Everything Happening at Disney World for the Start of the 50th Anniversary Celebration

The anticipation is almost over – Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration kicks off this week with the anniversary of the resort’s grand opening being on Friday, October 1st! With that, we have a week full of new things coming in and some old (or not so old) things leaving.

Each day this week, here’s what to look forward to:

Tuesday 9/28

Epcot Forever, the current nighttime spectacular at Epcot, will have its final showing. What was meant to have a much shorter run has ended up having a bit more time in the park due to the pandemic. It was certainly always meant to be a placeholder and the contents and quality shows that, but it’s a special show nonetheless that highlights the properties and attractions that have made and make Epcot such a unique park.

The final showing of Epcot Forever will be at 9 pm.

Wednesday 9/29

Happily Ever After will, sadly, have it final show at Magic Kingdom. It remains to be seen if this is truly a goodbye or more of a ‘see ya later’ but we know it will be at least 18 months (the length of the 50th anniversary celebration) before we might possibly see this wonderful show again. Catch Happily Ever After at 8:15 pm – but you’ll want to hold a spot much earlier if you’re going to watch!

As we say goodbye, we also say hello: Harmonious will have its first showing as the new Epcot nighttime spectacular at 9 pm. This new show celebrating the diverse world we live in through music will be able to be watched both live in park and via a Disney Parks livestream on their YouTube channel. Harmonious will continue showing each night after this, so this is essentially a “soft opening” and change from the advertised start date of 10/1.

Thursday 9/30

With Happily Ever After officially done, there will be no fireworks in Magic Kingdom for guests to watch in person on the 30th. But, the new show – Enchantment – will be live streamed after park close, once again on Disney Parks’ YouTube channel. Unlike Harmonious, this is not a soft opening for the show since guests cannot watch it in person tonight.

The Enchantment live stream will be at 10:15 pm.

Friday 10/1

Both Enchantment and Harmonious will begin nightly live shows in their respective parks. Additionally, Disney KiteTails – a new daytime show – will begin at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. Catch this show at the former Rivers of Light amphitheater by Expedition Everest and Finding Nemo: The Musical.

Beacons of Light projections will also begin on each of the park icons (Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror, and Tree of Life) bringing an iridescent glow to each one. These projections will begin at dusk each night and run on a loop until park close in each park.

Of course, the 1st is also the start of all 50th celebrations that not only exist on that day but for the next 18 months:

  • Electrical Water Pageant on Seven Seas Lagoon will feature a new 50th float
  • The Contemporary Resort has a new redesign in the lobby featuring work by Mary Blair, including ongoing work to re-theme the rooms to Incredibles
  • Steakhouse71 will open as a new restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Contemporary
  • A special vintage merch collection will be available at Disney Springs’ Co-op and Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom
  • Over 150 new food and drink items will be available for the celebration – too much to cover in this post, but stay tuned for reviews on these items!
  • Epcot’s renovation makes progress with the opening of the Space 220, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction, Creations shop, and more!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see my day at Magic Kingdom on October 1st and continued coverage of the entire celebration.


Thanks for reading! I'm an avid theme park fan, frequenting Disney World and Universal as an Orlando resident. I love sharing the latest news and tips to help you make the most of your next theme park vacation on a budget!