You only turn 50 once, so it makes sense that Walt Disney World would celebrate in the most magical way possible. Walt Disney World Resort's anniversary event dubbed "The World's Most Magical Celebration" commenced on Oct. 1, five decades to the date after the Magic Kingdom first welcomed guests through its gates in 1971.
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"There's all the magic that we're bringing to it. All the magical experiences, everything about it," Shawn Slater, senior communications manager of Disney Live Entertainment, told HELLO! at a special media preview for the 50th anniversary. "But, the thing that makes it 'The Most Magical Celebration' is the people. It's our cast. It's you, our guests."
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"After a day in a Disney park, you feel reassured that the world is a wonderful place and things are okay," Slater noted. "There is magic all around us. And sure in this place, 'The Most Magical Place on Earth,' it's coming out of every pore, but there's magic to be found anywhere in the world"...and even more so at WDW during the milestone anniversary celebration.
Disney World is marking 50 years of magic with exciting new attractions, spectacular nighttime shows, EARidescent décor, and much more over the course of the 18-month event. Although there is plenty to enjoy at all four parks, below are just a few of our favourite additions:
Magic Kingdom's Happily Ever After has been replaced with a new firework show, Enchantment, narrated by Angela Bassett. "The story leaves the castle and travels down Main Street, U.S.A. So now the immersive experience is throughout the whole park," Clint Clarke, an audio designer for Disney Live Entertainment told HELLO!. "It's all about inspiration and a celebration at the same time, so you're going to see your favourite characters both classic and current."
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Space 220 Restaurant
Space 220 is an out of this world dining experience...literally. The EPCOT restaurant, which offers an upscale contemporary cuisine, takes guests on a simulated journey 220 miles up into space, where they'll dine with an epic view of earth. "Disney approached us with this concept to bring [people] up to a space station and have an elevated dining experience," Geoff Gljiva, vice president of operations, Patina Restaurant Group, told HELLO!. "We were immediately excited about the opportunity. We thought the technology that was going to be put in this place was going to be spectacular."
Beacons of Magic
Have your cameras ready because at night, the four theme park icons (Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth in EPCOT, Hollywood Tower Hotel in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park) will transform into "Beacons of Magic, coming to life with their own EARidescent glow," per a Disney press release.
Harmonious is EPCOT's newest nighttime extravaganza at World Showcase Lagoon featuring over 200 artists from around the globe. "What we're doing here is a great celebration of these cultures. Epcot was already a place that celebrated the uniqueness of people. You could walk from pavilion to pavilion, you know, no flight needed. You could walk from Germany to France over to Morocco back to Japan, just with your steps," Clint shared with HELLO!. "This show is going to take you on that same cultural journey through the songs you know and love. You're going to hear Disney classics that you've grown up with or that you're a fan of done in a way, never done before and can only be represented like that at Epcot."
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Remy's Ratatouille Adventure
Prepare to shrink down to the size of Chef Remy in this new family-friendly attraction located in EPCOT's France pavilion. "We employ all your senses. Every single one of your senses," Matt Beiler, a producer with Walt Disney Imagineering, told HELLO! of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure. "Whether you're looking at the three dimensional visuals, or the gigantic set pieces, the tactile effects like being hit by the spray of champagne or the blast of a champagne bottle, being hit by a mop or smelling, you know, oranges and the food cooking in the kitchen, using all of our senses really makes you feel that you've been immersed and you are inside that beloved film by Disney Pixar, Ratatouille."
While the aforementioned have already made their grand debut, more highly-anticipated offerings are set to open during WDW's 50th anniversary celebration, including the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser (opening March 1, 2022), EPCOT's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind rollercoaster (arriving 2022) and the Disney Wish (setting sail summer 2022).
"A 50 year celebration," Slater said, "Sure, it's about the past 50 years and that history and heritage that has brought us to this place, but it's also about carrying it forward for the next 50 years. And that's why all of us take that responsibility so seriously. We carry the torch. We are carrying Walt Disney's legacy, that dream, into the future."
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