The sad faces at “The Happiest Place In The World,” are beginning to smile once again. Word has leaked out that Walt Disney World, Florida’s mainstay tourist attraction, create first Walt Disney World will be celebrating its 50th anniversary beginning in just a couple of weeks.
The last time WDW put on a celebration of this sort was 35 years ago to commemorate its 15th year of bringing millions of dollars into what had been a quiet area that had been populated by more alligators than people. That all changed when the Disney people opened the gates.
Top pull off the development Disney representatives began buying up small parcels of land so as not to alert local real estate and landowners to the coming massive development. The idea then was to prevent land prices to sky rocket. It worked and Disney was able to create first Walt Disney World, the East Coast version of California’s Disneyland.
After being shuttered due to the Covid-19 crisis the Mouse People were chomping at the bit to get back to work. The Golden Anniversary of the park’s first opening as the perfect nexxus.
The park actually opened in July but with very limited attendance. Health precautions were mandated (unlike Florida’s governor who has refused to make wearing masks in schools and public places mandatory) to keep the spread of the virus down as much as possible.
The reopening and the beginning of the celebration is slated for Oct. 1 with a program called “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”
“Magical” is the password for everything Disney. On Disney cruise ships the greeting “Have a magical day” by the costumed characters sometimes gets to a point where you consider vocalizing a few un-Disney phrases.
But this time around it appears as though the company has planned events that will be a “Magical experience.” The celebration will go on for 18-months and will feature new attractions, restaurants, entertainment day and night, specialty foods and, of course, the ubiquitous merchandise and souvenir items. All of this will be available at all four Disney parks as well as Disney Springs and resort hotels.
Make no mistake, however, whatever Disney has done is always quality. It’s êare still top quality. There is never anything shoddy at any Disney venue.
The magic Kingdom show, “Happily Ever After,” is gone and replaced with “Disney Enchantment,” combining the projections on Cinderella’s Castle with a bevy of new images. The highlight of evening shows is the July 4th style of fireworks. No, change that. Disney always outdoes July 4th. The new show will be at Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon. While the sky is lit up songs from Disney movies will add to the entertainment.
The Animal Kingdom will have a new day time show called “Disney Kite trails” at the Discovery River Amphitheater. There will be 3-D kites depicting characters such as Simba and Zazu from the Lion King; Baloo and King Louie from Jungle Book, all flying overhead as music from the movies fills the air.
While WDW touts the opportunity to have photo ops with Mickey and other characters, that’s not quite the case. They will be observing social distancing and wearing of masks… hear that Gov. DeSantis?
Without getting into details of the new merchandise, the products will debut throughout the 18-month celebration. Three items will be brought out o Oct. 1 and others as time goes by.
One interesting new feature will be a dining room at EPCOT. Called “Space 220,” it is located in Future World between Test Track and Mission: Space. The eatery will feature a dining room with windows that offer a virtual look as though you are in space. Reservations are strongly suggested here and there will be a prix-fixe menu for both lunch and dinner.
A second new eatery will be in the France Pavilion, called La Crêperie, located just outside the entrance to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. There’s no indication if the fine dining restaurant that served high-end meals will still be available. The new restaurant will have both the table service. It w ill offer traditional Brittany hard cider.
Hotels will offer themed rooms and the kids will enjoy the Moana and Incredibles themes.
While Disney does not mention it, and Gov. DeSantis might not approve, visitors would be well-served to wear masks, especially for those under 12-years-old who are not yet eligible for vaccines. Adults and those over 12 would also be well served to consider having their shots. WDW and the other parks will be ding their best to avoind any outbreak, but guests should do their part as well.