic French hard cider!
EPCOT Nighttime Spectacular ‘Harmonious’ Reimagines Disney Music
Harmonious debuted last night to much fanfare and is one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for Disney. The show brings the globe together at World Showcase Lagoon in celebration of the way that Disney music inspires people worldwide.
The event is not-to-be-missed with its tale of the unifying power of song and storytelling, technical magic, pyrotechnics, water pageantry, massive LED lighting and more! There is also an incredible soundtrack featuring new interpretations of classic Disney songs in more than a dozen languages performed by over 240 artists from around the world including Luis Fonsi, Joy, Danny Gokey, and the Ndlovu Youth Choir.
‘Disney Enchantment’ Lights Up Nights at Magic Kingdom Park
Moving over to Magic Kingdom and also making its debut last night, Disney Enchantment is the park’s new evening fireworks display. The nightly show takes guests on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment inspiring Disney fans of all ages to believe in magic.
Enchantment features stunning fireworks, powerful music, enhanced lighting and immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle all the way down Main Street U.S.A. The highlight of the soundtrack is the original song “You are Magic” which was written and directed by Grammy winner Philip Lawrence, whose musical career began as a Disney cast member performing in Walt Disney World shows.
Beacons of Magic Shine at Walt Disney World Theme Parks
By far, one of the highlights for us over the past few days has been Beacons of Magic. This new nighttime features spans across four parks and transforms each park’s most iconic landmark into an EARidescent wonderland!
This includes Cinderella Castle which glows with a pixie dust sparkle along with Disney’s Animal Kingdom where Tree of Life is filled with fireflies in a light display exemplifying the magic of nature!
In addition, the Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers a light display highlighting the golden age of imagination and adventure while light bounces off the reflective panels of Spaceship Earth connecting like starts in the night sky and creating a symbol of optimism.
‘Disney KiteTails’ Takes Flight at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Kids will love this new daytime entertainment option over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Disney “Kite Tails” comes alive several times a day at the Discovery River Theater. Performers fly windcatchers and kites of all shapes and sizes while out on the water elaborate three-dimensional kits (some as long as 30 feet) take flight.
Be on the lookout for gorgeous kites representing Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Debut in 2022
Disney used the 50th Anniversary as an opportunity to give excited guests a closer look at the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser which will be opening to guests on March 1st. Those booking a Starcruiser package will get to enjoy a 2-night stay in a galaxy far, far away.
As part of this first-of-its kind experience, guests become the heroes of their own stories and will see, feel and live Star Wars. General bookings for the Starcruiser open up on October 28,2021 with Disney Visa, DVC and Annual Passholders being able to book as early as October 28, 2021.
Also opening next year is EPCOT Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. This family-friend adventure features new storytelling from your favorite Marvel characters. In a feat of Disney Imagineering, new ride vehicles have been designed that allow guests to rotate 360 degrees to keep you focused on the action.
The ride will also hold the distinction being the first Disney coaster to launch in reverse.
Upon arrival, guests will also learn more about the treasures of Xandar in a planetarium-esque pre-show area!
MagicBand+ Unlocks New Interactive Experiences at Walt Disney World Resort in 2022
It’s time to usher in a new era of MagicBands! Disney announced this week that the next generation of MagicBands called MagicBand+ will be unveiled in 2022. These bands will add new functionality to unlock experiential moments of magic!
As guests enter the theme parks MagicBand+ will come alive at various times with color-changing lights, haptic vibrations and gesture recognition. This will allow guests to engage with Disney environments in new and exciting ways including:
- Play like a bounty hunter in a galaxy far, far away and find virtual bounties throughout Black Spire Outpost in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- Interact with the “Disney Fab 50 Character Collection,” the golden sculptures spread throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks.
- Experience nighttime spectaculars in a new way as they see their bands light up and complement the magic in the skies, including the new “Harmonious” at EPCOT and “Disney Enchantment” at Magic Kingdom Park.
More details will be released at a later date and for those wondering, the current MagicBands will still be available and usable along with Disney’s complimentary MagicMobile service that brings the same MagicBand features to your mobile phone.
‘Hey Disney!’ Adds Magic to Amazon Alexa and Echo in 2022
Disney is creating its own custom voice assistant using Alexa technology for supported Amazon Echo devices. Called “Hey Disney!”, it will work alongside Alexa to respond to vocal prompts, bringing Disney characters and stories to life in magical new ways to make guest stays at Walt Disney World Resort more convenient, engaging and enjoyable.
“Hey Disney!” will begin rolling out in Disney Resort hotel guest rooms across Walt Disney World in 2022. Access will be offered as an optional, complimentary feature during guest stays. “Hey Disney!” will make the services Alexa users know and love – weather forecasts, timers, alarms, etc. – magical with the help of popular characters such as Mickey Mouse, Olaf, C-3PO and many more. “Hey Disney!” also features an all-new character, the Disney Magical Companion, who will help guests discover more than a thousand magical interactions. Disney Resort guests will be able to learn helpful information about their vacation, order room amenities and more.
“Hey Disney!” will also be available for purchase for supported Amazon Echo devices via the Amazon Alexa Skills store, inviting Disney fans to make every day at home more magical. In addition, Amazon is announcing the availability of two new exclusive Mickey-inspired stands for the Echo Show 5; these durable OtterBox Den Series stands feature the iconic Mickey ears in playful designs inspired by either Mickey’s 50th anniversary celebration outfit (which will be found in Disney Resort hotel rooms) or his classic red shorts.
Golden ‘Disney Fab 50 Character Collection’ Sculptures Appear Across Theme Parks
New “Disney Fab 50 Character Collection” golden sculptures are spread across the four Walt Disney World theme parks in honor of the 50th anniversary. Fifty characters are featured in total, including Miguel and Dante from Disney and Pixar’s “Coco” at EPCOT; BB-8 and R2-D2 from Star Wars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Simba, Timon and Pumba from “The Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park; and Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse – dedicated to Walt Disney World cast members – at Magic Kingdom Park. And beginning in 2022, guests will be able to use the new MagicBand+ to interact with these statues in fun and surprising ways as part of the 50th anniversary celebration.
Celebratory Food and Drinks Look to the Past for New Inspiration
During its 50th anniversary celebration, Walt Disney World once again demonstrates how food and drinks can be key ingredients for a fun day at The Most Magical Place on Earth. New menu items for the celebration offer nods to the resort’s past while pushing culinary adventures to exciting new places. These include theme park classics and some of Walt Disney’s favorite items, along with novel dishes and sips full of color, whimsy and a touch of EARidescent shimmer. Of the 150-plus new items available, examples include:
- Cheese Fries with Walt’s Chili at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- Filet Mignon with Walt’s Hash at The Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Mission to Mars burger at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Magic Kingdom Park
- EARidescent Croissant Doughnut at EPCOT
- EARidescent Ice Dream Cone at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
- 50th Celebration Ganache Chocolate Bar at The Ganachery in Disney Springs
- 50th Celebration Soufflé at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Magical Beacon Cocktail, found at many table-service restaurants, lounges and pool bars at Walt Disney World
Novelty items developed for the celebration, including popcorn buckets, mugs and sippers, are available beginning Oct. 1, 2021, and continue to roll out across Walt Disney World throughout “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”
Take the Magic Home with 50th Anniversary Merchandise Collections
Guests will discover new merchandise collections launching in October and November 2021 as part of the celebration. These new items include apparel, accessories, plush, homeware, keepsakes, collectibles and much more, in several different collections:
- The Celebration Collection includes a wide-ranging assortment of commemorative merchandise for the whole family.
- Drawing inspiration from Cinderella Castle, the Disney Castle Collection features everything from collectibles – such as ornaments and charms – to castle-inspired attire and a light-up, 50th anniversary-edition Minnie Mouse ear headband.
- Disney fans and those who love all things vintage will be eager to unlock the Vault Collection that pays tribute to 50 years of Walt Disney World magic with an assortment of retro-themed designs right out of the Walt Disney Archives.
- In line with new décor seen across Walt Disney World during the 50th anniversary celebration, the EARidescent Collection features a shimmering array of themed fashions and accessories.
- As the name implies, the Luxe Logo Collection offers a range of upscale pieces for the Disney collector.
Drawn to Life, Presented by Cirque du Soleil and Disney, Premieres Nov. 18, 2021
Drawn to Life, the new family-friendly show coming to Disney Springs, is an original creative collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering. Premiering Nov. 18, 2021, during “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” Drawn to Life is a live acrobatic journey telling the story of Julie, a determined girl who discovers an unexpected gift left by her Disney animator father: an unfinished animation. As she dives into the inner world of animation guided by a surprising pencil, Julie embarks on an inspiring quest filled with her childhood Disney memories, brought to life through Cirque du Soleil’s innovative design and dazzling performances. Tickets are available at cirquedusoleil.com/drawntolife.
Space 220 Restaurant at EPCOT: The ‘Height of Dining’
In an expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion at EPCOT, the new Space 220 Restaurant is a culinary experience offering the celestial panorama of a space station, including daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles above the planet’s surface. Guests board a space elevator for a simulated journey to the Centauri Space Station, where they experience the “height of dining.” Once they arrive, guests enjoy meals and drinks while taking in views that are truly out of this world.
Original Walt Disney World Resort Hotels Add New Pixie Dust
As Walt Disney World celebrates its 50th anniversary, Walt Disney Imagineering is continuing to enhance the storytelling at the vacation destination’s two original Disney Resort hotels, part of the Disney Resorts Collection. All guest rooms in the iconic A-frame tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort are being completely refurbished, blending a sleek Monorail motif evoking Tomorrowland with some favorite characters from Pixar Animation Studios’ Incredibles films. In the lobby, guests see a collection of modern art pieces as well as historical, behind-the-scenes photographs of Disney’s Contemporary Resort in development and under construction. The resort’s lobby restaurant is aptly renamed Steakhouse 71, offering a reimagined dining experience just in time for the 50th anniversary celebration.
Guest rooms were recently reimagined at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort with a color palette inspired by the Pacific Ocean and its necklace of islands. Their fresh new look draws on the details, textures and patterns found in Disney’s “Moana,” with characters and references to the film’s rich storytelling. The resort also boasts a dramatic new porte cochere to enhance the arrival experience as guests pull up to its Great Ceremonial House.
‘The Magic Is Calling’ During 50th Anniversary Celebration
“The Magic Is Calling,” an inspiring new song written especially for the 50th anniversary, can be heard in a variety of ways during the 18-month celebration. Platinum-selling songwriter and music producer Alana Da Fonseca and Nashville-based songwriter and producer Bobby Studley created the original song, collaborating with award-winning composer Emily Bear and singing phenom Journi. Da Fonseca and Studley’s pop-music style, Bear’s soaring orchestrations and Journi’s magical vocal performance come together to create a song that is at once nostalgic, inspirational and contemporary.
The new song calls all guests to join in the celebration, including at night when icons at each theme park transform into Beacons of Magic.* “The Magic Is Calling” is also included in special live entertainment moments across Walt Disney World, such as during “Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade” at Magic Kingdom Park, or performances by the Dapper Dans (Magic Kingdom Park), Discovery Island Drummers (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park) and Voices of Liberty (EPCOT). “The Magic Is Calling” is available on the Walt Disney World playlist through Disney Music Group beginning Oct. 1, 2021.
Walt Disney World Transportation Features New Magic
Many of the fun and convenient forms of complimentary Walt Disney World transportation receive special 50thanniversary décor during the celebration. Guests may ride in sparkling style with new artwork added to select Disney Skyliner cabins, Disney Transportation buses and a golden Monorail train. Each Monorail train also receives special nighttime enhancements for the 50th anniversary with the addition of glowing lights that match each train’s specific color, spreading magic everywhere the Monorail runs across Walt Disney World.
Electrical Water Pageant Adds 50th Anniversary Shimmer
A 50-year tradition, the Electrical Water Pageant sails nightly across Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, delighting guests at nearby Disney Resort hotels with music and lights in a floating parade. For the 50th anniversary celebration, the show will add new whimsy with a towering castle, swirling pixie dust and a version of the celebration anthem “The Magic Is Calling, recorded in the pageant’s iconic electro-synth-magnetic sound.
Mickey, Minnie and Friends Dress for the Occasion
Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale – otherwise known as the “EARidescent 8” – dress in sparkling new looks, custom-made for this special occasion. Highlights of these celebratory designs include beautifully embroidered impressions of Cinderella Castle backed by fireworks, as well as a brocade in multi-toned, EARidescent fabric – all punctuated with pops of gold. Disney characters will also make appearances at Disney Resort hotels, dressed in their EARidescent best.
Mickey and Minnie are the hosts of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” joined by Walt Disney World cast members at the heart of this event. Wearing new EARidescent nametags designed for the 50th anniversary, cast members will demonstrate yet again why they are renowned for their commitment to service, consistently exceeding guests’ expectations and going above and beyond to make visits to The Most Magical Place on Earth special.
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