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Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Starts Friday: Here’s What’s New

Seasons greetings! Your manager of the previous week’s news back from Disneyland Paris and arrived at Walt Disney World for the park’s 50th anniversary, which officially kicks off later this week. I’m burning the midnight oil and watching Epcot test out their new fireworks show as I write this, so we won’t waste time getting into the festivities. Let’s do this !:


It’s the calm before the storm here in Florida, where, like the day after Thanksgiving, when the Christmas decor magically appears, things are preparing to change. On Friday, October 1, Walt Disney World will be in full anniversary mode, swapping old shows for new experiences and sprinkling the realm with the iridescent blue-purple hue of the event.

We will enter the main entrances – fireworks, night shows, this new Ratatouille ride – in next week’s drop, but for now we’re diving deep into everything else, because there’s a lot more on the horizon is worth discussing.


Park hours will be different from Friday, when Early entry – the replacement for Disney’s pre-pandemic Extra Magic Hours benefit – debuts at all four parks simultaneously, allowing Disney and other selected hotel guests to enter thirty minutes before the park opens , giving them the edge over Disney’s most popular rides, like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Avatar: Passage Flight.

Are you planning to ride Disney’s mind-blowing Star Wars tour? Suppress that 7 a.m. alarm, as Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios halted its early-morning boarding pass system in favor of a traditional queue that appears to be works exceptionally well. Wait times peak each morning, which is normal, but they also drop by the end of the day, reaching ‘on’ wait times. from just five minutes earlier this week. Keep tabs on the hours in the Disney app to skip the line and ride this out of the ordinary attraction time and time again.

There are also plenty of new things to eat. Space 220 opened, free flowing soda samples at Club Cool are finally back, and if that wasn’t enough there will be – hold my Duffy the Disney bear-shaped purse – 150 new foods and drinks to celebrate 50 years of WDW !? Good luck! I don’t know what the “Mission to Mars” burger will taste like, but it’s a trip I plan to take.

New merchandise has already been released in the parks (if you can get your hands on items before the dealers, of course), but beyond the commemorative castle items and mini backpacks on request, there is also the brand new Creations Shop at Epcot and an entire store near Main Street in Magic Kingdom, USA. it’s getting ready wear the new Safe collection, filled with retro merch like vintage tableware, the original and old-school Minnie Ears headband.


Disney’s Contemporary Resort launched its new lobby theme and, reader, that’s great! Mid-century inspiration honoring the Monorail and Mary Blair, the artist behind It’s a Small World and the hotel’s central mural, fits seamlessly into the structure and fits into the New Incredibles rooms good without being too thematic. The following ? The beginnings of Steakhouse 71, the artist formerly known as The wave … of American flavors, gives a tip of the hat to the retro Disney World as well as a few really delicious cheese macaroni.

The new version of Epcot officially kicks off on Friday as well, as new “neighborhoods” – remember that from D23 Expo 2019? – become the official park jargon. Farewell, future world!

Main Street Confectionery, Disney’s Magic Kingdom’s go-to candy store, reopened this week following a remodel, and with it comes a menu that doubles as an infernal landscape of sweets. Some new items – especially the tons of chocolate dipped marshmallows – look just plain delicious, but the updated line of baked goods, long considered a fan favorite, is extremely questionable. Apple candies … with gummy rescuers? Rainbow fondant … with bowling pins? It’s clear from a glance at this odd menu that Smuckers, the site’s former sponsor, has long since disappeared in place of a Mars-Wrigley sponsorship. We’ll mourn the loss of the Reese’s Cups and Pieces scattered over the desserts as the fudge treats are topped with … Twix and Snickers and Baked Skittles encrusted sugar cookies ?! Past.


the launch of Disney Genie +, who at this rate, can happen anytime. The signs have been replaced and with the crowds coming in for the 50th anniversary, it looks like the time is nigh for an announcement, especially since it is set to debut “this fall”. When it lands, it will forever change the way you visit Disney World, while simultaneously introducing tons of jargon that we recommend you review before planning your future vacation.

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser launch date, expected to arrive in Spring 2020. Reservations are not yet open, but given that the experience is billed as a sort of “shore cruise”, reservation windows should open quite a bit in advance. I’d be shocked if we don’t get an update on full prices, when reservations open, when the hotel opens, or all three over the coming week.

Live entertainment. Not nightly entertainment, which Disney’s 50th has plenty of, but stage shows, stunt shows and the like, which have been offline since Disney World temporarily closed in March 2020. The list of experiences currently unavailable is long – long!! – and with the company confirming Finding Nemo: The Musical will be re-equipped for a first 2022, it is curious that popular attractions like Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Fantasmic! have not yet returned. (Same goes for parades – the quick answer would be to avoid parades due to COVID security, but if crowds gather tightly for nightly entertainment outside Cinderella’s Castle, a parade route that winds through many more park land can’t be worse!)


Disney will host two live broadcasts of its new nightlife entertainment this week when it debuts. Click here to watch Harmonious, Epcot’s new evening show, when it premieres at 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, and Click here to see Disney Enchantment, Cinderella’s new castle nighttime show, Thursday at 10:15 p.m. EST. I’ll be there, so it’s almost like we’re on a Disney trip together! Ah, the reader-writer relationship, the happiness of the holidays!