ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Short History of Walt Disney World

Updated on December 7, 2014

May 4th 1964

  • A series of real estate sales are reported in the Orlando Sentinel, a local journal of a small Florida farming community
  • Totaling nearly $1.5 million
  • Over 9,000 acres
  • Rumors spread that Walt Disney was buying land for an “East Coast Disneyland”

October 1965

  • Initial work begins in Florida
  • 300 acres in northwest corner of property cleared
  • Engineers conducted water control and drainage studies on the site

December 16th, 1966

  • Walt Disney dies
  • Brother and business partner Roy Oliver Disney sees project through and dies in 1971, shortly after the 1970 opening of Walt Disney World in Florida

Opening Day

  • October 1, 1970
  • Media estimates 100,000 people to attend
  • Only 10,000 visitors come through gates

Magic Kingdom

  • Centerpiece of Phase I development of Walt Disney World
  • Consists of Main Street, USA, Liberty Square, Mickey’s Starland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland

Main Street Electric Parade

  • Premiered in 1977
  • Historically one of Disney’s most popular parades of all time
  • Replaced by SpectroMagic in 1991 as part of the Walt Disney World 20th Anniversary Celebration
  • Spectromagic ran 1991-1999
  • Main Street Electrical Parade ran its second run from 1999-2001
  • Spectomagic 2001-June 5th 2010 2nd run
  • Main Street Electrical June 6, 2010-present 3rd run

South End of Main Street

  • Town Square
  • The Civic Center
  • Main Street Railroad Station
  • City Hall Municipal Park

Liberty Square

The Hall of Presidents (presents story of American Revolution)

The Haunted Mansion (reminiscent of great mansions of Hudson River Valley)

Liberty Tree

Liberty Bell

Mickey's Birthdayland, Mickey's Starland, Mickey's Toontown Fair

  • Originally Mickey’s Birthdayland which opened in June 1988 in celebration of Mickey’s 60th birthday
  • Renamed Mickey’s Starland in 1996
  • Features homes of Mickey and his friends that visitors can tour
  • Renamed Mickey's Toontown Fair in 1996
  • Closed February 2011 to make room for Fantasyland extension

Expansion of Walt Disney World

  • Epcot Center opens in 1982 (focuses on Disney’s vision of imagination, communication, invention and world unity)
  • MGM Studios opens in May 1989 (features an “Old Hollywood” feel where guests enjoy shows and attractions about what goes on behind the scenes of movies), Renamed and is now Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom opens 1998 (features animal themed exhibits and attractions from each of the Worlds continents)


Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland


  • Combines many foreign destinations such as Polynesia, Africa, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia
  • Features exotic plants: cape honeysuckle, Chinese hibiscus, Mexican flame vines, Brazilian bougainvillea, sword ferns, spider plants and Australian tree ferns
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (1973), Caribbean Plaza (1973), Jungle Cruise Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Enchanted Tiki Room, among other attractions


  • Tribute to pioneer spirit that moved Americans westward from the 1770s to the 1880s
  • Pays homage to many American frontiers
  • Big Thunder Mountain (1980), Splash Mountain (1992), Diamond Horseshoe Saloon, Country Bear Jamboree, Richard F Irvine Steamboat (1973), Tom Sawyer Island (1973), among other attractions


  • Located at central plaza entrance
  • Disney characters from motion pictures find a home here Fairytale motif
  • Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel (originally built in 1917 was bought and renovated by Disney), It’s a Small World (originally developed for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair), Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Adventure (1971-1994 then became Snow White;s Scary Adventure 1994-2012 when it closed as part of remodeling for "New Fantasyland"), The Mad Tea Party, Philar Magic (2002), The Many Adventure of Winnie the Pooh, among other attractions
  • New Fantasyland opened December 6, 2012 with some new attraction available and has since opened more attractions in phases. New attractions now included: Enchanted Tales with Belle, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Under the Sea with the Little Mermaid, among other attractions


  • Most frequently altered realm of Walt Disney World
  • Becomes outdated quickly Based on future and technology
  • Space Mountain, Astro Orbiter (replaced 1974 Starjets in 1994), Grand Prix Raceway, Stitch’s Adventure (2004), Carrousel of Progress (came to Disney World in 1975, originally created for General Electric pavilion at 1964-65 New York World’s Fair), among other attractions

Walt Disney World vs. Disneyland

  • Common misconception exists that Walt Disney World was meant to be “another Disneyland”
  • Walt Disney World is a resort complete with hotels, recreation and amenities
  • Magic Kingdom expands on operational and aesthetic knowledge gained from Disneyland
  • Disneyland features Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and Walt Disney World features Cinderella’s Castle

Walt Disney World was created and named to celebrate the life and legacy of a man whose vision and creative genius will continue to inspire mankind for generations to come.

Have you ever visited Walt Disney World in Orlando?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)