October 1, 2021 was supposed to be the big day. I had been advertised well over two years before. The 50th Anniversary of Magic Kingdom. There were supposed to be huge celebrations of the 50 years of Magic Kingdom and Disney World in Florida. It was supposed to be an eighteen month celebration of the Mouse. There was parties, merchandise and special events that were to bring in huge crowds. But then March, 2020 came and everything came crashing down… COVID-19.
The world-wide pandemic caused not only the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Magic Kingdom be in jeopardy, but it also disrupted the lives and businesses of everyone else in the world.
As precautions were developed and the world was starting to somewhat open up again, Disney re-opened Disney World in Orlando at a limited capacity in June, 2020. Due to this, Disney also suspended quite a few entertainment options which further put the anniversary celebration in doubt. No longer would any of the Florida parks offer fireworks, parades, Extra Magic Hours, FastPass+, Character Meet and Greets and much, much more.
As the months went on, Disney World started to increase the capacity of the parks, but introduced a Park Reservation System. This meant that you had to book a reservation ahead of time to be admitted into each park.
Disney’s crown jewel of the celebration was to be a new roller coaster in Magic Kingdom. It was originally supposed to be open for the start of the eighteen month long party. Tron was supposed to draw in the crowds, but due to the pandemic and the ensuing global shortage, the project had to be postponed. As of the date of this post, the ride still has not been completed, but is still projected to open in the Spring of 2023.
As of the time of this post, we are almost halfway through the eighteen month long celebration. The only indications that it is still going on is the change of the color of Cinderella Castle and some ridiculously expensive merchandise of the same color with the 50 logo on it. Some character meet and greets have returned, but not all. FastPass+ was discontinued and replaced with the pay-to-ride Genie+. Disney World has also introduced several large price increases on all food and beverages throughout the parks.
In the parks today, it is an afterthought. There are no special events for the 50th Celebration scheduled, nothing for the guests that are now paying more and getting less. I would have to say that as of the time of this post, yes, it is a huge flop.
We are hoping that this changes. There is still nine months left of the 50th Anniversary Celebration and hopefully the leadership of both Disney World and Magic Kingdom changes. Our hope is that the Corporate Greed that has taken over the leadership of the Disney Parks Division starts to change and bring back Magic Kingdom to what was Walt Disney’s dream.