SWINDON is sharing the magic as Walt Disney World in Florida begins its 50th anniversary celebrations this month.

The town is twinned with places like Salzgitter in Germany, Ocotal in Nicaragua and Torun in Poland and enjoys relationships with all of them,
But one of its twinnings comes with its own slice of Disney magic after the town won a competition in 2009. 

Swindon was entered into the competition to become the first town in the world to be twinned with Disneyworld for a year by then 21-year-old Rebecca Warren.
Thanks to the Magic Roundabout, County Ground and Railway Village it beat 500 other entries to win. 

In February 2010, Rebecca and her family, as well as Swindon’s mayor at the time David Wren, were flown out to Florida for a grand unveiling of a plaque near the resort’s famous Magic Kingdom theme park.

The plaque read: “Swindon, Wiltshire, UK, the Walt Disney World resort, sharing the magic 2010.”

An exhibition based entirely on Swindon was also added to the UK section of the World Showcase in Disneyworld’s Epcot theme park, meaning thousands of visitors would have been able to learn about its history. 

In the town itself, Disney spent the year spreading as much magic around as possible. 

A launch party was thrown for specially invited guests, Disney attended the Old Town Festival and Mickey, Minnie and Goofy turned on the Christmas lights
Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard said: “Swindon being twinned with Walt Disney World in Florida was something really special for the town. 

“It helped draw global attention to our part of the world as millions of people discovered Swindon and its story at the Epcot theme park 12 years ago. It’s something magical that will live on in the history of the town.

“We’d like to wish Disney World a happy anniversary as it celebrates 50 years of operation and if they ever want a change from their ‘Teacups’, they’re welcome to visit our Magic Roundabout anytime.”