We were promised “Beacon of Magic” commercial banners and lighting for the event, but not much else. The song choice is “A Whole New World” by Aladdin, which is odd, considering not much new stuff is actually being announced for this event, other than a delayed Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, you know, a ride that has. opened at Disneyland Paris in 2014 and was slated to open at EPCOT in 2020. Disney has blocked, delayed and even halted construction of other attractions planned for the 50th anniversary, including TRON Lightcycle Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, but they don’t Also haven’t hit a deadline for opening races in Florida in many years, so we expected these to be a little late to the party anyway.
Before we start to blame the pandemic for this situation, let’s also remember that Universal Orlando Resort completed the VelociCoaster during the pandemic, a full-scale roller coaster attraction without animatronics. It’s not much different from what TRON or Guardians of the Galaxy are, except for being mostly indoors, in gravity buildings that were pretty much completed before a park in Orlando closed. in March 2020. Smaller regional theme parks have completed many of their rides that were also under construction at the time, many of which debuted with these attractions this summer.
Either way, broken promises of new attractions aren’t even why I’m writing this. I could easily forgive the delay in major additions if I was given something, something truly celebrating 50 years of Walt Disney World. As of yet, there is no museum look, no major merry-go-round restoration, no nostalgic laden advertising, and no press release that even mentions anything from the past.
What struck me about the ad, for a monumental 50th anniversary, is that it has no reference to the legendary history and legacy of the Vacation Kingdom of the World. There is no mention of Walt Disney and his last big dream, nor even a nostalgic look at vintage images of guests and characters in the parks. They took the time to put 16 “hidden” references in the ad, but none of them related to anything other than Disney movies. By the way, we’re not celebrating 50 years of the Disney movies on October 1.
Here’s a recent announcement from Disney Parks that actively captured your emotions and memories of the past in a thoughtful way:
The above isn’t even a birthday announcement, it was just for a short throwback from an old fashion show. Remember, Disneyland Resort usually shows an understanding of what people love about the place, and that goes back to their 50th anniversary.
Disneyland’s 50th anniversary celebration wasn’t littered with new attractions either, but it did embrace the park’s incredible history. A film starring Steve Martin to recap the five decades before, performed at the Main Street Opera House and accompanied by a thoughtful and well-curated historical exhibit. Classic attractions have also been restored and added new magics, such as Walt Disney Enchanted Tiki Room, The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and more. This formula has worked so well that Disneyland has replicated it time and time again, turning it into a massively successful diamond celebration in 2015 and decades of nostalgic products sold since 2005.
The commercials for Walt Disney World’s 25th anniversary also celebrated nostalgia, as did the original song “Remember the Magic”:
Smaller theme parks even do a better job than Disney World at capturing those feelings, while celebrating their milestones. Knott’s Berry Farm turns 100 this year, and to celebrate you’ll discover a new attraction that pays homage to a long-lost character, resurrected characters and encounters from the past, and photo ops for missing attractions. These are not very expensive things, they are just thoughtful and show a certain level of care.
What is so remarkable about a 50th anniversary is that guests who have visited during the 50 years are always with us and can come back to celebrate this special place. Walt Disney World has been visited by so many people over the decades, and it’s not just people who are active fans on social media. There are millions of people who have an emotional connection to the memories created in these parks and resorts, memories that predate the attention span of management currently in the business and their marketing strategy. Doing small, but thoughtful things, playing on our nostalgia means something to us, the most loyal and loving guests, and shows people that you care more than their money. A golden anniversary isn’t the time to think of your audience as numbers, it’s the time to embrace their feelings for your destinations and connect with them, showing you understand what they hold dear. on this subject.
With 126 days to go to October 1, 2021, I think I speak for everyone in saying that we are hopeful that something will materialize, something showing appreciation for the returning guests and the incredible feats that have been accomplished in 1971 and beyond.
We implore the Walt Disney Company to care about this anniversary before it is too late. There is no repeat at a 50th anniversary celebration.