ABC to air Walt Disney World 50th anniversary TV special - 'The Most Magical Story on Earth: 50 Years of Walt Disney World'

Aug 26, 2021 in "Walt Disney World Resort 50th Anniversary Celebration - The World’s Most Magical Celebration"

Posted: Thursday August 26, 2021 12:04pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney has just announced that "The Most Magical Story on Earth: 50 Years of Walt Disney World" television special will air on ABC October 1 2021, and later on Disney+.

Hosted by Disney Legend Whoopi Goldberg, the show will take you on a journey spanning half a century and beyond at Walt Disney World in Florida. The show will also feature visuals and musical performances from Christina Aguilera and Halle Bailey in front of the Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park. Throughout the special, you’ll see exclusive interviews with iconic actors, actresses and athletes, Walt Disney World cast members, Disney Imagineers and executives past and present who have all played their unique part in sprinkling pixie dust over "The Most Magical Place on Earth."

This EARidescent special event will take viewers through Walt Disney World’s humble beginnings in the swamplands of Florida and its evolution into a cultural phenomenon. Through an expansive look into the past, present and future of the vacation destination, footage never before seen on television will give fans a glimpse into the journey to bring Walt’s vision to life and a look at plans for the future. The special will also spotlight some of Walt Disney World’s most memorable pop-culture moments, from the many sitcoms that filmed episodes in the theme parks to the conception of the ubiquitous “I’m going to Disney World!” campaign. Plus, viewers will get a heartwarming look at how Disney and Make-A-Wish foundation have worked together for over 40 years to make kids’ Disney dreams come true.

Celebrities including Anthony Anderson, John Stamos, Marsai Martin, Gary Sinise, Melissa Joan Hart and Candace Cameron Bure; NFL athletes Tom Brady, Phil Simms and Doug Williams, and creative forces Kevin Feige, Pete Docter and James Cameron; Walt Disney World Imagineers including Bob Weis, Mark Kohl and Ann Morrow Johnson; and Disney executives past and present including Bob Chapek, Bob Iger and Michael Eisner, will all share their favorite memories of Walt Disney World.

"The Most Magical Story on Earth: 50 Years of Walt Disney World" airs Friday, Oct. 1 8-10 p.m. ET on ABC. It can also be viewed the next day on demand and on Hulu, and later in the month on Disney+.

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MisterPenguin9 days ago

They want to keep people away. They couldn't handle what would have been a non-pandemic crowd with their current pandemic understaffing. They added park reservations, hiked prices, and closed off hotels. At this time, they do not want supersized crowds. Not to mention not knowing month to month what COVID protocols they would have to have in place. Oh, yeah, forgot: We're still in the middle of a world-wide pandemic.

Disney4family9 days ago

I don't know if this has been mentioned in 262 pages and I'm sure the easy answer is $$$, but if they could put tons of effort into and offer special things for their Disney+ Day (like special character sightings), why wouldn't they have even done that for their own 50th Celebration?

ScreensOnWheels29 days ago

Screens on Wheels. Also bob says sorry for the schedule conflict this weekend.

DCBaker11 days ago

"Twenty-five years ago, cast members at Disney’s Contemporary Resort carefully packed a time capsule with documents, nametags and other treasures to celebrate the anniversary of the Resort’s dedication. The engineering services team sealed and buried it in the ground in front of the flag poles at the Resort, marking the location with a plaque that read: “To be opened at 50th Anniversary, 10/25/2021. ‘Remember the Magic.’” So, on Oct. 25, 2021, a group of very special cast members were invited to be among the first to see what was inside. You might recognize a few of them; Earliene, Ruth Ann and Joe all celebrate their 50-year service anniversaries during The World’s Most Magical Celebration, the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World."

Figments Friend14 days ago

Don't know if anyone here saw them.....but.... Yes, Disney is offering small versions of the '50 Golden Statues' for sale as merchandise. A couple of you here guessed this would happen months ago. ;) They are sold in sets, and are meant to be sculpted 'ornaments ' to hang on a Xmas tree. Check em' out sometime...if you can find them. -

CntrlFlPete15 days ago

obsolete technology that no longer works. I think I heard they have some magicBand+ that will vibrate (or something) when you walk near one of the golden statues. I imagine that is the new direction of interactivity.

trainplane315 days ago

Here's a fun little thing that I feel fits this thread due to it being 50th related: LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Roy Norris says he is a unique part of Walt Disney World’s history because he was just the right size. “One of my teachers came to me and said ‘Roy, you’re a small guy,’” said Norris, 69, of Lakeland. At the time, he was 19 and was the same size as Orange Bird, a character developed by Disney for the opening of Magic Kingdom Park in partnership with the Florida Citrus Commission. In 1971, central Florida was about to change forever with the opening of Walt Disney World. “It was very exciting because before then, all anybody ever knew of was Disneyland in California. So wow, we’re getting a Disney World here,” Norris said. He traveled the country as Orange Bird as an employee for Florida Citrus Commission, advocating for the state industry. Half a century later, Norris still has a scrapbook from his year spent as Orange Bird. But, he says, it is incomplete. Before the park opened, he remembers attending a photoshoot inside Magic Kingdom. “It was something like the Tiki Room or something,” he said. “There’s a real large artificial tree right outside. It looks real but it was an artificial man-made picture and I don’t know what happened to the pictures.” His memory is fitting because Orange Bird greeted families at Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland once the park was open to guests, according to the Disney Parks Blog. The Florida Citrus Commission was the original sponsor for the Tiki Room, according to some reports. The character remains a beloved part of the magic today, including in sought-after merchandise. Norris assumed the photographs were lost forever until he saw on the news that Walt Disney World was celebrating its 50th anniversary. “And I said, ‘Wait a minute, I was the Orange Bird 50 years ago. Wait a minute, I need to start checking into this,'” he said. He has reached out to Walt Disney Company and the Florida Citrus Commission several times and has not heard back. “It would be very interesting to check it out, talk to some of the people there, and kind of catch up on history a little bit but I don’t know who to contact,” he said. 8 On Your Side has reached out to both entities to try to connect Norris with his 50-year-old memories. “To add it to my collection. I’ve got some very precious, very valuable in my heart, pictures of some very special people,” he said. And maybe he could reunite with Orange Bird itself. “That would be worth everything,” Norris said. “Would it still fit?” asked 8 On Your Side’s Staci DaSilva. “Yes! I can bet money on that. I weigh the same thing I did when I graduated high school in 1971,” he said.

MisterPenguin15 days ago

Apparently, the head was too heavy and was causing issues for CMs.

Brian15 days ago

He sold his voice to Ursula.

mm5220015 days ago


Magicart8715 days ago

Remember "Talking Mickey" from nearly a decade ago? Whatever happened to that and more importantly why isn't this being used in the parks today, specifically for the 50th?

Animaniac93-9820 days ago

This should have been a photo op in MK for the 50th:

trainplane3Oct 23, 2021

I like it. Now sell it. Nice park art is hard to come by.