George Kalogridis Named Global Ambassador for Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration

Yesterday Jeff Valle, Walt Disney World President announced on Instagram that former Disneyland and Walt Disney World President, George Kalogridis will serve as the Global Ambassador for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.

In the Instagram post Valle stated –

So happy for my hometown friend and longtime colleague, George A. Kalogridis as he’s going to celebrate a major milestone this year. He started his 50-year Disney career as an opening day Cast Member here at WDW in 1971. In addition to currently serving as president of Disney Park’s Segment Development and Enrichment team, he is also Global Ambassador for our upcoming Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration that kicks off Oct. 1st. He is about to become an even busier man!

Kalogridis previously served for six years as president of Walt Disney World, leading a cast of more than 75,000. He is also a past president of Disneyland Resort.  He began his Disney Parks career in 1971, at the age of 17, as a busboy at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, helping to open Walt Disney World.

Currently, Kalogridis is President of Segment Development and Enrichment for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

 

Walt Disney World Announces Initial Details for 50th Anniversary Celebration

Earlier today on Good Morning America Disney announced the first details of Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration that will begin on October 1, 2021 and run for 18 months.

In honor of the 50th anniversary, Disney will be bringing new experiences to the four theme parks and beyond.  Disney has even coined a new word – “EARidescence” to describe what guests will see when they visit.

As part of the celebration, Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom will add to its royal makeover from last year.  As seen in this new artist rendering, the castle will feature golden bunting and a 50th anniversary crest as part of its festive new look.

At EPCOT, new lights will shine across the reflective panels of Spaceship Earth, connecting to one another and resembling stars in a nighttime sky. This new lighting will become permanent and will continue beyond “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” as a defining feature of the park.

The Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will receive new touches that will give it a brilliance evoking the golden age of imagination and adventure.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Tree of Life will see magical fireflies gathering to usher in the magic of nature.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse haven’t been left out.  They will have sparkling new looks for the celebration. As hosts of the event, they’ll be dressed for the occasion in custom-made fashions of EARidescent fabric with gold highlights.

 

Disney Reveals Initial Concepts for Epcot Transformation

Earlier today Walt Disney World announced three new concepts along with some concept art that will be included in the multi-year transformation of Epcot.  This transformation was originally announced at the D23 Expo in 2017.

From Disney’s announcement –

The ongoing evolution of Epcot includes plans for a play pavilion that’ll be unlike anything you’ve ever seen at the park. This new space will be devoted to playful fun and feature an innovative city that’ll come to life under the dome of the un-named pavilion previously known as Wonders of Life. The pavilion’s city will be bursting with interactive experiences, your favorite Disney characters, hands-on activities and engaging entertainment when it opens just in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort!

“This innovative, new pavilion is beyond anything we’ve ever created and is completely unique to Epcot,” said Zach Riddley, portfolio executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “Built on the power of play, it introduces an immersive and interactive ‘city’ where you can explore, create, and interact with some of your favorite Disney characters. This is an experience worthy of our bold vision for Epcot – and another signature element of our transformation.”

Walt Disney World also announced changes to the entrance of Epcot.  As you can see above the plaza will welcome guests with new pathways, sweeping green spaces and a newly reimagined fountain.  From the announcement and the concept art this new design will pay homage to the original park entrance with fresh takes on classic elements.

In case you were wondering, Disney announced that the Leave A Legacy photos will be moving into a beautiful setting just outside the park’s gateway.  Disney also mentioned that significant redevelopment will also begin between Spaceship Earth attraction and the World Showcase Promenade.  Details will be announced at a later date….my guess is that we’ll probably hear something about this at the D23 Expo in August.

Guests will soon be able to look what’s coming at a new Experience Center coming to Epcot later this year. The Experience Center will be located in the Odyssey Events Pavilion and feature interactive exhibits to help visualize park projects throughout this unprecedented period of transformation.

Many of us have been wondering whether the transformation of Epcot was still going to happen since we haven’t seen or heard anything…even concept art since the project was announced in July of 2017 at the D23 Expo.

I for one, and from what I’ve seen and read I’m not the only one, am very excited about this exciting announcement.