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Disney World celebrating 50th anniversary with ‘Beacons of Magic’

Walt Disney World Resort announced it will be marking its 50th anniversary with ‘The World’s Most Magical Celebration’ from October 1.

disney world anniversary celebration

Disney will celebrate at all four theme parks and beyond, with its teams creating new decorations and experiences, as well as a new word: ‘EARidescence’.

As part of the party, Spaceship Earth (Epcot), Cinderella Castle (Magic Kingdom), Tree of Life (Disney’s Animal Kingdom) and Hollywood Tower Hotel (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) will become ‘Beacons of Magic’.

These ‘Beacons of Magic’ will transform at night, with pixie dust on Cinderella Castle and magical fireflies covering the Tree of Life.

Hollywood Tower Hotel will evoke the golden age, while Spaceship Earth’s reflective panels will shine with lights resembling stars. This will become a permanent feature at Epcot.

50th anniversary begins on October 1

Imagineering’s Walt Disney World site portfolio executive Zach Riddley opened up about “the dazzling, permanent new programmable lighting system” on Instagram.

“Spaceship Earth is a unique structure recognized around the world,” said Riddley. “To honor this idea, our Imagineers have created custom lighting features that literally emerge from her unique architecture.

“These features will shine across Spaceship Earth’s silver panels and ‘connect’ with one another, resembling shimmering stars in a nighttime sky.” 

Riddley said Epcot’s “classic look” will be “maintained and accentuated through new colors and intensity in programmed expressions”.

Imagineer Zach Riddley details lights at Epcot

“We can’t wait to reveal more of the technical innovation and artistry going into this new experience and the team behind the scenes turning imagination into reality,” added Riddley.

The Walt Disney Co recently reported earnings for its first quarter, revealing a whopping $2.6bn hit for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Disneyland Resort has been closed since March 2020. Disney’s other parks and resorts have been closed temporarily or operating at significantly reduced capacity due to COVID-19.

The 50th anniversary event will run for 18 months, beginning on October 1, 2021.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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