Guests enjoy time at Magic Kingdom Park, Oct. 1, 2021, on the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Photo: Matt Stroshane
ESSENCE was onsite for the historic kickoff and got a very special first look at the host of new family-friendly attractions, experiences and offerings Walt Disney World has in store for those visiting to celebrate the park’s historic 50th anniversary. Here’s what you need to know when planning your visit to Walt Disney World to celebrate the magic.
Shimmer and Shine Wherever You Go
Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are the special hosts of the 50th anniversary event, so of course they had to get all dressed up for the occasion. Their new looks, custom made for the 18-month event, feature embroidered impressions of Cinderella Castle in the signature “EARidescent fabric” with pops of gold. Snaps for Mickie and Minnie! (Guests can purchase their own 50th anniversary EARidescent ears and gear at Disney theme park stores.)
Enjoy The New Dining Experience At EPCOT’s Space 220
There’s new fun in store inside the World Discovery neighborhood at EPCOT. Make reservations to fine-dine in space with the family as you “blast off” high into the atmosphere 220 miles above Earth to Centauri Space station, home to new restaurant Space 220. The simulation dining experience is so realistic you’ll forget you’re still on Earth, so be on the lookout for space “friends” floating by your window seat. (P.S.: Order the salmon, it’s delectable!)
See ‘Disney KiteTails’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
There are new experiences to enjoy all over theme parks at Disney for this epic celebration. Be sure to catch the new daytime entertainment moment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, called “Disney KiteTails.” Windcatchers and kites flying high over the water help to bring your favorite Disney stories (and songs) to life. (You’ve absolutely got to see these three-dimensional kites in person—some of them are nearly 30 feet long!)
Visit ‘Disney Enchantment’ at Magic Kingdom Park
“Disney Enchantment” at Magic Kingdom Park, debuted Oct. 1, 2021, at Walt Disney World Resort. The all new nighttime spectacular is chock full of stunning fireworks, powerful songs and, for the first time, an immersive projection effects element that extends from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A. Our favorite parts? Multiple Grammy-winning songwriter Phillip Lawrence (who began his musical career as a Disney cast member) penned the spectacular event’s new theme song, “You Are The Magic.” Lawrence told ESSENCE that when Disney called, he had to say yes because the full-circle moment “was the honor of a lifetime.” Bonus: Listen closely and you’ll also hear our good sis Angela Bassett’s soothing voice narrating the show!
See The Expanded France Pavilion at EPCOT
Bonjour, Disney fans! In Walt Disney World’s reimagining of Paris in a new section of the France pavilion at EPCOT you’ll find the new family-friendly attraction Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, where riders “shrink” down to the size of Chef Remy for a wild adventure, and new restaurant La Crêperie de Paris, with quick service and table-dining delights from chef Jérôme Bocuse. ESSENCE spotted Ayesha Curry on hand to celebrate the opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure with her kids. She told us, “EPCOT is always a stop on our Disney family adventures. There’s fun for the whole family here. It’s our special time together.”
Just Say ‘Hey Disney!’
Calling all Alexa fans. Disney has created its own custom voice assistant using Alexa technology for supported Amazon Echo devices, which will be featured in Disney Resorts and for sale online. Just say, “Hey Disney!” and listen in as Disney characters and stories come to life offering park info, fun facts and more. Plus, two new exclusive Mickey-inspired stands for the Echo Show 5 will be available for sale online.
Experience ‘Harmonious’ at EPCOT
“Harmonious” at EPCOT is officially one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney theme park, and it shows. The show was designed to celebrate and bring to life the way Disney music inspires people all over the world. The show features a culturally diverse group of 240 artists from around the globe and more lights and fireworks and surprises than you could imagine. Before you leave EPCOT for the night, be sure to find a spot to witness the out-of-this-world display of massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, lasers and so much more. We wanted an instant encore!
Reimagined Guest Rooms at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
If you think you know what’s in store at Disney’s conveniently located Disney’s Contemporary Resort, think again. You can still watch the fireworks show at Magic Kingdom or stare out onto the water from many of the rooms, but now all nine floors of guest rooms in the A-frame tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort are being completely reimagined too. Look out for the sleek Monorail motif and appearances from your favorite characters from Pixar Animation Studios’ Incredibles films.
Light Up The Night At EPCOT
Classic staples at EPCOT, like the monorails, feature new lighting effects that will take your nighttime photo ops to new levels.
Pose With The ‘Disney Fab 50’
Go for the gold as you navigate the Walt Disney World parks during the 50th celebration and stay on the lookout for Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the rest of the “Disney Fab 50” golden character sculptures appearing in all four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks.
Snack Like A Champ
The special food and beverage offerings for the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World are full of whimsy and sure to make your must-try list during your visit. Behold, the Cheers to 50 Years! sundae (available at Plaza Restaurant at Magic Kingdom Park)—a true work of dessert art.
Reimagined Guest Rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Look at for remodeled guest rooms inside Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort too! Escape to your own special corner of the ocean with a stunning color palette inspired by the Pacific Ocean and details, textures and patterns found in Disney’s hit film Moana.
Go Retro Disney, But Make It Fashion
Disney’s Vault Collection pays tribute to 50 years of Walt Disney World magic with a chich lineup of retro-themed designs right out of the Walt Disney Archives. But listen, mom! Just promise to try your best not to steal this backpack or handbag from your little ones, because we know it’ll be tempting.