What a spectacular 40 days! In re-reading the series’ posts from our 35 authors, I am touched by the passion that fills Disney fans. The treasured gift that Walt left us is a shared joy when first experienced, and then gains sparkle as we remember the magic years later.
As a way of thanking each and every author and supporter of 40 Days to 40 Years, I offer these Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary Celebration highlights in your honor.
40 years ago…
Caution: Objects may appear larger than in real life.
OK- not my best job with the flip. Maybe it was the pina colada I was sipping. (Unfortunately, it and my toast to you are not in the frame.)
Meet-Up and Eat-Up
I was fantastically lucky to be one of the first 25 runners to register for this runDisney event held on Friday, September 30th. While I will be blogging about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity later in the week, I feel compelled to share two nuggets that were announced that day:
- runDisney will be reaching globally in the near future! If you read my July post about my run around Disneyland Paris, you know how excited I was to hear that tidbit. (Running in Shanghai, yeah, I could do that!)
- Given the early success of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon scheduled for January 29th, 2012 in Disneyland, Disney is strongly considering adding another such race into the Walt Disney World line-up!! Stay tuned to runDisney on Facebook or follow #runDisney on twitter.
Room for 1 More
Don’t forget- it’s the Haunted Mansion’s 40th birthday too! To mark that milestone, approximately 1500 guests/ghosts were treated to a sit down dinner at the Contemporary Resort on Friday evening, September 30th. The special-ticket party included access to limited Haunted Mansion merchandise, entertainment by a spectral organist and graveyard musicians, and a presentation by Disney Imagineers ( Pete Carsillo, Eric Goodman, Jason Grandt and Jason Surrell). For me, the spotlight of the evening was this clip of Walt Disney describing the special effects behind the development of the original attraction.
According to these Imagineers, they feel that the Haunted Mansion was truly Walt’s final project, and not Pirates of the Caribbean as is widely thought.
Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary Opening Ceremony
Hordes of Disney lovers huddled together to watch this nostalgic “show”. I share it with you now!!
Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon
Over 14,000 runners participated in the Half or Relay race on the evening of the 40th Anniversary. Racers traversed through the Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and then were rewarded with the Finish Line Party in Epcot that lasted until 3am! Food, wine and attractions; is there any better reward?
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Here come the goodies. The Festival officially opened on Friday the 30th of September, and continues through November 13th. If you plan on visiting World Showcase during that time, I’ll share my top three with you:
|Ireland’s Lobster & Scallop Fisherman’s Pie|
|Hawai’i’s Seven Tiki Mai Tai|
|Ireland’s Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey’s Ganache|
In full disclosure, I am of Irish heritage, but typically not a fan of Irish food. Of the 16 International Marketplaces I visited (out of 29), these just happened to be my favorites. But boy, was it close! I thought the food was sensational. On my next fall visit, I will be sure to make the Festival the centerpiece of my trip.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
This party is always a must-see. (The Headless Horseman is one of my all-time Park favorites!) I thought this video from Sunday evening, October 2nd, sums up our 40 days together.
Thanks friends! And for the last time-