How to Plan Your Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Vacation

Disney is currently preparing for the World’s Most Magical Celebration, the festivities in honor of the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort, which opened on October 1, 1971. And as Disney World is gearing up to celebrate, so, too, are Disney fans all around the world.

But if you are planning a trip to Disney World this October for the 50th anniversary, how should you prepare? Here’s what you should know, read, pack, and plan for your October 2021 visit to Disney World.

disney world
Credit: Disney

What to Know

If you are heading to Disney World this October for the 50th anniversary, and this is your first time back at the parks in a while — or your first Disney World visit ever  — there are a few things you should know.

Firstly, in order to enter the Walt Disney World theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios), you need both a valid theme park admission (in the form of a park ticket or Annual Pass) and a Disney Park Pass reservation. Hopeful Guests have been booking their October 2021 Disney Park Pass reservations for the past several months, and they have continued to fill up. Be sure to check theme park availability on the calendar here before booking your trip since you cannot enter the parks without a reservation.

park pass
Screenshot via My Disney Experience app

Secondly, there are several changes that have been implemented at Disney World since the theme parks and resorts reopened in summer 2020, and the phased reopening has continued for the past year. It is expected that more offerings will return to Disney World by this October, but we continue to await news from Disney. The latest operational updates are online here.

magic kingdom
Credit: Inside the Magic

When the 50th anniversary begins on October 1, there will be two special events happening at Walt Disney World Resort: the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival and Disney After Hours Boo Bash at Magic Kingdom. This means that if you are planning to be in Disney World this October, you can experience some pretty awesome events, too. Note that you can experience the Food & Wine Festival with a regular theme park ticket to EPCOT, whereas Boo Bash is a separately ticketed event.

boo bash feature
Credit: Disney

Additionally, keep in mind that although the World’s Most Magical Celebration will last for 18 months, it officially begins on October 1, 2021. October 1 is also the date of the grand opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT. If you want to keep track of all the major dates for Disney Parks in 2021, click here for our full guide to important Disney dates.

What to Read

Want to read up before you visit for the kickoff of the Disney World 50th anniversary this summer? We have some recommendations!

disney world 50th
All Images Credit Disney

Our complete guide to the Disney World 50th anniversary celebration goes over everything you need to know if you are booking a trip. In this guide, we share important dates, details, and official Disney information so you can feel prepared for your visit. October 1 will be here before you know it, so if you are heading to Florida soon, click here for our full guide to Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. 

buying disney's world by aaron h goldberg
Credit: Aaron H. Goldberg

If you are interested in learning more about Disney World history before your trip, we highly recommend reading Buying Disney’s World: The Story of How Florida Swampland Became Walt Disney World, the latest book by Disney fan and author Aaron H. Goldberg. This book goes over the history of how Disney bought up all the land in Florida that eventually became the Vacation Kingdom. The 50th anniversary is such a huge milestone, so dig into some Disney World history with this book, found here.

Want more reading material before your trip? Find more Disney book recommendations in this guide!

Where to Stay

pop century
Credit: Disney

To take advantage of all of the benefits of a Disney World vacation, we advise you to stay on property. You truly can’t go wrong with any Disney Resort hotel, and there are so many to choose from! Our favorites are often Disney’s Pop Century Resort (a Value Resort hotel), Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (a Moderate Resort hotel), and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. For more information on why you should stay in a Disney World hotel, read our guide here. If you want to save money, find the cheapest Disney Resorts here.

Throughout the year, Disney will release new deals to help Guests save money if they are staying on property. We’ll continue to update our website as more money-saving offers are announced!

magical express
Credit: Disney

Also, note that Disney’s Magical Express is officially ending in 2022. There are plenty of fans who are booking 2021 vacations so they can experience Disney’s Magical Express before the complimentary airport shuttle service ends. If you want to see what all the hype is about and experience the Disney World shuttle for yourself, be sure to stay on Disney World property in 2021.

How to Plan

Of course, as you are planning your trip, it’s important to stay informed. As always, you should read the latest information on the official Disney World website, and you can stay up-to-date on the news by following Inside the Magic. We continue to provide resources to make sure you know everything you need to know before visiting the Most Magical Place on Earth for the 50th anniversary.

mickey and minnie walt disney world 50th
Credit: Disney

Our friends at Academy Travel are the Authorized Disney Vacation Planners we recommend most. They can plan your entire Disney trip at no extra cost to you — that means you will have a Disney expert on your side who can get you the best deal possible, and you don’t have to plan a thing! If you want to take advantage of their planning expertise, you can book your trip here.

Are you heading to Disney World this October when the parks kick off the 50th anniversary? Let us know if we’ll see you there!

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