I attended Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebration. Here are 13 cool details even superfans might miss.

Side by side of 2 photos from disney world 50th anniversary celebration
There are plenty of fun details for fans to find around the parks. Carly Caramanna
  • I attended the opening of Disney World’s 50th-anniversary event and caught some sneaky details.
  • There’s merchandise for old rides, limited-time eats, and fun entertainment experiences all around.
  • Cinderella Castle got a makeover for the 18-month celebration, and there are new character statues.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The celebration starts as soon as you land at Orlando International Airport.
Disney world 50th photo op at the orlando airport
Teacup photo op at Orlando International Airport. Carly Caramanna
If you’re flying to Disney World like I did, the festivities start when you land at Orlando International Airport.

There’s new 50th-anniversary signage around the terminals, and there’s even a unique photo opportunity with a golden teacup based on the famous Disney ride. 

The makeover of Cinderella Castle was inspired by a Disney legend.
Redesigned disney world cinderella castle for 50th anniversary
Mary Blair was an iconic Disney Imagineer. Carly Caramanna
Cinderella Castle got a temporary makeover for its 50th birthday.

The news details in shades of royal blue, light pink, and gold were inspired by Disney Imagineer Mary Blair’s vision and concept art for the classic Disney film “Cinderella.”

Blair was a legend who worked alongside Walt Disney — she even designed It’s a Small World at Disneyland.

You can try Walt’s own favorite chili recipe.
Chili cheese hotdog at walt disney world 50th anniversary
There are over 150 new food and drink options for the anniversary. Carly Caramanna
More than 150 new food and beverages items were added to menus across all four theme parks and the property’s many resorts for the anniversary celebration.

Some of these new items feature playful nods to former park attractions, like the Nautilus drink at Be Our Guest Restaurant, which was inspired by the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage ride.

According to D23, one of Walt’s favorite foods was chili, and guests can now order the 1971 meal at Casey’s Corner to try his go-to recipe on top of a hot dog

The beloved Main Street eatery is also offering a 50th-celebration hot dog with strawberry-bacon jam and funnel-cake pieces.  

The soft drinks are even served in a special 50th cup.
50th anniversary soft drink cup at disney world
The iconic red cups have a new look for the celebration. Carly Caramanna
The next time you need a caffeine break, pay attention to the new cups.

Disney’s cups have always been a point of interest whether they’re sporting inspirational quotes from Walt or cute Mickey prints. The paper cups for the 50th anniversary now feature a completely new look.

They showcase a large 50 over illustrations of the four theme parks’ icons.

You can search for new gold character statues throughout the four parks.
Statue of pooh bear and piglet at magic kingdom for 50th anniversary
There are new character statues throughout the parks. Carly Caramanna
One of the biggest additions for the 50th-anniversary celebration is the gold character statues spread throughout the four theme parks.

The Fab 50 Character Collection features large, gold sculptures themed to 50 beloved Disney characters. But if you’re not actively looking for them, they’re easy to miss in the decorative landscaping. 

The collection includes classic popular characters, like Mickey and Minnie, as well newer ones, like Dante from “Coco.”

Disney has also teased that these statues will soon feature digital interactions.

Main Street Confectionery is a fan favorite, but you’ll find something new tucked in the back.
Main street confectionery popcorn experience disney world 50th anniversary
Popcorn is one of the most popular Disney park snacks. Carly Caramanna
On Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom, you’ll find next-level bakery and candy shop Main Street Confectionery.

Inside, there’s a new experience that opened for the celebration where guests can customize one of the most iconic park snacks: popcorn. 

At Kernel Kitchen, after selecting a popcorn base, you can flavor it with different syrups and candy.

Don’t forget to explore the Main Street train tunnels.
New sign in main street train tunnel walt disney world 50th anniversary
There are new posters and decorations in the entry tunnels. Carly Caramanna
People arriving at Magic Kingdom may breeze right past the historic train station to get to the castle, but Disney has added a series of vintage-style posters throughout the entryway that you won’t want to miss.

The nostalgic surprise features some of the same poster designs for rides like Mad Tea Party and Pirates of the Caribbean that guests would’ve seen 50 years ago.

There’s also a stunning poster for Magic Kingdom’s new nighttime show, “Disney Enchantment.”

When it’s dark, you’ll want to look up at the monorail.
Monorail lit up at night for disney world 50th anniversary
Lights have been added to the monorail tracks. Carly Caramanna
The monorail is a futuristic, sleek transportation system at Disney World that whizzes guests between Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and select resorts.

For the 50th-anniversary celebration, new undercarriage LED lights have been added to the monorails to make them shine at night. 

Listen for something new during the Magic Kingdom character processions.
Mickey's celebration cavalcade at disney world 50th anniversary
There’s a new song to go along with the character cavalcades. Carly Caramanna
Music has been incorporated into the 50th celebration in a big way with several new original tracks.

For example, “The Magic Is Calling” by Alana Da Fonseca and Bobby Studley premiered as the anthem for the 18-month anniversary celebration.

The inspirational track can be heard in a variety of arrangements throughout the parks, including during Magic Kingdom’s short parades known as character cavalcades.

The Casey’s Corner pianists are back.
Pianist at casey's corner magic kingdom during disney world 50th anniversary
One of the pianists played on the opening day of Disney World back in 1971. Carly Caramanna
While you’re enjoying a hot dog at Casey’s Corner in Magic Kingdom, you can watch a spirited performer play ragtime tunes outside.

After a hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic, the pianists are back, including Randy Morris who played 50 years ago on the park’s opening day.

Morris transferred from Disneyland to Disney World in 1971 for a three-month contract that turned into an over-50 year career.

There’s a newly free activity in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland.
Guests at frontierland shootin arcade in magic kingdom disney world 50th anniversary
For a limited time, the attraction is free for all guests. Carly Caramanna
There aren’t a ton of things you can get for free at Disney World, but as part of the 50th celebration, Magic Kingdom reopened the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade, which is now complimentary for all guests. 

After being closed for over a year amid pandemic restrictions, the attraction is up and running again without its old fee. 

Look for special nods to former attractions in the anniversary merchandise.
Mr toad merchandise at disney world for 50th anniversary
There are some special throwback merchandise items. Carly Caramanna
For the 50th, Disney World released a ton of new merchandise, from T-shirts and pins to tumbler cups and hats.

There are several collections, but you’ll want to be on the lookout for the retro-inspired Vault Collection. Its vintage flair features nods to former attractions, like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

There are also shirts featuring the Preview Center — the first Walt Disney World building that opened to the public in 1970. People could visit and see what was coming at the theme park via scale models and artist renderings up until the day before Magic Kingdom’s grand opening. 

There are a number of opening-day attractions that are still operational at Magic Kingdom.
Country bear jamboree at disney world during 50th anniversary
The Country Bear Jamboree was an opening-day attraction. Carly Caramanna
When Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, Magic Kingdom was the only park and there were just over 20 attractions

Since then, there have been many changes, but there are a few attractions that are still standing 50 years later.

One iconic favorite is the Country Bear Jamboree, which features a cast of singing bears and has had minimal changes since October 1, 1971.