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Magic Kingdom Turns 40 and Life Goes On

(click to embiggen)

The 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom was punctuated by big moments at the start and end of the day with long lines for everything in between. Since Disney has chosen to ignore the anniversary in favor of a more bland promotional strategy, my expectations for the October 1st activities were quite low. Indeed, up to 3 days before the event I was told there wouldn’t even be a press event. But at the last minute, things came together and it was actually a decent show.

The morning started early for guests looking to line up for merchandise. Which had its own transportation challenges since there is no transport from the TTC at 6AM. If you entered early enough in the day you got a special map like the above and a 40th anniversary button. Both very nice. Both were essentially gone by 3pm. (click to embiggen)

Video highlights of the morning and more photos below the jump:

It was less of a parade and more of a character march. Some expected Disney to dig out the vintage costumes for the day, but they were all current versions.

Some of these balloons were handed out to guests later. A nice touch.

While the characters marched down the street the Main Street Philharmonic entertained.

A closer look at some of the historic icons used in the parade.

More icons and one of Walt Disney World’s ambassadors.

Disney Parks President Meg Crofton spoke.

As did Magic Kingdom Vice President Phil Holmes.

Lines for the limited edition merchandise were mega-long.

Finally meet George Bischak. He was an electrical engineer who helped launch the monorail system in 1971. He brought some memorabilia from the day and shares a few recollections of working on the system.

11 thoughts on “Magic Kingdom Turns 40 and Life Goes On”

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  4. Disney does it again! A pioneer in everything imaginable and everything entertainment. 40 years is a long time and they have amounted large amounts of success. My only question is how much for some stock? Great blog and gorgeous photos.

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