Wikia

The Disney Wiki

Walt Disney World Resort

Comments0
28,590pages on
this wiki
Walt Disney World

The Walt Disney World Resort is a Disney theme park resort located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, comprised of four theme parks, two water parks, twenty-three hotels, and many more recreational venues. It opened on October 1, 1971 with the Magic Kingdom theme park, and two hotels: Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Resort.

Three other theme parks were added over the years: EPCOT Center opened in 1982, Disney-MGM Studios in 1989, and Disney's Animal Kingdom in 1998.

Concept

Walt Disney's concept for Disney World was of a larger, more expansive version of Disneyland, so that it could constantly expand and not be as constrained by the need for land that Disneyland suffered from. Walt Disney World also was to be a sort of "Disneyland of the future" where breakthroughs in science and technology could coexist with the original Disney vision of themed entertainment. It is the most popular of the Disneyland-style parks, and the most popular park in the world.

Walt Disney also envisioned this project as incorporating a working community where his ideas about urban planning could be tested. He called this concept the "Experimental Prototype Community (or City) of Tomorrow," or EPCOT. The theme park that eventually opened under the Epcot name bore little resemblance to this vision, though the neighboring planned community of Celebration, which was founded by the Walt Disney Company, incorporates a few of the ideas.

Although he participated in much of the planning for the project, Walt Disney himself died in 1966 and never got to see the realization of his vision. The resort was originally to be named "Disney World," but before its opening Walt's brother Roy renamed it to "Walt Disney World" in his honor, and to remind everyone that it was Walt's dream.

The land within Walt Disney World is part of the Reedy Creek Improvement District which allows the Disney Corporation to exercise quasi-governmental powers over the area.

Properties

Disney-Contemporary-Resort-738915

Disney's Contemporary Resort near Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World has four major theme parks, each with a main landmark that serves as its symbol:

There are also two water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. (A third, River Country, has been closed permanently.)

The Downtown Disney area contains many shopping, dining, and entertainment venues, including DisneyQuest (a "virtual theme park" inside a building), and a permanent Cirque du Soleil show (La Nouba).

Another notable aspect is the large number of hotel resort complexes on the Walt Disney World property. The non-themed hotels are owned by private, non-Disney hospitality companies such as Marriott and Hilton. The themed resorts include:

The Walt Disney World resort also includes five world-class golf courses. The five 18-hole golf courses are the Magnolia, the Palm, Lake Buena Vista, Eagle Pines, and Osprey Ridge (the last two are part of the Bonnet Creek Golf Club). There are two miniature golf courses: Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland.

Walt Disney World paved the way for many other theme parks and attractions in the area, including SeaWorld and Universal Studios, and helped make Orlando a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world.

When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, the Walt Disney World Resort employed about 5,500 cast members. Today it employs more than 65,000 cast members, spending more than $1.1 billion on payroll and $478 million on benefits each year. The largest single-site employer in the United States, Walt Disney World Resort has more than three thousand job classifications.

In a March 30, 2004 article in the Orlando Sentinel, Walt Disney World president Al Weiss gave some insight into how the parks are maintained:

  • More than 5,000 cast members are dedicated to maintenance and engineering, including 650 horticulturists and 600 painters.
  • Disney spends more than US$100 million every year on maintenance at the Magic Kingdom. In 2003, US$6 million was spent on renovating its Crystal Palace restaurant. 90 percent of guests say that the upkeep and cleanliness of the Magic Kingdom are excellent or very good.
  • The streets in the parks are steam cleaned every night.
  • There are cast members permanently assigned to painting the antique carousel horses; they use genuine gold leaf.
  • There is a tree farm on-site, so that when a mature tree needs to be replaced, a thirty-year-old tree will be available to replace it.

There is a fleet of Disney-operated buses on property, branded Disney Transport, free for use by resort and park guests, though drivers rarely check. Two monorail lines also operate at Walt Disney World Resort: one links the Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary and Polynesian and Grand Floridian resorts, and the Transportation and Ticket Center (with an express track in the other direction, only stopping at the TTC and the Magic Kingdom); the other links Epcot and the Transportation and Ticket Center. A ferry line also operates on the Seven Seas Lagoon going from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom as an alternate route versus the monorail lines.

Splash Mountain 800

Splash Mountain

Popular attractions

Development

Cindyrella's Castle @ Magic Kingdom

Cinderella Castle

In 1959, the Walt Disney Company, under the leadership of Walt Disney, began looking for land for a second resort to supplement Disneyland, which had opened in 1955. Market surveys revealed that only 2% of Disneyland's visitors came from east of the Mississippi River, where 75% of the population of the United States lived. Additionally, Walt Disney disliked the businesses that had sprung up around Disneyland, and wanted control of a much larger area of land for the new project.

Walt Disney first flew over the Orlando, Florida site, one of many, on November 22, 1963. He saw the good road network, including Interstate 4 and Florida's Turnpike, with McCoy Air Force Base, soon to become Orlando International Airport, to the east, and immediately fell in love with the site. When later asked why he chose it, he said, "the freeway routes, they bisect here."

However, the decision had not been made yet; no land had been purchased. If the news of Disney's new resort was leaked, land prices would soar. Thus everything was to be done in complete secrecy. To avoid a burst of land speculation, Disney used various dummy corporations and cooperative individuals to acquire 27,400 acres (111 km²) of land. The first five-acre (20,000 m²) lot was bought on October 23, 1964 by the Ayefour Corporation (a pun on Interstate 4). In May 1965, major land transactions were being recorded a few miles southwest of Orlando in Osceola County. Two large tracts totalling $1.5 million were sold, and smaller tracts of flatlands and cattle pastures were purchased by exotic-sounding companies such as the Latin-American Development and Management Corporation and the Reedy Creek Ranch Corporation. In addition to three huge parcels of land were many smaller parcels, referred to as "outs". Much of the land had been platted into five-acre (20,000 m²) lots in 1912 by the Munger Land Company and sold to investors. In most cases, the owners were happy to get rid of the land, being mostly swampland. Yet another problem was the mineral rights to the land, owned by Tufts College. Without the transfer of these rights, Tufts could come in at any time and demand the removal of buildings to obtain minerals.

After most of the land had been bought, the story was leaked to the Orlando Sentinel on October 20, 1965. A press conference was soon organized for November 15. At the conference, Walt Disney explained the plans for the site, including EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, which was to be a futuristic city.

The Reedy Creek Drainage District was incorporated on May 13, 1966 under Florida State Statutes Chapter 298, which gives powers including eminent domain to special Drainage Districts. To create the District, only the support of the landowners within was required.

Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966. From then on, his brother Roy Disney headed the project. For the past few years that the project had been in pre-production, it had been known simply as Disney World, but Roy Disney added "Walt" to the name to make it Walt Disney World. In his own words: "Everyone has heard of the Ford cars. But have they all heard of Henry Ford, who started it all? Walt Disney World is in memory of the man who started it all, so people will know his name as long as Walt Disney World is here."

On February 2, 1967, Roy Disney held a press conference in Winter Park, Florida. The role of EPCOT was emphasized in the film that was played, the last one recorded by Walt Disney before his death. After the film, it was explained that, for Walt Disney World to succeed, a special district would have to be formed: the Reedy Creek Improvement District with two cities inside it, the City of Bay Lake and the City of Reedy Creek (now the City of Lake Buena Vista). In addition to the standard powers of an incorporated city, which include tax-free bonds, the Improvement District would have total immunity from any current or future county or state land-use laws. The only areas where the District had to submit to the county and state would be property taxes and elevator inspections.

The laws forming the District and the two Cities was signed into law on May 12, 1967. The Florida Supreme Court ruled in 1968 that the District was allowed to issue tax-exempt bonds for public projects within the district, despite the sole beneficiary being The Walt Disney Company.

Construction of drainage canals was soon begun by the Improvement District, and Disney built the first roads and the Magic Kingdom. Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Resort, and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground were also completed in time for the park's opening on October 1, 1971.

On opening day, Roy Disney gave an opening dedication, after which he asked Walt's widow Lillian what she thought of Walt Disney World. She replied, "I think Walt would have approved."

Development timeline

Year Attractions produced within era
1971 Magic Kingdom
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Polynesian Resort
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
1972 Disney's Village Resort (Treehouse and Vacation Villas)
1973 Disney's Golf Resort (later Disney Inn, now Shades of Green)
1974 Discovery Island
1975 Disney's Village Resort (Fairway Villas)
1975 Walt Disney Village Marketplace (now Downtown Disney Marketplace)
1976 Disney's River Country Water Park
1980 Walt Disney World Conference Center
Disney's Village Resort (Club Lake Villas)
1982 Epcot
1988 Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
1989 Disney-MGM Studios
1989 Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
Pleasure Island
1990 Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts
Walt Disney World Swan
Walt Disney World Dolphin
1991 Disney's Port Orleans Resort
Disney's Old Key West Resort
1992 Disney's Dixie Landings Resort (now Port Orleans Riverside)
Disney Vacation Club at Walt Disney World
Bonnet Creek Golf Club
1994 Disney's All-Star Sports Resort
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
1995 Disney's All-Star Music Resort
1995 Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park
1995 Disney's Fairy Tale Wedding Pavilion
1996 Disney Institute
Disney's Boardwalk Resort
1997 Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
1997 Disney's Wide World of Sports
1997 Downtown Disney West Side
1998 Disney's Animal Kingdom
1998 DisneyQuest
1999 Disney's All-Star Movies Resort
2001 Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
2003

Disney's Pop Century Resort

2012 Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Tickets

Disney's "Magic Your Way" park ticket pricing, introduced in January 2005, is intended to make guests choose to spend more days on Disney property instead of visiting competing theme parks in the area; additional days at Disney can be much less expensive than a day at another park.

Length Adult ticket price (in US dollars) The price increase to add this day
1-Day $59.75
2-Day $119 $59.25
3-Day $171 $52
4-Day $185 $14
5-Day $193 $8
6-Day $196 $3
7-Day $199 $3

"Magic Your Way" also offers options such as Park Hopper ($35 per ticket, allowing a guest to visit more than one park per day), Magic Plus Pack ($45 per ticket, giving a guest between 2 and 5 visits to water parks, Pleasure Island, DisneyQuest, or Disney's Wide World of Sports), and No Expiration (between $10 and $55 per ticket, without which the ticket will expire 14 days after its first use).

Disney is also planning a service named "Disney's Magical Express" whereby guests will be brought in Disney buses from the Orlando airport directly to their Disney resort, and their luggage will be picked up and brought to their room. The plan is to make a Disney vacation simple and convenient, while making a visit to another local park such as Universal Orlando Resort or SeaWorld inconvenient.

Trivia

  • WDW's opening day in 1971 went off fairly smoothly, however, there was one arrest.  A woman insisted she get in free to the park because she was Cinderella.  WDW police cleverly and humorously convinced the lady to get into the police car, by telling her it was a pumpkin.
  • Disney's housekeeping staff washes more than 285,000 pounds of laundry and dry-cleans at least 30,000 garments (including characters' outfits) each and every day.  The equivalence of washing and drying two loads of laundry every day for 26 years.

Kingdom Keepers

The Walt Disney World Resort is the main location for the Kingdom Keepers books. The following parks, resorts and other facilities inside Walt Disney World Resort appear in the books:

See also

External links

Smallwikipedialogo
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Walt Disney World Resort. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Walt Disney World Resort

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki