We preview some magical merchandise, say “so long” to a few Disney Parks fan favorites and get excited about new shows and attractions debuting during the park’s 18-month celebration!
It’s finally here: the beginning of the long-anticipated Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration! Disney has been gearing up for this 18-month celebration for years, and even though COVID-19 closures got in the way of some of their grand plans, the festivities are still starting on October 1, 2021!
We’ll be at Disney World on October 1 to experience the beginning of this party in person, so stay tuned for photos, live-streams and reviews of new fashions being debuted this weekend! (Are you following us on Facebook? You definitely should be!)
But before the party officially kicks off, preview its fashion with us! Then keep reading to see some of the changes that we are the most (and least) excited to see over the next year and a half.
Walt Disney 50th Anniversary Magical Keepsakes
We are pretty excited to see all the new keepsake collections that Disney will be launching over the next 18 months. While some items and collectibles have been released exclusively at Disney World so far, we expect the collections to be featured on the shopDisney website shortly so that all of us who can’t access the parks can celebrate the 50th Anniversary.
Here’s a full preview of the different 50th Anniversary collections that will be launching. We’ll add links to items as they are released on shopDisney, so be sure to check back!
We had to start with this collection as we are OBSESSED with all things EARidescent. Styled after the EARidescent costumes on the Fab 5 and Cinderella’s Castle, this collection includes apparel, Loungefly bags, Disney Ears, pins and more!
If you want an EARidescent pair of ears and don’t want to wait for the official pair to release, check out our latest review of these favorites that we found on Etsy. We rated these very highly and they fit in with the entire EARidescent collection perfectly!
And, check out FashionEarsta’s own Fancy Floridian’s take on the EARidescent theme with her beautifully crafted EARidescent circle skirt in honor of Minnie Mouse! We can’t wait to see her celebrating during her trips to the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration.
I have been going to Walt Disney World since I was 5 years old, so anything retro definitely tugs at my heart strings! The Vault Collection pays tribute to opening day style 50 years ago in 1971. From throwbacks to original plush toys to vintage t-shirt designs, ears and collectible merchandise, this collection will be sure to go quickly once launched!
Iconic. For the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary, Disney will be releasing a collection inspired by Cinderella’s Castle. Honestly, we were not surprised that this was a mini collection that will be highlighted. The décor on the Castle to celebrate the Golden Anniversary has been well received by fans and previews the EARidescent collection as well.
This mini collection will feature ornaments, apparel, home goods and ears! But these are pretty special ears since they are Light Up ears! We love a good light up ear that features a ton of sequins. Plus, the gold color really highlights the theme of the golden anniversary.
Probably the biggest capsule collection in the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Collection, this collection has something for everyone! Of course it features apparel for the whole family! From hats, sweathshirts, joggers, t-shirts and more, there is a style for everyone. Dooney & Burke bags, Mickey Ears and fun picture frames, soap dispensers… it’s tough to find a category that Disney is not including in the Celebration Collection.
My personal favorite from this huge collection might have to be the Original Mouse Ears with the updated EARidescent/Celebration Collection look. These bring back so many memories for me! I love that Disney included a bit of retro in with some of these collections.
Read on below to find out more about the some of the events that is time to say goodbye to at Walt Disney World to pave the way for more Celebration Magic during the World’s Most Magical Celebration!
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Saying “See Ya Real Soon!” to Favorites from Disney World’s Past
October 1st, 2021 marks the start of something new at Disney World… which means that it’s also time to say goodbye to a few WDW institutions that are leaving us at around the same time. As Walt himself said about the idea of the Disney parks:
Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.Walt Disney
And as things grow, Disney World grows out of some of its programs, shows and institutions. Here are a few things that we’re saying goodbye to at the start of this 18 month celebration:
“Happily Ever After” and “Epcot Forever” Fireworks Spectaculars
It’s time to say goodbye to the two full-length nighttime spectaculars that are currently playing at Walt Disney World. Your last chance to see “Epcot Forever” above Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon will be September 28th, while September 29th will mark the final performance of “Happily Ever After” at the Magic Kingdom.
While the Magic Kingdom’s show has been running since 2017 and is a fan favorite, “Epcot Forever” was always temporary, replacing “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” at Epcot in late 2019 as a stopgap show. While we won’t be bereft to see the ho-hum Epcot fireworks replaced, it will be a bit sad not to sing along with Jordan Fisher as he wails “make your heart beat… faster!”
Free FastPass+ Reservations
We all knew it was coming for us eventually: the day we would have to pay for FastPasses. When this free feature didn’t return to Disney World (even a year after its reopening) I suspected that we would never see it again. And, alas, the free FastPass seems to have been retired for good.
While we’re not entirely sure what the new “Lightning Lane” replacements will look like (or how many people will purchase this upgrade) we are still mourning our ability to skip the lines for free. Of all the changes coming to Disney World during this celebration, this one feels the least magical to me!
Free Magic Bands for Resort Guests
As Disney World attempts to transition to a more phone-based resort experience, resort guests will no longer receive free magic bands for each member of their party. Of course, you can still pay for customized wristbands (why would Disney eliminate a lucrative collectible item?) but the days of receiving a long box of primary-colored magic bands before you even left home are mostly behind you.
We don’t want to totally kill the mood, though! For every “so long” we have to say, there’s something new to be excited about scheduled to debut during the 50th anniversary celebration!
New debuts during Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary
Some of these new experiences and features have been planned for a long time… others have been delayed for a long time! But either way, we’re excited to see all the new things in store during the 18 month-long celebration!
New Dining: Space 220 and Steakhouse 71
Disney World restaurants have been a bit hit-or-miss lately what with the many closings and modifications due to COVID-19. But we can’t wait for the new restaurants set to debut during the 50th Anniversary Celebration!
Steakhouse 71, which will be the new first-floor restaurant at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, will be a family-friendly dining option on the monorail loop. It will even bring back the popular breakfast menu from the Wave restaurant! As an adult, I’m excited for the Steakhouse 71 Lounge, which promises 70s-inspired cocktails in a chill setting!
Epcot’s new themed restaurant, Space 220, is actually set to have opened on September 20th, just ahead of the anniversary. But chances are it will take us 18 months to get a reservation to this cool new restaurant (who wouldn’t want to ride in a space elevator?) so we’ll just plan on eating in orbit at some point during the 50th Anniversary Celebration.
New Shows: “Enchantment,” “HarmonioUS,” and “KiteTails”
We’re getting not one but THREE new spectaculars on October 1st… in fact, the only park not debuting a new show on the first day of the anniversary is Hollywood Studios!
At Magic Kingdom, “Happily Ever After” will be replaced by “Enchantment,” which will incorporate projections up and down Main Street, USA as well as on and around Cinderella’s Castle.
At Animal Kingdom, “Rivers of Light” will be replaced by “KiteTails,” a daytime show featuring Disney character-themed kites and music in the Discovery River Amphitheater. Behind-the-scenes photos show some kites being towed by jet-skis!
And Epcot will finally put those unsightly barges in the World Showcase to use when it replaces “Epcot Forever” with “HarmonioUS.” Disney says that this show will be performed by 240 artists from different cultures and incorporates Disney songs in a variety of languages!
New Fashion: EARidescent costumes and decor
Mickey and friends have an all-new color scheme for the 50th anniversary celebration: a gorgeous iridescent (EARidescent) blue trimmed with gold. We’ve been dying for a new way to Disney Bound the Fab 5, so this is perfect!
In addition to the official parks merchandise we shared above, there are plenty of other ways to show your own EARidescence. Crafty costumers have been making their own homages to this look since last spring’s Dapper Day! Etsy has plenty of ears inspired by this new color scheme (stay tuned for our upcoming reviews of this adorable pair) and even RunDisney has featured the new costumes on this year’s Marathon Weekend medals!
New Attractions: TRON, Guardians of the Galaxy, Moana and more!
Yes, all of these attractions were originally scheduled to debut on (or before) October 1st for the start of the Walt Disney 50th Anniversary Celebration. But considering the logistical nightmare that was COVID-19, we’re happy to be getting these attractions at some time during the next 18 months.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure was actually completed in spring of 2021, but its official opening was pushed back to October 1st so there would be at least one new attraction opening on that date. Fortunately, Cast Members, DVC owners and Annual Passholders were given the opportunity to get a “squeak peek” at this adorable new ride!
Read all about the Fancy Floridian’s preview of the new France Pavilion expansion, including the new ride and restaurant, here:
Construction on the TRON Lightcycle Power Run Rollercoaster (aka the reason the Magic Kingdom’s railroad hasn’t been running for years) has finally picked up again! While there is no official opening date announced, we’re optimistic that this coaster will be ready at some point in the next 18 months!
In the meantime, you can always ride this attraction at Disneyland Shanghai, where it has been getting rave reviews! We’re also excited about the cast member costumes for this ride, which are at least an attempt to make Tomorrowland look futuristic.
I’m hesitant to list this here, since no one knows when Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open at Epcot, but I’m still holding out hope! This attraction has been under construction for 4 (four!!!) years, but I hold out hope nonetheless!
“Journey of Water Inspired by Moana” is the Epcot attraction that does seem likely to open at some time during the 50th anniversary. This walk-through experience will take visitors through the water cycle with scenes and characters inspired by the hit film. It will be interesting to see where the transformation of Epcot’s Future World goes, and this is the first step!
Overall, though, we loved the experience of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2021, and we learned (the hard way) what not to order next time! We hope to see you, dressed up in your festival finery or best Wine and Dine costumes, before the end of this event and the launch of the Festival of the Holidays in November!
Do you have plans to visit Disney World during the 18-month celebration? What are you planning to wear!?! Let us know here, on Instagram and Facebook (@fashionearsta) and our brand new YouTube channel! Be sure to follow us so that you’re always in the loop and can follow along with our adventures!
Pixie dust and glamour!
The Fancy Floridian and Belle of the Ball