Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Celebration Fatigue? Why There Is No Disney100 Presence at Disney World

Who doesn't love a good party?  I mean, I usually don't, if I'm being honest.  But I do love a party or celebration when it comes to Disney. And more importantly, DISNEY loves a good celebration too.  This is the reason Epcot is basically festival central, with one flowing into the other with almost no "normal" weeks in between.  It gives them an excuse to decorate, put out some new food and get bloggers to come and report on the opening day of each.

In fact, Walt Disney World just had a celebration (of sorts) for WDW's 50th Anniversary, dubbed "The Most Magical Celebration on Earth." Whether it lived up to that lofty name is debatable, but the debate largely falls on the side of "no" with most people.  While there were some nice colorful accents added to the parks and the characters dressed up in EARidescent outfits, there wasn't a whole lot that actually celebrated fifty years of the parks, which is what it was supposed to do.

In fact, the 50th Anniversary celebration is still ongoing (until March 31) to allow Disney to release some "party ending soon" merchandise.  I like the idea of giving a celebration a chance to breathe, allowing guests to visit at their leisure over an eighteen month period.  But most guests are already thinking to the future, as there are some changes that will happen soon after the celebration ends (more on that below).

Right on the heels of THAT celebration comes the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company, founded by Walt and Roy in 1923.  That is definitely cause for another celebration, as it has a bigger scope than just one park (or even a series of them), and encompasses every aspect of the company.  Maybe it's just the greedy Disney World fan in me, but I was looking forward to seeing how this milestone would be celebrated in the largest theme park resort in the world.

But as things started to get announced, I realized that it was Disneyland getting all of the new swag and that nothing was happening at Disney World.  I figured that was just because they didn't want them to overlap while promoting them, but as the celebration gets underway at Disneyland, it's becoming more apparent that that park - and ONLY that park - is getting in on the 100th Anniversary fun.  

So why is this?  Don't the east coast fans deserve to celebrate as well?  My theory is what I wrote in the title of this post - celebration fatigue.  Maybe Disney didn't want to go from one party right into another one.  This would likely confuse the casual guest, who doesn't know what all these numbers mean anyway (I could see someone saying "Wasn't it just the 50th anniversary?  How can it now be the 100th?")

Plus, I think the company wanted to give some shine to Disneyland.  They haven't had a lot to celebrate exclusively over there lately.  Plus it is the original park (the only one that Walt Disney ever set foot in) and as such, has a certain aura that Walt Disney World doesn't have, even all these years later.  

I still wish Disney World could be a part of it, but besides the costumes and theming, what is Disneyland getting that Disney World isn't?  The celebration began with the opening of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway in Disneyland - a ride WDW already has!  If the start of a celebration corresponds to a new attraction opening, it's easy to say that WDW is getting this too - right after the 50th celebration ends, Tron is opening on April 4.  

Disneyland is also getting not one but TWO new nighttime spectaculars, Wondrous Journeys at Disneyland Resort and World of Color - ONE at California Adventure.  There is some amount of irony here because Disney World got two nighttime spectaculars of their own for the 50th celebration, and neither of them is staying on once the celebration ends.  Enchantment is being replaced by the show it replaced, Happily Ever After, and Harmonious is being replaced temporarily by Epcot Forever, before a new show debuts later this year.  So in effect, Disney World IS getting two new shows, which I'm sure was not the original plan.

Disneyland is also getting "platinum decorations", which really sounds a lot like the gold decorations that Disney World got for this last celebration.  It remains to be seen whether those go into mothballs once the celebration ends or if they stick around as a new permanent part of the parks.  But it would seem silly to replace one set of statues and other decorations with another just to match a new color scheme.

Besides all that above, there are some other little things thrown in like new food and merchandise, plus a new exhibit called The Disney Gallery Presents: Disney 100 Years of Wonder.  Though it would be nice to get that, the thing that I really think we deserve is the new platinum wrap on the monorail.  It's a little thing, but it looks spectacular and would be a nice bonus for Epcot, as Scott Gustin pointed out on Twitter.  A new (returning) parade is another thing that WDW could use to spice things up, but if we didn't get it for the 50th, there's no reason to think anything is on the horizon there.

So maybe it's not a big deal that Disney World isn't getting the 100th Anniversary celebration, at least in name.  We are getting a lot of what Disneyland is getting, either purposefully or coincidentally, and we are a little tired of partying.  It's probably a good excuse to go visit Anaheim if you were so inclined.  Disney, you're forgiven for this one - just make the next celebration in Orlando a good one.

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