Disney’s 50th Anniversary
The Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration is an ongoing event that began October 1, 2021, and will conclude March 31, 2023. If you’re doing the math, this totals 18 months of fun, celebration, and of course, magic!
If you haven’t had the chance to visit the parks during Disney’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, you still have a couple of months to avoid missing out on the festivities. The Grand Finale is in full swing through the last day. So, use this guide to learn what you can expect for the 50th Anniversary Celebration at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT parks including activities, attractions, limited-time food, merchandise, and more!
50th Anniversary Celebration at Magic Kingdom
In general, Magic Kingdom is the primary park most people associate with Disney World. After all, it’s where the magic happens! Here you will see the iconic Cinderella’s Castle, the classic characters Mickey and Friends, Disney Princesses galore (Ariel, Tiana, Jasmine or Belle, anyone?), and others.
In my opinion, Magic Kingdom Park has the most to offer when it comes to the 50th Anniversary celebration. Here are some of the can’t-miss experiences:
50th Anniversary Shows & Parades
- Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade: This parade features a float specially designed for Disney’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. You get the chance to see and wave to all of your favorite Mickey & Friends characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Chip and Dale, Daisy and Donald Duck, along with everyone’s favorite dogs…Goofy and Pluto!
The parade starts in Frontierland and makes its way through Liberty Square and down Main Street, U.S.A. There are three times each day to catch the festive cavalcade which are 10:45 am, 1:35 pm, and 4:25 pm. Be sure to arrive early to snag a good viewing spot for the showtime you wish to see!
- Beacons of Magic: The Beacons of Magic is a light show available at all Disney parks featuring different centerpieces of each park. At Magic Kingdom, you can watch Cinderella’s Castle illuminate with thousands of sparkles and pixie dust for the limited-time 50th Anniversary. The Beacons of Magic lights up around dusk and is definitely something you don’t want to miss. Don’t forget to get a photo with it as your backdrop!
Magic Kingdom’s Beacon of Magic-Cinderella’s Castle
- Disney Enchantment: If you have ever been to a Disney park you know they finish each night with a fireworks show. Introduced for the 50th Anniversary Celebration, this brand-new firework spectacular is “Disney’s Enchantment”. The 15-minute event features an array of fireworks and songs from classic Disney movies as well as a song composed specifically for the show by Grammy award winner, Philip Lawrence.
50th Anniversary Decor
Disney World has really gone above and beyond to make the decor of the parks special for the 50th
Anniversary Celebration. Of course, the main feature of the park is Cinderella’s Castle which has been
given a makeover for the celebration including a 50th Anniversary placard.
In addition to the castle, there are banners and flags up around the park. But, my favorite might just be the Disney Fab 50. These 50 Golden Sculptures are located across all four Disney World theme parks. Characters that you will find at Magic Kingdom include but aren’t limited to:
- Mickey and Minnie Mouse
- Donald and Daisy Duck
- Chip and Dale
- Winne the Pooh and Piglet (too 🙃)
50th Anniversary Souvenirs & Merchandise
If you get the opportunity to experience Disney’s 50th Anniversary Celebration magic, you will likely want to commemorate your visit. There are tons of merchandise featuring the 50th Anniversary
design including clothing, Christmas ornaments, Mickey/Minnie Ears, accessories, and SO much more.
Left: Disney World 50th Anniversary Ears | Right: 100th Years of Animation Ears
I got these ears because I already have pairs from the 50th and 60th anniversaries of Disneyland which you can see here under the Downtown Disney section. This entire collection started 40 years ago when I got my first pair of old-school, plain black embroidered ears! 😱
Stayed with my tradition of getting my name embroidered on the back of every pair I own!
Inside of both Ears reference their respective anniversaries
There are a variety of collections including the “Celebration Collection”, the “Disney Castle Collection”, the “Vault Collection”, the “Luxe Logo Collection”, and finally, the “Grand Finale Collection”.
Assorted 50th Anniversary Ears. The center pair is from the “Grand Finale Collection”
In addition to merchandise, you can find limited edition souvenirs including pressed pennies and medallions which are available in 50 different designs. Each design features one of the Fab 50 characters.
Pressed Pennies are a great souvenir that is both unique and affordable. There are 24 pressed penny machines at Magic Kingdom alone ensuring your ability to find a fun design to remember Disney’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at Magic Kingdom.
50th Anniversary Eats & Drinks
Disney World 50th Anniversary Cupcake
Food is another big way that Disney parks have incorporated the 50th Anniversary Celebration. You will find a number of drinks and treats to enjoy including re-invented classic park treats as well as new additions for the festive occasion. Some popular choices include:
- The Anniversary Cinnamon Roll at Main Street Bakery (The Classic Mickey-shaped Cinnamon Roll topped with EARidescent edible glitter and finished off with a 50th Anniversary pressed penny chocolate token)
- Snow White Dole Whip at Storybook Treats in Fantasyland (A twist on the classic Dole Whip this treat is lemon-flavored in a blue cone topped with a chocolate bow and a sugar bow.)
- The Toad Burger at The Friar’s Nook in Fantasyland (A unique choice, the Toad Burger is a Brat Burger topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickle.)
- 50th Celebration Hot Dog at Casey’s Corner on Main Street, U.S.A. (My favorite-I highly recommend this if you like sweet and salty! An all-beef hot dog topped with strawberry bacon jam, pieces of funnel cake, and powdered sugar. It may sound weird but it definitely works!)
- Bear Tracks Slush at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café in Frontierland (I would describe this as an amplified Root Beer Float, it is a Vanilla slushy mixed with Barq’s Root beer and topped with whipped cream, a chocolate drizzle, and pieces of peanut butter.)
- Tavern Punch at Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square (If you’re a fan of Dole Whip, you’ll love this beverage! It is simply Dole Whip mixed with Sprite for a fruity and refreshing non-alcoholic beverage.)
- 50th Anniversary Churros at the Churro Cart in Frontierland (These are rolled in cinnamon and strawberry sugar, topped with marshmallow cream, shimmer sprinkles, and served with a chocolate-hazelnut dipping sauce.)
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50th Anniversary Celebration at EPCOT
Similarly to Magic Kingdom, they have introduced a ton of exclusive decor, merchandise, and
food/drink options to EPCOT in celebration of Disney’s 50th Anniversary. EPCOT stands for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”. Known for connecting the world and its people, there are 11 countries you can visit and four neighborhoods to peruse. While you are “traveling”, these are the experiences you won’t want to miss out on:
50th Anniversary Shows at EPCOT
- Beacons of Magic: As previously mentioned, Beacons of Magic is featured at all four Disney parks via different focus pieces. At EPCOT you will see the beauty of Beacons of Magic through various colors and lights from Spaceship Earth (the iconic huge ball everyone is quick to recognize from EPCOT).
- Harmonious: Firework shows aren’t just for Magic Kingdom. EPCOT celebrates with its own nightly pyrotechnic spectacular. Harmonious is a show that represents both the Disney brand and over 200 artists from various cultures around the world making it the perfect show for EPCOT. The show lasts approximately 20 minutes and is filled with classic Disney music paired with beautiful visuals created by the artists previously mentioned. The show starts at 9:00 pm each night and is displayed from World Showcase.
50th Anniversary Decor at EPCOT
Generally speaking, the 50th Anniversary decor is similar across all four parks. The special color scheme features blues, golds, and pinks. Once again, look for the gold sculptures of the Fab 50 as they are spread throughout each of the parks. The character statues you will find at EPCOT include:
- Miguel and Dante (from the Pixar film CoCo)
- Olaf and Bruni (from the Frozen film franchise)
- Rocket and Groot (from Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Pua and Heihei (from the film Moana)
- Figment (the Mascot of the Imagination! Pavilion at EPCOT)
50th Anniversary Souvenirs & Merchandise
Along with the decor, general merchandise and apparel will also be fairly similar across the parks. One difference you will find is merchandise associated with various characters/films that are featured in each park.
For example, at EPCOT you may find merchandise featuring characters from Guardians of the Galaxy, Remy (or other characters from Ratatouille), etc!
Don’t forget the pressed pennies! There are additional variations of these in EPCOT that make up the 50 unique celebration designs for Disney’s 50th Anniversary. There are 20 pressed penny machines throughout EPCOT and all have options for the Fab 50 pressed penny designs.
50th Anniversary Eats & Drinks at EPCOT
I’m sure you (wisely) guessed there is going to be a variety of food and drinks at EPCOT commemorating the 50th Anniversary Celebration. And, you would be correct! Some of the most popular choices include:
- Mini Chocolate Bundt Cake at Sunshine Seasons in World Nature (A moist mini chocolate bundt cake topped with chocolate ganache, a creamy icing dusted with EARidesecent shimmer, colorful sprinkles, and of course a 50th Anniversary chocolate token)
- Boba Blue Magic at Nine Dragons Restaurant in World Showcase (This Asian-inspired dessert includes a butterfly pea flower ice cream paired with blue lychee jelly and is topped off with creamy milk cap, blueberry popping boba, toffee, and of course a fortune cookie.)
- Magical Beacon Cocktail at all parks (Gin, blue curaçao, Minute Maid Premium Lemonade, orgeat, lemon, hibiscus grenadine, and a souvenir glow cube. If you aren’t a gin fan, there is a similar version with vodka at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway. It’s called the “Northern Lights” cocktail and is pictured to the right).
- Chocolate Caramel Bar at Le Cellier Steakhouse in World Showcase (Imagine dark chocolate mousse, caramel cookie pieces, milk chocolate shell with a chocolate shortbread cookie, and a 50th Anniversary chocolate piece)
- 50th Anniversary Dessert at San Angel Inn Restaurante in World Showcase (A chocolate pyramid filled with a Mexican chocolate mousse and toffee all placed on top of a traditional tres leches cake paired with ice cream)
Where to Stay for Disney’s 50th Anniversary
Decorated elevators in our hotel!
When visiting Disney, I love staying on property. However, there are times when this option isn’t in budget or they’re completely booked. In these cases, try staying near Disney Springs in a property like ours which featured decorated elevators, free Disney shuttles, spacious rooms, free breakfast, and even mini-fridges!
DISNEY’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY TIPS
· You MUST have a park reservation for each member of your party for each park you want to visit each day. If you are buying single-park tickets, a reservation will automatically be made for you. However, if you are purchasing park hopper tickets, you must make a reservation for everyone in your party after purchase. **Check the calendar BEFORE you buy tickets to be sure reservations are available.**
· Download the Disney World app before your trip. It is useful for organizing your day, mapping locations, keeping your reservations in one place, joining virtual queues, and using Genie and Genie+ services. In full disclosure, Disney has some work to do as the app, despite its usefulness, isn’t very user-friendly.
· Don’t mix up parade names and times. They can get confusing and you don’t want to miss out!
· Use the app for current wait times. Go and do the big rides (such as Space Mountain and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure) first thing after the parks open. The rest of the day, use the app to monitor approximate current wait times.
· Book table service well in advance. However, if your trip is more last-minute or your choice is fully booked, monitor the app every day (and even while in the park) to watch for availability. Disney has a 2-hour cancellation policy and people will cancel. This is how I snagged 2-3 of our table services.
· Travel Card Hack: If you have the American Express Gold Card, use it to buy Disney gift card(s) at the grocery store prior to your trip. AmEx Gold (and Rose Gold) Cards award 4x points at restaurants and grocery stores (which includes gift cards per my recent experience). Then, use the gift card(s) to buy Disney merchandise (other than food-use the Gold Card for that). I used my gift card to buy all of my Disney merch and got 4x the points for it vs the usual 1x points it awards for purchases other than food. Score!
**Disclaimer: This AmEx Gold Card is only available if you are in the United States.
Disney’s 50th Anniversary Celebration is not one that you want to miss. The special additions truly add to the magical experience that is Walt Disney World. I hope that this guide has provided you with great insight into what you can expect from Magic Kingdom and EPCOT during the 50th Anniversary!
What would you want to do most in this guide? If you’ve already been to the 50th Anniversary Celebration, what was your favorite ride, show, or food? You know how it works-let me know below!
‘Til next time…