Disney World Will Celebrate Its 50th Anniversary With 'The World’s Most Magical Celebration' This Fall

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse at Walt Disney World

"The World's Most Magical Celebration" will kick off on Oct. 1, 2021, 50 years after Disney World's opening day —  Oct. 1, 1971. Disney just announced plans for this milestone anniversary, describing some of the "Earidescent" touches guests can expect during the celebration in a post on the Disney Parks Blog.

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom will get a festive look, with gold bunting and a new crest, and at night, all four theme park icons will be transformed into "Beacons of Magic" — there will be pixie dust on Cinderella's Castle, fireflies on Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life, new touches on Hollywood Studios' Hollywood Tower Hotel, and new lighting on Epcot's Spaceship Earth, according to the post on the Disney Parks Blog.

Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary logo

Disney imagineer Zach Riddley shared details about the new, permanent light system coming to Epcot in a recent Instagram post, saying, "Epcot is a park about the best of us — what is possible when we embrace the power of imagination and humanity's ability to make impossible things reality when we work together. We are all connected. That is the theme and the expression at the heart of our work across Epcot, and at the heart of this stellar new visual experience coming soon to Spaceship Earth." Riddley goes on to describe the new custom lighting features, saying, "These features will shine across Spaceship Earth's silver panels and 'connect' with one another, resembling shimmering stars in a nighttime sky."

We also got a look at Mickey and Minnie's new outfits for the occasion, with sparkly purple and blue fabric and gold trim and accessories.

Today, the resort has four theme parks, two water parks, an expansive shopping and dining complex, and many, many hotels, but when it opened in 1971, it only included Magic Kingdom Park, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. For nearly 50 years, the resort has grown into one of the most iconic theme park destinations, welcoming millions of guests in 2019, so we can only imagine what the next 50 years have in store.

The West Coast park would have celebrated another major milestone last summer — Disneyland Resort's 65th anniversary was July 17, but the California property was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although there is no official reopening date set for Disneyland, Disney California Adventure Park is planning a food and drink festival for this March.

Elizabeth Rhodes is an associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure who loves all things theme parks. Follow her adventures on Instagram @elizabetheverywhere. 

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