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Disney World's 50 Anniversary Has Begun And The Crowds Are Insane, But It’s Not All Bad News

50th Anniversary Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom
(Image credit: Disney)

50 years ago today, Walt Disney World opened its doors to guests for the first time. At that point, Disney World was little more than the Magic Kingdom theme park and a couple of hotels. Today, the resort is a massive complex that welcomes millions, and it seems like most of them showed up today.

Today the World’s Most Magical Celebration begins. The anniversary party for Disney World’s 50th is set to last for the next 18 months, but a lot of people were clearly not interested in waiting. The first pictures and videos show a massive influx at Magic Kingdom, quite likely the biggest crowd the park has seen in quite some time.

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Considering that since July of last year Disney World was running at reduced capacity, even a “full” park was welcoming far less than it was capable of. The Magic Kingdom, which is sold out of reservations for the day, is seeing more people than it has in quite some time. It’s unclear if Magic Kingdom is back at 100% capacity, but clearly, it’s close enough. 

And massive crowds mean long lines in a lot of places. All those people need to go somewhere, and they’re apparently showing up in places you might not expect, meaning waits for simple things are longer than you would think.

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Along with the 50th anniversary comes a ton of brand new food and merchandise options, and many people want to be among the first to try the food and get the stuff. I’ve usually not been one who needs to own “stuff” and right now I’m very glad of that.

There have been reports of crowds breaking out into near brawls as people try to get pieces of merchandise. Things like 50th anniversary park maps are already showing up on reseller sites. A lot of this stuff is destined to show up on eBay, which makes seeing these sorts of things happen more than a little frustrating 

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And yet, it’s not all bad news. There are some places where the crowds aren’t quite as wild as you might expect. Over at Epcot, the newest Disney World attraction, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, opened to the general public, using the virtual queue system. While the early morning batch of boarding groups were snatched up in seconds, the afternoon set did not vanish instantly, which is good news for anybody looking to get on the newest ride soon.  

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It also seems that, while there are clearly a lot of people at Magic Kingdom right now, what they're not doing is getting on the rides.

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 While reservations to get into Disney World are scarce for the first couple days of October, things look to be opening up after that, so if you’re looking to make a trip to enjoy the World’s Most Magical Celebration in the near future, it shouldn’t end up being quite this wild.  

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.