On October 1, 1971, Walt Disney World opened its gates. And the amusement park industry was never the same.
What you can expect
True to form, Disney has come up with a new word for the celebration: “EARidescence.” Disney says its teams are creating all sorts of shimmery and sparkly decorations. Highlights include:
— Gold bunting and a 50th anniversary crest for Cinderella Castle.
— New lights to shine across the reflective panels of Spaceship Earth at EPCOT. The effect will be meant to resemble a star-filled sky. (Disney says it plans to make this a permanent feature.)
— Magical fireflies at the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
— “Special new touches” on the Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
— Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be sporting dazzling new costumes.
Disney sent out a tweet that shows some of the light effects visitors can expect to see.
From one park to four
Walt Disney World Resort has seen a lot of growth since 1971.
Back then, Magic Kingdom was the only park and the only other things there were the Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian Resort and the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
Guests wave as the “Mickey and Friends Cavalcade” passes by on Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom’s July 11, 2020, reopening.
The celebration comes at a very challenging time for the theme park because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The park had to quickly close in March 2020 as the pandemic overtook the country.
Top photo: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Credit: Matt Stroshane, photographer