Disney announces 50th anniversary plans. Here’s an outline of events

2 new nighttime shows added to park lineup

Walt Disney World is planning an 18-month celebration in honor of its 50th anniversary.
Walt Disney World is planning an 18-month celebration in honor of its 50th anniversary.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Walt Disney World is planning an 18-month celebration in honor of its 50th anniversary.

All four theme parks will take part in “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” beginning Oct. 1, Disney announced Tuesday.

On Oct. 1, 1971, the resort opened to guests, culminating years spent planning and developing Walt Disney’s “magical dream,” officials said in a statement announcing the celebration.

The celebration will include a new nighttime show called “Disney Enchantment," at the Magic Kingdom. The show will have enhanced lighting, fireworks and immersive projection effects that extend from the Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.

A new nighttime spectacular, “Disney Enchantment,” will debut Oct. 1, 2021 (Walt Disney World)

EPCOT will feature “Harmonious," a show at the World Showcase Lagoon which the statement said is “one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park." The show will feature new interpretations of classic Disney songs, reimagined in more than a dozen languages by a diverse group of 240 artists from around the world.

“Harmonious” will debut Oct. 1, 2021, at EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. As one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park, the show will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people the world over, carrying them away harmoniously on a stream of familiar Disney tunes reinterpreted by a diverse group of artists from around the globe. (Walt Disney World)

At Animal Kingdom, “Disney KiteTails" will feature performers flying windcatchers and kites at the Discovery River to the beat of favorite Disney songs.

“Disney KiteTails” will launch Oct. 1, 2021, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. This new entertainment experience will come alive multiple times throughout the day at Discovery River Amphitheater, featuring performers flying windcatchers and kites of all shapes and sizes. Out on the water, elaborate three-dimensional kites – some stretching to 30 feet long – will depict Disney animal friends, including Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie. (Walt Disney World)

All the favorite Disney characters — including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale — will be part of a collection of special golden sculptures debuting at all four parks Oct. 1. Guests will be able to interact in surprising ways with the 50 characters featured in the “Disney Fab 50," the statement said.

Characters will also be dressed in sparkling custom-made costumes for this special occasion.

Another special feature on Oct. 1 is the opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in EPCOT. This ride will take guests into the flavorful world of Disney and Pixar’s “Ratatouille.” A new restaurant, La Crêperie de Paris also debuts Oct. 1 at EPCOT.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure - Opening October 1, 2021 (Walt Disney World)

The celebration will also feature “Beacons of Magic” each night at all four parks. Cinderella’s castle will illuminate Magic Kingdom with pixie dust. A warm light will emanate from the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom as magical fireflies gather to “usher in the magic of nature.” At Hollywood Studios, the Hollywood Tower Hotel “will be awash in a brilliance evoking the golden age of imagination and adventure.” And EPCOT will feature new lights that will shine across the reflective panels of Spaceship Earth, “connecting to one another in a symbol of optimism resembling stars in a nighttime sky.”

Walt Disney World gives glimpse of Beacons of Magic.
Walt Disney World gives glimpse of Beacons of Magic.

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About the Authors:

Nadeen Yanes joined News 6 as a general assignment reporter in 2016. She grew up in Leesburg and graduated from the University of Florida. Nadeen has won three Associated Press Awards for her reporting on the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the trial of the Pulse gunman's wife and the capture of an accused cop killer, Markeith Loyd.

Landon joined News 6 in 2017. He grew up in Southern Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelors degree in TV and digital media. When he is not at work you can catch him at one of Orlando's theme parks or the beach. Before working at News 6 he worked for stations in Miami and Fort Myers.