Orlando International Airport Will Celebrate Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary With Art Installation and Photo-Op

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wdwnt.com 22 July, 2021 - 08:14am

What is Disney happily ever after?

Happily Ever After is a fireworks and projection mapping show which debuted at the Magic Kingdom on May 12, 2017. Unlike its predecessor, Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams, the show includes projection mapping across Cinderella Castle, lasers, and searchlights, in addition to pyrotechnics. wikipedia.orgHappily Ever After (Magic Kingdom)

Disney Archives at Graceland

WREG News Channel 3 22 July, 2021 - 12:02pm

BREAKING: Happily Ever After and EPCOT Forever Will Both Be Permanently Retired Before Walt Disney World's 50th

wdwnt.com 22 July, 2021 - 12:02pm

Harmonious and Disney Enchantment will replace the aforementioned shows, and both debut on October 1st, 2021 at the start of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” to mark the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.

Happily Ever After debuted on May 12, 2017, just over 4 years ago. To say it is beloved is an understatement, so we expect many fans to voice displeasure over this. However, it is worth noting, that unlike an attraction closing, retired nighttime shows have been known to return after prolonged periods of absence.

That’s a bit disappointing. My wife and I had the opportunity to go this past June, me for the first time, and neither of these shows were up and running again yet. So I’ll never get a chance to see Happily Ever After live.

That said, I do hope people will give the new shows a chance, both look promising.

I think they know the importance of getting them right for the 50th and this announcement is a sign that they’re confident in them. I take it as a good thing that they are, IMO.

Disney World at 50: Before Epcot, other wine fest took place

Orlando Sentinel 22 July, 2021 - 12:02pm

Before there was the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival — heck, before there was even Epcot — there was the Walt Disney World Village Wine Festival.

For this week’s Disney World at 50 feature, which publishes Wednesdays on OrlandoSentinel.com, we look at the roots of wine celebrations at the resort.

The wine festival started as a modest, two-day event in a ballroom at the Lake Buena Vista Conference Center in January 1982, about eight months before Epcot’s grand opening. Sentinel reporter Davin Light noted that some folks wore jeans and others work minks, and that cowboys mingled with corporate presidents at the first one.

“There were tables all around the room, and every table was a different winery,” remembers Heather McPherson, former food editor at the Sentinel. “There was a winemaker, an actual winemaker there or somebody with the family.”

Disney was tapping into the growing interest in wine.

“No one had done it on that scale. … It’s nothing like it is today. But for Disney doing it on that scale was remarkable,” McPherson says. “Locals came. And then people started coming in from farther away.”

Its emphasis, as its name indicates, was on wine. The first event touted 80 California wines from 40 wineries. There was a flat entrance fee that granted unlimited tastings.

“My, how far the food has come,” says McPherson, now media and manager for Millennium Management Group, which owns several restaurants at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista and Downtown Disney District in California. She remembers tables with “mounds of cubed cheese and bread.”

She also recalls paying $18 for admission.

“Wild and crazy kids that we were, we would spend $36 and do a white wine day and a red wine day,” she says.

The event expanded with more days, extra-ticket seminars and celebrities. A noted wine in 1987 was Smothers Brothers’ Mom’s Favorite White. (Dick Smothers went scuba diving in Epcot’s Living Seas exhibit, the Sentinel reported.) Chef Paul Prudhomme made an appearance in 1994.

In the early ’90s, the event started moving, eventually stopping at Fort Wilderness, the Contemporary and Yacht and Beach Club. Somewhere in there, the “Village” was dropped from the name, producing the Walt Disney World Wine Festival. The cover charge topped the $40 mark.

And then it was gone. In April 1996, a reader wrote the Sentinel and asked “Whatever happened to the Walt Disney World Wine and Food Festival?”

Enter the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival that fall, signaling the end of the original wine event.

“For $1 to $2, guests can sample everything from escargot or baked Brie in France to vegetable sushi and cold soba noodles in Japan or couscous with chicken kebab in Morocco,” Sentinel reporter Linda Shrieves wrote in advance of the new event.

Another change: Epcot admission was required to attend the festival. A one-day Disney World theme park ticket in 1996? That sold for $38.50.

Report From Citricos Re-Themed Re-Opening at The Grand Floridian

Attractions Magazine 22 July, 2021 - 12:02pm

Order “Disney World at 50,” our new book on the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World

Orlando Sentinel 21 July, 2021 - 09:30am

The Orlando Sentinel has produced a new book called, “Disney World at 50: The Stories of How Walt’s Kingdom Became Magical in Orlando.” The full-color, hardcover book chronicles the announcement, planning and construction of the world’s most popular theme park using archival photos and stories from the Sentinel.

The book’s stories span the early days of Walt’s “Florida Project” to the Magic Kingdom’s spectacular grand opening in 1971 to what’s going on around Walt Disney World today.

It’s a great keepsake for anyone interested in Disney or Central Florida history.

Supplies are limited. Order your copy now to secure your piece of American history.

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