Monday, October 1, 2018

47 Years Ago Today A Magical Place Was Born: A Pictorial History

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On October 1, 1971 Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom opened to the world.  

LIFE magazine had an image on the cover of their magazine showing almost every cast member (employee) that worked there at the time.  It was the beginning of something that built on the success and ideas of Disneyland which opened 16 years earlier when Walt himself declared, "To all who come to this happy place, Welcome!"

Today, in 2018 the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World turns 47 years old.

And, I thought it appropriate to take a walk down memory lane withe the pictures of the anniversaries and events that the park experienced through the years and a sneek peak at the big 50th coming up in 2021-2022.

Let's begin...

1972:  1st Anniversary

1981: 10th Anniversary, otherwise known as the "Tencennial"


1986: 15th Anniversary, also the first celebration that included the recently opened EPCOT Center at WDW.  You can see this in the celebration logo used.

1991: 20th Anniversary, also the first celebration that included the Disney-MGM Studio Park which would later be renamed Disney's Hollywood Studios.

1996: 25th Anniversary

This would also be the first time that the entire Cinderella Castle Would be covered in balloons designed to look like a giant birthday cake with 25 candles.  It was controversial.  Some folks felt it took away from the grandeur of the castle while others that it was whimsical and fun.  I'm one who that it was an ingenious idea and looked like an engineering marvel.

1999-2000:  Millennium Celebration.  Although not an anniversary year; Disney had a massive celebration all over the resort which now included Disney's Animal Kingdom for the turn of the century/millennium.  The decorations included a giant "2000" sign hovering above Spaceship Earth in Epcot.

Although this light pole banner is now in storage you can see the banner used the 'Mickey' three circle head symbol as the three 0s in 2000.

2001: 30th Anniversary, CANCELLED.  Due to the events of 9/11 the tourist industry began to falter and no one in the nation felt like celebrating so the entire 30th Anniversary celebration was cancelled and there were no decorations or mention of the anniversary.

2011:  40th Anniversary

2016: 45th Anniversary

Today:  47th Anniversary.  There will be a special ceremony and merchandise sold in the park today but otherwise that will be the only mention of the anniversary.

Looking to the future...

2021:  50th Anniversary.  This will be a massive celebration, as it should be to mark half a century.  Already each of the four theme parks, two water parks and the Disney Springs shopping park are all getting upgrades that will be done by the summer of '21 for the anniversary.

I hope you enjoyed our little journey through Disney time to discover how the park has celebrated it's history and maybe, just maybe I've caused you to think about going in 2021 for the 50th.  But don't worry, the 50th is going to be such a big deal that the celebration will go from fall 2021 through all of 2022.

Until then, "Have a Disney Day!"

Special Note:  It does take time, effort and some funding to produce my blog which I thoroughly enjoy.  However, if you are able to help me keep it going by making a very small donation it would be appreciated.  The donation button is located at the top of the page and in other locations.  Thank you so much for all of your dedicated support.

Bryan W. Rupp