Walt Disney World to end 50th anniversary celebration

Special event ending on Friday

Cinderella Castle with 50th anniversary crest (Landon McReynolds, McReynolds)

BAY LAKE, Fla. – Walt Disney World will end the 50th anniversary celebration Friday.

“The World’s Most Magical Celebration” will conclude following its 18-month long run.

”To all who joined us or helped us celebrate the first 50 years of Walt Disney World Resort—thank you for being part of the magic,“ Disney explained on its blog. “The next 50 years are sure to bring more pixie dust, and there’s a boundless collection of memories just waiting to be made.”

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The special EARidescent celebration kicked off to excited guests on Oct. 1, 2021.

See video from the first day below.

Throughout the celebration, Walt Disney World introduced a number of new things including attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, all-new character cavalcades, the MagicBand+ and the recently opened Roundup Rodeo BBQ restaurant.

Bridge training on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser (WKMG)

Guests also saw the return of fan-favorites entertainment, including Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Festival of Fantasy parade at Magic Kingdom, “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and so much more.

Fantasmic returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (WKMG)

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Walt Disney World has also had a huge impact in the Central Florida community through its 50th anniversary.

Since the start of the event, Walt Disney World has given back more than $6.5 million in grants to local nonprofit organizations.

Disney’s Commitment to Conservation Expands with $500,000 Donation to Florida Organizations (Disney)

In a recent blog post online, the company said it also supported more than 60 other nonprofits through programs like Disney VoluntEARS, which enables cast members to donate their time and talents to local organizations in need. Disney said since the start of the event, cast members have dedicated more than 233,000 hours of their time to volunteer.

‘Disney Enchantment’ at Magic Kingdom Park (Walt Disney World)

Once the 50th anniversary celebration concludes, Walt Disney World will begin a phased removal of select experiences and decorations.

“The EARidescent décor starts to come down this weekend—including the phased removal of those beautiful 50th anniversary embellishments on Cinderella Castle,” Disney explained.

Walt Disney World will also end the “Beacons of Magic“ displays on Cinderella Castle, the Hollywood Tower Hotel and the Tree of Life. Disney said EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth will keep its shimmering look well beyond the celebration.

50th anniversary decor on Cinderella Castle (WKMG)

Also sticking around for a little longer is the Fab50 gold character statues. The parks will say farewell to both nighttime spectaculars, “Harmonious” and “Disney Enchantment.” Both shows will be replaced by returning fan-favorites, “Happily Ever After” and “EPCOT Forever,” on April 3.

TRON Lightcycle / Run at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort (WKMG)

Walt Disney World will welcome a number of new things in the weeks and months to come, including TRON Lightcycle / Run at Magic Kingdom and new experiences that are part of the historic transformation at EPCOT.

Moana figure unveiled at EPCOT, 16 foot tall Te Fiti statue is part of Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana (Disney Imagineering/Instagram)

Walt Disney World is also expected to join in on the fun surrounding the 100-year celebration of The Walt Disney Company.

“Disney100 celebrates Disney storytellers, creators and fans around the world who, together, spark the magic and wonder of Disney,” the company said in a news release. “This celebration will bring new experiences with beloved Disney characters along with heartwarming new stories to delight guests and audiences around the globe.”

Disneyland started the Disney100 celebration back in January with new shows, silver décor and merchandise.

Disney100 celebration décor at Disneyland in Anaheim, California (McReynolds)

Just weeks ago, Disney said EPCOT will host the 100th celebration later this year - ushering in an unforgettable celebration at Walt Disney World.

Tell us your favorite part of Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration in the comments below.

About the Author:

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.