This week at Walt Disney World, a new character meet and greet debuts at Disney Springs, annual passholders get a number of new perks and discounts, plus the Magic Kingdom celebrates Walt Disney World's 45th anniversary!

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida sets the date for the longest Mardi Gras celebration ever, SeaWorld Orlando details a number of exciting new additions for 2017, plus Busch Gardens Tampa announces the arrival of an adorable new resident!

1. The Magic Kingdom celebrates Walt Disney World's 45th Anniversary

Walt Disney World celebrated its 45th operating year on Saturday, October 1, commemorating the occasion with a special appearance by Walt Disney World president George Kalogridis (who teased some "big announcements" happening between now and 2021, but declined to give specifics), as well as some special treats and merchandise which were available around the resort. Guests who attended the event also got a free special commemorative map and button upon entry at the Magic Kingdom. 

In addition, there were also some special 45th anniversary decorations around the park, including a banner on the Cinderella Castle that didn't quite unfurl on queue, but was later fixed (as you can see below):

Though the 45th anniversary of Walt Disney World was a pretty low-key affair overall, in his remarks George Kalogridis did say that there were some big things planned for the resort's Golden (50th) Anniversary in 2021. So, now we just have to wait five more years...  

2. Disney Springs introduces a new character experience

In addition to being the 45th anniversary of Walt Disney World, October 1 also brought a limited-time character experience to Disney Springs as well. Known as the Princess Royal Reception, this new experience is currently scheduled through November 1, and allows guests to meet, take photos with and even get an autograph from a single princess in a special closed-off area of the World of Disney (where the Bibbidi Boppidy Boutique used to be). Interestingly, we learned during a visit on this new attraction's opening day that not only will the princess lineup change regularly, but sometimes princesses will switch out more than once a day (during our visit in the early afternoon, we met with Aurora, but we heard that other guests later in the day met with Cinderella in the same location). 

As we mentioned previously, guests who want to meet a surprise princess at Disney Springs will be given a special pager that will buzz to let them know when it is time to go meet their princess directly. After our pager buzzed, we only waited about 5 minutes before we were meeting with Aurora. 

Though this experience is currently scheduled to end at the close of the month, if it proves popular (and gets guests to stay longer at the World of Disney store) we can definitely see it being extended. 

3.The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History now playing in Liberty Square

Image: Disney

Just one day after the 45th anniversary of Walt Disney World, The Muppets arrived at the Magic Kingdom for the opening of their new live show, The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History. This new show is hosted by human character James “J.J.” Jefferson, town crier of Liberty Square, as well as Sam Eagle, and features familiar characters like Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and The Great Gonzo recounting famous historical tales, including the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the midnight ride of Paul Revere. The show takes place several times daily right outside the Hall of Presidents, and features interactive elements as well as an original song. You can lean more about The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History here


Add new comment

About Theme Park Tourist

Theme Park Tourist is one of the web’s leading sources of essential information and entertaining articles about theme parks in Orlando and beyond.

We are one of the world’s largest theme park guide sites, hosting detailed guides to more than 80 theme parks around the globe.

Find Out More About Us...

Plan Your Trip

Our theme park guides contain reviews and ratings of rides, restaurants and hotels at more than 80 theme parks worldwide.

You can even print them.

Start Planning Now...