Hello! On a trip to WDW during the week of my 45th birthday, I learned something absolutely magical…I was actually born on Oct 1, 1971…the day WDW opened! Yes, WDW and I will be sharing our 50th birthday together on Oct 1, 2021!!! I would like to plan a trip with a large group of family and friends, most importantly my wife and two young girls who will be 8 and 9 in Oct 2021. Any suggestions on how I can make this shared celebration even more special? Looking forward to hearing your ideas as a WDW expert!
Thanks so much!
What a great day for a birthday. Disney is going to throw a huge celebration just for you and there will be about 150,000 of your closest friends there to join you (Dad included).
Disney World’s 50th Anniversary
As you said, Disney World’s 50th Anniversary will be October 1st, 2021. That will be one of the craziest days in the Magic Kingdom and all over Disney World.
For the last 5+ years Disney has been preparing for it with all the park expansion starting with Pandora: The World of Avatar, Disney Springs, Toy Story Land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, new hotels, the Disney Skyliner, and more to come. All just for your birthday.
How to Celebrate Your Birthday on October 1st, 2021
First, let me say, unless you are just dying to be there on your actual birthday (you mention in October but not October 1st), I would avoid that first week of October. It’s going to be HUGELY crowded. My guess is the Magic Kingdom will have Christmas Day type crowds (150,000 people) on October 1st, 2021, unlike 1971, when only 10,400 guests were in attendance.
But later in the month things will slow down, but the 50th Anniversary celebration will still be going on.
How to make your birthday special? I’d suggest you do all of the attractions that were open on October 1st, 1971, back to back. When Disney World opened there were 19 attractions available and most of then are still going. You can reenact what it was like (sorta) that first day.
The first day attractions still available are:
- Haunted Mansion
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Frontierland Shooting Gallery
- The Hall of Presidents
- Cinderella’s Royal Carousel
- it’s a small world
- Jungle Cruise
- Mad Tea Party
- Swiss Family Treehouse
- Tropical Serenade (The Enchanted Tiki Room)
- Gran Prix Raceway (Tomorrowland Speedway)
- Walt Disney World Railroad
Other first day attractions were:
- Snow Whites Scary Adventures
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
- Mike Fink Keelboats
- Mikey Mouse Revue
- Diamond Horseshoe Review
You could also stay in one of the original hotels. The Polynesian Village Resort and the Contemporary Resort also both opened on October 1st, 1971. You could stay in one of those hotels to celebrate. They are still some of the best hotels at Walt Disney World.
Eat at the Crystal Palace, Liberty Tree Tavern and/or Tomorrowland Terrace, which were open on that first day. Be sure to ride the monorail and take the ferry just to experience all that was available on that day. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use the $5 ticket book that would get you into the park on your birthday.
Dad’s Bottom Line
Darrin, I think the best way to celebrate your 50th birthday along with Walt Disney World on or around October 1, 2021 will be to as much as possible try to reenact that first day. Stay in a first day hotel, visit both of them. Ride all the attractions that were available that first day. Get a Dole Whip (although the location has changed) and be sure to experience the monorail and the ferry boat. I think that will give you a day to remember.
If you need some help with your plans, get in touch with our partners over at Destinations to Travel. They are experts in helping fill in all the details and making things go as smoothly as possible.