Welcome back to 50 Days to 50 Years. Today’s guest, Deb from Focused on the Magic, celebrates Walt Disney World in 1991.Magic Kingdom turns 20! Oh boy! Don’t you think that went fast??
Walt Disney World 1991
1991 was a huge year for Walt Disney World and for me. I would become a card carrying Magic Kingdom Club “Gold Card” member that year. And of course, Walt Disney World would turn 20 with a tremendous celebration planned for the whole year plus a few months (Accordingly, a new tradition was born.)
Of note, I was a member of The Magic Kingdom Club. Therefore, I would be entitled to a variety of money-saving benefits that weren’t available to the general public. As if that weren’t enough to feed my Disney addiction, magical Mickey mail was flooding my mailbox with news of the 20th Anniversary Surprise Celebration. Headlines in my newspapers read “Walt Disney World Celebrates 20 Years with 20 Spectacular New Reasons to Visit”! Not that I needed 20 new reasons to visit but here they are listed in a full color spread in our local newspaper, Newsday.
“Walt Disney World Celebrates 20 Years with 20 Spectacular New Reasons to Visit”
- Disney’s Port Orleans
- Dinosaurs Live
- Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
- Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage
- Baby Manatee
- Sorcery in The Sky Fireworks Fantasy
- Disney Vacation Club
- Jim Henson’s Muppet Vision 3D
- Sci-Fi Drive-In Diner
- The Little Mermaid
- Honey I Shrunk The Kids Adventureland
- Surprise Celebration Parade
- Disney’s Dixie Landings Resort
- Dye and Fazio Golf Courses
- Surprise in the Skies
- Minnie Moo
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Roger Rabbit Sur-Prizes
- Pleasure Island
So, with my MKC card burning a hole in my pocket and the flood of celebration news filling my head, details for our February took shape. Excitedly, we would stay at our favorite resort, The Contemporary. Our family would fly from New York on Delta, the “Official Airline of Walt Disney World.” We attempted to experience as much of the 20th Surprise Celebration as possible with a four-year-old DS who refused to ride in a stroller.
Magically, we have so many special memories from that trip. In fact, we had such a good time we went back 3 months later! Of course, a few memories stand out as being very special to that year’s celebration.
Introducing the Spectro Magic Parade
In The Magic Kingdom two new parades were introduced; Spectro Magic (replacing The Main Street Electrical Parade) and The Surprise Celebration Parade which featured six giant cold air filled balloon figures towering 35-40 feet over the parade route. Surprisingly, the theme was a blend of Mardi Gras and Carnival Del Rio with characters, acrobats, jesters and stilt walkers. The giant balloon floats featured Mickey, Minnie, Roger Rabbit, Pluto, Donald and Goofy. Fittingly, the parade music kept the tempo exciting and festive. You couldn’t help but smile and dance or at least sway to the beat. We thought watching giant balloons floating down Main Street USA was a thrill. The stilt walkers looking down on the crowd added to the fun.
Before each day of the parade, one lucky family was chosen to ride in the parade on the Roger Rabbit float. It was a huge hit from September 22, 1991- June 1994. The Spectro Magic Parade was as amazing but a lot less crowded than it has been in recent years. Mickey’s Starland was the place to spend hours between the Darkwing Duck Stage Show, Mickey’s Backstage Meet and Greet and Minnie Moo the Cow with a Hidden Mickey on her back. For us, the best way to travel to Mickey’s Starland was aboard The Starland Express. As you pulled into the train station characters would greet you and offer autographs. We found it all very exciting!
In Epcot (known as Epcot Center) there was an aerial daredevil sky show over the World Showcase Lagoon called “Surprise in the Skies”. The sky and Lagoon would fill with fireworks, stunt pilots, boats, giant balloons, kites and hang gliders. It was always a thrill to see what character was piloting the paraplanes. We’d get a glimpse of Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale, Pooh and Tigger as they dipped down. The finale was kites that sprayed fireworks. Memorably, we saw the adorable 71 pound baby manatee named Chester at the Living Seas for the very first time.
Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage Premiers in 1991
The Disney- MGM Studios premiered 3 new stage shows, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Little Mermaid” and “Dinosaurs Live” for the 20th Anniversary Celebration. I really only remember The Dinosaur Live show that year. Truth be told, I never liked the sitcom Dinosaurs that ran on ABC. I thought it was crass. Trying to keep an open mind I agreed to stand in line for the show. Surprisingly, I found the comedy quite clever. However, the biggest hit for my son was seeing The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Live Stage Show on the Backlot. He was so excited to meet and greet them and what a great show they put on!
Another of our family highlights was Jim Henson’s Muppet 3-D Show which premiered that year. That was no surprise as we’re big Muppets fans. Dick Tracy characters were everywhere much to my DS’s delight. At night there was a spectacular pyrotechnics show shown over the Chinese Theater. I wish they’d bring it back!
I remember visiting a kiosk in The Magic Kingdom for the new Disney Vacation Club at The Old Key West Resort that year. The Disney Vacation Club sounded like something we would enjoy. So of course, I took the information for review. BUT, we didn’t take the leap to join until 1998 at The Boardwalk Villas. So many of our magical memories were shared on those trips in 1991. In our eyes, it proved to be a spectacular 20th Anniversary Celebration.
If you have visited Deb’s site through the years, you know how spectacular her photography skills are. Notice even 30 years ago, Deb (@debsdistwit) had the goods!
Tomorrow we hop across the pond to Scotland with Manda from Manda’s Disney Blog! We’ll fast forward to the year 1992.