The 50th-anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World has come to an end. The 18-month-long celebration brought with it several new shows, attractions, restaurants, and special offerings.
As we look back at some of the highlights from the massive celebration, let’s explore whether The World’s Most Magical Celebration lived up to its hype.
During the 50th anniversary celebration, we saw two new attractions added to EPCOT. To kick off the celebration back in October of 2021, Disney opened Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the newly expanded France pavilion. Since opening the ride has maintained popularity. This 4D dark ride shrinks riders down to the size of a rat and takes them on an adventure with Remy and his friends through Gusteau’s Restaurant.
Later, in May of 2022, EPCOT opened the Wonders of Xandar pavilion which is home to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. This unique omni-coaster was an instant fan favorite. The coaster is both thrilling and family-friendly and features fun characters and an entertaining soundtrack.
There were a couple of attractions that were originally intended to open during the 50th-anniversary celebration but did not. Many guests expected TRON Lightcycle/Run to finally open as part of the festivities, however, as the months went by this became very unlikely. It wasn’t until the end of the celebration that we found out that TRON Lightcycle/Run would not be opening until early April just after the 50th-anniversary celebration ends.
Additionally, Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana was also supposed to open during the anniversary festivities. This has now been delayed until late 2023. Both of these attraction openings will be featured as part of Disney’s 100 Years of Wonder Celebration that has kicked off at all of the Disney parks.
The World's Most Magical Celebration saw the addition of 3 major shows across Walt Disney World. These included two nighttime spectaculars, Harmonious at EPCOT and Enchantment at Magic Kingdom, and Kite Tales at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. All of these shows were met with mixed reviews and have been discontinued.
Harmonious at EPCOT celebrated cultures from around the world with water features, lasers, projections, and LED screens mounted on several large barges in the middle of the World Showcase Lagoon. The music and effects from the show are moving, however many guests were left disappointed with the eye-sore barges. In initial concept art, the barges were to convert into beautiful water features during the day. However, this never happened and instead, they sit in the middle of the lagoon blocking views and taking away from the beauty of the lagoon.
Disney’s Enchantment may have been doomed from the start. The nighttime spectacular that features fireworks and castle projections followed one of the most beloved nighttime shows that Magic Kingdom has ever had, Happily Ever After. After its introduction at the beginning of the anniversary celebration in October of 2021, many guests felt that Enchantment did not live up to its predecessor, especially as a show that was a focal point of the major celebration.
Additionally, the show focuses only on the animated characters from Disney movies rather than celebrating the legacy of the parks. The World’s Most Magical Celebration should have been more about celebrating the history and impact of the parks and their beloved attractions.
Finally, KiteTails ended up being a surprise favorite for many guests. This fun show featured various large windcatchers and kites dancing in the sky while being pulled around by riders on jet skis. The kites included characters from Lion King, Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, and The Jungle Book and included music from the movies. While some found the show to be lackluster, others found joy in watching the giant kites come crashing down when their turn was up.