Disney World is an important part of Florida’s contemporary history since Walt Disney put Orlando on the map in 1971.
It was the beginning of an upturn which is still ongoing. The beginning of “The Theme Park Capital of the World”.
The Walt Disney World Resort does not only consist of the four theme parks. There are also lots of hotels, water parks and the entertainment complex Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista (which we think of as Orlando’s best nightlife). On top, all of this is surrounded by vast areas of virtually unspoiled Florida nature.
Disney World Orlando – from the original park Disneyland in Anaheim, Los Angeles, to an entire Disney World.
When Walt Disney World was being planned, the experience from California was helpful. The general idea was to be the same, but on a much larger scale. And without the mistakes made in Anaheim.
After Magic Kingdom, three more parks followed. The area grew, and is still growing.
What was originally planned to be a real city, with futuristic residential areas, instead turned into hotels and entertainment.
That the result became something very different from what Walt Disney had planned, is a completely different story.
60,000 work at Walt Disney World
What we see today are four well-known theme parks surrounded by a gigantic world influenced by the Disney brand. Disneyland in Los Angeles is one single theme park, actually smaller than Magic Kingdom in Orlando and with a few exceptions having the same attractions. Keep in mind: Magic Kingdom is really just an extremely small area of the whole.
Over 60,000 people are employed by Disney, making it the largest single-site employer in the United States, everything from cast members in Mickey Mouse suits to park rangers.
Common to all four Disney parks is that it takes at least one day to visit each of them. Plus, the Disney enthusiast will probably want to spend another day or two outside the theme parks, for example in Disney Springs, an additional entertainment area in itself, with an abundance of restaurants and shops and which today is twice the size compared to back when the area was named Downtown Disney just a couple of years ago.
Walt Disney World hotels are overpriced
We think the Disney on site hotels are both overrated and overpriced. A much better alternative are a group of nice hotels in Lake Buena Vista, for two simple reasons:
- More for your money.
- Walking distance to Disney Springs.
We had the privilege of experiencing the 70’s in Magic Kingdom and participated in the opening of Epcot 1982, but can hardly recognize the area today. Well, that’s a bit exaggerated, the outside appearance is still alike. But one has to remember that the parks are constantly changing. Attractions disappear, new ones are added.
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All content on this page and other parts of FloridaUSAguide is based on information from the Scandinavian online publication Florida.nu, established in Clearwater Beach, Florida, 2006.