Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is the segment of The Walt Disney Company that conceives, builds, and manages the company's theme parks and holiday resorts, as well as a variety of additional family-oriented leisure enterprises. It is one of four major business segments of the company, the other three being Consumer Products, Media Networks, and Studio Entertainment.
The Parks and Resorts division was founded in 1971 as Walt Disney Attractions when Disney's second theme park, the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, opened, joining the original Disneyland in California. The chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is Thomas O. Staggs. Staggs reports to current Disney CEO Robert Iger, and former CEO and founder Walt Disney in essence.
- Main article: Disneyland Resort
Disneyland opened as a single park by Walt Disney on July 17, 1955, in Anaheim, California. It was officially open to the public on July 18, 1955.
In 2001, the area was officially renamed the Disneyland Resort with the opening of Disney California Adventure Park, two new resort hotels and the Downtown Disney retail, dining and entertainment district. The resort occupies 500 acres (2.0 square kilometers), listed below, and are divided into parks, shopping centers, and resorts.
- Disney California Adventure Park
- Disneyland Hotel
- Paradise Pier Hotel
- Grand Californian Hotel
- Downtown Disney
Walt Disney World Resort
- Main article: Walt Disney World Resort
The Walt Disney World Resort opened Oct. 1, 1971, with the Magic Kingdom (similar in layout to Disneyland) and three resort hotels a few miles southwest of Orlando. The property is twice the size of Manhattan, with about a quarter of it having been developed to date. It has become the most popular tourist destination on Earth, with four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping and entertainment complex, 20 resort hotels and eight golf courses. The resort is divided into parks, shopping centers, and resorts.
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly known as Disney-MGM Studios)
- Disney's Animal Kingdom
- Downtown Disney
- Blizzard Beach
- Typhoon Lagoon
- ESPN Wide World of Sports (née Disney's Wide World of Sports)
Tokyo Disney Resort
- Main article: Tokyo Disney Resort
The Tokyo Disney Resort, located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, opened April 15, 1983. On Sept. 4, 2001, the resort expanded with Tokyo DisneySea. There are several resort hotels on site, but only three are actually owned by the resort, which boasts the largest parking structure in the world. Tokyo Disney Resort is fully owned and operated by The Oriental Land Company and is licensed by the Walt Disney Company. The resort was built by Walt Disney Imagineering, and Disney maintains a degree of control; Nick Franklin leads the Walt Disney Attractions Japan team at the Walt Disney Company, which communicates with the Oriental Land Company over all aspects of the Resort, and assigns Imagineers to the Resort. Its properties, listed below, are divided into parks, shopping centers, and resorts.
- Main article: Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris, Disney's second resort complex outside the United States, opened April 12, 1992, as Euro Disney Resort. Located in Marne-la-Vallée in the suburbs of Paris, France, it features two theme parks, a golf course, an entertainment complex and six Disney resort hotels. It is maintained and managed by Euro Disney S.C.A., a company partially owned by the Walt Disney Company whose stock is traded on Euronext. Its properties sit on 4940 acres (20.0 square kilometers), listed below, and are divided into parks, shopping centers, and resorts.
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Hong Kong Disneyland, Disney's fifth resort and its second in Asia, opened September 12, 2005. The resort is located in Penny's Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Currently, the resort consists of one theme park and two hotels, with land reserved for future expansion. It is owned and operated by Hong Kong International Theme Parks, an incorporated company jointly owned by The Walt Disney Company and the Government of Hong Kong. Hong Kong Disneyland Resort sits on 320 acres (1.3 square kilometers).
- Hong Kong Disneyland
- Inspiration Lake Recreation Centre
Shanghai Disneyland Resort
In November 2009, Disney received approval from the central government of China to build a Disney theme park in the Pudong district of Shanghai. "China is one of the most dynamic, exciting and important countries in the world and this approval marks a very significant milestone for Walt Disney Co in mainland China," said Robert Iger, president and CEO of Disney. The resort is expected to open in 2016.
Disney Cruise Line
- Main article: Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line was formed in 1995; its two ships, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, began operation in 1998 and 1999, respectively, and were designed in collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering. Both ships offer three-, four- and seven-night Caribbean cruises, each with a stop at Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. The third ship - Disney Dreams - was launched in 2010, while the fourth, named Disney Fantasy, joins Disney's fleet in 2012, Trips to Europe, Mexico and Alaska along with new berths in New York City, Long Beach, California and Europe were all added in 2011.
- ESPN Zone, a chain of sports-themed restaurants operated by Disney Regional Entertainment. All ESPN Zones were closed except for the Downtown Disney Anaheim and L.A. Live locations in Southern California, which are licensed to outside companies (Sports Zone Enterprises in Anaheim, Anschulz Entertainment Group in Los Angeles)
- Club Disney, a now-closed chain of children's entertainment centers developed by Disney Regional Entertainment.
- DisneyQuest, an indoor arcade with traditional video games and virtual reality experiences, initially developed and managed by Disney Regional Entertainment.
- Two World of Disney retail stores managed by the Parks and Resorts merchandise division. A third, based in New York, closed in 2009.
- Disney Vacation Club, a timeshare program that includes several themed resorts within Walt Disney World Resort plus Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort and Disney's Vero Beach Resort.
- Adventures by Disney, a program of all-inclusive, guided vacation tour packages offered at predominantly non-Disney sites around the world.
Disney reportedly had plans to build a park named Disney's America. The park was to have been located in Haymarket, Virginia, but local opposition to the idea appears to have persuaded Disney not to go forward with it in 1994.
Before Disney California Adventure, Disney originally had announced plans for a West Coast version of Epcot, WestCOT, which was deemed too ambitious (at the time) after the rocky financial performance of Euro Disney in France as well as protests by residents of Anaheim. Another concept for a Disney park in California was Disneysea, a contrasting park to Disneyland, to be built in Long Beach next to the RMS Queen Mary which Disney owned at the time. The park was to have led to a permanent West Coast ship in the Disney Cruise Line, which would dock at the park. The concept, although quickly scrapped, inspired the Imagineers to create Tokyo DisneySea, which has recently been deemed the second best-loved Disney park in the world, after Disneyland. Tokyo DisneySea is currently open at the Tokyo Disney Resort.
Disney-MGM Studios Europe was intended to be a European copy of the Disney-MGM Studios theme park in Florida, to have opened in 1996 at the Euro Disney Resort Paris (now Disneyland Resort Paris). Imagineers had been working on plans for six months before they were told to stop by management after the resort was drastically underperforming financially. The Walt Disney Studios Park opened in 2002 after the resort started to make a profit, though was ultimately very different from the original plans for Disney-MGM Studios Europe.
Asian & European projects
Both Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Resort Paris have room for future expansion.
Until June 2009, the Walt Disney Company was negotiating with the Hong Kong Government in funding the Phase 1 Expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland. The expansion includes three additional theme lands to the park, which are expected to complete latest in 2013, one year prior to the opening of rumored Shanghai Disneyland Resort. A number of thrilling rides have already been chosen in order to satisfy the market of the young adults and teenagers. It is reported that the preparation work for the construction has been finished and the park is ready to start the project once it has granted permission from the government. However, according to Bill Ernest, the company is still considering the detail terms, including the means of funding, with the government. The company is looking forward to reaching an agreement in 2009 so that the first theme land can be open in 2011 (during the 5th anniversary celebration of the Hong Kong park).
On May 7, 2009, John Tsang, the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong, admitted that both the Hong Kong Government and the Walt Disney Company have reached the basic agreement of the Phase 1 expansion and he is optimistic that the deal will be finalized shortly.
On June 30, 2009, Rita Lau, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong, announced the expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland that have been approved by the Executive Council. The park will feature a total of seven themed areas after the completion of all the new theme lands. Later on July 10, 2009, the Legislative Council in Hong Kong approved the expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland. The park will receive three new theme lands, which are Grizzly Trail, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land. Construction may begin in late 2009 and will take 5 years to be built.
In July 2009, the company was rumored to have been approached by the Dubailand executives to build a theme park in their mega-resort.
In November 2009, Disney received approval from the Chinese government to build a Disneyland resort in the Pudong district of Shanghai. The resort is expected to open in 2014.
Disney has made no announcements regarding plans for another American theme park and CEO Robert Iger frequently has cited international expansion as one of the company's three strategic priorities.
The only site that is extremely short on land is Disneyland Resort in California. Although the company has acquired enough real estate to build a potential third theme park on a former strawberry farm near the existing resort, Robert Iger has stated that the company's focus in Anaheim is to improve its second park, Disney California Adventure, before building a third. The strawberry fields were purchased in 2004 for $99.9 million with a requirement to harvest them until 2009. The remainder of the original Disneyland parking lot, southeast of DCA, was designated as a future growth space for the park. Since the park's opening in 2001, three small projects have been built into that space (A Bug's Land, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and a backstage warehouse) while a third, much larger project known as Cars Land was built into that space and opened in June 2012.
In October 2007, Disney announced plans to build a resort at Ko Olina Resort & Marina in Kapolei, Hawaii, featuring both a hotel and Disney Vacation Club timeshare units. Opened in June 2011, the 800-unit property joins the other resorts not associated with a theme park, such as Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina.