Home » The Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration Is Over! Did It Live Up To The Hype?

    The Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration Is Over! Did It Live Up To The Hype?

    guardians of the galaxy cosmic rewind

    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.

    New Attractions

    guardians of the galaxy cosmic rewind
    Image: Disney

    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.

    Moana Journey of Water
    Image: D23

    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.

    New Entertainment

    Image: Amanda Dwyer

    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 Enchantment, Disney
    Image: Disney

    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.

    Kite Tales
    Image: Disney

    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.

    New Restaurants and Experiences

    Round Up Rodeo
    Image: Disney

    During the 50th anniversary celebration, we saw the addition of several new dining locations across Walt Disney World. From Roundup Rodeo BBQ and Connections Café at EPCOT to Steakhouse 71 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, there have been a variety of different dining experiences added to the already diverse list of offerings. All these locations have been met with mostly positive reviews. In fact, I highly recommend a visit to La Creperie de Paris or Steakhouse 71 on your next visit to Walt Disney World.

    During the anniversary celebration, Walt Disney World also welcomed guests aboard the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. This immersive 2-night resort experience was met with mixed reviews even before it opened in March of 2022. The price tag attached to this interactive experience was much more than many guests could stomach.

    Additionally, to get a lot out of the experience, guests are required to put forth a decent amount of effort into interacting with the environment and characters around them. The experience isn’t necessarily good for those who are more introverted. So, although those who love Star Wars and enjoy dressing up and engaging would enjoy this experience, popularity for the simulated cruise has dwindled over the past year.

    Galactic Starcruiser
    Image: Disney

    MagicBand+ also launched during the World’s Most Magical Celebration. These new bands include upgraded features like lighting and sound effects. They are said to light up during certain nighttime shows and rides. Though, due to technical issues with the band, this isn’t always the case.

    They also made sounds and lit up while interacting with the Fab 50 statues scattered throughout the parks. This is a fun feature; however, you do have to get close to the statues and that can be difficult with other guests around. Finally, you can use the Play Disney Parks mobile app to accept and collect bounties while visiting Galaxy’s Edge.

    Did The World’s Most Magical Celebration Live Up to Its Hype?

    Castle Magic Kingdom, Disney
    Image: Disney

    Overall, of the new attractions, experiences, and offerings during the 50th-anniversary celebration, the restaurants and rides were great additions to Walt Disney World. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is arguably one of the best indoor roller coasters in the world, and many believe Steakhouse 71 has the best burger on Disney property. Plus, is it even possible to have too many dining options?

    Steakhouse 71
    Image: Disney

    However, some of the offerings lacked that special wow factor. From Enchantment to Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, these experiences have not lived up to guests’ expectations. A few attractions that we thought were going to be opening during the 50th-anniversary celebration also got delayed due to the pandemic. While this is understandable, it doesn’t eliminate all the disappointment.

    What do you think? Did The World’s Most Magical Celebration live up to your expectations? Are you excited about what is to come with Disney’s 100 Years of Wonder celebration? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.