Here’s how Walt Disney World plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary

February 19, 2021, 5:57 PM UTC

Walt Disney World has big plans for its 50th birthday.

The resort announced the first details of its anniversary celebration Friday, offering an initial look at what guests can expect when the festivities kick off on Oct. 1.

The event, dubbed “the World’s Most Magical Celebration,” will see new looks and enhancements to iconic parts of both Walt Disney World and the resort’s surrounding areas. Cinderella Castle will get a new paint job, and, at night, lighting effects will make it appear to shimmer with jewels and gold ribbons.

Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life, and the Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will also receive special upgrades, a process Disney is calling “EARidescence.”

As part of the celebration, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will also get new costumes that tie in with EARidescence. And more announcements could be on the way. Disney, in a blog post, said there would be new experiences at all four parks, and “we’ll have more to share about our plans…in the future as we ramp up to the big day on Oct. 1.”

The 50th anniversary event will run for 18 months at Disney World. That could help ease crowds a bit, as the parks continue to limit occupancy because of the ongoing pandemic. COVID-19 shut down the parks for about three months last year, but they reopened on July 11.

Currently, the Florida parks are operating at 35% of capacity. (Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks in Anaheim remain closed.) The iconic fireworks shows that used to take place nightly are no longer occurring, to help with social distancing. Character meet and greets and daily parades are on long-term hold. Temperature checks are required before entry to the park. And all park attendance is managed via a reservation system.