Walt Disney World Turns 50!
Walt Disney World is officially 50 years old!
I was fortunate enough to be in Magic Kingdom on its actual 50th anniversary. While it was magical and emotional, it was also crowded. Read along to find out how I skipped all of those crazy lines and what I did instead!
I've been planning this trip for a long time. I predicted that the crowd situation would likely look intense, and I was right. However, what I wasn't prepared for were where the crowds actually were.
I personally prefer my "merch" in the forms of things I can use in my daily life. (Water bottles, coffee mugs, hoodies, etc.) After over 20 personal trips over the last 31 years, I've learned what I use the most. Anyway, I never got super into things like popcorn buckets, pins (I do have a few), or other items that I otherwise can't use in my daily life.
If you saw the INTENSE lines on the news, TikTok, IG, etc., those were lines for merchandise and popcorn buckets. No joke. As of 8:15 a.m., the Emporium and Main Street Confectionary were literally full for the day and were not accepting anyone else into their virtual spots. With those people in lines for merch, as well as people who didn't mobile order food in advance (more on that soon), lines for rides were crazy short all day.
While most people were extremely polite, I sadly saw some very ugly behavior on October 1st, too. Literally fighting over merchandise, folks screaming at Cast Members, complaining about having to wait for food, you name it. Please, no matter where or when you're traveling, remember to BE KIND.
What I Ate
I pre-ordered our breakfast, dinner, and snacks at 5:30 a.m. (We had table service lunch reservations.) While that may sound extreme, I mentally thanked myself for that all day long. I was also sure to hydrate constantly, and carried snacks in my park bag, just in case! (If you're wondering what's in my park bags, get my packing list here!)
Breakfast - Fresh fruit waffle sandwich and French Vanilla Iced Coffee (Sleepy Hollow)
Lunch - All-You-Care-to-Enjoy platter and 2 adult beverages (Liberty Tree Tavern)
Snack - Pineapple Dole Whip cup (Aloha Isle)
Dinner - 1971 Meal (Casey's Corner)
One of the highlights of my day was seeing absolute legend Randy Morris play at Casey's Corner! Randy started as a pianist at Casey's Corner (then called Coke Corner) back at the park opening in 1971. He's since retired, but returned on the 50th to play again! It was incredible, and I'm getting emotional just typing about it!
What I Did
While these aren't the order we rode them in, we experienced:
I was at Magic Kingdom on September 29th for the last-ever Happily Ever After, and I thought that surely nothing could top that show. This one absolutely did.
Stunning. Absolutely stunning. This show made my jaw drop, gave me goosebumps, and made me laugh, cry, and sing along. The theme song, "You Are The Magic", is one of the best, most magical pieces written for a Disney attraction ever. This show is a must, MUST see. I was so glad to get up close to the Castle (we were in front of the hub grass) for the premiere, but next time I definitely want to watch from Main Street USA.
Did you know that there are projections along Main Street during this show?? Depending on where you watch, you'll have a completely different experience!
This was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I'm so incredibly thrilled that I was there to experience it. The heat, the crowds, the exhaustion...they were all well worth it.
The World's Most Magical Celebration lasts for 18 months, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to experience everything that the 50th Anniversary has in store, including cavalcades, nighttime spectaculars, shows, and merchandise (did I mention that the infamous Starbucks cup that people were punching each other over is already back in stock???? LOL!!)
There is tons of fun, excitement, and magic to be had. If your trip isn't on the books yet, contact me to get started or schedule a complimentary vacation consultation to get more information!
What I Wore
I opted not to do a DisneyBound for the 50th, and instead relied on a few of my tried and true favorites. I wore a pink version of my favorite FunkyMonkey park sandals, a pink "bunny ear" scrunchie at the bottom of my Dutch braid, rose gold Mickey earrings, (mine were "Hey June" brand and a gift from a friend, but I've linked something similar), and my favorite Disney Parks Attractions Loungefly mini-backpack. You can find each of these right on Amazon and can shop them from these links or from the photos below!
New & Returning Dessert Parties and Dinner Packages at Walt Disney World Resort
Looking for a special way to celebrate the fireworks at Walt Disney World? Now you can choose from FIVE dessert parties and TWO dinner packages!
From sweet treats to international fare, there’s no shortage of options for making the most of the nighttime spectacular experience. To make your evenings even more magical, a new lineup of Appetizing Occasions will be returning just in time for “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”
Disney Enchantment, a brand-new, dazzling nighttime fireworks spectacular, debuts October 1st at Magic Kingdom. To enrich the experience of this immersive show, there’s a full menu of dessert party options that include viewing locations from the heart of the park to the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Learn more about Disney Enchantment here.
Celebration at the Top: 50th Flavors and Fireworks at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
$129 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Dress code requirements apply.
Beginning October 2nd, a sophisticated evening awaits you at this event, where you'll be welcomed to the private Sonoma and Napa Rooms at California Grill to sample specialty drinks, canapes, sushi and small plates. After an elevated cocktail hour, step outside to the observation deck on the 15th floor for a unique viewpoint of Disney Enchantment, complete with the synchronized music. The event continues back inside after the show with petit-fours, cordials and coffee.
At Magic Kingdom Park, three dessert party options put you right in the middle of the magic to view Disney Enchantment. Each event includes 50th anniversary-themed delights at different times throughout the evening at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. These events will begin on October 3, 2021.
Each of these 3 parties will include 50th anniversary-themed desserts, a variety of cheeses, and drink selections, including beer and wine for anyone ages 21+
As I previously shared, Disney's Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise begins September 18th. Reservations are available now. On select Wednesday and Saturday nights. set sail on an iconic ferryboat for a magical evening on the Seven Seas Lagoon. Once onboard, you can enjoy bite-size signature sweets including build-your-own mousse, key lime tarts, cupcakes and specialty beverages. (Beverages both with and without alcohol are available.)
Kids can participate in an ultraviolet scavenger hunt. During the cruise, you'll get to experience observe the Magic Kingdom fireworks accompanied by stunning water views.
$99 for adults and $69 for children ages 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity included)
Harmonious, one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for Disney Parks, will light the EPCOT's World Showcase Lagoon beginning October 1st.
With choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers in a 360-degree view, Harmonious shows how Disney music and stories have the power to bring people from all around the world together. To celebrate there are two new package options available at World Showcase restaurants. Both of these experiences will be available October 1, 2021.
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As I previously shared, “Disney Enchantment,” an all-new nighttime spectacular, will debut in Magic Kingdom Park on Oct. 1. We have recently learned more details about this remarkable new show.
This all-new spectacular inspires everyone to believe in magic, with captivating Disney music, enhanced lighting, immersive projection effects that extend for the first time down Main Street, U.S.A., and an emotional original song, entitled “You Are the Magic,” by seven-time GRAMMY-winner Philip Lawrence. And throughout the show, stunning fireworks fill the sky, providing a great experience for guests throughout the park and neighboring resort hotels.
"Since opening day in 1971, dazzling fireworks shows have provided that perfect exclamation point at the end of a fantastic day at Magic Kingdom Park,” said Mark Renfrow, Show Director, Disney Live Entertainment. “From ‘Fantasy in the Sky’ and ‘Wishes’ to holiday spectaculars and ‘Happily Ever After,’ each new show has raised the bar, and the best is yet to come! I can’t wait for everyone to see what we’re creating with ‘Disney Enchantment."
“Disney Enchantment” features characters, moments, and music from dozens of Disney and Pixar animated films. We'll discover a whimsical world inspired by the style of legendary Disney artist Mary Blair.
The show will be filled with characters from classic stories to contemporary tales. Everything builds to a climactic moment, as Tinker Bell takes flight, spreading shimmering gold pixie dust and empowering us all to believe in ourselves and the magic all around us. (I'm so happy Tink will be flying in this show, too! Cue the tears and goosebumps!)
The show takes us beyond the ordinary to a land of magic, where we’re swept up in a world of wonder filled with friendship, love and fun. I can't wait to see this debut on October 1st! Stay tuned here for more details as they're announced!