Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Remembering Walt Disney World's Tencennial Celebration

By Keith Mahne

From October 1, 1981, through September 30, 1982, the Walt Disney World Vacation Kingdom promised to be alive with the most thrilling event in its history at the time. It was Walt Disney World's Tencennial, the 10th Birthday Celebration of the World! It was a year long party filled with high-stepping parades, live musical concerts, guest appearances by a bevy of top-name celebrities, fireworks galore...and a host of exhilarating surprises done up in the grand Disney style. Let's look back and remember Walt Disney World's Tencennial Celebration in today's new article...

All throughout 1981, big, new Disney spectaculars would brighten up the Magic Kingdom each and every day in celebration of WDW's 10th Anniversary. Each day at noon and 6 pm there was the heart-throbbing Main Street Birthday Party, attended by all of our favorite Disney characters, of course. In addition to WDW's own "World Band," the very best bands across the country would show of their skills, all culminating with fun-filled activities in front of Cinderella Castle.

At 4 pm each day, the glorious Tencennial Parade; a gala event, with stunning floats representing each of the six Magic Kingdom lands, an array of energetic performers, such as the Kids of the Kingdom, the Dapper Dans and the WDW Marching Band, provided dazzling vocalizing, dancing and musical entertainment for those lucky enough to be in attendance. Horses of all sorts, including a team of priceless, championship Percherons pulling old fashioned calliope, and so much more could be seen daily. In all, some 250 performers would make their merry way along the parade route. And each day during the celebration, a special guest Grand Marshal was chosen.

Also part of the Tenncennial experience, the old Tomorrowland Theatre woud shine with the showstopping "Walt Disney World Is Your World," an original, Broadway style salute to the Magic Kingdom starring the Disney characters.

Visitors to the Magic Kingdom in early 1982 were given a four-page pamphlet advertising all the 10th anniversary-related festivities in the Park. It included a advertisement for the Walt Disney World Village (Disney Springs today) and the EPCOT preview center...

That Oct. 1, 1981, the day the Walt Disney World Resort marked its first decade was really something special. The Tencennial was properly dubbed as the “Happiest Happy Birthday Ever." There was even a new birthday song written for the celebration that was performed daily in the Tencennial Show on the Tomorrowland stage. Back in 1981, the number of Cast Members working at Walt Disney World Resort had grown from 5,000 in 1971 to more than 15,000. (Today, there's more than 62,000 Cast Members working in Florida.) Below, Cast Members gather at the Hub in Magic Kingdom Park to celebrate the 10-year milestone...

And finally, the best way for me to try and capture the excitement and magic that was oozing from the Magic Kingdom that October 1981 through the following year is this fantastic video below. It's another original, 16mm film that was used to promote the Magic Kingdom Club and the Tenth Anniversary of Walt Disney World. I have a feeling you're going to love it. So if you're on the site and using a desktop computer, please be sure to pause the Disney Avenue Music Player above and get ready to travel back to 1981 and revisit the incredible celebration that was Walt Disney World's Tencennial. Enjoy...


Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four. Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true every day.

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