Walt Disney opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California in 1955 - a place where all of his characters could meet their fans. The park was a great success but due to being built in such a residential area, soon non-official hotels and shops started to appear all around the parks. The reason was simple: Walt Disney had simply not bought enough land to keep the area exclusive and keep competition away.
In the 1960s, Walt started developing his “Florida Project”, an expanded version of Disneyland and his company secretly began to buy up a significant chunk of Florida, 47 square miles of it to be exact. This was the start of “Disney World”. In 1966, Walt Disney passed away and the plans for Disney World almost collapsed. Despite the loss of its founder, the company kept building and in 1971 opened the Magic Kingdom. A park based on Disneyland Park in Anaheim – but at a much grander scale. Disney had the luxury of a lot of land in Florida.
In 1982, Epcot opened - Walt Disney World’s second theme park. It’s a place to learn about the future and to visit countries’ pavilions from around the world. 1989 saw the opening of the third theme park – Disney’s Hollywood Studios – a place where guests can experience how films and TV shows are made and ride and watch classics too. Finally, in 1998 the fourth theme park opened at the resort - Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Here guests can learn all about animals, venture on a safari and experience some pretty wild rides.
It’s not just theme parks at Walt Disney World though, there are two water parks, golf courses, two mini-golf locations, 24 Disney-owned resorts hotels, horse-riding areas, backstage tours, the Downtown Disney shopping area, spas, The Boardwalk entertainment area, ESPN Wide World of Sports and much, much more. It really is a Disney world.
In total you could spend two, three or even four weeks at the Walt Disney World resort and not take in everything it has to offer - it is immense in scale. Though with a little planning and knowing what you’re getting yourself in for, you can experience the parks, water parks and other activities at your own pace and have the vacation of a lifetime.