Walt Disney World (FL)

WDW Celebrates 40 Years!

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This Saturday, October 1, marks the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World’s opening.  I know several of our readers will be heading to their favorite place to celebrate, so I thought I’d take this week’s post to highlight some of what Disney has planned for this special day.  Since the Magic Kingdom was the only park in 1971, the festivities will all take place there.  Expecting high crowds, the park hours were recently extended until midnight.  Here at TouringPlans.com we have taken this into account and listed Magic Kingdom as the park to avoid on our crowd calendar for that day for folks who do not wish to participate in the hoopla.

If you would like to take part in the celebration, I suggest arriving at the main gate early.  My friends and I will be there around 8am so we don’t miss a moment of all the morning fun.  I’m sure we will head straight for the Castle in hopes of getting a decent spot for the presentation to be made at 10am. The characters will start things off with a cavalcade running from the Main Street Train Station to Cinderella’s Castle at about 9:45am.  A sing-a-long has also been announced for this presentation, but who knows what that really means?  Perhaps several hundred Disney geeks singing “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” all together?  One can only hope!

Additionally, there will be several artists’ signings throughout the day.  Costa Alzvezos and Brent Reese will be on hand to sign their 40th anniversary “kooky pens” from 9-11am at the Diamond Horseshoe.  Later that day at the same venue, Greg McCullough and Noah will sign their art from 11:30am-1:30pm, as well as 4-5pm.   From 1-3pm. and 4-5pm Dave Avanzino, Jody Daily, and Kevin Kidney will greet guests at the Diamond Horseshoe.  Other signings will take place at Uptown Jewelers, including Jim Shore from 11am- 2pm.  From 12- 2pm and 4-5pm Robert Olszewski will sign his minitures at Uptown Jewelers.  And last, but not least, the watch designer Gene Gonda will be at Uptown Jewelers from 1-3pm.

Lines for merchandise are sure to be long, so you may want to take care of any shopping early.  Disney has been offering several items to celebrate the 40th anniversary for the last several months, but there will be some items available only available that day.  Listed venues for limited edition merchandise include: Mickey’s Gift Station, Island Supply, the Newsstand, Sir Mickey’s Uptown Jewelers, and the Diamond Horseshoe.  Likewise, there will be a special cupcake to enjoy at the Main Street Bakery for the day.

There may be other “surprises” throughout the day, but Disney has kept mum about them.  Fans may want to pay attention to Twitter to keep up with updates throughout the anniversary.  I intend to have some fun during the unscheduled day!  I’m sure we’ll hit some of the classic attractions like the Carousel of Progress, the Jungle Cruise, and the latest version of the Enchanted Tiki Room to pay homage to our favorite place.  We may also take a break so that we’ll still be going strong in the evening.  We won’t want to miss conclusion of the celebration with a special presentation of Wishes!  at 9pm.  There don’t seem to be many details on this show yet, but I’m sure it will be a lot of fun.  I’ll just be happy to see Walt projected on the castle during Magic, Memories, and You that night.

If all that wasn’t enough excitement for you, be sure to stop by the TouringPlans.com Food and Wine Meet the following day!  We’ll be gathering in Mexico to meet with readers and have a great time!  Please take a moment to log onto Plancast to RSVP for the event.  We’ll see you there!

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Kristen Helmstetter

Kristen Helmstetter is an Unofficial Guide researcher who will share her 20-something perspective of all things Walt Disney World with blog readers. Kristen’s email address is khelmstetter05@yahoo.com. You can also follow her on Twitter: @khelmstetter.

3 thoughts on “WDW Celebrates 40 Years!

  • Yes! And that merchandise is selling out fast so far! I got an e-mail from the Disney Store this morning about some special edition shirts that were only available until Sunday – and they had sold out of them within an hour of the e-mail going out!

  • Selling merchandise, that’s for sure!

  • Any idea if they will have anything special going on in the parks AFTER the 1st to celebrate the 40th Anniversary?


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