With the size of Disney World Orlando nearly similar to the size of San Francisco… some just can’t help but wonder how was Disney World built. In line with this mystery, many also wonder how the parks that compose Disney World came to be.
Prior to Disney World
Before trying to figure out how was Disney World built, it is quite important to know the events that led to the building itself. Considering how big is Disney world compared to Disneyland… many are still amazed at how a realization of a disadvantaged location turned into a successful expansion of a project.
As many are already aware of, despite the size of Disney Orlando… it is not the first Disney-themed destination Walt Disney built. The first one was in Anaheim California. Back in the 1950’s Walt Disney managed to buy a land area filled with orange groves. Later on—in 1955, he converted this land area into a commercial area. This is where he built the place now called Disneyland California. After its opening in July 1955, Walt Disney had grander plans in mind for an extension of the place. During this period… Disney began to realize how much of a disadvantage Disney Anaheim’s location was. Its location was in an area that is quite limited and could no longer be optimally expanded.
How was Disney World built? ?
In 1959, Disney began looking for a land to acquire for his planned “Florida Project”. Everything was then kept in secret until he acquired 27,258 acres (43 square miles) using dummy corporations. His rationale behind this large acreage is to shoo other establishments and even hotels away from the area where he plans to fulfill his “Florida Project”. Despite his efforts to keep this project a secret, it was then leaked in 1965. This forced him to announce the plan to the public.
Disney’s “Florida Plan” foresaw a park that not only gives you wonderful and playful sights to see. But also a futuristic environment for everyone to visit. With this idea came the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. It is now known as the EPCOT.
Despite his grand vision for the project, Walt Disney did not live to see its fulfillment. He died on December 15, 1966, due to lung cancer. Fortunately, his brother, Roy took over the construction of the park… until its completion in 1971.
Let the Parks Rise
Now that you know how was Disney World built (in terms of surrounding circumstances) and how many acres is Disney World Florida… it is now time to go deeply into the details. And by going into the details, it means that you will get to see how the Disney World parks came to be one by one. And how it came up to their current conditions and ride at the present time.
This was Disney World Florida’s first among the four theme parks when it opened in 1971. It was one of the main frontiers in answering the query how was Disney World built. Back then, this theme park was only one of the few attractions that make up the place… aside from the three resorts. They are Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
One remarkable thing about the opening of Disney World is Julie Andrew’s live performance. And also the revelation of the plaque near the entrance. The plaque contains the dedication of Roy O. Disney to his deceased brother… who died five years before its opening. Located at the entrance of the park, the plaque reads:
Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney… and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney’s dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place… a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn — together.
Dedicated this 25th day of October 1971
Roy Oliver Disney
The tragedy of this achievement enters the year after Disney World’s grand opening… when Roy Disney died.
Through the years
Many changes came into this place. Adding more rides, performances and walk-through attractions for guests to enjoy. These additional parks continue to grow and add to the narrative on how was Disney World built. As of 2017, Magic Kingdom is now composed of six “themed” lands. Each having a unique feel and aura that it gives to the visitor. These parks are Main Street, US.A; Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, and Liberty Square. Each of the six themed parks has different rides and walk-through attractions offered to its guests. To find out the rides, attractions, and performances found in each themed park and their prices… you can check out Disney World’s official website.
Remember Disney’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow for his Florida Plan? This theme park is now its realization. Another story that contributes to how was Disney World built. Disney’s aim for this park was to showcase the futuristic and progressive American industry. This one having continuous growing research, educational and cultural opportunities. This utopia that Disney wanted to see was junked after his death. Still, visitors can see what was now left of the park and wanted it to continue.
The park opened in October 1982, exactly 11 years after the opening of Magic Kingdom. Compared with the said theme park, EPCOT was roughly twice its size. It spans approximately 300 acres. Epcot shelters two theme parks which are Future World and World Showcase. In the Future World, you will get to see how Disney planned to view the utopic American industry. Trains and other modes of transportation, building and establishments, and the like. In World Showcase, you will get to see cultural performances from all over the world. You will never run out of options as there is a wide array of attractions that you can choose from… Asian, European, Latin and many more.
Another story to share in figuring out how was Disney World built is Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. Opened on May 1, 1989, this theme park marks as the third of its kind in Disney World. It originally bears the name Disney-MGM studios.
The park measures 135 acres and exhibits the filmmaking theme, with a dash of feels from the past… particularly during the Hollywood’s Golden Age in the 1930’s. On top of this vibe that it gives… it has attractions inspired by blockbuster films like “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones”. It also provides all sorts of entertainment from music to television to the theatre.
A month after its opening, the then Disney MGM Studios welcomed a new attraction. Typhoon Lagoon, which is Disney World’s first-ever water park. It was then followed by another water park on April 1, 1995, which is Disney Blizzard Beach.
Fast forward to 2008
the management changed the name from Disney-MGM Studios to Disney Hollywood Studios. Up to the present time… Disney Hollywood Studios continues to provide entertainment through the performing arts and attractions. All these make guests feel like they belong to a blockbuster movie’s narrative.
Who said forests and creatures of the wild cannot be included in a city park? This was one of the concepts defined on how was Disney World built. Coming in as the fourth Disney World Park is Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with its formal opening held on April 22, 1998. It owns the title as the largest theme park in the world with its land area measuring 580 acres.
This theme park will make you feel like you are visiting some of the world’s richest and lushest forests in a breath-taking landscape. These landscapes are a great inspiration for the Asian and African themes. One of these is the Kilimanjaro Safaris—which in fact are replicated in this theme park. It is a stunning view with a realistic and very educational walk-through for the guests.
Fast forward to 2016
Disney welcomed after-dark experiences at Animal Kingdom. This gives the guest a night feel of the park. And only this year, Disney welcomed the Pandora—the World of Avatar. This park takes its inspiration from the movie “Avatar” by James Cameron.
The management continues to maintain and improve the facilities and entertainment quality offered at Epcot. In fact, there are many planned makeovers for this park in the coming years.
All the rides available in the respective parks have different ticket prices. Some are more expensive than the others, while the others are cheaper. To check the prices out, you may visit the official website of Disney World Orlando. You can also talk to a traveling agency you trust for package deals. Disney World management also offers tour packages for those who would want to make a direct deal with them.
As stated in the earlier tales of how was Disney World built… one of Disney’s goal in acquiring a huge area of land was to avoid other establishments from coming nearby. To further improve this and live up to this ideal, he even built hotels in the outer areas of the park. This is both for commercial and convenience purposes for the visitors.
Contemporary Resort Hotel and Polynesian Village were the first hotels to stand. This occurred during the first opening of the park on October 1, 1971. As time went by, they built more and more hotels with different themes within Disney World Resort.
The growing numbers of Disney World hotels
The number of resorts flourished since decades ago resulting in a wider array of options for guests. Especially those who would like to stay in the park vicinity for a night or for a longer period of time.
As of the present day… these hotels continue to provide excellent services to their guests. They also give them the magic of Disney at the same time. They serve dishes which guests have hailed through the years.
Those who want to stay in any of the hotels may reserve their meals and rooms through the official website. They will never run out of rooms to stay in… given how big Disney world is compared to Disneyland… and of course the number of hotels that are within the vicinity.
These hotels also play a huge role in the narrative of how was Disney World built. These hotels were the first to accommodate guests in its first opening. And they continue to provide improved services up to this point.
What’s more to come?
With an inspiring and hopeful beginning… Walt Disney World brings in more than just the rides and attractions. It shares an inspiring story for everyone to look up to and tell them never to give up. From these challenges, along with the actualization of ideas from innovative minds… Disney World now stands as one of the world-famous attractions that families flock to.
Just when you thought Disney stopped growing the moment it opened its last theme park… they are adding up more to it. Disney continues to build worlds that tell stories and involve people of all ages in it.
Parks to expect
Last July 2017, the Walt Disney World Management had announced the opening of the newest attraction in the park… Toy Story. This Toy Story Park is set to open to the public on May 2018 and is currently under construction.
In 2019, Star Wars fans will be up for a surprise as the Star Wars Galaxy’s edge will open to the public. The park will include a hotel and will offer costumes and panels for guests to try.
Other than that, another park is already announced to open in 2021—the Tron Lightcycle Power Run. This cyber- inspired theme park (which was an imported idea from Shanghai) will feature a coaster-style attraction offering guests two-wheeled light cycles to try. The management divulged its location which will be at the Disney’s Magic Kingdom. In the same year… Disney World will also open a Guardians of Galaxy-inspired attraction.
Looking back we can see the rough history, the ups and down on how was Disney World built. It was built through a lot of inspiration, hard work, and of course, creativity. All of which rooted from the legendary Walt Disney and continues to live on up to the present time.