October 1 will be the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World. It will be a double anniversary. The Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971, and EPCOT opened on October 1, 1982. We have already learned little bits and pieces of what will be known as the World’s Most Magical Celebration, but of course there will be more.
We were able to speak with someone with inside information, on the promise of anonymity. We met him at the Magic Kingdom. He asked to be called “Roy”, as in Roy Disney. Roy told us that he has been a Cast Member somewhere between six months and thirty years. He assured us that he is high up in the Imagineering Department, although after our conversation we did seeing him wearing all white and carrying a dustpan and broom. Roy explained that by telling us that he was undercover. He also said that it doesn’t matter what department he works in, Cast Members know everything. Here is what we learned from Roy.
There are going to be special Character Cavalcades at the Magic Kingdom during the year+ long celebration. The current cavalcades are being placed on hold, so no more Mickey and pals or princesses. Instead, we will be treated to what could be called the Lesser Knowns Cavalcades (it’s a working title). There will be a “Monsters, Inc.” Cavalcade that features Boo’s parents, and explores why they never looked for her when she was gone for at least one night. Snow White might be gone, but her story will still be included. A new float will feature the nephew of the Huntsman (or the Woodcutter, if you’re a fan of “Once Upon a Time”). He’ll be riding on Tinkerbell’s float, since they already know that that one works most of the time. The final Lesser Knowns will feature the characters portrayed by the late Stan Lee in all of the Marvel movies. The licensing agreement for that is in the works, and Disney is looking to hire 120 Stan Lee lookalikes; auditions begin tomorrow. If the licensing does not work out for that, there is a backup plan. There could instead be a cavalcade that features several of John Ratzenberger’s Pixar characters. There are plenty to choose from, and Disney owns the rights to those on both sides of the Mississippi.
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It was previously released that the park icons will receive special lighting for the World’s Most Magical Celebration. Roy has given us a few more details. The lights on Cinderella Castle will be orange, purple, and black, since that will also work for Halloween later in the month. At EPCOT, Spaceship Earth will be covered with shades of gray, in honor of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. You might see an occasional whisker as well. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, The Hollywood Tower Hotel will switch back to the Hollywood Toy Hotel, to prepare early for the holiday season. Roy said that nothing special is planned at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on The Tree of Life, because the park will close each day before it gets dark. A security guard will be near stationed The Tree of Life with a flashlight, just in case there are a few stragglers.
Many guests have said that Disney needs to set off fireworks for the Golden Anniversary. According to Roy, the higher ups at Walt Disney World agree. For one night only, Disney will set off fireworks. They will take place on October 1 because of the anniversary. In order to prevent a crowd from gathering, the time will not be announced. They will also not be at the Magic Kingdom. Instead, the show will take place at an undisclosed location. Roy said that he is pretty sure that it will be somewhere in Nebraska.
Unfortunately, several popular attractions are going to close for refurbishment on September 30, 2021, so they will not be open on the anniversary date. Do not plan to ride or visit Country Bears Jamboree, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Enchanted Tiki Room, The Haunted Mansion, “it’s a small world”, Jungle Cruise, Mad Tea Party, Main Street Vehicles, Peter Pan’s Flight, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, Swiss Family Tree House, or Tomorrowland Speedway. This is in addition to the attractions that are already closed for refurbishment.
While Disney loves the makeover that Cinderella Castle recently received there have been many complaints from fans. Disney plans to revert to the old look, but it will not be done in time for the 50th anniversary. Walls will soon be going up, but the park won’t be without an icon. Disney plans to temporarily bring back the Sorcerer Hat that was removed from Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2015. When we mentioned to Roy that this contradicted what he said about the lights on Cinderella Castle, he bought us a Mickey Pretzel. We forgot to ask again.
Speaking of complaints, Roy told us that Disney has received a lot of complaints about the buses to and from the resorts over the past few weeks. He said that Disney wants to assure everyone that the company does listen to guests. Starting on October 1, all buses will be canceled. That will ensure that guests no longer need to wait for half an hour or more for a bus. Guests who do not have a car will be given a map with the estimated time for walking. Problem solved.
Food is always an important part of a celebration, especially at Walt Disney World. Roy tells us that Disney has a real treat in store! Since Walt Disney was from Marceline, Missouri, a delicacy will be served. Guest will be able to try a wide variety of Chocolate Covered Ants, which is the Official National Food of Mississippi. There will be several varieties; milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and mixed. You can enjoy your Chocolate Covered Ants on their own, or as part of a sundae that will be served at Sleepy Hollow. That will have colored sprinkles, which will be about the same size as the ants. Chocolate sprinkles can be added at an extra charge, although they will look suspiciously like leftover ants without the chocolate.
Since guests want to be part of the celebration, Disney has a special way that you can do just that; but you will need to stay on property. According to Roy, Disney will have a designated “scrap spot” at each resort. You’ll be asked to leave any scraps or even crumbs in this spot instead of throwing them in the trash. Disney needs to get the ants for the new treats somewhere!
When we ran into Roy a few days after our talk, he told us that he had a confession to make. He said that he wasn’t really an Imagineer, or even a Cast Member at all. He said that he just liked to wear white and carry a broom. He then had one more thing to say, and that was “April Fools!”