Disney World Launches 50th Anniversary Bash

Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World
Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World

The year was 1971. Another Trudeau (Pierre) was our prime minister. The pocket calculator was invented. Astronaut Alan Shepard golfed on the moon. And down in Florida, a theme park would open that would enchant and entertain countless children – and adults – for decades.

It’s no surprise that the folks at Disney are pulling out all the stops to celebrate this landmark year, and in a video prepared for media around the world, the corporation outlined some of the events and enhancements which will be taking place at the Park starting October 1 and lasting over the next 18 months. They include:

  • René’s Ratatouille Adventure will take guests into the world of that most loveable rat, while the new Crêperie de Paris resto will feature delights sure to please even the youngest palate;
  • Kite Tails – a celebration of colour, energy, movement and music will be highlighted by a parade of massive 3D kites of some favourite Disney characters, some as long as 30 feet;
  • The Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser (slated to open in March of 2022) will be a 2-night immersive adventure during which “passengers” get to live their personal Star Wars story, as they choose the story line. Accommodation, food and training will be all true to Star Wars traditions. And just like the real thing, it’s promised that “Not everything will go as planned!” Reservations open October 28 this year;
  • Magic Bands (wrist bands that allow guests to enter the parks, unlock their Disney Resort hotel room, buy food and merch and unlock special “surprises”) will be enhanced to allow, for example, interaction with sculptures;
  • A new personal assistant Hey Disney in Resort hotel rooms will not only provide Park, weather, shuttle bus and restaurant information and handle hotel requests for, e.g. more pillows and blankets, but also tell jokes. I sense Goofy will make an appearance!; and
  • A huge new array of sparkly merch, clothing, back packs and more will help guests celebrate in glittery style
Disney KiteTails
Disney KiteTails

One of the many celebrities who appeared in the video to congratulate the folks at Disney was Julie Andrews (of Mary Poppins fame) who fondly recalled being part of the original opening of the Park. As she recalled, “Walt was a kindly man with a sparkling personality, who did indeed create the Most Magical Place on Earth.”

Happy birthday, Walt Disney World!

Mickey and Minnie Mouse anniversary statues
Mickey and Minnie Mouse anniversary statues


New Disney World Anniversary Merch
New Disney World anniversary merch

Martha Chapman


An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions series as well as special seasonal series. She can often be seen On The Town covering industry events. Known to all in the biz, Martha has worked her entire career in travel, beginning as a teenaged hotel receptionist in Bermuda.

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