What a spectacular 40 days! In re-reading the series’ posts from our 35 authors, I am touched by the passion that fills Disney fans. The treasured gift that Walt left us is a shared joy when first experienced, and then gains sparkle as we remember the magic years later. Walt Disney World 2011 brought an illustration of this luster.
Walt Disney World 2011~ 40th Anniversary Celebration
As a way of thanking each and every author and supporter of 50 Days to 50 Years, I offer this mini recap. Here are the Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary Celebration highlights. In YOUR honor.
Walt Disney World Resorts
My Seven Seas Lagoon memory lane video. 40 (now 50!) years ago… (Do YOU remember sailing Hobie Cats in the man-made lagoon??)
Caution: Objects may appear larger than in real life.
OK- not my best job with the old-fashioned flip. Maybe it was the Lapu Lapu I was sipping. (Unfortunately, it and my toast to you are not in the frame.)
Room for 1 More
Don’t forget- it’s the Haunted Mansion’s 40th birthday too! To mark that milestone, approximately 1500 guests/ghosts were treated to a sit down dinner at the Contemporary Resort on Friday evening, September 30th. The special-ticket party included access to limited Haunted Mansion merchandise, entertainment by a spectral organist and graveyard musicians, and a presentation by Disney Imagineers ( Pete Carsillo, Eric Goodman, Jason Grandt and Jason Surrell). For me, the spotlight of the evening was this clip of Walt Disney describing the special effects behind the development of the original attraction.
According to these Imagineers, they feel that the Haunted Mansion was truly Walt’s final project, and not Pirates of the Caribbean as is widely thought.
Magic Kingdom 2011
Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary Opening Ceremony
Hordes of Disney lovers huddled together to watch this nostalgic “show”. I share it with you now!!
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
This party is always a must-see. (The Headless Horseman is one of my all-time Park favorites. I know I am in good company!) I thought this video from Sunday evening, October 2nd, sums up our last 40 days together.
Meet-Up and Eat-Up
I was fantastically lucky to be one of the first 25 runners to register for this runDisney event held on Friday, September 30th. (Here’s a snippet from Disney Chef Gary Jones!) And here are two runDisney nuggets that were announced that day:
- runDisney will be reaching globally in the near future! If you read my July post about my run around Disneyland Paris, you know how excited I was to hear that tidbit. (Running in Shanghai, yeah, I could do that!)
- Given the early success of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon scheduled for January 29th, 2012 in Disneyland, Disney is strongly considering adding another such race into the Walt Disney World line-up!! Stay tuned to runDisney on Facebook or follow #runDisney on twitter.
Over 14,000 runners participated in the Half or Relay race on the evening of the 40th Anniversary. Racers traversed through the Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and then were rewarded with the Finish Line Party in Epcot that lasted until 3 am! Food, wine and attractions- is there any better reward?
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Here come the goodies. The Festival officially opened on Friday the 30th of September, and continued through November 13th. If you plan on visiting World Showcase during that time, I’ll share my top three with you:
My pick for FOOD was Ireland’s Lobster & Scallop Fisherman’s Pie. Ireland also gets my nod for best DESSERT with their Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey’s Ganache!
The BEVERAGE winner was (and always will be?!) Hawai’i’s Seven Tiki Mai Tai.
In full disclosure, I am of Irish heritage, but typically not a fan of Irish food. Of the 16 International Marketplaces I visited (out of 29), these just happened to be my favorites. But boy, was it close! I thought the food was sensational. Ever since, I am sure to make the Festival the centerpiece of my trip.
Thanks for joining me at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Walt Disney World 2011, friends! Hang on for the next 10 days/years. And be sure to follow me live at The Most Magical celebration on Earth this October 1st on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!