12 Things You Forgot About for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

Disney World’s 50th anniversary has begun, and there are huge plans for the 18-month-long celebration, which began on October 1, 2021.

Cinderella Castle

There are lots of new things going on for the celebration, including new fireworks shows at both Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, a new character cavalcade, new golden character statues throughout the parks, and more.

And because there is so much stuff going on with the anniversary, we bet there are a few things you might have forgotten about. We’re here to remind you so you won’t miss out on any of the festivities.

Steakhouse 71

In case you missed it, Disney announced that it would close The Wave…of American Flavors restaurant at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. That space has now become a new restaurant called Steakhouse 71.

Steakhouse 71

The menu features some delicious new food, along with some fun new cocktails. Check out our first look at Steakhouse 71 here.

PRICING Revealed for Disney World’s New Steakhouse 71 Restaurant

California Grill 50th Dining Experience

We caught word earlier this year that California Grill, also at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, would host a 50th Anniversary Dining Experience. That event is called Celebration at the Top: 50th Flavors & Fireworks, and it started on October 2nd.

California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney describes it as a “high-energy cocktail party” with “fine food, shimmering sips, and beautiful music.” Guests of the event can enjoy sushi, small bites, and more from the restaurant, while sipping on drinks before getting access to a private deck to view Magic Kingdom’s Enchantment fireworks show.

Check out our experience at the Celebration at the Top!

New Lighting on Tree of Life

Most people are aware of the 50th anniversary happenings at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, but Disney’s Animal Kingdom has joined in on the party, too. The Tree of Life has new lighting and projections that take it to a whole new level at nighttime.

Tree of Life as a Beacon of Magic

The lights make it look as if the tree has come alive with colorful fireflies, and the projections light up the animals carved into the tree’s trunk.

PHOTOS: Another Look at Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Park Icon Makeovers!

Kite Tails

Speaking of Animal Kingdom, there’s a brand new show for the 50th anniversary. The show is called Kite Tails, and it offers performances several times a day in the Discovery River Theater.


The show features colorful animal kites, representing characters from Disney movies, with some being up to 30 feet in length. Guests get to see these kites soar over the water while music plays in the background.

VIDEO and PHOTOS: First Look at Disney KiteTails Show at Animal Kingdom

New Lighting on The Tower of Terror

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror also got a brand new lighting scheme. Lighting and projections give it a similar makeover to the other park icons at night.

Tower of Terror as a Beacon of Magic

The 50th anniversary includes all the parks in some way or another.

The Biggest Surprises From Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Announcements

Staggered Merchandise Collection Releases

Not all of the 50th anniversary merchandise collection released on October 1; the first day of the celebration. There will be staggered releases, which should give everyone a chance to get their hands on some great 50th anniversary stuff. (Tell that the guests in the October 1 lines, though…)

Isn’t it pretty?!

Each release will have a specific theme: there’s a Celebration Collection, Castle Collection, Vault Collection, EARidescent Collection, and a Luxe Logo Collection. The Limited-Time Collection has already been released, and the rest is arriving throughout October and November.

PHOTOS: First Look at the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Merchandise!

The 50th Anniversary Celebration Has An Anthem

Disney World tapped platinum-selling songwriter and music producer Alana Da Fonseca, composer Emily Bear, and singer Journi to come up with an anthem to represent the 50th anniversary celebration. The song is “The Magic is Calling.”

Different arrangements of the anthem play at each of the four parks at nighttime when their icons light up to become Beacons of Magic.

VIDEO: Disney World is Getting a 50th Anniversary Anthem!

The Celebration Will Last Until 2023

Although a lot of the focus has been on October 1, 2021, the celebration will last throughout the end of 2021, throughout all of 2022, and into 2023.

Happy 50th, Disney World!

There will be 18 months of the celebration, so if you can’t get to the parks right away — don’t worry, you’ll be able to enjoy the 50th straight through the 51st and halfway to the 52nd. 😉

You Don’t Have to Visit Disney World to Buy The New 50th Anniversary Ornament!

What The Celebration Won’t Include

There were a LOT of things that were supposed to be open in time for the celebration, but due to the closure and the ongoing global health pandemic, some of these things aren’t scheduled to open until later. This includes TRON Lightcycle Run (and the reopening of the Walt Disney World Railroad) at Magic Kingdom and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Concept Art ©Disney

Also not opening with the celebration is Moana Journey Of Water at EPCOT. And we still don’t have any new details about the Wondrous China movie coming to the China Pavilion and the Spaceship Earth update that was indefinitely delayed.

Although Disney World is 50, Mickey is Over 90 Years Old

Disney World might be celebrating its 50th anniversary, but its icon, the mouse who started it all, is WAY older. Last year, Mickey Mouse celebrated his 92nd birthday!

He looks good for being over 90 years old!

Believe it or not, many people don’t realize that Mickey is that old, but he first debuted in 1928 in Steamboat Willie!

Mickey Mouse Fans Will LOVE This Detail Inside EPCOT’s Creations Shop

New Character Costumes

Sure, you may have realized that Mickey and Minnie are getting new “EARidescent” outfits for the 50th, but Disney has unveiled that other characters have also received a fabulous new 50th anniversary wardrobe. Pluto has getting a fancy new collar, while Goofy has a gorgeous new suit!


Chip, Donald, Daisy, and Dale can be seen in new outfits, too.


NEWS! Mickey & Minnie are Getting a Fabulous Wardrobe for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

New Halloween 50th Anniversary Mash-Up Decorations

What do you do when you want to celebrate both Halloween and a 50th anniversary? You combine the two with your decor, and that’s what Disney World has planned for this year’s Halloween season. We’ve already started to see the Cinderella Pumpkin Wreaths at Magic Kingdom.

New wreaths!

We can’t wait to see if there’s more of this mash-up decor on the way. And we’ll be sure to share photos if it turns up.

PHOTOS: New Cinderella Decorations Arrive for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary!

So although you’ve probably got certain 50th anniversary celebration things in mind at Disney World, we hope we’ve reminded you of even more to look forward to when the celebration kicks off on October 1st.

PHOTOS: Sorry, EPCOT, But Animal Kingdom Might Have the Best 50th Anniversary Statues

What are you most looking forward to during Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration? Let us know in the comments.

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