Walt Disney World 2020- 50 Days To 50 Years Walt Disney World Countdown
Walt Disney World 2020 brings us to the last day and year in our 50 Days To 50 Years Walt Disney World Countdown and it seems only appropriate that Walt Disney World 2020 would truly bring to life the words of Walt when he said “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” 2020 ushered in the Roaring ’20s filled with hope and promise and fun and yet no one could
have predicted how not just Walt Disney World but the entire world was about to change and test us in ways never before seen. And yet through it all, Disney once again proved that nothing is impossible when you believe. Walt Disney World 2020 still had people coming to visit Batuu with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from the previous year. Anticipation was at a peak as we counted down the opening to a new attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the return of a new Cirque Du Soliel show at Disney Springs, and new nighttime extravaganzas on the horizon all leading up to the reimagination of Epcot and the countdown to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration the following year. But on March 16, 2020, the unthinkable happened when a pandemic, which at that point we knew very little about, forced Walt
Disney World to close its gates indefinitely as did all of the Disney Parks worldwide but once again the wisdom of Walt prevailed when he said “First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. And finally, dare.” proving to the world yet again that part of the real magic of Disney was the belief in “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” and they did just that.
New Shows And New Eateries At Epcot
Walt Disney World 2020 started out with new shows and a new place to eat at Epcot when the 4th annual Epcot International Festival of the Arts began its run in January. Returning for its 4th year, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts opened on January 17 at Epcot and ran through February 24.
The Festival continued to grow from previous years bringing together the very best visiting artists, an array of foodie delights, and opportunities for guests to embrace their own inner artistic side. Walt Disney World 2020 saw the Epcot International Festival of the Arts provide us with 39 days of artistry, food, and fun for every age to match every passion and brought more live music than ever before, along with fresh tastes to savor and new artwork to admire and bring home. As part of the reimagining of Epcot, Walt Disney World 2020 saw the opening of 3 all-new on-screen experiences at Epcot.
“Awesome Planet” – A new 10-minute film in The Land pavilion offered a breathtaking look at Earth’s beauty and diversity through spectacular imagery, in-theater effects and an original score from Academy Award-winning® composer Steven Price.
“Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” – Directed by Don Hahn, who produced the animated and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” films, this magical experience at the France pavilion invited guests to embrace a twist on a “tale as old as time.” Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in the original film, narrated the new sing-along that ran in rotation with “Impressions de France,” which had just upgraded to 4K projection.
“Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” – Canada pavilion’s original “O Canada!” was refreshed with dazzling new scenes, a new musical score by Canadian composer Andrew Lockington and insightful narration by award-winning actors Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.
Celebrate Your Villainous Side at Disney Villains After Hours
Walt Disney World 2020 saw the return of the ever-popular Disney Villains After Hours at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park that February on select nights.
Based on the popularity of Maleficent dragon’s journey through the park, the experience was expanded and enhanced to include even more villainous fun. New that year was the Villains’ Cursed Caravan which joined Maleficent the dragon as she crept through the park twice nightly. The wicked procession featured Gaston, Oogie Boogie, Cruella DeVil, Captain Hook, and more! New villainous action at the event included:
- Hades and Meg from “Hercules” will set the castle stage ablaze in “Villains Unite the Night,” featuring appearances by Jafar, The Queen, Dr. Facilier, and Maleficent.
- During this sinister soiree, guests can dance the night away as a party DJ spins monstrous music on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt stage.
- Surprising, villain-inspired enhancements at Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain.
- As they made their way through each land, guests were invited to strike a pose at the sharable photo opportunities scattered throughout the park.
- Across the park, guests could enjoy access to more than 25 attractions and experiences.
- Guests could also purchase new event merchandise, as well as items from a curated collection of the best Disney villain merchandise available.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
On March 4 there was a new way to ride with the opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mickey and Minnie invited you to climb aboard and take a leisurely drive to a picnic in their sporty roadster—with Engineer Goofy’s train following merrily along. This whirlwind ride took you on a journey through a world where the rules of physics don’t apply. Part of the fun of the attraction was the unexpected twists, slapstick gags and mind-boggling transformations at every turn, as Mickey and Minnie tried to save the day. There was no telling where this train was heading!
This was an adventure for Mickey and Minnie fans of all ages and was the first-of-its-kind ride which was based on the award-winning Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts, and the first ride at any Disney park that starred Mickey Mouse and friends. Did you know that there are more hidden Mickeys on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway than any other Disney attraction or area?
Step Into the Mickey Shorts Theater
Also making its debut in March of 2020 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was a new Mickey Mouse-inspired theater. Here you were invited to stop in to watch an original cartoon short and enjoy special photo opportunities. The interior of the theater evoked the same wacky fun of the Disney Channel cartoon series and played Disney original shorts in this same style, plus offered up the opportunity to capture a photo of yourself in special photo locations.
Grab Barbecue at Regal Eagle Smokehouse at Epcot
Regal Eagle Smokehouse Craft Drafts & Barbecue opened at Epcot in Walt Disney World 2020. A Salute to Barbecue this mouth-watering smokehouse celebrated the regions of American backyard barbecue and craft beers. Here you could order up one of many delicious meals as their pit master used techniques from classic barbecue regions to smoke our selections over oak wood and upon request, guests could try any of the 4 delicious house-recipe sauces!
- Blue Ribbon Brisket Sauce – Savory Spice Sauce
- Sizzlin’ Pit Dry Rub Coalition – Classic Smokehouse Sauce
- Old Glory Mustard Guild – Sweet Mustard Sauce
- Blue Ridge Vinegar League – Vinegar Base Sauce
Regal Eagle Smokehouse also offered up the perfect way to wash it all down with their wide variety of all-American beverages, which included beers and ciders from around the United States or you could savor one of the many wines from the west coast and specialty regional cocktails with or without alcohol.
Offerings included sandwiches, Kansas City smoked chicken, Memphis dry-rub pork ribs, North Carolina chopped smoked pork butt, power green salads, and more.
And Then The World Changed
No one could foresee what would happen to Walt Disney World as well as all Disney Parks and other amusement parks in March of 2020 when the decision was made to close the Parks.
It was announced in mid-March that out of an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our Guests and Cast Members, that Disney was proceeding with the closure of their theme parks with Walt Disney World® Resort, closing down on March 16 which at that time, it was thought to be through the end of the month. It would be May before Disney Springs would reopen and July when Walt Disney World would open again to guests but in a whole new way.
After a long, long wait, Disney Springs began its phased reopenings for guests starting on May 20 with Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom reopening on July 11 followed by Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios welcoming guests back on July 15. The reopenings brought about many changes to how guests would visit the parks during those first few
months. Temperature checks and masks we now required with social distancing signs and plexiglass dividers to be found throughout the parks and Disney Springs. A reservation system was now in place to help control the crowds with COVID-19 health and safety protocols found throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.
Gone were the shows, entertainment, character meet and greets, and parades that were so much a part of the Disney experience but in their place came new cavalcades and character interactions “from a distance”. The one thing that did
not change was the magic and it was even more plentiful than ever before. In fact, if anything, I think Walt Disney World 2020 taught us just what a gift it was to be immersed in the magic that the Walt Disney Resort brings to each and every one of us. Walt DisneyWorld visits as we had known them may have changed, the one thing that didn’t was that the magic that we have all come to know and love and keeps us coming back time after time will remain the same.
As someone who has been visiting Disney Parks since they first opened their doors to guests on July 17, 1955, the most important element of all was still ever-present when guests began to return to the parks and resorts and that is that the real magic of Disney is the people. It comes from the hearts and the souls of those that visit and the cast members that go above and beyond to make the Disney magic come alive for us all. There are still all new memories waiting to be made, new experiences to be had and now more than ever it is important to remind ourselves that in the words of Walt Disney,
“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” The real magic is still there and waiting for you, and even though it may take on a different form, for now, there is no better time than right now to make that magic come alive for you and your family. Tomorrow ushers in a whole new era for the Walt Disney World Resort as The Most Magical Celebration on Earth kicks off at Walt Disney World celebrates its 50th anniversary, with a celebration like no other that will continue over the next 18 months but at the heart of it all always remember that you are the true magic of
Walt Disney World, something that was all started by a Mouse. Happy Anniversary Walt Disney World. 50 years looks magical on you.