Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebration has come to an end after 18 months. We’re sharing the 15 things we’ll miss the most!
Disney parks love a reason to celebrate, and the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World was an 18-month celebration that started on October 1, 2021, ending March 31, 2023. Disney called it “The Most Magical Celebration on Earth,” and it had all the makings of a good party: food, decorations, entertainment, gifts, and even a playlist with a song just for the 50th, The Magic is Calling. The first time I heard this song was at Magic Kingdom on October 1, 2021. Yep, the day of the 50th. On that day, I spent 16 hours in Magic Kingdom answering the call (one of the lines in Magic is Calling), soaking up all the magical celebration. But now it’s time to say good-bye to the 50th. Here are 15 Things We’ll Miss About Walt Disney World’s 50th.
1. Beacons of Magic
No more golden Tower of Terror, glowing Tree of Life, or shimmering Cinderella Castle. Thankfully, the most magical beacon of all – EPCOT Spaceship Earth – is staying. We could list 50 reasons why we love this one and are so glad it’s staying. Disney is really having fun with this programmable lighting system, and it seems every season there is a new Beacon of Magic show to watch.
2. 50th Decorations from MCO to Magic Kingdom
The Most Magical Celebration started when you arrived at Orlando International Airport (MCO). Even the local hotels got into the spirit with statues and photo spots like this one at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista.
Some decorations that are not going away yet are the golden statues dotted around all four theme parks. Disney has said they “may be in our parks beyond the celebration’s official ending for guests to enjoy.”
Did you see all the statues? Or collect all those McDonald’s Happy Meal toys? I’m still working off all those chicken nuggets from trying to collect them all.
3. Disney Enchantment
As a hardcore Happily Ever After fan, it was hard to say hello to a new nighttime show. Like the 50th celebration, Disney Enchantment officially opened on October 1, 2021 and ran for 18 months. Its final showing was April 2, 2023. Disney Enchantment brought the projection mapping onto the castle to a whole new level, and it was the first show to have projections down Main Street, U.S.A.
Now, Happily Ever After (which returned on April 3, 2023) also features projections down Main Street. So Disney Enchantment may be gone, but not forgotten!
4. EPCOT Harmonious
If you’re like me and never got to see this show in real life, definitely see the article and photos in the October 2022 issue of WDW Magazine. There’s also a special on EPCOT Harmonious on Disney+.
What was so magical about this show was the offering of classic Disney songs in a variety of languages and the celebration of characters from each of the World Showcase countries.
5. 50th Merchandise
Disney loves to celebrate with all the magical merchandise, so we can bring home a piece, or many pieces, of the magic. It started with the merchandise that was only available on October 1, 2021.
Then it was time to move into all the collections!
- The Vault Collecttion
- The Castle Collection
- The Celebration Collection
- The EARidescent Collection
- The Luxe Logo Collection
And of course the 50th Anniversary Grand Finale Collection! Are there any other fans out there that have enough 50th merchandise to fill a suitcase?
6. Mr. Toad Love
Do you have that Disney World ride you remember from your childhood? Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is mine, and seeing him in the parks was kinda like being 10 years old all over again. Mr. Toad had 50th photo spots, was a key figure on quite a few of those merchandise collections. And there were Mr. Toad snacks.
Who can forget that Mr. Toad burger? We might not miss that, but we will definitely miss seeing our favorite bowtie-wearing amphibian.
7. EARidescent 8 Epic Threads
Vests, bowties, party dresses, all in that beautiful mix of shimmering blues, golds and purple. Only Disney would create a whole new “color” for their 50th anniversary. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Chip, and Dale answered the call and donned their fancy dress for the Celebration Cavalcade, stage shows, and character meet and greets.
8. 50th Snacks
You’d have needed 50 trips to WDW to try all the different sips, sweets, and savory bites. Who can forget the Uncle Orville Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow Sundae or the Chocolate Fiesta Pyramid? One of my most memorable 50th meals was at Crystal Palace. The menu was loaded with Walt’s Favorites.
Even Dumbo had a nibble of the Dumbo Churro in Fantasyland. Which EARidescent Sip-a-bration colors did you try? One Cast Member shared that blue was the best color for capturing all the shiny, shimmering sweetness.
9. 50th Sign on Cinderella Castle During the Day
The castle will keep its color palette of pink and gold, but all the 50th decorations will be going away.
10. 50th Sign on Cinderella Castle at Night
The clock is a classic and we’re glad to see it back, but that 50th sign really did make the castle look even more gorgeous.
Such a change from the castle signage and decorations from the 25th anniversary!
11. 50th Maps
There were multiple versions of the maps over the 18-month celebration. My favorites were the ones with the Beacons of Magic glowing on the cover: Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth at EPCOT, Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, and Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom.
The four together make a beautiful souvenir. The maps also had EARidescent design features, a list of the 50th events in the parks, and one of the park’s 50th character statues.
12. 50th Magic Shots
The EARidescent look was everywhere for this celebration, on the character costumes, in the food, and of course, in the Disney PhotoPass Magic Shots. PhotoPass had multiple options, including pictures with a 50th sign, confetti, drone shots, and my personal favorite, the EARidescent balloons.
What’s a party without cake? You didn’t even have to go into Magic Kingdom to see the 50th cake.
13. 50th Coca-Cola Bottles
Disney souvenirs are an investment, and it’s the best when you get a refreshing hit of caffeine and a display-worthy souvenir in one. Speaking of caffeine…
14. Starbucks “Been There” Pins
If you don’t have a Starbucks Been There mug, tumbler, or pin, were you really there? As someone who does not typically collect Disney pins, if I do get one, it has to be a really great find. And these pins did not disappoint. The details of something in flight on each pin and the color palettes for each park caught my eye.
15. 50th Chase Visa Card
If you have one of these, hang onto it because the design is no longer available. Disney has moved on to the Disney100. Like all things 50th, the card featured shimmering EARidescent colors and was a huge hit in the parks. Even Cast Members got excited to see the card.
To this day, I still have the card, and folks ask me about it. It’s a wonderful way to remember a magical day when I’m doing everyday things – like buying dog food!
More Celebrations to Come
The World’s Most Magical Celebration has come to an end. But Disney has a lot of major milestones in 2023, and there will be magical munchies, merchandise and more to explore. Get ready for Walt Disney World to sparkle as part of the Disney100 celebration. Also, Disney’s Animal Kingdom just celebrated 25 years of innovation and conservation.
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