Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Begins Oct. 1 With New Nighttime Shows, Fireworks and More

Walt Disney World is reaching a major milestone this year—the Most Magical Place on Earth will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Oct. 1, 2021, and the Orlando resort is throwing an epic 18-month-long party to honor it. From a sparkling glow-up for Cinderella Castle and “EARidescent” new looks for Mickey, Minnie and friends, to two new nighttime spectaculars and a new ride, here’s what we know so far about Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration kicking off this fall. 

New Nighttime Spectaculars Will Debut at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT

“Disney Enchantment,” a new nighttime spectacular, will debut Oct. 1 at Magic Kingdom. The new show will feature music, enhanced lighting, fireworks and projections extending from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.

'Disney Enchantment' Debuts Oct. 1 at Magic Kingdom Park

At EPCOT, nighttime show “Harmonious” will debut Oct. 1 on World Showcase Lagoon. The show, one of the largest Disney has ever produced, will feature high-tech lighting, choreographed moving fountains, and pyrotechnics and will feature new musical interpretations of classic Disney songs in more than a dozen languages, recorded by 240 artists from around the world. 


A New Daytime Show Will Debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

“Disney KiteTails” is a new daytime show coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Oct. 1. Performers will fly wind catchers and kites depicting Disney animals like Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie. The show will be performed several times daily at the Discovery River Amphitheater. 

'Disney KiteTails' Debuts Oct. 1 at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Characters in Special Anniversary Costumes Will Appear in a New Cavalcade

“Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade” is a new character cavalcade that will travel through Magic Kingdom several times daily beginning Oct. 1, with characters donning new “EARidescent” costumes. Hosts Mickey and Minnie will be joined by Donald Duck and Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale. 

Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Character Fashions
Disney/Matt Stroshane

A New Pixar Ride Is Coming to EPCOT

Debuting Oct. 1 in EPCOT’s France pavilion, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is a new ride that lets guests shrink to the size of Remy, the beloved Pixar rat, and race through Gusteau’s kitchen. Also opening in the France pavilion Oct. 1 is a new restaurant, Le Creperie de Paris, which will offer both table-service and quick-service dining. The menu will feature sweet crepes, savory buckwheat galettes, and authentic French hard cider. 


A Sculpture Series Will Be on Display Across All Four Theme Parks

The “Disney Fab 50” sculpture series, debuting Oct. 1, will feature 50 golden character sculptures across Walt Disney World’s four theme parks in what’s sure to become a fun scavenger hunt for guests to see if they can spot all 50. Disney has also teased that there will be “surprising ways” guests will be able to interact with the sculptures. 

'Disney Fab 50' Character Sculptures at Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World’s 4 Theme Park Icons Will Be Transformed at Night

When the sun goes down, Disney World’s four theme park icons will light up. Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle, EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth, Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park’s Tree of Life will be transformed into glowing “Beacons of Magic.” 

Spaceship Earth Beacon of Magic Disney World

Every Walt Disney World Resort Will Be Reopened by the End of 2021

As Walt Disney World’s phased reopened has continued, so has the steady stream of resort reopening announcements, with every Walt Disney World resort now scheduled to reopen by the end of 2021. All remaining closed Disney World resorts now have reopening dates announced: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge reopens Aug. 26; Disney’s All-Star Music Resort reopens Sept. 16; Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside reopens Oct. 14; Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter reopens Oct. 28; and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort reopens Dec. 9.

Disney continues to reveal new details and surprises about Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, so it’s safe to assume we’re just scratching the surface of all that’s coming to Walt Disney World Oct. 1 for “the World’s Most Magical Celebration.” 

If you’re considering planning a visit to Disney World this fall, you’ll need a Disney Park Pass reservation for every day that you plan to visit the theme parks so be sure to plan ahead. 

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Brooke Geiger McDonald is the national content director for Make It Better Media Group. A Chicago native, she has worked for publications like O, The Oprah Magazine and SHAPE Magazine and her work has appeared in Parents, TravelPulse, Attractions Magazine, MSN, Disney Food Blog, and more. At home, she is outnumbered by her husband and two sons, and the four of them are certifiable Disney and Star Wars fanatics, always counting down the days to their next Disney vacation. Her favorite nonprofits to support include The Walt Disney Birthplace in Chicago and Shedd Aquarium. Follow her on Instagram @brookegmcdonald and Twitter @BrookeGMcDonald.

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