Walt Disney World was originally founded by Walter and Roy Disney on October 1, 1971. This is one of the preeminent vacation destinations. People flock to Orlando – the home of Disney World – all year round so that they can enjoy a fun holiday vacation with family and friends.
Disney World Orlando Overview
The official name of this Florida vacation destination is Walt Disney World. Previously, it was known as Walt Disney World Resort. And many people from around the world simply call it Disney World.
Although many people will tell you that it is located in Orlando, it’s technically located in Bay Lake, Florida, which happens to be right near Orlando and is a municipality owned by The Disney Corporation. This is The Disney Corporation’s worldwide flagship destination. And the Florida location happens to be the most visited vacation resort out of any from all over the world. As a matter of fact, it is known that over 52 million people visit this destination per year.
Although founded by Roy and Walt Disney, the company is now owned and run by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. This business is actually a division of The Walt Disney Company.
The property, located in Bay Lake, Florida, is very large and currently covers 43 mi.², which equates to 27,258 acres. This large property is the home to 27 resort hotels with Disney themes, nine hotels that do not have any themes at all, two water parks, a number of golf courses, a camping destination, four theme parks, and it’s even home to many other entertainment options. Within this complex, the first theme park to open in Disney World was Magic Kingdom. This was quickly followed up by Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.
The original Disney theme park was opened in Anaheim, California, in 1965, and this is known as Disneyland. The Florida location was originally developed to act as a supplement to the California location, and they first began working on it during the 1960s and it was known as The Florida Project.
Prior to beginning construction of Walt Disney World, the man that this theme Park was named after, Walt Disney, died on December 15, 1966. Although the resort and theme park was supposed to be a lot more experimental then Disneyland in California, ultimately the people in charge after Walt Disney died scrapped his ideas and made the theme park similar to the location in Anaheim. Many of the experimental concepts that Walt Disney wanted to try were abandoned and forgotten about altogether.
Searching for a Home for Disney World
When this was still just an idea that Roy and Walt Disney had, they needed to find the right place to put their second theme park. They began looking for their new home in 1959, and they strategically decided to choose Florida as their location for a number of different reasons.
For starters, the company did not like that only 5% of their visitors were from east of the Mississippi River. This location is where 75% of the US population lived. And that’s not all. Walt Disney himself was not a big fan of many of the businesses that were developed in the area around Disneyland. He wanted to have more control when it came to development and the other businesses that would be centrally located around his property. He made sure that he had a large measure of control with this next theme park.
The Disney brothers had taken a look at many potential places to locate their second theme park. It was in November 1963 that they finally decided to take a look at a potential site that was located in Orlando, Florida. In an effort to avoid a burst of people buying land based on speculation, The Disney Company chose land that was centrally located directly near Bay Lake. And they used a number of dummy corporations that acquired 30,500 acres of land. This property was purchased in May 1965, and the majority of the transactions were recorded in Osceola County, which is Southwest of Orlando.
All of this land was purchased in secrecy. The real estate agents that helped with the land purchases had no idea that they were selling property to The Disney Corporation.
Disney World Parks and Attractions
As previously mentioned, there are a number of different theme parks, water parks, golf courses, hotels, and other attractions. The main theme parks and attractions at this location in Orlando, Florida include:
- Magic Kingdom Theme Park
- Epcot Center
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
- Expedition Everest
- Star Tours
- Jungle Cruise
- the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Space Mountain
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Haunted Mansion
- It’s a Small World
- Spaceship Earth
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
- and many more
And we’ve only just brushed against the tip of the iceberg. There are many more wonderful rides and attractions for you to choose from. Visit the Disney World website to learn about all of their wonderful options.
Disney Themed Hotels
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- and many more
Non-Disney Themed Hotels on the Premises
- Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel
- Doubletree Guest Suite Resort
- Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
- Hilton Walt Disney World
- Holiday Inn in the Walt Disney World Resort
- Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa
- Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
- Bonnet Creek Resort
- Walt Disney World Dolphin
- Walt Disney World Swan
- Shades of Green Resort (Owned by the US Military)
At the end of the day, there are many fantastic things to do when visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It’s fun for the whole family. Visit this year if you’re looking for the perfect place to go on a wonderful family trip.