Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

Disney fans rejoice! The time has come for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebration. After having opened its doors on October 1st, 1971, visitors of all ages have come to witness the big event. 

 Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann.

Seeing as how my family and I are huge Disney fans, we decided to spend the entire day at Magic Kingdom, the park that was there from the very beginning. We woke up at around 5 in the morning and drove straight to the park so that we had a higher chance of beating the crowds at the entrance. However, once we arrived, the area was already swamped by countless visitors who were entering the park in droves. The parking lot spaces were mostly full, and there were even cars who attempted to drop off people in the middle of the road, before being ordered by police officers to get back in their vehicles to find a spot. It was very crowded to say the least., but that didn’t stop me and my family from entering the park.

 Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann.

Once we made it to the entrance, the area was already filled with decorations. Everything from the signs to the buildings, even the monorails, was covered with 50th-anniversary art for the celebration. When we entered the park, we made our way past Main Street, where we found a spot in front of the castle to watch the opening ceremony. The show had mascots of Mickey and Minnie appearing to greet the guests before some performers came on stage to dance which ended with some fireworks allowing guests to explore the park. What surprised me most about this was that despite the buildup to the show, it only lasted for approximately 10 minutes, which seemed odd as these shows usually last for about 15 to even 20 minutes.

Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann.

As we explored the park, a majority of the areas were very crowded. There were rides with wait times of several hours. People were waiting in droves to enter the largest stores. There were even long lines of visitors at popcorn vendors throughout the park. I have been going to Magic Kingdom for as long as I can remember, but it has been a while since I’ve seen the park this overwhelmed. 

There was also a large number of people who, after ordering food, had to wait hours before they could pick it up. Naturally, guests passed the time by watching the parades, or riding available rides through the renamed “Lightning lanes”. From here on out, thousands of visitors were already setting up their spots for the firework show that would happen later that night.

 Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann.

There were surprisingly fewer decorations around the park than we thought there would be. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely decorations strewn throughout the park with the redesigned castle and 50th-anniversary banners. However, they were too few and far in between. Even the gold character statues weren’t very noticeable, and are easy to miss if you’re not paying close attention. I remember running into a friend who told me that the park’s 45th-anniversary celebration was bigger compared to this. They had more characters, longer shows, and had more festivities compared to this year’s event. My guess is that the people in charge at Disney figured that the 50th anniversary was already going to be a big event so they didn’t have to throw in that much effort to gain people’s attention. 

Despite this, my family and I had a great time and will continue to go to the parks for years to come. It’s going to be a while before the park’s next big celebration, so let’s see how the next generation of guests will react to what Disney has in store for them.


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