This week’s Blog we’re celebrating 50 Years of Disney Magic with 50 Disney World Facts plus a full list of 50th celebration activities! We hope you enjoy this trip right down the middle of Main Street USA with us (you know you sang it?)
There’s something downright magical when you approach the gates and enter Magic Kingdom. I’ll never forget the first time going back as an adult, passing under the Train Station onto Main Street USA. Choosing your path around or through the center island until you see the castle straight ahead. it was so exciting and breathtaking.
Watching our children’s faces as we entered and they saw the castle for the first time was amazing! Their eyes lit up with excitement and magic. Join us as we take a journey down memory lane and celebrate Magic Kingdom.
50 years, 50 Facts
We had a lot of fun researching facts about Disney World, especially The Magic Kingdom. We hope you enjoy them:
- Disney World opened October 1, 1971 with the Launch of The Magic Kingdom
- Construction began on Magic Kingdom in 1967, after the death of Walt Disney in December of 1966.
- Walt Disney World is a tribute to Walt’s philosophy and life, as well as the talents of the entire Disney Organization.
- “Magic Kingdom” was often used as the unofficial nickname for Disneyland before Disney World was built.
- Magic Kingdom was officially known as “Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom” until 1994 when the name was changed.
- Magic Kingdom is built over a tunnel system called Utilidors, which cast members still use today.
- The Utilidors could not be put underground due to Florida’s high water table, making the park the second story.
- Dirt from the Seven Seas Lagoon was used to fill in the areas around the Utilidors.
- Initially, the plan was to extend the Utilidors to all parks but was abandoned due to financial constraints, however Future World in Epcot and former Pleasure Island section of Disney Springs have smaller Utilidor Systems underneath them.
- Main Street USA represents the Parks “Opening Credits”, the Train Station being the “Opening Curtain”.
- Main Street USA was designed to represent stylistic features across the US, most noticeable at the Four Corners in the middle of Main Street, each building having a different architectural style.
- Businesses on Main Street USA are fictional but, the windows feature names of key Disney personnel that helped bring Disney World to life.
- Mayor of Main Street, Christopher George Weaver, greeted people for 26 years.
- You can get your haircut at the Main Street Barber Shop (we did our son’s first haircut there!)
- At the Center of the Park and end of Main Street USA is Cinderella’s Castle which stands 189 ft tall.
- The moat surrounding the Castle is 6ft deep at the bridge.
- A set trick known as forced perspective makes the castle appear larger than it is.
- Magic Kingdom is designed like a wheel, with the hub in front of Cinderella’s Castle.
- Magic Kingdom opened with 23 Attractions, 3 Unique and 20 replicas of those in Disneyland.
- Magic Kingdom is split into 6 Lands – Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland and Liberty Square (exclusive to WDW). There are now two sub-lands called Storybook Circus, (Formerly Mickey’s Toontown Fair), and Enchanted Forest within Fantasyland .
- Adventureland represents the mystery of exploring foreign lands, themed to resemble African & Asian Jungles.
- Frontierland takes you to a trip to the Wild West.
- Liberty Square is inspired by a colonial American town set during the American Revolutionary War.
- Fantasyland is themed in a medieval-faire/carnival style and is dedicated to the young at heart.
- Tomorrowland is set in an intergalactic city, a concept of the future as seen from around the 1950s.
- Disney World Railroad circles the entire 1.5m perimeter of the park with 3 stations, starting at Main Street USA with stops in Frontierland & Fantasyland.
- Walt Disney was an avid Train enthusiast and wanted to share his passion with park goers.
- Veteran Imagineer Blaine Gibson sculpted both tribute statues, “The Partners” featuring Walt & Mickey and “Sharing The Magic” featuring Roy & Minnie.
- The Contemporary Resort & Polynesian Village Resort opened concurrently with The Magic Kingdom.
- Epcot Center opened October 1, 1982
- Epcot is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement and is considered a permanent World’s Fair.
- Epcot was originally conceived by Walt Disney as an experimental community that would serve as a center for American enterprise and urban living.
- The park was originally Name Epcot Center and dropped to Epcot in 1994.
- Represented by a geodesic sphere, Spaceship Earth is derived from the Class 2 geodesic polyhedron with frequency of division equal to 8. Each face of the polyhedron is divided into three isosceles triangles to form each point.
- For the opening day of Epcot, water was gathered from major rivers across the globe and emptied into the park’s fountain of nations ceremonial containers to mark the opening.
- Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios) opened May 1, 1989.
- On opening day only two attractions were operating, The Great Movie Ride and Studio Backlot Tour, both of which no longer exist in the park.
- The Great Movie Ride was replaced by Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railroad which opened March 4, 2020.
- Spanning 135 acres, Hollywood Studios is dedicated to imagined worlds of film, TV, music & theater, drawing inspiration from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
- Hollywood Studios was initially developed as both a theme park and an operating production studio with a functioning backlot.
- Today, Hollywood Studios has transitioned to immersive theming and attraction development inspired by Hollywood stories.
- The original park icon the Earffel Tower was replaced in 2001 by Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat.
- Hollywood Studios Expanded in 1994 with the addition of Sunset Boulevard and Tower of Terror.
- Seven themed areas can be found in Hollywood Studios, the newest being Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land.
- Animal Kingdom opened April 22, 1998 (Earth Day)
- Animal Kingdom was the brainchild of Imagineer Joe Rohde, who also designed Adventurer’s Club & Pleasure Island.
- Animal Kingdom is dedicated to natural environments and animal conservation.
- Animal Kingdom features plant life from 37 different countries!
- Animal Kingdom expansion began in 2014 with development of Pandora – The World of Avatar which opened in May 2017.
- Since it’s opening, Disney World has closed for 7 Hurricanes.
Disney World 50th Celebration!
Phew! That was a lot of facts! Now it’s time to celebrate with a full list of activities to do at Disney World for the 50th Celebration!
The 50th Celebration starts on Oct 1, 2021 and lasts for 18 months! The World’s Most Magical Celebration is sure to be spectacular with new rides, fireworks and entertainment.
There’s lots of time to plan a trip and experience 50 Years of Disney Magic! When you’re ready to plan your trip start with our customizable planner and free budget template.
- Disney Fab 50 Statues – A Collection of 50 Golden Statues that can be found across all 4 Theme Parks. For a full list of statues and where to find them head to our Facebook Community.
- Beacons of Magic – Theme Park Icons transformed! All will transform to the 50th Anthem “The Magic is Calling”
- 50th Anniversary Celebration Merchandise – available in all Theme Parks and Disney Springs!
- Character Earidescence Costume Updates.
- Heart of the Celebration – Cast Members await to make unforgettable memories.
- New Books launching with the Celebration – (1) A Portrait of Walt Disney World: 50 Years of The Most Magical Place on Earth, (2) Delicious Disney, (3) Birnbaum official guidebooks.
- Celebration Sips & Bites Guide – New sips & bites throughout all 4 parks, Resorts and Disney Springs.
- Click Here for more information on Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration.
- Disney Enchantment – A new nighttime Fireworks Spectacular .
- Cinderella’s Castle Overlay – a beautiful update to the existing castle to commemorate the 50th Anniversary.
- Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade – Multiple times daily, featuring Fab 6 and Chip ‘n’ Dale in new costumes.
- Royal Princess Processional – See your favorite Princesses go by on floats or in vehicles.
- TRON Lightcycle Run – New Attraction coming 2022
- Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Party – Ticketed Dessert Event
- Celebration at the Top: 50th Flavors & Fireworks at Disney’s Contemporary Resort (Located at California Grill)
- Resort Area – Steakhouse 71, a casual dining experience at The Contemporary Resort.
- Click here for full list of Magic Kingdom 50th Anniversary Events & Info.
- Harmonious – A New Nighttime Fireworks Spectacular bringing music & stories together
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – Shrink down to mouse size for this 4d culinary adventure in the France Pavilion
- New Neighborhoods – World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery.
- Space 2020 Restaurant just opened it’s doors! Take a trip to Space while you dine.
- La Creperie de Paris – new casual dining in Paris, World Showcase.
- Spice Road Table Fireworks Dining Package – Dine & Watch Harmonious
- Rose & Crown Fireworks Dining Package – Dine & Watch Harmonious
- Walt Disney Imagineering Presents the Epcot Experience – Interactive & Immersive Storytelling Exhibit.
- Guardian’s of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – New Attraction coming 2022.
- Click Here for full list of Epcot 50th Anniversary Events & Info.
- Click Here for full list of Hollywood Studios 50th Anniversary Events & Info.
- Disney KiteTails – Favorite characters take to the sky as kites, located in the Asia park section
- Click Here for full list of Animal Kingdom 50th Anniversary Events & Info.
- Drawn To Life – a Cirque du Soleil Experience, opens November 18, 2021.
- The Vault Collection – Retro-Themed 50th Anniversary items at Market Co-Op.
- Celebratory Sweets – collection of 50th Anniversary Desserts at Disney Springs.
- Click Here for full list of Disney Springs 50th Anniversary Events & Info.
Sip & Bites Guide
- For a comprehensive list of Sips & Bites by Park head to our Facebook Community.
- Check MDE Mobile App for Menu Listings.
Look for updates to this blog post as more information becomes available.
“May Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place … a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn together.” – Roy Disney, Oct 25, 1967