A guide to the Disney World 50th anniversary celebrations

The Walt Disney World 50th anniversary is one of the most anticipated events in theme park history.

With brand new attractions and entertainment in the pipeline, “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” is an unforgettable event happening right now in the Disney parks in Orlando, Florida.  Although many details have already been released regarding the park’s anniversary, we can expect plenty more announcements as the celebrations continue. If you’re planning to visit during the festivities, here’s a sneak peek at what to expect. 

Disney World 50th Anniversary Dates

Are you wondering exactly when is Disney World’s 50th anniversary? The 50th anniversary celebrations kicked off on October 1st of 2021, and is due to run for a total of 18 months (which means it is due to conclude around April time in 2023. You can find new attractions, merch, and food throughout all four parks during these 18 months of festivities. Find out more about what you can expect if you visit during the 50th Anniversary.

New attractions for the Disney World 50th anniversary

Over the last few years, Disney has been planning a number of new developments, for all four theme parks. When the parks were forced to close last year, many of these projects were sadly put on hold. Although there may be alterations to their original plans, Disney still wants this to be a great year of change and celebration. So don’t worry, there will still be plenty of amazing attractions that will be launching in time for the 50th anniversary!


EARidescence is the main theme of the 50th celebrations, a term coined by Disney to portray their excitement for the upcoming anniversary. To get the party started, there will be dazzling new decorations throughout all four of the Disney theme parks. Mickey, Minnie, and friends will be wearing new Earidescent outfits for the occasion and there will be special character cavalcades to match their new look. Cast members around the park will also be receiving brand new name badges to commemorate the occasion.

For visitors, there will be a fantastic selection of Earidescent merchandise and souvenirs on offer. From exclusive clothing to limited edition mouse ears, there will be plenty of opportunities to keep your memories of the event alive forever!

EARidescence is the theme of the Disney 50th anniversary celebrations.

Beacons of Magic

It’s not just the characters who will be receiving an Earidescent makeover for the Disney World 50th anniversary! The four theme park icons are also set to undergo a magical transformation. As the sun sets, each icon will become a Beacon of Magic, illuminating the sky with a dazzling glow.

The Cinderella Castle has already received a royal makeover and will be sparkling with pixie dust each night. Over in Animal Kingdom, there will be enchanted fireflies around the Tree of Life, which will emanate a warm glow throughout the evening. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, special Earidescent lighting will evoke the glamour of the golden age on the Hollywood Tower Hotel. As the sun sets over Epcot, Spaceship Earth will be aglow with stardust, symbolizing hope and optimism for the future. Even once the celebrations are over, this magical display will become a permanent feature for Epcot.

Disney Fab 50 Character Collection

In honor of their 50th anniversary, Disney will be commemorating 50 of their characters with golden sculptures. The Fab 50 Character Collection are hidden around all four theme parks, waiting to be discovered by eagle-eyed visitors! In Magic Kingdom, sculptures will include Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, and of course, Mickey and Minnie Mouse. These two iconic characters will be dedicated to Disney cast members of the past, present and future. The characters you can find are matched to the park. For example, you might be able to spot Rocket and Groot in Epcot, and BB8 in Hollywood Studios! Lion King characters can also be spotted in Animal Kingdom, so keep your eyes peeled!

So far, Disney is remaining tight-lipped on which other characters are going to be cast in gold. The most recently announced include Lumiere and Cogsworth, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, and Timon and Pumbaa. More sculptures are going to be revealed over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!

The Fab 50 Character Collection are being released for the DIsney 50th anniversary.


A show that debuted on October 1st, 2021, Harmonious is a incredible night-time spectacular at Epcot. Taking place over the World Showcase Lagoon, this innovative new show is the park’s largest-ever firework display.

Featuring dazzling lights, floating sets, and show-stopping pyrotechnics, Harmonious tells a story of global connection and celebration. A completely transformative experience, the show reflects on how Disney music has the power to inspire and unite people from across the world. Harmonious will incorporate a combination of Disney songs and imagery, reimagined by a diverse range of international artists and musicians.

The new fountain effects in place for the show also operates during the day, giving the World Showcase Lagoon a whole new look!

Disney Enchantment

Disney Enchantment is the second night-time spectacular that has made its debut. Launching for the first time in October, this magical new show will take you on a journey of adventure, friendship, and love. 

Taking place at Magic Kingdom, Disney Enchantment features captivating music, special lighting, and incredible fireworks. For the first time ever at Disney, the show also has immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle, all the way down Main Street.

Disney Enchantment is a new firework spectacular launching for the Disney 50th anniversary celebrations

Disney KiteTails

Disney KiteTails is a brand new daytime show that has come to Animal Kingdom. Taking place at the Discovery River Amphitheater, KiteTails launched just in time for the Disney 50th anniversary celebrations.

Designed to capture both your heart and your imagination, this uplifting show features an abundance of elaborate 3-D kites; some stretching up to 30 feet long! Controlled by a team of talented performers, these colorful creations dance across the lake and through the sky. Accompanied by a soundtrack of classic Disney tunes, the kites depict some of your favorite animal friends; from Simba and Zazu to Baloo and King Louie.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

After months of construction work, the France pavilion at Epcot has been transformed into an incredible version of Paris. This beautiful new area is so full of intricate details, you’ll feel like you have stepped right into the real City of Light.

The main feature of the newly designed pavilion is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. The most highly anticipated addition to Epcot, this trackless ride is a fully immersive 4-D experience. Guests will be able to join Chef Remy on a daring adventure through a bustling Parisian restaurant. As you dash through Gusteau’s kitchen, this wild journey will captivate all of your senses! Launched on October 1, this exciting new ride is a huge part of the Disney World 50th anniversary celebrations.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is set to open in time for the Disney World 50th anniversary celebrations

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Another brand new ride, the Guardians of the Galaxy themed ride is due to open in the summer of 2022 in the Epcot park. Prepare to be pulled into a pursuit across the universe, with plenty of nods to science and technology along the way. It is set to be an incredibly immersive ride, so make sure you don’t miss out if you are heading to the Disney parks in summer.

Disney World 50th anniversary castle

Another noteworthy highlight is Cinderella’s Castle, which is now ready to go to the ball. Cinderella’s castle is adorned with decadent drapery, embellished bunting, and gold swirls for the special occasion. And the finishing touch? A 50th Anniversary crest of course! This much-loved icon at Magic Kingdom is now fit for royalty and ready to oversee the 18-month long celebrations. Feel the magic and enjoy!

New character costumes

Touring Magic Kingdom throughout the day will be the hosts of the ‘World’s Most Magical Celebration’, Mickey Mouse, and Minnie Mouse. Along with their friends, they’ll be donning fancy new ‘EARidescent’ costumes, to mark the Disney World 50th Anniversary. Also dressed to impress will be Donald Duck and Daisy Duch, Chip ‘n’ Dale, Goofy, and Pluto. Where can you spot them? At the brand new ‘Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade’ of course. Get ready to party!

Spot the 50 Disney characters

Making their debut across all 4 theme parks will be 50 golden Disney sculptures. The series of famous faces will create a great sense of interest for all ages across the parks, particularly as they are planned to be interactive in some way.

Special 50th Magic Shots

Make sure you grab a photo pass before heading to the parks, because this year, you can enjoy special shots all around the park to commemorate the 50th anniversary. In your photo, you might be showered with 50th themed confetti, or be asked to hold a prop such as a giant ticket for an attraction on opening, to commemorate the time when you used to need to buy a ticket per ride that you wanted to go on.

New Disney World merch for the 50th anniversary

Throughout the entire celebration, new merch and items in the shop for the anniversary will be released. From new t-shirts, pins, badges, and reprints of the original map that was released at the time of the park’s opening. Furthermore, the restaurants and eateries will have plenty of specially created snacks and meals, including Walt Disney’s favourite sandwich (deep-fried turkey). This is the perfect occasion to pick up Disney merchandise and try out new dishes you will never be able to find in the parks again once the 50th anniversary celebrations are concluded.

Planning a trip for the Disney World 50th anniversary

If you’re hoping to visit Disney World for the celebrations, you will need to start planning right away! Tickets and park reservations fill up fast, especially for peak times. Big events at Disney always tend to draw large crowds, and tickets for this party are definitely in high demand!

The opening months will be the park’s busiest period. If you want to avoid the crowds, it’s a good idea to wait until 2022 to visit. As the festivities will run until March 2023, you have got plenty of time to experience the magic!

Booking tickets for 2021 – 2022

Since reopening, Disney World has introduced a number of new procedures to keep both staff and visitors safe. One of the biggest changes is the new Park Pass system, which requires guests to book a theme park reservation in advance.

To enter any Disney park, all guests must have a park reservation in addition to their admission ticket. Both tickets will need to be for the same park, on the same day. This new system is in place to enable Disney to manage the crowds between all 4 theme parks. Park Pass reservations are strictly limited, so check availability before you book anything. Once you’ve checked that your desired date is available at your chosen theme park, you can purchase your admission tickets. To make booking easier, the Park Pass system has recently been extended; you can now make reservations up until January 2023.

As the government guidelines evolve, the rules and restrictions at Disney will continue to change over the next few years. Before you purchase any tickets, it is important to check all of the latest terms and conditions. Alternatively, you can always book through a trusted provider like Top Villas. Our Guest Experience team can arrange all of your Disney tickets for you — making your experience completely stress-free!

The Cinderella Castle has new decor for The World's Most Magical Celebration

Accommodation near Disney World

With so much going on, there’s never been a more exciting time to visit Disney World! With most covid restrictions lifting in time for the anniversary celebrations, 2022 will be one of the busiest years in the park’s history. If you’re planning to visit, it is a good idea to book your accommodation as soon as you can.

We know that circumstances can change quickly, and that’s why we’ve introduced a kinder cancellation policy. Choose one of our Flex homes and you can reschedule or cancel your stay, even if you’re due to check in soon. What’s more, when you book with Top Villas, all you need to do is pay your deposit upfront. You can then pay off your balance in comfortable installments, up until 60 days before your stay.

Booking a stay

Book with us and not only will you get beautiful accommodation at great prices; you’ll also benefit from round-the-clock customer service. Follow our simple online booking process and you can secure your dream vacation home instantly. It’s easy to check availability, get a quote, and book instantly online. Alternatively, submit an inquiry and we’ll get straight back to you.

When you’re ready to start planning, you can check out all of our vacation rentals in Orlando here.