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When Was Disney World’s 25th Anniversary?

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Disney World, the most magical place on earth, has seen countless celebrations over the years. However, one celebration that still stands out in the minds of many Disney fans is the park’s 25th Anniversary. This event was a grand celebration that ran for over a year, from October 1, 1996, to January 31, 1998.


Disney World’s 25th Anniversary was celebrated from October 1, 1996, to January 31, 1998. The theme for the anniversary was “It’s Time to Remember the Magic,” and it featured a range of special events, attractions, and commemorative merchandise. The celebration was marked by the transformation of Cinderella Castle into a giant pink birthday cake, among other memorable highlights.

A Celebration to Remember

The theme for Disney World’s 25th Anniversary was “It’s Time to Remember the Magic.” This theme encapsulated the nostalgia and joy that Disney brings to millions of people around the world. The celebration commenced with speeches from significant figures such as Roy E. Disney, then-CEO Michael Eisner, and then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as a thundering flyover by U.S. military jets.

One of the most memorable aspects of the celebration was the transformation of Cinderella Castle into a giant pink birthday cake. This transformation was complete with decorative icing, rosettes, gumdrops, sprinkles, and a giant “25” in the center.

Special Events and Attractions

The 25th Anniversary was marked by several special events and new attractions. A new parade titled “Remember the Magic” was introduced, featuring various Disney characters on six giant floats. The parade had a unique “stop-action” twist, where the floats would stop, and performers would interact with the audience.

The popular pyrotechnics show at EPCOT was altered and renamed Illuminations 25. The show culminated with the “Circle of Life” sky show, a special finale of illuminated images from The Lion King.

Guests could also visit the 25th Anniversary Welcome Center to receive a special lithograph featuring a child and Mickey walking toward the castle in the moonlight.

Commemorative Merchandise

To commemorate the anniversary, Disney released a range of special merchandise. This included limited-edition collectibles, clothing, and food offerings. These items served as a memento for visitors, allowing them to take a piece of the magic home with them.

Impact on Disney World’s Future

The 25th Anniversary had a significant impact on Disney World’s future development. The celebration led to the expansion and evolution of the park, with new attractions and entertainment being introduced. This expansion aimed to give guests more reasons to return to Disney World and reaffirm Florida as an unforgettable tourist destination.


Disney World’s 25th Anniversary was a celebration to remember, filled with magic, nostalgia, and joy. From the transformation of Cinderella Castle into a giant pink birthday cake to the introduction of new attractions and events, the celebration left an indelible mark on Disney World and its visitors. As Disney World continues to grow and evolve, one can’t help but look forward to the magic that future anniversaries will bring.

Frequently Asked Questions

What other major anniversaries has Disney World celebrated?

Disney World has celebrated several major anniversaries, including its 10th, 15th, 20th, 30th, 40th, and most recently, its 50th anniversary in 2021.

Who is Roy E. Disney?

Roy E. Disney was the son of Roy O. Disney, one of the co-founders of The Walt Disney Company. He had a long career with the company, serving in roles such as vice chairman and chairman of the animation department.

What is a lithograph?

A lithograph is a type of print made from a design drawn on a flat stone or metal plate. In the context of Disney World’s 25th Anniversary, the lithograph would have been a special print featuring a Disney-themed illustration.

Why did Disney World’s 25th Anniversary celebration last over a year?

Disney World’s 25th Anniversary celebration lasted over a year to give as many guests as possible the chance to participate in the special events and attractions. These extended celebrations are typical for major Disney anniversaries.

What happened to the Cinderella Castle after the 25th Anniversary celebration?

After the 25th Anniversary celebration, the Cinderella Castle was returned to its original state. The castle’s transformation into a giant pink birthday cake was a temporary change just for the anniversary celebration.

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