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Here’s to 50 (Y)Ears, Walt Disney World!

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

October 1, 1971: Roy Disney opened the doors to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in tribute to his brother, Walt Disney. Fifty years later, thousands of people gathered around those very gates — and the gates of the other three parks — to celebrate the anniversary of Walt Disney World. The question remains: What has changed fifty years later and what can you do during the World’s Most Magical Celebration?

Across all four parks, you can see their icons come alive as beacons of light and magic. Cinderella’s Castle, Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror and the Tree of Life all light up the sky at night in their own ceremonies.

In Magic Kingdom, you’re surrounded by a magical celebration. From exclusive treats to exclusive character cavalcade to merchandise: it all screams EAR-idescent. Not only is Cinderella’s Castle decorated for the occasion, but it’s also the host of Disney’s newest fireworks show: Disney’s Enchantment (which I will defend with my life, thank you). 

Epcot is home to Disney’s other newest nighttime spectacular: Harmonious! This projection show with fireworks and water takes some beloved Disney films in multiple languages from around the world. Epcot is also home to my personal favorite: the points of light upon Spaceship Earth. The sparkles and patterns are the one thing we didn’t know that Epcot needed. On October 1, Epcot also opened its newest attraction in World Showcase, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Opening day was my fourth time on the attraction (thank you AP previews) and it’s a very cute trackless dark ride! The ride vehicles themselves make the hassle of boarding groups worth it. If you plan to ride, just remember the attraction is currently on the boarding group system. Boarding groups are released at 7 am and 1 pm for guests with a park reservation for that day, so set those alarms and get ready!

Animal Kingdom gets a daytime show in the previous Rivers of Light theater called KiteTails. This show is exactly what it sounds like: Disney tales told through kites. This show brings characters from The Lion King and The Jungle Book to life (as well as other characters while you’re waiting for the show to begin). If you’ve seen videos of this show on social media, you’ll know that it’s had some missteps (Baloo has ended up in the bleachers, the water and the bushes at this point). Despite all of that, KiteTails is a cute addition to the park! 

As for Hollywood Studios, it’s definitely the park with the fewest upgrades for the celebration. Rise of the Resistance is no longer accepting boarding groups, though, so that’s good news if you had bad luck getting one. Each of the parks has its own treats and Hollywood Studios is no exception (shiny gold funnel cakes for the win)! On October 1, Disney also debuted the new MuppetVision 3D preshow themed around the upcoming Muppets Haunted Mansion special on Disney+. 

So how was my own experience during the 50th weekend at Walt Disney World? Not as crowded as others experienced. I chose to go to Epcot on the 1st rather than Magic Kingdom and did everything that I set out to do! While everyone else waited two hours (!!) for their mobile orders in Magic Kingdom, I walked up to my favorite booths and secured a boarding group for Remy’s. On October 2, while the entire Magic Kingdom crowd migrated to Epcot, the wait times for rides and even mobile ordering seemed like any other normal day. While I did miss out on the experience of Magic Kingdom opening day, I wouldn’t have traded a not-so-crowded Epcot and virtually zero waiting for the world. (I would maybe trade it for those fancy commemorative maps and the sold-out popcorn buckets, though).

Hi, I’m Lexi. I’m a creative writing major at UCF who loves books, lifestyle, Disney.
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