Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary
Credit: Disney

Disney World 50th Anniversary Experiences You Must Try Before the Celebration Ends

The 50th-anniversary celebration of the Walt Disney World Resort kicked off on October 1, 2021, and runs through March 2023.

It may be difficult to believe, but March is coming up quickly! If you have not yet visited Disney World during the milestone anniversary celebration, or if you just haven’t experienced everything that the Resort’s 50th has to offer, we’ve got you covered with everything you have to try before the celebration ends this spring.

Characters / Cinderella Castle - 50th Anniversary

Credit: Disney

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EARidescent Touches

EARidescent touches are all over the Walt Disney World Resort for the 50th anniversary, from the new look for Cinderella Castle to merchandise, character meet and greets, and more. Regarding your must-do’s here, taking a photo in front of Cinderella Castle while its 50th-anniversary decor is still up certainly tops the list, but you will also want to make time to meet Mickey and Minnie in their EARidescent outfits.

Even more characters (including Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, and Chip and Dale) can be seen in their EARidescent looks during character cavalcades in the Magic Kingdom, but if you’d like to get some memorable photos specific to the 50th, you’ll want to meet Mickey and Minnie at Town Square Theater near the entrance to Main Street, U.S.A.


Credit: Disney

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Beacons of Magic & Nighttime Spectaculars

The Beacons of Magic are new lighting packages that come to life on the park icons of all four Walt Disney World theme parks. They include:

  • Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom Park
  • Spaceship Earth in EPCOT
  • Hollywood Tower Hotel in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Tree of Life in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Each icon comes to life nightly throughout ‘The World’s Most Magical Celebration’ with an EARidescent glow, with Spaceship Earth even changing up its lighting and music based on which seasonal events are currently occurring EPCOT.

While this technology will surely be used in the future, we can’t know for sure that the exact Beacons of Magic as they exist now will stick around after the 50th, so whenever you visit a Disney Park at night this year, we recommend stopping to check them out.

Disney Enchantment

Credit: Disney

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As for nighttime spectaculars, Disney Enchantment in the Magic Kingdom and Harmonious in EPCOT debuted to kick off the 50th anniversary on October 1, 2021. Harmonious is the replacement for EPCOT Forever (which briefly took place over World Showcase Lagoon after IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth was retired.)

Disney Enchantment, however, also has no end date announced, but many fans speculate that Disney’s Happily Ever After fireworks will return to the Magic Kingdom when the celebration ends. Even if you are also missing Happily Ever After, you may want to plan to see Disney Enchantment just in case this nighttime spectacular is no longer running for a later trip.

Typhoon Lagoon 50th Anniversary Cone

Credit: Disney

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Exclusive Food & Specialty Beverages

Walt Disney World is always a foodie’s paradise, but this element of a Disney vacation has been kicked up a notch during the Resort’s 50th-anniversary celebration. Disney has quite the extensive list of all of the offerings available for the celebration, with everything from snacks and beverages to entrees and even limited-time pre-fixe dining experiences.

Some favorites of fans so far have included the Mr. Toad Burger and specialty DOLE Whips in the Magic Kingdom, dessert parties to combine something sweet with Disney Enchantment, “Walt’s Chili” served around the Parks and Resorts, and lots and lots of DOLE Whip specials, just to name a few.

If any of the 50th-anniversary specials catch your eye during your next Disney vacation, be sure to give them a try! They likely will not be there during your next trip, and some items are truly delicious.

Vault Collection

Credit: Disney

The Vault Collection & 50th Anniversary Merchandise

If you are a shopper, you will want to pay special attention to the Vault Collection! This set of vintage-inspired merchandise celebrates 50 years of the Walt Disney World Resort through t-shirts, hats, Crocs, accessories, and more, with designs featuring retro property maps, extinct attractions, and classic character artwork.

The 50th-anniversary merchandise lineup also includes dated pieces and EARidescent clothing and accessories for the whole family. While some items are available on shopDisney, you will have the most selection browsing Disney’s shops in person.

Credit: Paula Kennedy

The Disney Fab 50 Character Collection Statues

Added just for the ‘World’s Most Magical Celebration,’ the Fab 50 Character Collection statues have taken over all four Walt Disney World theme parks. Some are located right out by Park icons, while others are a bit more hidden. You can find them all in the My Disney Experience app, and if you happen to be wearing a MagicBand+ you’ll find some interactive elements in the statues, too.

Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary only happens once, so if you have the chance to visit the Resort and experience the celebration for yourself, you’ll want to start planning your trip asap!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."