Everything Leaving Walt Disney World When Its 50th Anniversary Celebration Ends

Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary celebration is an 18-month-long event, titled "The World's Most Magical Celebration." It kicked off October 1, 2021 — the resort's official 50th anniversary date — and celebrates through March 31, 2023. After that, many of the exclusive offerings introduced for the celebration will begin to disappear, as if by magic.

Granted, it's not all leaving when the 50th festivities are over. A few permanent additions coincidentally debuted during the celebration's window and aren't going anywhere. These include the "Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind" roller coaster, the "Remy's Ratatouille Adventure" family ride, the upgraded "Fantasmic!" nighttime spectacular, and the new "Coco" scene in the "Mickey's PhilharMagic" 3D show.

One item whose fate remains up in the air at the time of this writing? "Mickey's Magical Friendship Faire," the stage show performed in front of Cinderella Castle. The production premiered in 2016 and received a 50th anniversary update in 2022 with new costumes and a new song. Since nothing in the new material specifically references the 50th anniversary, Disney could simply change the costumes back to their originals. As another option, perhaps the entire show will go back to its pre-2022 version altogether. That being said, seven years is a long run where castle shows are concerned, and it's possible a replacement is in the works and yet to be announced. So what is going away when The World's Most Magical Celebration is over? Let's find out.

Disney Enchantment

It came as a shock when "Happily Ever After," Magic Kingdom's former fireworks show, ended in 2021, just four years after its debut — its predecessor, "Wishes," lasted 14 years. Nonetheless, "Disney Enchantment" began lighting up the skies above Magic Kingdom when The World's Most Magical Celebration kicked off on October 1, 2021. With breathtaking pyrotechnics, dazzling projections, and narration from Angela Bassett, "Disney Enchantment" features music from classics like "Beauty and the Beast" and new favorites like "Frozen 2" — plus a new song, "You Are The Magic," performed by Philip Lawrence and Kayla Alvarez. For the first time, the park's projections go beyond just using Cinderella Castle as its canvas and extend to the buildings along Main Street, U.S.A.

There was just one thing missing from Magic Kingdom's 50th anniversary fireworks: anything having to do with Magic Kingdom's 50th anniversary. It was an impressive production, to be sure, but it lacked so much as a reference to the birthday whatsoever. That was rectified with a new introduction to the show that debuted in August 2022, which now prominently features new narrated material not only from Angela Bassett, but also from Mickey Mouse. The show also now features clips of Walt Disney talking about plans for his "Florida project" and audio from Roy Disney's 1971 dedication of the park.

"Disney Enchantment" will have its final performance on April 2, 2023. Beginning April 3, "Happily Ever After" will return, now including projections along Main Street as "Disney Enchantment" pioneered.


EPCOT's nighttime spectacular, "Harmonious" emphasizes the joy that exists among the people of the world. The show infuses a songbook of favorite Disney tunes, many of them performed in the native language appropriate to the song's setting. "Out There" from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," for example, is presented partially in French. Highlights include a vibrant medley from "Coco" during the Mexico segment and a thrilling mash-up of "How Far I'll Go" from "Moana" with "Go the Distance" from "Hercules" in the show's opening.

Disney initially implied that "Harmonious" would be a long-term addition to EPCOT, but the powers that be changed their minds. "Harmonious" will leave with the conclusion of the 50th anniversary, performing for the final time on April 2, 2023. The barges that Disney installed in the middle of the World Showcase lagoon will be removed, too. Beginning April 3, the park will welcome back "EPCOT Forever," a fireworks presentation paying tribute to the history of EPCOT. It was developed a few years ago as an interim show that performed between the 2019 closure of "IllumiNations" and the 2021 opening of "Harmonious." Later in 2023, a new show will premiere as part of Disney's "100 Years of Wonder" celebration, honoring the 100th anniversary of when Walt and Roy Disney founded the company.

If you won't make it to EPCOT in time to see "Harmonious," don't worry. Disney immortalized the show with a professional recording in the summer of 2022 featuring a live orchestra and vocal performers. Just search "Harmonious Live" on Disney+.

Commemorative merch

A huge part of the modern Disney experience is commemorative merchandise for special events or anniversaries. Pins, plush toys, mugs, shirts ... name a type of product, and it's likely that Disney sells a commemorative counterpart as part of The World's Most Magical Celebration. As the 50th fades away, the plentiful supply of anniversary merchandise currently lining the shelves throughout Walt Disney World will disappear.

If you thought Disney would simply let the 50th merch that's been available since October 2021 slowly become sparse without refilling anything in its place, think again. In January 2023, the resort rolled out a completely new line of anniversary items, dubbed the "Grand Finale" collection, which will be sold through the celebration's March 2023 conclusion. Among the new products is another Loungefly mini-backpack that guests are sure to love.

What will happen to anything that's left over after March 31? You might want to keep your eyes peeled if you visit Disney's Character Warehouse, an official Disney outlet store known for discounting items that don't sell in the theme parks. In the event of a 50th surplus, extra products will likely show up there. There are two locations: One on Vineland Avenue and another on International Drive, both in Orlando.

Beacons of Magic

When the sun goes down each night during The World's Most Magical Celebration, each of the four Walt Disney World parks' icons shimmers with special lighting effects dubbed "Beacons of Magic."

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom glows with projection mapping in the celebration's signature colors of blue, gold, and light purple. Spaceship Earth at EPCOT boasts newly installed lights in between the geodesic sphere's individual triangles, making for a truly awe-inspiring sight. The Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney's Hollywood Studios — the fictional establishment home to "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror" — adds creative projections that make it seem as if a lively party is taking place on the building's (fake!) top floor. Lastly, projected fireflies surround the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom with an ethereal aura.

Each of these brief moments is accompanied by an audio announcement thanking guests for being part of 50 years of theme park magic and playing a refrain from the celebration's theme song. While the 50th-focused moments will no longer happen nightly when the celebration concludes, we can expect Disney to continue to innovate its projection mapping technology.

Cinderella Castle will still utilize projections in its nightly fireworks show, and the Tree of Life will still host its usual "awakenings." Perhaps best of all, the lighting package installed on Spaceship Earth for the 50th anniversary is a permanent addition. Programmable to dance music and breathtaking in a way that photos simply do not do justice, Spaceship Earth's Beacon of Magic is a knock-out.

Fab 50 Character Statues

Disney placed 50 golden statues of favorite characters throughout all four Walt Disney World theme parks for the 50th anniversary. Built specifically for the celebration and with a golden "50" on each statue, these will likely be removed after March. What will become of them, or if there will be any way to see them again in the future, is anyone's guess.

Finding all 50 statues makes for a fun scavenger hunt. Some are well-hidden, like Abu from "Aladdin," who many guests probably don't even notice as they walk underneath him when entering Adventureland at Magic Kingdom. Other statues are more obvious, like Mickey and Minnie, who are prominently in front of the castle. And speaking of the big cheeses, as a touching tribute, the statues of the two head honchos are dedicated to Disney's employees, who they call Cast Members, past and present, who have been the heart of the Disney magic for five decades.

Disney also upgraded MagicBands — the optional wearable bracelet that can act as guests' park ticket and hotel room key, among other things — to interact with the Fab 50. As guests wearing the new MagicBand+ stand in front of any Fab 50 statue, they can wave to the character and receive a special audio greeting.

Cinderella Castle's celebration makeover

If you visited Walt Disney World in the mid-'90s when the resort celebrated its 25th anniversary, you might have family photos in front of the infamous "birthday cake castle." To mark the occasion, Disney painted Cinderella Castle bright pink and adorned its spires with inflatable candles and frosting, emulating a giant cake.

For the 50th, the castle's approach is decidedly more subtle, but nonetheless festive. The usual light-blue-and-white color scheme was replaced by shades of royal blue and light pink, more closely matching the version of the fairytale castle that appears in the studio logo played before most Disney films. Designers also fitted the castle's turrets with gold trimmings and placed a giant "50" medallion in front of the castle's centerpiece clock.

When the 50th anniversary reaches its end after March 31, 2023, the celebratory décor will be removed. However, it's still unclear if the pink-tinted paint scheme will go back to its usual blue-and-white look.

Anniversary coffee, treats, and food

A highlight to any visit to a Disney theme park is indulging in the signature food items, some of which can't be found anywhere else in the world. This exclusivity is heightened for an extensive sweep of anniversary-related eats that will no longer be offered when The World's Most Magical Celebration is over.

Some of the more creative items include a hamburger meant to look like Mr. Toad and Joffrey's 50th anniversary coffee blend with hints of blueberry to match the celebration's design branding. Disney released a full 50th anniversary foodie guide in fall 2021 at the celebration's beginning, which has only grown since then. There are also a number of menu choices at various restaurants labeled "Walt's favorite," indicating a top pick from the company's late founder.

It's possible that some items that aren't particularly anniversary-focused may stick around after March 31, but many of them are so 50th-centric — including the number "50" somewhere in the food presentation, like as a medallion on a blondie, for example — that they'll definitely leave.

Also saying farewell is the 50th anniversary dinner at California Grill, the upscale restaurant at the top of Disney's Contemporary Resort with views of Magic Kingdom fireworks. The 2021 menu paid tribute to the restaurant's 50-year history as part of Walt Disney World's legacy. As journalist Scott Gustin points out, in its place beginning April 1 will be a new menu "featuring contemporary, market-inspired cuisine."

Mickey and friends' EARidescent outfits

Like any Disney party, Mickey and the gang have been dressed to the nines for the duration of The World's Most Magical Celebration. Disney calls the pals' costumes "EARidescent," their light blue and purple colors seeming to almost shimmer. We can expect these to be discontinued when the celebration concludes.

Until then, you can see the whole crew in their 50th best all over Magic Kingdom. They wear the outfits during the park's daily opening ceremony, the stage show performed in front of the castle, and one of the cavalcades that makes its way through the park a few times each day. You can also grab a photo with Mickey Mouse himself in his 50th duds inside Town Square Theater on Main Street, U.S.A. It's likely that Mickey will once again meet in his magician outfit he wore at this location before the celebration commenced.

Not available to all guests but still including the EARidescent clothing is the character greeting inside the Imagination pavilion at EPCOT, where Mickey and friends meet in their anniversary outfits to Disney Visa cardholders. They'll probably revert back to their classic clothing here (you know, Mickey in yellow bow tie, Minnie in her red dots, etc.).

The theme song

The song "The Magic Is Calling" was written especially for The World's Most Magical Celebration and is currently played all throughout Walt Disney World in a wide variety of musical arrangements. Journi also recorded a pop version of the song that Disney released on music streaming platforms. The song declares, "The magic is calling us to the place where all of our dreams come true: the most magical place on earth" and invites listeners to "answer the call." Being so closely connected to the 50th festivities, the song is sure to be phased out.

As such, the productions in which it's featured prominently will need to be changed or removed altogether. "Mickey's Celebration Cavalcade," a mini-parade at Magic Kingdom, features "The Magic Is Calling" as its theme. The same is true for "Let the Magic Begin," the brief moment at the beginning of each day when Mickey and friends open Magic Kingdom to the tune of the song. These entertainment offerings can be expected to either revert back to their pre-celebration versions (which didn't feature the song), evolve into something new, or simply go away.

The other major attraction to feature "The Magic Is Calling" is the "Electrical Water Pageant," a nightly fiber-optics display in the lagoon outside Magic Kingdom and the surrounding resorts that debuted in the '70s. The show sports the 50th's song as part of an anniversary moment that will likely be removed from its programming as simply as it was added, the show returning to its standard lineup thereafter.

Disney KiteTails

One of the new shows Disney premiered as part of the 50th anniversary is already dead in the water, almost literally. "Disney KiteTails" debuted at Disney's Animal Kingdom when The World's Most Magical Celebration started in October 2021. Using the lagoon near "Expedition Everest" as its stage, "Disney KiteTails" featured jet skis pulling huge kites resembling favorite Disney animal characters, like Simba from "The Lion King" and King Louie from "The Jungle Book."

Unusual and at times bizarre — the kites unceremoniously, intentionally landed mere feet from guests' seats — KiteTails gained a reputation of blissfully chaotic energy. In summer 2022, Disney changed the format. Rather than a formal show with designated showtimes, "KiteTails" became a series of short moments that happened throughout the day, designed for guests to stumble upon and enjoy spontaneously rather than plan as something they wait for. While a valiant effort, it didn't last long. "KiteTails" officially ended in October 2022, not even making it until the end of the 50th before taking its final bow. 

"KiteTails" is a reminder of how much Walt Disney World has changed since it opened in 1971. While not everything Disney adds over the years will stick around forever, the ebb and flow of the resort's progress is an assuring sign that it isn't afraid of trying new things, and not content to rest on its laurels.